How can I help my husband remain sober?

A clear plan to help you support and encourage your husband’s sobriety.

minute read

For many addicts, seeking professional help is just the beginning of their life long addiction recovery process. Many addicts will continue to struggle with problem solving, dealing with strong emotions, rebuilding their relationships, and everyday life situations. So just how can you support someone who wants to get sober?

Below are some tips on how to support and encourage your husband’s sobriety. Then, we invite your stories, questions or comments at the end. In fact, we try to respond to all queries with a personal and prompt response.

TIP 1: Encourage your spouse to continue with a recovery program

Developing positive connections in recovery is essential in maintaining sobriety, and professional counseling, AA/NA groups, or Smart Recovery groups will help your spouse move forward in their recovery journey. Your spouse may put up road blocks as to why attending these groups may not be possible, but there are some things you can do to support their attendance.

  1. Adjust the family schedule as much as possible.
  2. Encourage your spouse to engage with sober peers who attend meetings.
  3. Support your spouse’s decisions as to what meetings work best for them.

TIP 2: Learn as much as you can about the disease of addiction

Most people think that when the substance is removed from the person’s body the hard part is over. That’s just the beginning. Now, your spouse is learning what his emotions are, dealing with life stressors without alcohol or drugs, and their brain has not completely healed. In fact, coping with life after getting sober is often a lifelong process. However, being able to recognize what some of your spouse’s challenges are will enable you to also celebrate their successes.

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TIP 3: Create a sober environment

Remove all substances from your home. Your husband may not think this is necessary, promising not to drink any alcohol in the house. And he may not; however, it’s a temptation that can require a lot of energy and focus for both of you.

In other situations where you don’t control the environment, such as parties or holidays, there may be alcohol present. To prepare for these situations, your husband should explore if his sobriety is able to handle the temptation. Discuss options ahead of time, such as bringing a sober support to the event, and developing an escape plan if the situation becomes too uncomfortable.

TIP 4: Take care of yourself

Before you can help someone else, you need to be strong yourself. Think of being on an airplane and hearing the flight attendants are discussing safety: they always say to put your oxygen mask on first, before you can help someone else. The same goes for recovery. You have to be healthy and strong yourself. Seek professional help, individual and group counseling, and/or community support groups such as Al-anon to develop your own connections. Putting your own self-care program in place is an important step for a healthier and happier family.

Other ways to help your husband stay sober?

Have you been there? Do you have some additional tips for our readers? Please add your comments or experiences in the section at the end. Or, feel free to send us your questions about coping with a loved one’s addiction. We’ll do our best to respond to you personally!

Don’t let your loved one suffer.
Addiction responds to treatment. Call us to get started.
About the Author: Tina is Family Wellness Manager at Mountainside. She is a Licensed Clinical Social worker and a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor.  She has extensive training and experience in the treatment of families affected by addiction, including those with co-occurring disorders, PTSD and attachment disorders. With a deep understanding of how to develop effective and innovative addiction programs, Tina ensures that each client has the opportunity to explore familial relationships and understand how these relationships affect their recovery. She also offers support and connections to the families of our clients struggling with addiction.
About the author
Mountainside is nationally recognized for the effectiveness of its drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs. Our Integrative Care Model provides a comprehensive set of treatment and care offerings coordinated by a multidisciplinary team of experienced addiction treatment professionals. We are lauded for our ability to partner with each client and the client’s family and healthcare professionals in developing and executing individualized treatment plans that promote long-term sobriety.


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  1. Hello,
    I’m a talker anyway but I’m going to try to give you the cliff notes version of my chaotic life right now.

    I found out a month ago that my husband of 12 years had been hiding a coke addiction for several months. However he came to me one night, confessed everything and said he wanted help. He went to 30 days of inpatient rehab. After he got out he seemed to be doing really well, going to meetings every day, seemed committed. I thought he was going to be a success story. Then I went to VA for my best friend of 20 years, funeral. 38 years old and had a brain aneurysm. We talked on the phone the whole time I was there and everything sounded great. But..the day I came back he drained our bank account took my computer and we think sold his dads car.
    For 3 days we heard NOTHING from him, quit his job, stole from the job. His phone had ZERO activity and no action on his credit cards. I was CONVINCED he was dead. Put out a missing person alert.
    Finally heard from him a couple of days ago, he texted me that he was in too deep and couldn’t stop. Said he was going to be dead in a few days.But then came back and said he was going into rehab the next day but of course he didn’t. I’m trying super hard to just leave him alone and figure it out but damn it’s hard. I’m REALLY struggling, yesterday I was borderline suicidal. It’s not so much that I wanted to die I just felt so hopeless and lost. I’m much better today but as the end of the day comes I’m getting more sad. I go to Al-anon as much as I can and am a blubbering mess, it does help but only when I’m there.
    Today he texted me that he couldn’t stop, it was amazing how out of control things have gotten and he hasn’t slept in 4 days.
    I set up some controls on his phone so he can’t use data and can only contact me or rehab. He turned off the tracking device but turned it on tonight and I tracked him to a hotel about an hour away but then he promptly turned his phone off.
    The rehab facility has a bed and is waiting for him.
    We have an 8 year old daughter who worships him. She’s been crying a lot because she doesn’t understand why daddy isn’t here. We also live with his elderly father who is the only reason me and my daughter have a place to live.
    He uncovered in rehab that he was molested but I think there is something deeper.
    So anyway there’s my story…any help or guidance you could offer? I’m lost and sad to say the least. 🙁
    Thank you

  2. My husband is an addict was a recovering addict and now is full blown again. We have three small children and I know I am enabling him by picking up the slack and giving him money when he claims he is going to the store for a soda or something and clearly bought drugs. This has now been going on for several months after he had been clean for almost 2 years. One day he just decided to get some drugs and now it is full blown again. Spending hundreds of dollars every week to the point I have to spend all of my checks on ensuring my children have food and necessities. Part of the situation is we moved to another state so I have no family but his entire family is surrounding us. No one knows about this and I am frankly scared to say anything for fear someone will report this to child protection services. I am not a drug addict and had only tried it a few times many years ago when we had first met. I am in a bad situation as I cannot kick him out of the house because the house is his brother’s and he won’t kick him out. So my only option is to leave and within South Carolina where we live there is no access to shelters. So I am stuck and I don’t know what to do at this point. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you. It’s a weird situation I know and I have tried to get him to go to meetings. I told him this past week that I am going to leave with the children. Then reality sets in I am 1800 miles away from my family and where am I going to go.

    1. Hi Stacy. You’ve been through a lot. You may look into the CRAFT model for families and interventions. One NGO called Allies in Recovery has some online reading that can help:

      Moreover, speaking from personal experience, our contributor Amanda Andruzzi writes articles on family support, codependency, letting go off the adict etc, and she is engaged in answering on any comments that are posted on her articles. Feel free to ask her:

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