If your spouse has been dealing with an addiction to drugs or alcohol and is about to enter a rehabilitation clinic for treatment, you may be wondering if there is anything you should be doing to make the process easier for all involved.

It is important to realise that you cannot fight this battle for your spouse, but you can do plenty to help in other ways.

Be Supportive

Your spouse needs to know that you are fully supportive of the process and that you are willing to do whatever it takes to help. Never make your spouse feel ashamed of being in treatment for addiction; remember that it is an illness in the same way that diabetes and cancer are illnesses. Your spouse did not choose to be an addict, and the fact that he or she is trying to get better is a huge step and one that you should be supportive of.

Look After Things at Home

While in recovery, the last thing your spouse needs is to be worrying about things at home. Assure him or her that you will take care of whatever needs to be done and enlist the help of family members and friends if you need to. Let your spouse know that you have arrangements in place for childcare or any pets you may have. If you need to take time off work, then speak to your employer or get your family doctor to write a letter. You do not have to specify the nature of your spouse’s illness if you would prefer to keep this to yourself.

Prepare the Home for Your Spouse’s Return

While your spouse is in treatment, you need to check the house for drugs or alcohol and remove all traces of it. You need to remember that addicts often have secret stashes of drugs or alcohol around their home for ‘emergencies’. You should look in places where you would least expect to find these substances and get rid of anything that you do find.

Let Your Spouse Know You Are There

While in recovery, your spouse may feel alone and isolated from the family at times. It might be helpful if you write to let your spouse know that you are there and thinking of him or her. News from home can be helpful for those in recovery, especially if you have children or pets.

It is often better to write rather than phone because emotions can be running high in early recovery, and often things are said in haste – things that once said, cannot be taken back. If you take the time to write a note or text, you may be more likely to read it back before you send it. That way, there is less chance of saying something you later regret.

Give Your Spouse Space

While it is important to stay in contact, it is equally important to give your spouse the space required to get better. Many treatment facilities will ask that you stay away for a period of time of time to allow your spouse to focus entirely on getting better. Even if family visits are permitted, you may want to allow your spouse a couple of weeks to get used to the treatment facility. He or she will be more comfortable with his/ her surroundings after a couple of weeks and may be in a better position accept visits. Give your spouse a chance to get to grips with what is expected from rehabilitation as this will improve his or her chances of success.