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.

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!

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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