Are you married to an addict? Or Suspect your Spouse has a drug addiction? Our family and intimate relationships should be safe havens, and our homes, places that provide shelter from the troubles of the outside world. However, for many Americans a close relationship with an addicted partner can become a source of turmoil, emotional upheaval, and sometimes violence. Substance abuse can destroy a couple by undermining trust, destabilizing the bond between partners. If children are part of the relationship, conflicts over parental responsibilities, neglect, or abuse often occur as a result of abuse from one or both partners’ drinking and/or drug use.
Marriage does not mean that you are tied to a sinking ship, though. Also, it isn’t necessary to wait for your partner to hit rock bottom to get help. The healthiest thing you can do is to stop enabling them and allowing them to continue along the path they are on. Making excuses and denying that a problem exists merely serves to feed into and validate the addiction. family members should instead take a stand and refuse to allow self-destructive behaviors to harm them and their loved one.
Partners that suspect they are in a relationship with an addict should attempt to talk to their spouse about their drug use. It’s important to select a time when both people are calm and sober. If your partner is unwilling to have a discussion, continues to make excuses for their erratic behaviors, or refuses to admit to a drug problem, an intervention may be helpful. Interventions are an effective tool to talk openly with your spouse about their addiction. The end goal of an intervention is to help your partner see that their addiction is harming them, and others and they need help. The United States has 14,500 specialized drug addiction treatment facilities. There is likely a facility near you that is working toward giving people the help they need.
Ideally, your spouse will be responsive to the intervention and agree to enter treatment, but interventions are only one tool available to you as a spouse of an addicted person. There are many other things you can practice regardless of if your spouse is seeking recovery or not. Most importantly, you will need to decide whether or not your marriage can be salvaged. This is a uniquely personal decision and should be made very carefully. Your safety, the safety of your children should you have any, and the willingness of your spouse to commit to getting help, will all contribute to this decision. If you decide that the marriage will continue there are several things you can begin doing now in order to provide the best results for both you and your spouse.
Find a Support Group
With every struggle there is strength in numbers and addiction is no exception. Sometimes, you will feel completely alone and that no one could possibly understand the pain that you and your family are going through. It’s important to understand that there are many other spouses and partners who are experiencing the same problems. There are groups that offer guidance and support and the chance to connect with other people who understand what you’re going through. Groups like Alanon and Naranon or can help you to feel less isolated and like you have a team behind you. These groups, and others like them, will provide you with a community to share your struggle with and will provide resources to help you learn how to live with a person who struggles with addiction.
Addiction is painful for both the addict and their loved ones. Unfortunately, there is also a stigma surrounding it that negatively affects public opinion of other’s suffering. For these reasons and others, family members and friends often turn a blind eye to their loved one’s addiction to avoid tough conversation and difficult decisions. It’s always easier to pretend that there aren’t any problems and many people sacrifice their health, and the health of their spouse’s, to maintain a certain image. However, doing so is detrimental to both you and the recovery of your spouse. Facing the addiction head on will allow you to take control of your own health and wellbeing. It will give you a clear head in deciding your next step.
The person you feel in love with is still there. That person still exists buried under the weight of addiction and it is important to remember that they didn’t choose addiction. They didn’t want to fall into the cycle of addiction or to hurt you or your family. Addiction is a disease. It is a family disease. Living that often causes a domino effect in the life of the person using, as well as their family. It is important to learn as much as you can about what your spouse is experiencing. This will better help you support them. There are thousands of resources available to you. The internet is a great place to start, but there are also many excellent books written by professionals. Talk to your neighbors and friends about their experiences with addiction. Also, consider talking to an experienced treatment specialist who helps families every day. Talking with a professional will help you gain a clearer picture of your own unique relationship and situation.
Research Codependent Relationships
Remember that addiction is a family disease. Your spouse’s drug or alcohol addiction doesn’t only affect them—it’s affects you, any children you may have, and anyone else in the home. Addiction and an addict’s behavior will shape anyone living with it. Spouses of many addicts report that they begin to experience a wide range of unhealthy emotions. Many become anxious thinking about their spouse’s sobriety. Anger as well as obsessive or controlling thoughts are also very common.
Unfortunately, when your life is focused on another person, it becomes increasingly difficult to focus on your own life. This can cause stress, depression, and feelings of disconnect. People who love and live with those in an active addiction often find themselves dealing with their own disorder: Codependency. By understanding this disorder, you can make gradual changes that will help you and also begin to help to your spouse.
At Harmony Place, we provide comprehensive care and support for our patients and their loved ones. We encourage families to participate in the treatment process and will offer you support every step of the way.
Are you Married to an Addict? At Harmony Place in Woodland Hills, California, we provide a relaxing, comfortable environment for addiction treatment and recovery with many addiction treatment program options, including our Medication Assisted Treatment program. Contact us today at 1-(888)-789-4330 to learn more about our services and how you or your loved one can prepare for a successful rehabilitation from drug and alcohol addiction at our California treatment center.