My Partner Can’t Stop Drinking (5 key Tips)

Being with a partner that is an alcoholic brings with it many challenges and a gush of emotions. In this article we will take a look at why your partner can’t stop drinking and what you can do to help them and yourself. 

Why can’t your partner stop drinking?

Alcoholism is a disease like any other substance abuse. Here are the possible reasons why your partner can’t stop drinking.

  • Excessive alcohol use can affect brain chemistry over time
  • They have a high level of tolerance 
  • They hate the effects of withdrawal
  • Their mental health is not at its best
  • They are very stressed out
  • They don’t think they have a problem
  • It started with peer pressure
  • Drinking is socially acceptable
  • They have a family history of alcoholism
  • They can’t seem to quit 

How do I deal with a drunk partner?

Dealing with a drunk partner can be incredibly challenging. The following ways may be of some help. 

  • Keep in mind that serious alcoholism is a sickness
  • Avoid being enraged
  • Have a straightforward, honest conversation
  • Don’t try to avoid repercussions
  • Give your partner the opportunity to explain their life choices 

How do you help someone who can’t stop drinking?

The person you are trying to help should be willing to accept that they have a problem. Once you overcome that barrier, here’s what you can do. 

  • Choose a time to talk to them when they are sober
  • Express your issues in a considerate manner
  • Encourage them to speak about the causes behind their alcoholism
  • Consider holding a family meeting or an intervention

Drinking is done for a variety of reasons, including to celebrate, socialise, commiserate and drown our sorrows. We may drink in order to alter our mood, to feel more relaxed, brave, or confident. 

The effects of alcohol, on the other hand, are just transient. When we feel the effects of alcohol withdrawal, it affects our brain and body and we often feel worse as it wears off.

It takes time to stop drinking, so be patient with your partner if it doesn’t stick right away. Whether their ultimate aim is complete abstinence or to be more careful drinking, they are still helping your brain and body.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Why can’t your partner stop drinking?

Excessive alcohol use can affect brain chemistry over time

In the case of alcoholism, brain chemistry is crucial. Excessive drinking and the positive reinforcement that comes with it might cause dopamine release in the brain to shift.

Many people will experience happiness or a reduction in anxiety as a result of drinking, which is a positive reinforcement that might lead to more drinking.

The effect of dopamine (a happy hormone) on the brain and body is why your partner can’t stop drinking or slowing down their alcohol consumption. It may play a role in the incentive and motivation to consume alcohol.

They have a high level of tolerance 

Alcohol and other drugs cause the brain to adapt over time. As a result, someone who drinks frequently will react differently from someone who doesn’t. 

People who drink heavily must drink more and more to become inebriated, because the brain becomes desensitised to the effects of alcohol with prolonged exposure.

Their tolerance level keeps increasing; it’s a never-ending process. The more a person drinks, the more they will need to drink to achieve the desired results. It is why your partner can’t stop drinking.

They hate the effects of withdrawal

Withdrawals, like tolerance, are caused by a change in the brain’s chemistry.

Excessive drinking causes the brain to become accustomed to the effects of alcohol, and it will compensate by boosting the activity of specific neurotransmitters to try to restore equilibrium in the presence of alcohol.

When a heavy drinker stops drinking, the brain may have to adjust, which can result in unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as perspiration, racing heart, restlessness, and anxiety.

Their mental health is not at its best

Heavy drinking interferes with brain chemicals that are necessary for optimum mental health. While we may feel at ease after a drink, alcohol has a long-term impact on mental health. It contributes to feelings of despair and anxiety, as well as making stress more difficult to manage.

If your partner is coping with strong emotions, they may discover that alcohol temporarily soothes them, which is why they can’t stop drinking. However, these effects are short-lived. 

Regardless of their mood, chemical changes in your brain can quickly lead to more unpleasant feelings such as anger, melancholy, or anxiety.

They are very stressed out

People who are going through a stressful time in their lives may place a higher importance on drinking alcohol since it helps them cope with their bad emotions. The burden of worry is relieved, at least briefly, by drinking.

The nervous system is slowed by alcohol, which can lead to sensations of relaxation. This is why some people turn to alcohol as a stress-relieving method. 

If your partner is one of them, it could be why they can’t stop drinking. They are using alcohol as a way to detach themselves from numerous difficulties in their lives.

They don’t think they have a problem

One of the most irritating aspects of coping with alcoholism is that it is nearly usually accompanied by denial. This refusal to acknowledge the truth or severity of the problem. 

A person with alcohol consumption disorder who is in denial has reduced insight into their situation, which is why your partner can’t stop drinking. It’s a typical symptom of alcoholism, and it can prevent people from seeking help.

It can get worse if family members and friends start making excuses for your partner. The faster the problem is acknowledged, the sooner one can begin to look for solutions. 

It started with peer pressure

While friends can help peers learn new abilities or spark new interests, they can also put pressure on one another to do things they wouldn’t choose on their own, such as drinking alcohol. 

Peer pressure can lead to people starting to drink or drinking too much. Young people are especially vulnerable to this. Once it becomes a habit, it may become more difficult to quit as they get older. 

Your partner can’t stop drinking since they caught on a long time and the addiction only got worse with time.

Drinking is socially acceptable

Drinking is a socially acceptable and encouraged way of having a good time and getting rid of tension. Alcohol is widely available.

People are fine with drinking to cope with the difficulties of ordinary life and to celebrate special occasions.

Problem drinking isn’t really evident, at least on a societal level, because it’s glamorised and normalised, until the repercussions are so severe that they prompt anguish.

Your partner can’t stop drinking when it’s hard to recognize the problem because everyone around them is behaving similarly.

They have a family history of alcoholism

Alcohol’s effects linger a long time and can harm your health in ways that go beyond a hangover. 

Alcoholism, like all addictions, affects the brain’s reward centre, and heavy drinkers might pass on their drinking issues to their offspring. 

If your partner has a family history of alcoholism, they are more likely to develop alcoholism or engage in risky drinking habits themselves. 

They can’t stop drinking overnight. It will take time to get out of the family curse.

They can’t seem to quit 

If your partner can’t stop drinking, it could be that they may have tried and failed. Alcohol addiction is not something that one can get rid of cold turkey. They may falter a couple of times before they get off the wagon. 

The withdrawal from alcohol is a challenging shift as the brain reprograms itself, making it harder to stay sober. People struggle to give up alcohol because things may appear flat for a few months without it.


Alcoholism is a crippling condition that has a negative impact on both mental and physical health. When it comes to excessive alcohol use, there are a number of aspects to consider. 

Everything from withdrawal symptoms to brain chemistry to environmental factors can contribute to someone’s inability to put down the bottle. 

Treatment should be a major priority for your partner if they can’t stop drinking, regardless of the reason.

What we recommend for Relationship issues

Professional relationship counselling

If you are suffering from relationship issues then ongoing professional relationship counselling could be what you need. Relationship Counselling can be done individually or with one or more partners.

Relationship counselling helps you regain the amazing elements of your relationship and provides you with the techniques needed to avoid conflicts, misunderstandings and the most common issues most relationships struggle with.

FAQs: My partner can’t stop drinking

What is considered an alcoholic?

An alcoholic is someone who consumes alcohol in excess of their ability to control it and is unable to stop willingly. Most of the time, this is combined with being chronically inebriated, drinking on a regular basis, and consuming bigger amounts of alcohol than the average person.

Is my partner drinking too much?

The following are the key indicators that your partner may have a drinking problem: After a time of heavy drinking, alcohol has a bad impact on their personality. Away from home, they spend a lot of time in pubs and clubs. They may even miss work or family events because of it. 

When is drinking a problem in a relationship?

There’s an issue if you believe drinking is having a bad impact on your relationship or leading your partner to become argumentative, dishonest or furious. If you feel that alcohol makes things worse for you too, it may be time to reconsider your own drinking habits.

What do you do when your partner drinks too much?

Educate yourself and other family members on the subject of alcoholism. Encourage your companion to continue his sobriety attempts. Tell them how difficult this is, how good they are doing and how pleased you are with their efforts. Assist them at every stage of their journey to sobriety.


What Should I Do If My Husband Can’t Stop Drinking?