How to Support a Spouse with an Addiction Problem


Dealing with a spouse who is struggling with a substance addiction can be one of the lowest points in a marriage. Individuals become addicted to drugs, alcohol and other substances for a variety of different reasons, including mental health issues and other underlying problems which often leave people feeling tlike they have no other choice but to turn to drugs or alcohol in order to feel better. However, a substance addiction may bring about temporary relief for the user, but in the long term, it is hugely damaging to both the individual’s health and their relationships with others.

If your spouse is currently struggling with substance abuse and addiction, it’s absolutely crucial that you are there to offer them your full support as they recover. We’ve listed some of the best things that you can do in order to help a spouse through an addiction problem.

Getting Support

Those who have lived with a spouse who struggles with addiction often find that over time, they develop unhealthy relationship habits. For example, you may have found that you allow your spouse to relapse or even help them to fuel their habit, as it’s difficult for you to see them suffering. However, in order to truly help your spouse through an addiction, it’s vital for you to be proactive in getting support. Even if your spouse is unwilling to take part in rehab or therapy right now, getting therapy for yourself can be very useful, as supporting a loved one through an addiction problem can often take a very heavy toll mentally and emotionally. Getting the right support for yourself will enable you to be a better source of support for your spouse.

Rehab Programs

Encouraging somebody who has a drug or alcohol addiction to go to rehabilitation can often be a tricky and exhausting process, especially if they have not yet accepted the fact that they are in need of help and support. Researching the various types of rehab available to you and speaking to your doctor or therapist to ask for recommendations is still a good idea, because even if your spouse is not yet feeling ready to sign up, you will know what’s available to you and can discuss this with your spouse in the future if needed. Centers are available that provide detox for men, or you can often find rehab centers which allow family members and spouses to also get involved, as strong and supportive relationships are hugely important in the recovery of an addict.

Ongoing Support

As the spouse of an individual who is struggling with addiction, you are going to be on the front line of their recovery and any problems which may ensue. Because of this, it’s important for you to be prepared for the ongoing support that you will need to be there to give. One of the most important things that you can do when offering support to your spouse in this difficult time is to avoid passing the blame or saying things which could make your spouse feel terrible about their problem, as this is only likely to make things worse.

Remember that addiction is a disease rather than simply a lack of willpower or a selfish attitude. In order to ensure that they successfully recover, you must treat your spouse in the same way as you would if they were suffering from another illness.

Prepare for Setbacks

Alcohol and drug addiction is a serious problem, leading to a recovery process which is often lengthy and full of setbacks. Whether your spouse has attended a rehab center or is looking for ways to overcome their addiction and recover at home, educating yourself on the process and understanding how to spot and avoid potential setbacks is important.

Be aware that it’s often difficult for recovering addicts to avoid temptation, therefore your main role as a spouse during the recovery process is to make a conscious effort to remove any possible temptations from your home and avoid putting your spouse in any situations that may cause a setback. The best way to do this is simply to talk to your spouse; ask them what it is that they feel will cause a setback and what you can do to help them avoid this.

Substance addiction can ruin lives, and nobody is immune from falling foul of it. If you are married to somebody who is struggling with a substance addiction, it’s important to know how to offer the right help and support to encourage their recovery.