Call American Addiction Centers for help today.

(888) 287-0471
Close Main Menu
Main Menu
  • Find a Rehab Center
  • AAC Facilities
  • Find Treatment
  • Paying for Treatment
  • Substance Abuse
  • About AAC
    Back to Main Menu
    Main Menu

How to Help an Addict or Alcoholic Partner

Questions about treatment?
  • Access to licensed treatment centers
  • Information on treatment plans
  • Financial assistance options

The moment that you discover someone in your life suffers from an addiction, you start wondering what you can do. This becomes even more important if the person with the addiction is your partner. When your husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend admits that there is a problem, your mind starts racing. You want to know how to help an addicted partner because you want that person to grow old with you. Helping the person with the addiction is important, but you also need to take time to help yourself.

How Does an Addiction Develop?

Before you can help anyone with an addiction, you must learn more about what this entails. Addiction is a psychological and biological urge to keep using drugs. Most addicts view the substances as more important than anything else in their lives. A user might care more about drugs than he does his family or friends. You should also know that addiction is a disease that your loved one has no control over.

Not everyone who experiments with drugs develops an addiction. Some people can try addictive substances like crack cocaine or crystal meth without experiencing any severe side effects. Others can try the substance once and develop an addiction. Those who have family members with addictions or certain mental disorders, and those who experimented with drugs in the past are at an increased risk of developing an addiction.

Looking for Signs of Drug Abuse

Those who abuse drugs typically exhibit some common signs of the addiction. If you want to know how to help an alcoholic, you should look for these warning signs, according to the Mayo Clinic:

  • Frequent use of the substance
  • Previous attempts at stopping failed
  • Constant thoughts about using drugs
  • Using drugs at family gatherings or special events
  • Money missing from shared accounts
  • Reckless behavior
  • Sudden changes to lifestyle, such as staying out late at night
  • Using drugs around your children
  • Decreased interest in shared activities

What Does Alcoholism Look Like?

People can become addicted to alcohol as easily as they become addicted to prescription drugs or illegal drugs. Alcoholism can lead to liver problems and other medical conditions. According to WebMD, the signs of alcoholism can include:

  • Behavioral problems
  • Doing whatever it takes to get another drink
  • Frequent blackouts caused by drinking
  • Engaging in risky behavior when drinking, including driving and sexual activities
  • Inability to control the drinking
  • Increased tolerance to alcohol
  • Drinking early in the day
  • Hiding alcoholic beverages
  • Needing several drinks to get through the day
  • Continued drinking when others notice the problem

Approaching the Addict with Their Problem

“When you need to know how to help an addicted partner, you can start by talking with that person.”
If you need to know how to help an addict or alcoholic partner, the first step involves talking to that person. This might sound difficult because you do not know what to do or say. You can write a short letter that explains how you feel, and you can give that letter to your partner. You can also sit down in your living room and discuss the situation as rational adults.

The secret to talking with your partner is that you must remain calm. She might know that she has a problem, but she might not want to admit that to anyone else. You should explain to your partner why you think she needs help, and you can do this by giving her specific examples of her addiction. For example, tell her how you felt when she used your checking account to buy drugs, or how you felt when she spent your last vacation at a bar. When you need to know how to help an addicted partner, you can start by talking with that person.

Helpful Resources for People Dealing with an Addict

At group therapy people taking an oath together for the treatment of alcohol abuse & alcoholismYour partner is not the only person who needs help in this situation. You can find support from others who have had similar experiences when you join a support group. Some support groups focus on alcoholism, while others focus on drug addiction. You get the chance to meet people who have spouses or other loved ones addicted to those substances. Support groups offer simple tips on living with and dealing with a drug addict partner.

There might come a time when you decide that your partner needs the kind of help that you cannot provide. When you reach that point, you can get assistance by dialing . We want to teach you how to help an addicted partner, including how to find a local addiction treatment center. The center can help the addict in your life, regardless of her preferred substance of abuse.


We're here to help you find the treatment you deserve.
Substance Abuse Assessment
How our treatment is different?
American Addiction Centers photo
Editoral Staff
The editorial staff of is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands of pages for accuracy and relevance. Our reviewers consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA, NIDA, and other reputable sources to provide our readers the most accurate content on the web.
Reach out to us day or night

Our supportive admissions navigators are available 24/7 to assist you or your family.

Call 888-287-0471
There was an error fetching your data