Given the impact caused by alcoholism to individual and collective health, the study aims to understand the interfaces between gender and mental health in the speech of alcoholics and reflect on the possibilities of nursing work in this context. Qualitative descriptive study conducted with 20 participants in an Alcoholics Anonymous group in Fortaleza. Information was collected through semi-structured interview in the period of May-June 2008. In speeches, the social processes involved in the gender context of alcoholism may contribute to mental health, but also represent a triggering factor in the health-mental illness. The reality perceived brings benefits for the intervention of the nurse in a field still characterized by gaps, especially with regard to public policies and practices professional expertise, such as chemical dependency.