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My Husband Relapsed—What Do I Do? 5 Steps to Follow

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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

July 2, 2024 (Originally Published)

July 2, 2024 (Last Updated)

Table of Contents

You may be wondering, “My husband relapsed: what do I do?” If so, you’re not alone. Watching a loved one relapse after weeks, months, or even years of hard work is incredibly frustrating. Relapse is common, though, and doesn’t mean your husband can’t get back on track. 

This guide outlines how to be strong, care for yourself, and support your husband.

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For immediate help and same-day rehab admission for your husband, call our expert team at 866.330.9449.

1. Know the Signs of a Relapse

When someone you love is in recovery from addiction, you should become aware of the signs of a relapse. Here are some pointers to watch for:

  • Changes in behavior: Your husband may start acting differently. He might become secretive, avoid family and friends, or lose interest in activities he used to enjoy.
  • Mood swings: Look out for sudden mood changes. He might get angry, anxious, or depressed more often.
  • Neglecting duties: If your husband stops doing things like chores, work, or personal hygiene, it could be a sign of a return to substance use.
  • Physical signs: Notice any changes in appearance or health. He might look tired, lose weight, or have unexplained injuries.
  • Isolation: If he starts spending a lot of time alone or with people who use drugs or alcohol, this could be a warning sign.
  • Talking about using drugs or alcohol: If he starts mentioning drugs or alcohol, even in a joking way, take it seriously.
  • Financial issues: Watch for unusual spending or financial problems. This could indicate a return to old habits.

If you notice any of these signs, talk to your husband and seek help. Relapse is a common part of recovery and support can make a big difference.

2. Talk to Your Partner About Their Relapse

If you think your husband has relapsed, don’t put off discussing the issue. Find a quiet, private place where you can talk without interruptions. Make sure it’s a good time for both of you.

Approach the conversation with kindness. Let your husband know you care about him and want to help. It’s essential to give your husband a chance to talk. Listen without interrupting and try to understand his feelings and perspective.

Focus on your feelings and observations too. Say things like, “I’ve noticed you’re not acting like yourself” or “I’m worried about you.” Using “I” statements means your husband won’t feel like he’s being blamed or accused. This can make him defensive and shut down the conversation. Instead, work together to find solutions.

Let your husband know you’re there to support him. Suggest contacting a counselor, attending meetings, or talking to a doctor. Be clear about what you need for your well-being, though. Let him know that you support him, but also need to take care of yourself.

Talking about a relapse is tough, but it can help your husband get back on track. Remember, you’re both on this journey together.

3. Ask Your Partner to Get Professional Help

When your husband has relapsed, getting professional help can make a big difference. Here’s how to encourage him to seek support:

  • Express your concerns: Let your husband know you’re worried about him. Use gentle words and focus on your love and concern for his well-being.
  • Suggest counseling: Encourage him to talk to a therapist or counselor specializing in addiction. Professional help can provide him with the tools he needs to stay sober.
  • Look Into support groups: Mention groups like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous). These groups offer a community of people who understand what your husband is going through.
  • Discuss rehab options: Rehab programs offer intensive support and a structured environment for recovery. This might be the best approach in the event of severe relapse.
  • Offer to help find resources: Help your husband research local therapists, support groups, or rehab centers. Show him that you’re willing to support him in finding the right help.
  • Be positive and encouraging: Remind him that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Encourage him to take this important step for his health and future.
  • Plan together: Work with your husband to create a plan for getting help. This might include setting up appointments, arranging transportation, or being there for moral support.

By supporting your husband in this process, you can get your lives back to normal as soon as possible.

couple arguing depicting my husband relapsed again

4. Practice Patience & Compassion While Your Partner Is in Recovery

Supporting your husband during his recovery requires patience and compassion. Recovery is a long journey with ups and downs, so be understanding.

First, remember that relapse is a part of many people’s recovery journey. It doesn’t mean your husband has failed. Be kind and avoid making him feel guilty or ashamed. Show him you believe in his ability to get back on track.

It’s also essential to be patient. Recovery takes time, and progress may be slow. Celebrate small wins and encourage him to keep going, even when it’s hard. Your support can make a big difference in his motivation to stay sober.

Compassion is key. Try to understand what he’s going through. Listen to his struggles without judgment and offer your support. Let him know that you’re there for him, no matter what.

Taking care of yourself is equally important. Make sure to set aside time for your well-being. This will help you stay strong and be a better support system for your husband.

Lastly, keep communication open and honest. Talk about your feelings and encourage him to do the same. Together, you can get through this challenging time.

5. Know When to Walk Away

Supporting someone in recovery is hard, and sometimes, it can become too much. If your husband’s relapse leads to repeated broken promises, lies, or harmful behaviors, you need to protect yourself. Your safety and mental health matter, too. If he refuses to seek help or change, it may be time to consider your options.

Walking away doesn’t mean you don’t care. It means you care about yourself enough to leave a harmful situation. It can also be a wake-up call for your husband, showing him the serious impact of his actions.

Talk to a loved one or counselor about your feelings. They can offer support and help you make the best decision. Remember, you don’t have to go through this alone.

If you decide to leave, make a plan. Ensure you have a safe place to go and the support you need. Taking this step is never easy, but sometimes, it’s necessary for your well-being and his.

Knowing when to walk away is about self-care – you are setting an example of healthy boundaries and self-respect. Your husband can choose to model this example and take care of his substance use issues. You can then address relationship issues from a more stable footing.

Spousal Addiction | FAQs

What do I do if my husband relapsed again but doesn’t want help?

If your husband relapsed and refuses help, express your concerns gently and encourage him to reconsider. Seek support for yourself and consider speaking to a counselor for guidance.

How do I set boundaries when married to someone who is an addict?

Set clear and firm boundaries about what behavior is acceptable. Communicate your needs calmly and stick to your boundaries to protect your well-being.

How can I find a good rehab for my husband?

Research local rehab centers and read reviews. Ask for recommendations from healthcare professionals or support groups. Look for programs specializing in his specific addiction.

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Get Addiction Help for Your Husband at Renaissance Recovery

Do you need to help your partner get effective addiction treatment after a relapse? If so, we can help you at Renaissance Recovery. We have luxury rehabs by the beach in California and Florida offering science-based treatments for all addictions and mental health issues.

If your husband needs help detoxing from drugs or alcohol, we can recommend detox centers nearby. The outpatient nature of treatment at Renaissance lets your husband stay at home and continue working while attending weekday therapy sessions.

All addictions are different, so all our treatment programs offer personalized therapies like:

Help your husband get back on track by calling our recovery specialists at 866.330.9449.



At Renaissance Recovery our goal is to provide evidence-based treatment to as many individuals as possible. Give us a call today to verify your insurance coverage or to learn more about paying for addiction treatment.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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