When a spouse is addicted to drugs or alcohol, life can feel challenging. Tough decisions need to be made, most likely by the spouse of the individual with addiction who is most likely to see all that is going on. Learn more about signs it may be time to take action on behalf of a spouse with addiction.



A loved one with addiction is likely to be verbally, emotionally or physically abusive while using. This may include lies, manipulation, cheating and financial loss associated with addiction which may occur for years. What is more difficult for the spouse who is not addicted is to watch children suffer. It is likely the children will suffer long term physical, emotional and social consequences as a result of growing up in such a dysfunctional family. Four signs of change are evident which may help a spouse make the decision about what to do when a loved one has addiction.


4 Signs of Change

Addiction did not happen overnight and change will not happen overnight, but it takes noticing a problem exists to take steps towards addressing the challenge addiction brings. The following four signs are a good place to start:

  • Observer the normalcy of other families. When watching other family and friends interact and live happy, fulfilling lives, it is possible to imagine what life is like without the individual who has an addiction in it. Envy and sadness may occur while watching other happy families, wishing this could be true of the current reality at home.
  • Seeking attention and support outside the house. While doing things outside the home such as meeting new people or sharing struggles over coffee with friends, a light bulb may go on. The awareness of a need for help may become apparent as friends share feedback and opinions on the situation.
  • Fantasizing about meeting a new spouse. The unaddicted spouse in the relationship may yearn for more family contribution from the partner with addiction. Consistency and reliability may feel like a dream but is highly desired and, while looking at desirable qualities and values, it is possible to feel left out in the cold. Fantasies about another person may help turn the corner emotionally and are ready for change.
  • Watching spouse or partner harm family members. While excuses may last awhile, an individual’s behavior while addicted may include abuse that finally crosses the line. When children are involved, it may hurt to see the spouse harm the child which fuels a realization something has to change.

Fear can keep a family in the cycle of addiction. To break the cycle, make the decision it is time for change. When excuses aren’t enough, it is time to make change happen and support the individual with addiction in getting help, or leave if it becomes dangerous. Recovery is a process that starts with taking that first step towards healing the family.


If your spouse or partner struggles with addiction, it may be time to make a change. Start today by calling Hired Power. We are here to support your journey as an individual and as a family toward recovery.