How Can I Help My Spouse Understand AA?

Most couples struggle with addiction and recovery, and there are certain instances where the importance of AA meetings and the program itself can be difficult to understand for one individual in the relationship. You can help your spouse more easily understand Alcoholics Anonymous and the ways in which it may benefit both you and your partner with a few tips.

Go to an AA Meeting Together

There are meetings held often by AA groups all over the country called open meetings. At these, newcomers, people who want to observe the meetings, and family members and friends of members are invited to learn more about the program. At an open meeting, your loved one can learn about what you gain from AA and how you can both help each other in more ways. Once your spouse is able to attend a meeting, they can often better understand what you do in your meetings and how the program works.

Meet with a Therapist

Couples Counseling

Have a therapist explain AA to your spouse.

Going to couples counseling can be very beneficial, but it can also help to merely meet with a therapist who can better explain the advantages of AA to the spouses of addicts. A type of therapy exists called 12-step facilitation that is “designed to increase the likelihood of a substance abuser becoming affiliated with and actively involved in 12-step self-help groups thereby promoting abstinence” (National Institute on Drug Abuse). Though this therapy method is usually meant for the addict themselves, counselors who practice it would likely be comfortable explaining AA’s efficacy and benefits to your partner.

This treatment is often used to help dispel false beliefs about the program and showcase the ways in which it can be helpful to a certain patient. Especially if you are already attending this type of therapy, your doctor may be able to help you and your spouse find the right balance of treatment and understand the other’s needs when it comes to a joint recovery of your relationship.

Ask Them to Attend an Al-Anon Meeting

While you are attending your AA meeting or at another, agreed upon time, it can be helpful for your spouse to attend an Al-Anon meeting. Al-Anon Family Groups, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “helps family and friends recover from the effects of someone else’s drinking through a 12-step program including regular attendance at group meetings.” Not only does this allow your spouse to follow the same teaching that you are following and to better understand the 12 steps themselves, but it also can help them with some unresolved issues they may be struggling with as a result of your alcoholism and the relationship you have together.

AA’s Rewards for You and Your Spouse

AA has a number of rewards, and one of the best things you can do to help your spouse understand that is to showcase them. Show your partner that you are happier, better adjusted, and more honest now that you are attending the program. By allowing them to see the benefits the program has, they will be able to realize the gains you will both receive from AA. For more information about the program itself, call 800-839-1686.

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