First of all, realize that your wife is sick and needs your help to get well. Although she made the choice to use drugs in the first place, she has an addictive personality and now cannot help herself.
Try an intervention
The first thing that needs to happen is that your wife needs to recognize that she is sick, and cannot get well without help. Pick a time when your wife will be home, and contact her closest friends and family and explain what you are doing.
When the appointed time for the intervention comes, have each person tell how they are hurting to see her in this state. Do the same yourself, as you are probably the person who has been hurt the most by her addiction.
If your wife responds positively at all to the intervention, tell her that she needs to seek treatment in order to get well. If she responds completely negatively, at least you have tried this avenue.
Seek professional help for your wife
Start calling hospitals with drug addiction programs and treatment centers for addicts. Do not keep your wife out of this process at this point, but work as a team with her to find a treatment center that she likes.
Be prepared for her to be away from home for the length of treatment. Depending on the addiction and severity, this can be from one week to one year.
Realize that your wife needs to be hospitalized in a safe environment at this time, and offer her your full support. Also realize that, depending on your wife’s drug of choice, it could actually be dangerous for her to go through withdrawals without professional help.
If you do not have insurance coverage or cannot afford treatment, do not despair because there are other options. If this is the case, then Narcotics Anonymous is probably your best hope at this point.
Help your wife with Narcotics Anonymous
Look in the Yellow Page under Narcotics Anonymous (NA). Try to find an NA group that is near your home. Once your wife has found a group that she is comfortable with, go with her to open meetings as often as you are able. After a time, your wife will become comfortable enough to go to closed meetings by herself.
Realize that your wife may relapse (start using drugs again) after a time. Once she has been exposed to the NA program, she will probably realize her mistake and quit again on her own.
Some people can attend NA for 6 months or a year, and then no longer need to attend meetings, or at least not as often.
Some people are not comfortable with the NA route, and decide that it is not for them. If this is the case with your wife, she can try going cold turkey or you can explore options for treatment for people who cannot afford it.
What to do if you do not have insurance coverage or cannot afford treatment
Free treatment centers are available. Call your doctor, check with your county (some cities and counties publish lists of free treatment centers), or check with local churches.
Start calling the treatment centers on the list, visit them and apply for treatment at one of them. If you cannot find a free treatment center with an opening, going cold turkey is the last (and least desirable) option.
What to do if my wife has to go cold turkey
First of all, talk to your doctor about your wife’s drug of choice and make sure that this would not be dangerous. If it is, try going to the emergency room at a local hospital with a treatment program. Many of them will take addicts without insurance. If you cannot find a hospital that will take your wife, ask your doctor to prescribe drugs that will help her with withdrawals.
Drug addiction is a serious disease. If none of the above options work for your wife, realize that she may not have reached her bottom (her lowest point at which she can no longer stand to live with her addiction). Most people will seek help once this point is reached. Many thousands of people have recovered from drug addiction, and your wife, with your help, can too!
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