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

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

March 6, 2019

Seeing your wife suffer from addiction is difficult and can put added strain on your marriage and other family relationships. Encouraging her to get treatment may be the push she needs to put addiction behind her and live a life of sobriety.

Your wife is the love of your life and you want her to be happy and healthy. Unfortunately, she is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction. Addiction can create a lot of stress in your relationship emotionally, physically, and even financially. An addiction to drugs or alcohol not only affects the individual but the entire family.

You want to see her get the help she needs, but she is in denial about the problem. Addiction is a serious mental illness that needs to be addressed professionally. So how can you get help for your wife’s drug or alcohol addiction?

Recognizing The Signs

Watching your wife struggle with addiction to drugs or alcohol is a heart-wrenching thing to witness. Below are some signs that point to alcohol or drug abuse:

  • Extreme mood swings
  • Trouble making or maintaining positive friendships
  • Associating herself with people that influence her negatively
  • Attempts to stop using alcohol or drugs, but has been unsuccessful
  • Being too sick for work
  • Stealing money from you or others
  • Secretive behaviors
  • Working very late at the office, but returning home acting or looking strange
  • Inability to function in daily life
  • Problems at work, home life, or other areas
  • Denial of the problem
  • Having symptoms such as: depression, insomnia, irritability, paranoia, difficulty breathing, lack of energy, poor personal appearance, confusion, hallucinations, dizziness, and euphoria

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It Starts With You

One of the very first steps in her recovery is seeking help. Your encouragement and support will help tremendously and provide the foundation for her success. When discussing your concerns with her, you should approach the subject with compassion. Don’t blame her addiction: it is a mental disorder that needs to be treated professionally.

The First Three Steps

Follow these first steps to help your wife with her addiction:

  1. Talk about your concerns
    Find a safe and quiet place to discuss your concerns. If you feel she would respond better to your talk privately, then do so. If you feel that she would be more open to discussing this with you and a small group of loved ones, give that a try. You may even want to consider having a counselor present during your talk as your wife may take offense to the conversation and react negatively. Having a counselor can ensure that both of you are safe and that the situation does not escalate.. Counselors can also help guide the conversation with productive solutions, such as seeking help.
  2. Look for rehab facilities together
    Once you have discussed your concerns, start looking at rehab facilities. Inpatient rehabs will require your wife to stay from 30-90 days or more, depending on her addiction. Outpatient programs meet a few hours a day, a few days a week. The CDC recommends patients attend an inpatient program for the entire 90 days as the patient will benefit the most out of that treatment approach. Studies have shown that those who attend an inpatient facility double their rates for success.
  3. Support your wife
    Supporting your wife during and after rehab will be essential to her success for years to come. You will be the person she will look to for strength, hope, encouragement, and love. Staying informed during and after her rehab stay (such as attending group meetings or also seeking counseling for yourself) can help as well. By staying up to date with her progress, counselors and staff can help guide you with the next steps and how best to support your wife.

Examine Your Behaviors

While it is often easy to point out negative behaviors in others, you need to honestly examine your own behaviors as well. Do you engage in any behaviors that support your wife’s addiction directly or indirectly? This is called enabling.

Choosing to stop enabling her will send a serious message that you want her to get the help she needs. Examples of enabling behaviors include:

  • Ignoring the addiction
  • Making excuses for her behaviors
  • Funding your wife’s addiction
  • Keeping her addiction a secret from others
  • Engaging in activities where alcohol or drugs are present (such as parties, bars, or events)
  • Creating or maintaining an environment where temptation or relapse can occur (possession of alcohol or drugs at home)

While ending enabling behaviors may seem harsh to some, it is absolutely necessary for your wife’s recovery success. And remember, if your wife ever becomes physically or verbally abusive to you at any time, seek immediate professional help.

Contact Us

Seek help for your wife’s addiction today. Our compassionate staff can answer any questions you have. We can help you find the rehab that is right for her. Supporting your wife through her recovery journey is an act of true love and strength. Contact us at to learn more.

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