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How To Get Help For My Husband’s Alcohol Or Drug Addiction

Brenda Munnerlyn, RN, BSN

Medically reviewed by

Brenda Munnerlyn, RN, BSN

April 8, 2019

Relationship problems are often the main symptom of spousal addiction and these problems can often force the two of you irreparably apart. If you want to help him recover, you need to understand the unique relationship the two of you possess and how it can contribute to or help his addiction.

Assessing Your Relationship Dynamic

Every husband and wife relationship has a different dynamic, one that may or may not help contribute to his addiction. Often, husbands and wives interact emotionally in troubling ways, especially when addiction is involved. One of the most problematic relationship dynamics and the one that contributes the most to continued addiction is co-dependence.

Co-dependent relationships are emotionally troubling because they create behaviors and emotional attachments. With this dynamic, you are basically relying on certain behaviors and activities from each other in order to continue feeling normal, happy, and safe. Ask yourself the following questions to decide if you are contributing to his addiction:

  • Do you make excuses for his drug use?
  • Do you help him find drugs, even when you know it’s unhealthy and illegal?
  • Do you make up stories about why he behaves improperly when under the influence?
  • Do you ignore the problem and hope it will eventually go away?

If you answered yes to one of these questions, there’s a good chance you and your husband are co-dependent. Breaking that dynamic is incredibly difficult: it often requires a painful break with previously acceptable behaviors, internal struggling, and even a potential separation.

However, you simply must avoid becoming co-dependent if you want to help your husband recover from his addiction. It will force him to confront his addiction and learn how to create proper coping mechanisms for his problem behaviors.

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Eliminating The “Adversarial” Problem

Another problematic husband-wife dynamic is the “adversarial” type. In this dynamic, husbands and wives treat each other as if they were enemies on the opposite side of a serious battle. Instead of working together to accomplish a goal, they constantly butt heads. This goes beyond simple bickering or light-hearted banter and falls straight in the abusive category.

Often, this dynamic is a result of past fights or concerns and often causes couples to fall into a pointless barrage of insults and fighting, even when the best interests of both parties aren’t being served. This relationship dynamic often forces a husband into drug use as a coping method or causes the problem to worsen, as he refuses your help over and over again.

Ask yourself the following questions to decide if you have an adversarial relationship dynamic:

  • Do you have a hard time discussing any problem without fighting?
  • Is there always a tension between the two of you, even during moments of relaxation?
  • Does he turn to drug or alcohol use seemingly to spite you?
  • Have you continually fought about his drug use, with him developing what seems like pointlessly intricate explanations and excuses for his behaviors?
  • Do you instinctively dislike his suggestions, even if there is nothing logically wrong with them?

Answering yes to even one of these questions illustrates a possible adversarial relationship. Eliminating this dynamic is hard as it often becomes a hard-wired behavioral pattern. However, if you love your husband and want him to recover from addiction, the two of you need to work through this problem together.

Attending Relationship Counseling

Now that you understand your relationship dynamic, it is important to attend relationship counseling before going any further. Studies have shown that couples who attend relationship counseling are more supportive and have a better emotional connection. And feeling a strong emotional bond with your husband can help make his recovery much easier.

Typically, relationship counseling will follow several simple steps:

  • Discussing problems and concerns both members have in the relationship
  • Delving into where these issues began
  • Helping both sides understand why these behaviors started and helping them understand the other side
  • Apologizing to each other and working through these problems
  • Developing new communication and behavior methods for your relationship
  • Continual check-ins to ensure the relationship is on the right track

The main goals of relationship counseling are to help change problematic behaviors, address emotional concerns, and help the two of you get back on the same page. It can create a loving atmosphere that will make you and your husband feel safe and secure with each other again. And it can compel him to find the help he needs for his addiction.

Possible Treatment Options

Finding treatment for your husband requires figuring out what method the two of you think best serves your needs, as addiction recovery requires the full commitment of you both. For example, outpatient rehabilitation is great if your husband needs to work during the day or take care of your children. He will attend regular treatments and sessions but will sleep at home with you.

However, if his behavior has become problematic or his addiction too severe, inpatient rehabilitation can remove him from those situations and help treat his problem. It can also help you recover by temporarily displacing the two of you from an emotionally traumatizing situation. Inpatient rehab offers detoxification, 24-hour care, regular psychological counseling, and behavioral adjustments.

Learn More By Contacting Us

Whatever treatment option you choose, it’s important to work together with your husband to help him achieve sobriety. With you at his side, he can receive the emotional support he needs to fully recover. However, if you need more help or simply don’t feel prepared for this difficult process, please contact our helpful counselors at They offer a variety of support mechanisms that will help both of you do what you need to succeed.

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