How do I, the wife, feel needed and secure in our relationship

by Laura
(Austin. TX)

My husband recently decided to be sober. I am struggling with a lot of fear and unknown which has also created a lot of insecurities. I want to know how to support my husband but I also want to mend our relationship. Any thoughts, ideas and general kind words would help.


It sounds like you may benefit from some individual counseling for yourself. Sometimes these types of situations bring out personal issues in ourselves that we didn’t know were there, like insecurities. Or, can intensify issues that we were already aware of. A licensed counselor can help you sort through your feelings and discover the underlying causes. Feelings are usually caused by beliefs. For example, if you believe the future is hopeless, you will feel depressed. If you believe your day will be fun, you will feel excited.

You should ask yourself questions like: What am I afraid will happen if my husband gets sober? How realistic is this fear? What triggers this fear in me? Is it possible that life could be much better now than ever before? How can I deal with my feelings without unnecessarily burdening my husband? Have I been mistreated in this relationship? If so, why have I allowed myself to be treated this way?

In addition, how can you support your husband in this positive life change? Al-Anon meetings may help you understand his journey and keep you in a supportive rather than an enabling role. This can be a tricky road to travel if you don’t have the proper tools. When someone abstains from alcohol after an addiction, they can feel a lot of emotions. Also, he will be tempted, at times, to go back to his old ways. How will you hold him accountable? How will you support him? Al-Anon can give you the tools you need to accomplish this. Additionally, there are many books written on the topic.

These questions and more are things that a counselor can help you uncover in a safe and confidential setting. Once you have each dealt with your individual concerns, you may want to have marriage counseling to learn to navigate this new dynamic in your relationship. You may find that your relationship is indeed quite different once he is sober. Hopefully it is different in a good way, a change for the better.

Here is more information on finding support for families of alcoholics. Also if you would like to attend an Alanon meeting online, it may be helpful.

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