Understanding addictions and supporting one’s partner is not an easy task. As a matter of fact, there are a number of things which partners tend to do with the idea that they are being supportive. Nevertheless, this is not beneficial and would only encourage the addiction even further (“Do’s and Don’ts for Helping Your Addicted Spouse – 12 Keys”, 2021).

  • Lying – pretending that your partner didn’t relapse does not help your partner recover quicker. Moreover, do not make excuses for one’s behaviour. Encourage your partner to take responsibility for one’s actions being it at work or at home. Covering up will only encourage one to continue with the life that one is currently leading.
  • Ignore the addiction – one might be afraid to tackle the addiction and hence one might feel that it is better to simply ignore the problem. Once again, this does not help one recover. One must face the issue and encourage one’s partner to seek help. Be consistent and reinforce the importance of going to a support group or therapist in order to handle the addiction.
  • Use drugs and alcohol to keep them company – this kind of behaviour will encourage further bad behaviour and will also increase the risk that one will also become an addict.
  • Blaming and being judgemental – Understanding addictions helps one realise that this is a disease. Using blame and judgement will make one’s partner close off and hence makes the situation worse. On the contrary when one is supportive, the partner may be willing to open up about difficulties that one might be encountering. Therefore, one would be able to support one’s partner better.
  • Blaming oneself – There are a number of factors which can increase the risk of addiction such as genetic and social factors. Nevertheless, the initial choice was that of one’s partner which eventually lead to addiction forces. Thus, one is not to blame oneself for the partner’s addiction.
  • Expect things to be the same again – experiences change people and hence, even if one’s partner makes a full recovery the relationship will never be the same. Therefore, it takes a certain level of acceptance to understand that this is a ‘new relationship’.
  • Give up on your partner – shutting one’s partner out of one’s life is a last resort and it does not help one recover from the addiction. Despite this, there are instances when one is encouraged to leave in order to safeguard oneself and one’s children. These include violent behaviour, emotional abuse, infidelity which may lead to sexually transmitted diseases as well as trust issues, open use of drugs at home enabling children to be exposed to drugs and strangers in one’s household (“Do’s and Don’ts for Helping Your Addicted Spouse – 12 Keys”, 2021).

Yasmine Bonnici graduated in Nursing and also completed her Masters in Counselling. She has worked with victims of domestic violence, clients dealing with suicidal ideations, bereavement, separation and anxieties. She is currently working with Willingness Team as a counsellor seeing clients who would like to explore their own identity and deal with any surfacing issues.


Do’s and Don’ts for Helping Your Addicted Spouse – 12 Keys. (2021). Retrieved 9 July 2021, from https://www.12keysrehab.com/dos-and-donts-for-helping-your-addicted-spouse/

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