Your love for your spouse does not dissipate when they are dealing with addiction. Substance Use Disorder (SUD) can affect anybody and those who are struggling with SUD need support from the ones that love them most. You may not understand what your spouse is going through when they are dealing with addiction, but there are ways that you can help them and keep yourself safe at the same time. 

Signs of Substance Use Disorder

Substance Use Disorder is a disease that affects the brain and causes the inability to control the use of substances, such as alcohol and opioids. There are signs that can show in your spouse who is dealing with substance use disorder. The symptoms of substance use disorder can be grouped into four categories:

  • Lack of Control: Seeing your partner go through strong urges and cravings with the inability to cut back on using the substance.
  • Social Problems: When your partner is no longer participating how they normally would in public settings. They can end up letting the substance use interfere with their work, home, and social life.
  • Riskiness: Your partner begins using substances in situations that are known to be dangerous, for example, drefusing to get out of a car when they are under the influence.
  • Drug Effects: Your partner may begin to need more of the substance to get the same effects, meaning that their tolerance to the substance goes up. Your spouse might also begin to show symptoms of withdrawals during periods where they have not used for more time than they are used to. Withdrawal symptoms can start within hours of not having had the substance.

There are other signs that your spouse might be dealing with addiction if:

  • Your spouse breaks promises to not drink when out with friends;
  • There is extensive partying that does not involve you;
  • Money has been going missing more frequently;
  • Your spouse has not been able to hold down a job; or
  • They are putting your children’s life at risk with extreme behaviors.

If you believe that your spouse might be dealing with addiction, there are ways to help and be supportive during this stressful time. There are also ways to protect yourself and your family from the harm that substance use disorder can bring. Again, loving your spouse through the struggle they are having is essential in their recovery, but you can love your spouse without enabling their addiction. 

Dealing With An Addicted Spouse

You might be wondering what the first steps are to beginning to deal with your spouse’s substance use. It’s a scary conversation to have, especially because many people with SUD are in denial about their addiction, and don’t trust that they can change their lives around. 

Some spouses might be defensive and reject any solutions you provide at the beginning, but by showing that you are there for them, you can help by showing them they are not alone. There are a few things you should do while dealing with your spouse’s addiction:

  • Learn as much as you can about substance use disorder and addiction. Knowing the signs and facts can help you support your spouse better.
  • Reach out to friends and family that you trust to support you. You don’t need to be alone when caring for your spouse! If you aren’t comfortable reaching out to friends and family quite yet, reaching out to your family doctor is the easiest way for confidential support and help. 
  • Take care of yourself and children (if you have them). Being with someone who is suffering from addiction can be exhausting, and it’s no help to them if you are neglecting taking care of yourself. 

It’s important to know that you are not alone and that there are plenty of people who are out there that want to help you while you help your spouse. 

Ways to Help

If you are reading this article, then you are already helping your spouse. You care enough to do the research and are willing to put in the work to help get your spouse back to the person you fell in love with, someone who is healthy, happy, and more importantly, no longer harming themselves and the ones they love. Here are a few ways you can help your spouse during their recovery:

  • One of the first steps is to help to get them into inpatient or outpatient treatment. Depending on your spouse’s substance use, being an inpatient may be more beneficial by taking them out of the environment that they aren’t thriving in and putting them somewhere where the focus is on recovery.
  • Support your spouse by attending recovery programs with them, such as a 12-Step Program, after they come out of their detox program. Showing your support by showing up to these meetings help to let your spouse know that you believe in them, and it also holds them to some sort of accountability. They can’t skip out on going if you are there with them.
  • Learn about enabling, and then make sure you don’t do it. Enabling someone with substance use disorder looks like making excuses for their behaviors or lying about their behaviour to others. You aren’t helping them by allowing them to neglect their responsibilities, and you definitely aren’t helping yourself by allowing them to continue to use.

Most of the substance use recovery process is on the person struggling with it, but it is extremely helpful when your spouse is supportive. 

Protecting Yourself

It’s essential that when helping your spouse with substance use disorder, you are still putting yourself first. Your health, mental stability, and safety should be maintained as your first concern. You can’t help your spouse if you find that you are losing yourself in the process. 

If your spouse becomes violent with you when you bring up their substance use disorder, or if they have a pattern of being violent while under the influence, then you need to recognize that your safety is more important than you staying in that situation. If there are children involved, you should also protect the children from experiencing the effects of substance use. 

If you find that the substance use your partner is experiencing is beginning to rub off on you, where you are using drugs or alcohol more to fit in and to ignore the damage and destruction that is being done, please seek out professional help. Confiding in family and friends can also help to ensure that you are safe. Having a place to go if you need to leave your spouse for periods of time is critical, and your loved ones want you to be safe.

Bringing Your Spouse to SOBA Recovery Centers

Here at Soba Recovery, we know that there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment for addiction. That’s why we tailor all of our programs to meet specific needs. We can help your spouse achieve the freedom they’ve always wanted. We offer both inpatient and outpatient services to find what’s best for your spouse and your family. 

Reach out to a member of our team today and ask about our individualized treatment plans. Take back your life with a rehabilitation center that truly cares about your recovery needs.



Drug Addiction (Substance Use Disorder) | Mayo Clinic

What Is Addiction? | American Psychiatry Association

Substance Abuse and Intimate Relationships | AAMFT

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