A somber image captures an empty glass of alcohol beside an open Bible, symbolizing the struggle of an alcoholic husband and the guidance sought from scripture for healing and redemption.

What The Bible Says About An Alcoholic Husband

Alcoholism destroys marriages and families. If your husband struggles with alcohol, you likely feel hurt and confused about how to respond. You may wonder, what does the Bible say about having an alcoholic spouse?

This comprehensive guide explores biblical truths about alcoholism and equips you to take wise action.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Scripture condemns drunkenness but encourages patience and grace toward the alcoholic. Set healthy boundaries, stay close to God, care for yourself, and keep extending Christ’s redemptive love.

The Bible Clearly Condemns Drunkenness

Drunkenness Is a Sin

The Bible contains numerous warnings against drunkenness and excessive drinking. Galatians 5:21 states that drunkenness is a sin and those who practice it will not inherit God’s kingdom. Ephesians 5:18 instructs us not to get drunk on wine but instead be filled with the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:10 warns that drunkards will not inherit God’s kingdom. Clearly, the Bible condemns intoxication and excessive drinking as sinful behaviors.

Alcohol Enslaves and Defiles

Alcohol is deceitful and can enslave those who overindulge (Proverbs 20:1). It leads to poverty, sorrow, strife, complaints, and wounds without cause (Proverbs 23:29-35). Habakkuk 2:15 warns woe to those who get their neighbors drunk.

Isaiah 28:7 notes that alcohol makes priests and prophets reel and stumble in judgment. Alcohol consumption causes one to forget God’s law (Proverbs 31:5). Overall, the Bible teaches that alcohol defiles body and spirit when consumed in excess.

Warnings Against Alcoholic Excess

The Bible contains many stories that warn against excessive drinking. For example, Noah became drunk after the flood and behaved shamefully (Genesis 9:20-27). Lot struggled with alcohol and drunken immorality (Genesis 19:30-38). Nabal died after his drunkenness angered David (1 Samuel 25).

Ben-Hadad and his allies were drunkenly defeated (1 Kings 20:16-21). Belshazzar was judged during a drunken feast (Daniel 5). Examples like these clearly warn against the dangers of alcoholic excess.

Have Compassion Yet Set Healthy Boundaries

Understand the Disease of Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a chronic disease that affects the brain and leads to compulsive alcohol use despite negative consequences. As with other diseases, it is important to have compassion for your husband while also protecting yourself.

Alcoholics often feel ashamed of their drinking and may be in denial about the severity of the problem. Approach the issue gently yet firmly, focusing on your concern for his health and wellbeing. Avoid angry confrontation or blaming, as this tends to be counterproductive.

Instead, educate yourself on alcoholism as a medical disorder so you can understand it is not a moral failing on his part.

Protect Yourself and Children from Harm

While showing compassion, you must also set healthy boundaries to shield yourself and children from the harmful effects of his drinking. Do not enable his alcohol use by making excuses or covering up for him.

Make it clear you will not tolerate verbal abuse, violence, reckless behaviors or other consequences while he is intoxicated. Have a safety plan to remove yourself and kids if he becomes threatening. Do not let children ride in a car while he is under the influence.

Protect finances from instability caused by drinking, like opening a separate bank account. Consider consulting with a domestic violence agency if you ever feel unsafe.

Allow Natural Consequences as Motivation for Change

Allowing your husband to suffer natural consequences of his drinking may motivate him to change. For example, do not call his boss with excuses when he misses work due to a hangover. If he gets a DUI, let him handle the legal and financial fallout instead of rushing to bail him out.

Make him responsible for repairs if he damages property while drunk. Let him experience embarrassment or disappointment from friends/family declining to enable his habits. Be prepared for resistance, denial or bargaining when implementing these measures.

But staying firm shows you will no longer prevent him from dealing with the realities of his addiction. Consult with an intervention specialist or substance abuse counselor to learn more positive reinforcement techniques.

Respond with Truth and Grace

Confidently Confront yet Avoid Enabling

Having an alcoholic husband can be incredibly challenging. It’s important to respond to the situation with both truth and grace. This means confronting the issue confidently, yet avoiding enabling behaviors that allow the addiction to continue.

Avoid making excuses for him or covering up the truth about his drinking. Be honest with yourself and him about how his alcoholism affects you and the family. Set healthy boundaries and make self-care a priority. Seek support from others who understand what you’re going through.

At the same time, angrily confronting or shaming him is rarely effective. Speak the truth, but do so with love and concern for his wellbeing. Make it clear you want to support his recovery, not enable his addiction. Offer to help connect him with professional treatment and recovery resources.

Offer Help while Respecting His Choices

While you cannot force your husband to get sober, you can offer help while still respecting his right to make his own choices. Make treatment options known and encourage him to pursue them without nagging or demanding.

Do not enable destructive choices, but allow natural consequences to motivate change.

Let him know you are on his side and want the best for him, but he has to take responsibility for his recovery. Attend Al-Anon or counseling to learn how to detach with love, neither controlling his choices nor abandoning your own self-care.

Offer to accompany him to AA or counseling, but don’t try to micromanage the process.

Support Recovery while Prioritizing Your Needs

If your husband commits to recovery, be there to support him every step of the way. This could include attending counseling together, avoiding alcohol at home, or planning sober social activities. But make sure you don’t put your own physical and emotional health at risk in the process.

Set boundaries regarding what you will and will not tolerate. Insist he get professional help and work a program of recovery. Take time for self-care and continue attending support groups. Remain vigilant of relapses and enablement tendencies.

Offer encouragement, but don’t let his addiction jeopardize your safety and wellbeing.

With grace, truth and the right priorities, you can walk this difficult road with hope. Both your needs and his recovery matter. Seek wisdom greater than your own, and take it one day at a time.

Find Strength in God and Community

Pray for Wisdom and Discernment

When dealing with an alcoholic spouse, it’s important to pray for God’s wisdom on how to handle the situation. Ask God to help you make wise and loving choices. Pray for discernment so you’ll know when to speak up and when to remain silent.

God promises to give wisdom to those who earnestly seek Him (James 1:5). Pour out your heart to Him and trust that He hears you.

Also seek wisdom from mature Christians, counselors, and clergy who can provide guidance and support. Their godly advice and prayers on your behalf are invaluable gifts.

Stay Close to God’s Word and Church Family

Immerse yourself in Scripture during this difficult season, especially verses about hope, healing, and standing firm in faith. God’s Word brings encouragement, direction, and strength when you need it most.

Here are some great verses to meditate on:

  • “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
  • “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
  • “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Also, make attending church a priority, even when you don’t feel like it. Christian fellowship helps prevent isolation and reminds you that you’re not alone. Let your church family surround you with support through this challenge.

Their prayers, hugs, and words of truth and grace will lift your spirit.

Care for Your Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Health

Be intentional about caring for yourself during this stressful time. Try to eat nutritious foods, get adequate rest, and exercise when possible. Seek professional counseling to process your emotions in a healthy way. Set boundaries with your spouse if needed to protect your safety and well-being.

Most importantly, stay spiritually connected to God through prayer, Scripture, worship music, and Christian community. This will give you strength, comfort, wisdom, and endurance for each day. As you focus on God rather than your circumstances, He will fill you with His peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

Remember, you are never alone. God promises to be your rock and refuge as you trust in Him (Psalm 9:9-10). He will sustain you and give you everything needed to walk through this valiantly as His beloved child.


Living with an alcoholic spouse grieves God’s heart and yours. Walk closely with Jesus to understand biblical truths and find grace to uphold marriage while requiring necessary change. Set healthy boundaries and focus on your spiritual, emotional, and physical wellbeing.

Keep praying for restoration while allowing consequences to motivate your husband toward sobriety. Most of all, keep sharing Christ’s unconditional love—the force powerful enough to break the chains of addiction.

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