My Spouse is Addicted - How Can I Help?

You might have heard these well intentioned words from your spouse more than once: “I am sorry, I promise I will stop.” Unfortunately, no matter how sincere your partner is about fixing the problem, addiction is a serious disease that cannot be cured overnight. Though no one can solve the issue other than your spouse, there are still some ways you can help.

Loving Support

As long as the relationship is not abusive or threatening, being there to support your spouse is one of the most important things you can do to help. Your loving presence can help your spouse find the strength and courage to face the difficult ups and downs of the recovery process.

Stay Informed

Research the type of addiction your spouse is struggling with; understanding what he or she is going through can help you keep a cool mind during the tough times.

For example, you might get frustrated and angry when promises for a better tomorrow are broken when the addiction flares up again and messes everything up. However, once you understand that addiction is a disease that alters your spouse’s reasoning capabilities, it allows more room for compassion and less for judgment.

Stay Healthy

Watching helplessly as your loved-one paves the path to self-destructive behaviors can be absolutely heart breaking, even depressing at times. You will not be able to change your spouse or fix the problem. You can, however, make sure to take care of yourself, staying emotionally strong, healthy, and happy, in order to pull through the tougher moments. Your life cannot revolve around your spouse’s addiction. Your role is one of support; you need to feel grounded and stable in order to help.

Eliminate Denial

Most addicts are in denial about their problem. If you tend to cover for your spouse and make excuses for missed appointments, missed workdays, or neglected responsibilities, you are only aggravating his or her denial.

By facing the facts and not covering for your spouse, you are saying that you see the problem and no one can pretend it doesn’t exist. This may also help your partner do the same. Admitting to the problem is the first big step in recovery.


Addiction is a disease that gets worse if left untreated. If your spouse refuses to get help, an intervention may be needed. You could gather friends and close family members to gently express your concerns to your spouse as a group. However, if the situation becomes critical, or if anyone’s safety is compromised, more serious measures may be required, such as a crisis therapist, or law enforcement agencies.

Meetings & Counseling

Overcoming addictions is extremely difficult, and so is living with someone who is addicted. No matter what the addiction is, reaching out to support groups, 12-step groups, and a counselor is an important step to help you both cope with the difficult challenges presented by addiction. Groups and counselors can help you process your feelings and emotions and lessen the feelings of isolation and loneliness in your relationship. 

Aside from the addiction recovery process, your relationship is likely to withstand a great amount of stress and discomfort, tearing at the seams of what you once loved and cherished about each other. Couples counseling is highly recommended in order to rebuild and maintain the trust and confidence in your partnership, and in each other.


If your spouse is not ready to admit to the addiction, or is unwilling to take action to put an end to it, no matter how hard you invest yourself in the solution, it will not work. The prime motivation for a better life has to come from your spouse, then you become the helping hand keeping your partner loved and on the right path. Addiction recovery is not an easy journey, but with professional help, determination, love, and support, it is possible to overcome it, and bring stability back to your relationship.