What Should You Do if Your Spouse Refuses to Go to Drug Rehab?

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Loving someone who struggles with addiction is difficult. It is hard to watch someone you love sink deeper into an addiction that causes significant harm to their physical, emotional, and social health.

Your marriage should be a safe place to relax, trust, and plan for the future, but addiction makes this nearly impossible.

If you are married to someone who lives with addiction, you probably understand the emotional and physical toll it can take on those around them. You may wonder how exactly to help your spouse go to rehab, especially if they are hesitant to seek help.

If your spouse is addicted to drugs or alcohol, understanding how to recognize addiction and how to encourage them to seek treatment can help you feel more in control.

Signs Your Spouse is Addicted

You may know that your spouse is dealing with an addiction, or you may be unsure. People who live with addiction often hide their drug or alcohol use for a long time before losing control. By the time you see obvious signs of addiction, your spouse may have been covering up their addiction for a long time.

Addiction shows up in behavioral and physical symptoms. Some of the signs of addiction include:

  • Spending a lot of time thinking about, using, or recovering from drugs or alcohol
  • Experiencing cravings for the substance
  • Using more of the substance than they planned or is recommended
  • Needing to use more of the substance to get the same effect
  • Falling behind at work, in school, or in your responsibilities at home
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when using less or stopping use
  • Engaging in risky behaviors when under the influence, such as driving drunk
  • Hiding or lying about drug or alcohol use

Recognizing any of these signs means that your spouse likely needs addiction treatment as quickly as possible. As soon as you see these behaviors, seek help.

Why is it Important for Your Spouse to Go to Rehab?

Left untreated, addiction often leads to serious problems. If your spouse is addicted to drugs or alcohol and does not get addiction treatment, they are susceptible to medical, mental health, and legal issues that can affect them for the rest of their lives. And, because you are married, you are likely to have to work through these issues, too.

Addiction can also cause long-term damage to intimate relationships. People with addiction often lie or hide their substance use for a long time. This makes it very difficult for their spouse to trust them. A lack of trust is often detrimental to a marriage and can take years to rebuild.

People who are married or in a relationship with someone who is addicted to drugs and alcohol are also more likely to experience sexual, physical, or emotional abuse from their partner.[1] If your spouse is addicted, it is more likely that you will have legal issues related to child custody issues or after a DUI arrest.

Being married to a person who is addicted can be emotionally exhausting, too. The worry, helplessness, anger, guilt, and anxiety can take their toll. It is hard for a marriage to survive as long as one spouse is addicted.

Encouraging Your Spouse to Go to Rehab

Nobody chooses to become addicted to drugs or alcohol. When encouraging your spouse to go to rehab, it is important to remain encouraging and loving–even if you are angry, sad, or feel overwhelmed. As much as you can, remain calm and supportive of your spouse without enabling them. This can be a tricky balance.

Some things you can do to help your spouse go to rehab include:

  • Schedule a medical check-up for your spouse–their doctor can be a great resource for information about addiction and treatment
  • Find an appropriate treatment program for your spouse and reach out to the staff at the facility for help
  • Express concern for your spouse’s health
  • Help your spouse identify and focus on why they should get substance abuse treatment: to be a healthy parent, to enjoy their family life, to achieve a goal, etc.

If your spouse refuses to go to rehab, you have the option of staging an intervention. An intervention is a planned event that involves getting people together to encourage a person with an addiction to seek treatment. Usually, a classical intervention involves presenting the person with an ultimatum: to go to treatment, or to live with a set of consequences. It can be a very effective tool in getting someone to get the life-saving treatment they need.

Find Help for an Addicted Spouse

If you or someone you love needs addiction treatment, you are not alone. Reach out to the compassionate staff at New Jersey Addiction Interventions for help finding the right treatment program.

Don’t wait another day for the life-changing addiction treatment you need. Call now to get started.


  1. https://obgyn.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1016/S0020-7292(98)00181-7

Medically Reviewed: October 27, 2021

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

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