The impact of addiction extends far beyond the individuals who have become dependent on alcohol or other drugs. Spouses, partners, and children are among those who are most likely to also be negatively affected when people develop substance use disorders (which is the clinical term for addiction). Understanding how to deal with your husband and his addiction can help you maintain your own mental health and minimize the damage that this disorder can inflict on your family.
Addiction in Men
If you are trying to learn how to deal with drug addiction in your husband, it may be a source of some comfort to know that you are far from alone. Several reputable sources have noted that substance abuse and addiction are unfortunately prevalent problems among adult men in the United States:
- The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has reported that men are more likely to abuse and become addicted to alcohol, marijuana, and all illegal drugs. Men are also at elevated risk for drug-related emergency room visits.
- Data from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) indicates that the past-year prevalence of alcohol addiction is 13.2% among adult men and 9.5% among adult women. This means that the rate of alcoholism is 39% higher among men than among women.
- According to research that was published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the death rate due to overdoses of opioids and stimulants is 200%-300% higher among men than among women.
What Do I Do About My Husband Being Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol?
One of the many challenges of learning how to deal with your husband’s addiction is realizing that a significant part of the problem is beyond your control.
You can’t cure your husband’s addiction, nor can you force him to regain control of his behaviors. However, this doesn’t mean that you are completely helpless in this situation. You can play an important role in connecting your husband with the care he needs. You can also take several steps to protect yourself and your children (if you have any).
Here are a few tips:
- Do your research: Learn all you can about substance abuse, addiction, and treatment. Visit the websites of trusted organizations. Speak to your family doctor. Contact support or advocacy groups in your area. The more you learn, the better prepared you will be to help your husband and yourself.
- Establish healthy boundaries: Making excuses for your husband’s actions and attempting to shield him from negative repercussions may feel like compassionate gestures. But they can actually be co-dependent behaviors that facilitate his continued substance abuse. You don’t have to issue an ultimatum or throw him out of the house – but you must set and maintain boundaries to prevent him from putting your physical and/or psychological health at risk.
- Talk to your husband about his problem. This won’t be an easy conversation, but it is extremely important. Let him know that you love and support him, but be clear that he is endangering himself, you, your relationship, and your family. Share the information you’ve gathered about treatment. Offer to make appointments and accompany him to visit rehab centers that look like the best fit for him.
- Get help for yourself. If you are not already doing so, you should strongly consider meeting with a therapist, counselor, spiritual advisor, or other professional. You need to process how your husband’s struggles are affecting you and ensure that you’re employing healthy coping strategies. Also, you can’t provide maximum support to your husband and your family if you are neglecting your own well-being.
What if My Husband Blames Me for His Addiction?
An unwillingness to take responsibility for one’s actions is a common characteristic among people who are struggling with active, untreated addiction. Here are a few quick points to remember if you’re faced with the question, what happens if my husband blames me for his addiction?
- First, understand that you are absolutely not responsible for your husband’s addiction. If he tries to blame you, he is merely attempting to avoid taking an honest look at himself.
- Remember: You can’t control what your husband thinks, says, or does. But you are in full control of how you respond to his words and actions.
- You deserve to live a life that is free of physical and emotional abuse. If your husband refuses to stop blaming you for his problems, you may need to remove yourself from the situation until he is willing to be accountable.
Support for Family Members of Addicts
When you’re trying to learn how to deal with your husband’s addiction, you may be afraid to let other people know what you’re going through.
Please resist this urge. If you isolate yourself, difficult problems can become exponentially worse. But when you make the courageous decision to ask for help, you may discover not only a wealth of support but also an array of possible solutions.
The following resources can be good places to find appropriate support for yourself or other members of your family:
- Al-Anon Family Groups
- Nar-Anon Family Groups
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Family Support Groups
- National Association for Children of Addiction (NACoA)
- National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare
- 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
Please note that you can also access the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988 from any phone in the United States. This service is staffed by trained professionals 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Treatment Options for Husbands Struggling With Addiction
When you’re seeking treatment for your husband, take the time to explore all the options that are available to him. For example, depending on the extent of his struggles with substance abuse, he may need to receive care at one or more of the following levels:
- Residential treatment
- Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
- Outpatient treatment
Addiction treatment centers that offer multiple levels of care may be best prepared to provide your husband with the services that are ideally suited to him.
When a center can choose from a range of programming options and an array of therapies and support services, they can develop a truly customized plan that aligns with your husband’s needs and goals, as well as his strengths, preferences, and expectations.
Contact Los Angeles Detox Center About Our Treatment Options
LA Detox offers multiple levels of personalized care for adults who have become dependent on alcohol, opioids, and other addictive substances. At our addiction treatment center in Los Angeles, we can thoroughly assess the full scope of your husband’s needs, then provide the individualized programming that will help him end his substance abuse and build a foundation for long-term recovery.
To learn more about how we can help your husband, or to schedule a free assessment for him, please visit our Contact page or call us today.