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How to Get Help If Your Spouse Is Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I'm sorry if my English is terrible, but I'm from Latin America. My husband is a retired Air Force veteran, and he has a very strong addiction to prescription drugs and alcohol.

The kids and I are under a lot of stress because my husband is becoming more aggressive. We have nothing because he spends all of our savings and his VA pension and retirement money on his addiction. I don't work because I stay at home to help take care of him. He won't give me access to any of his money, either.

I have been researching and I believe that I can take him to a VA clinic for rehabilitation, but I'm sure that he will be so mad at me if I suggest it. I don't know what to do. Can you please help me by giving me your advice? I would really appreciate it. I am a very scared wife!  

Sincerely,
Scared

Dear Scared,

I'm very sorry to hear about all of this. Most people think that drug and alcohol abusers can stop using if they have more willpower or simply choose to change their behavior. However, alcohol and drug abuse is very complex.

Quitting will take more than good intentions or a strong will. I believe your husband needs an intervention, and he needs one quickly. You say that you recognize that your husband has a problem but that your husband won't admit it. Worse, he has control over all of the income, which means he is able to do as he pleases with the money. He has arranged his life to fuel his addiction.

There are many people who can help you. First, you need a safety plan because when you say that he is becoming more aggressive, you are describing an abusive situation. Please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). They will provide support, resources and advice for your safety. They are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Second, call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1) and speak to someone about what your husband is experiencing. They can refer you to other resources and services.

Third, call the Alcoholics Anonymous (Al-Anon) Family Group line at (757) 563-1600. They can get you a wealth of support from people who are in the same situation, plus they offer many bilingual meetings in your area. Please keep in touch with me and let me know how you are doing.

Sincerely,
Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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