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How to Support an Addicted Partner: 4 Tips

Addiction not only affects the abuser, but everyone around them. So, it comes as no surprise that couples – and that intimate bond – can be disrupted by this disease. Understanding what is like for the abuser, can make a huge difference when trying to find ways how to support an addicted partner.

4 Minute Read | Published Sep 16 2023 | Updated Mar 11 2024 Expert Verified
Emma Collins
Written by
Dameisha Gibson
Reviewed by
Emma Collins
Written by
Dameisha Gibson
Reviewed by

Understanding what your loved one is going through is key. Find out how to support an addicted partner on their recovery journey

Coping with spouse addiction is not an easy situation. There are a lot of negative feelings that revolve around it: anger, blame, rejection, disappointment… In many ways, one can even unconsciously make the abuser feel ashamed and embarrassed.

An addiction, whether to drugs or alcohol, is a disease. Plain and simple, it is an illness that affects the brain, making it almost impossible for the person to avoid using, or even able to control the urges to use the substance, despite the many unhealthy consequences.

If you are wondering how to support an addicted partner, and how you will be able to cope with the situation, knowing this is the first step. Accepting that this is not something they can simply change or control, and that it does require hard work and professional support, makes a great change in how you perceive it.

When you find help for your loved one, or they have already agreed to go into treatment, coping with spouse addiction becomes easier. Just as there is help available for them – as recovering patients – there is help for spouses of drug addicts, that can actually make a difference in how you conduct yourself around your loved one, and how you treat them.

Many spouses fear the worst when their partner is addicted, and many think that the best choice if to leave them and avoid getting involved. But, if your relationship has been overall good, and you’ve built a family together, and there is not another situation present (violence, abuse, infidelity…), you can both heal and recover after an addiction.

How to support an addicted partner starts with letting go of feelings of anger and blame. While it is easier said than done, when you understand the concept of being addicted, and you can find it in yourself to forgive your partner, helping them get better becomes an act of love, for both of you.

Help for spouses of drug addicts is available from the same centers that treat drug addiction; rehab centers will often use couples therapy and family therapy as a methodology to treat the situation and the feelings of stress, conflict or grief that came with it.

In addition, there is also direct help for spouses of drug addicts that come from addiction specialists and counselors, outside a rehab facility,  that can help you manage the psychological stress your partner’s abuse problem has caused you, as an individual.

When coping with spouse addiction there are a number of tips available, to be able to handle the situation, and continue showing your support for your loved one. These tips include:

Educating yourself

Learning everything you can about the addiction, the treatment and recovery process, the possibility of relapse. The more you know, the easier it will be to understand and empathize with your partner.

Get help

For both yourself and your partner, not only from the drug rehab center and the counselors, but also from close friends and family. Surround yourself with positive and supportive relatives.


Have an open, and honest communication line with your spouse. Forgive them, accept them and express your desire for them to get better and recover, assuring them that he or she has your support and your love.

Recognize their effort

Praise your spouse’s strength, achievements and progress. Support and love can be expressed in many ways, especially by letting them know that you are proud of what they’ve been able to accomplish.

If you wish to learn more about how to support an addicted partner, or you what type of treatment is available right now to help your loved one overcome their addiction problem, we can help you find the right facility that matches your needs. Call us today at (800) 429-7690.


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