Can your marriage survive drug addiction? Of course it can, but there first needs to be some patience and understanding on your part. Most importantly, your spouse must WANT to quit.
If you are currently married to someone with any Substance Use Disorder, there are several things that you should consider doing for yourself. Remember, when you help yourself, you also help your addicted loved one. You can’t be there for THEM unless you are there for YOURSELF first.
It is hard to accept that your spouse is addicted to alcohol or drugs. In fact, because of the stigma attached to addiction, you automatically reject the possibility. However, denial only makes the situation worse, because their substance dependence will only deepen. To move forward, you must face the reality of their illness and then take the proper steps.
Learn about Addiction
Here’s the good news—your spouse is still in there, even if they are no longer fully in control of their actions. You will gain a better understanding of this when you read up on what addiction does to a person. SUD hijacks their brain and compels their behavior. Knowing this, you can stop unproductively playing the “blame game”.
Learn About Codependent Relationships
It is of critical importance to your family’s recovery to understand how YOU fit into your spouse’s illness. How you respond and react to their addiction plays a major role in either their progression or their recovery. When you focus all your time and energy on a spouse who is actively addicted, you end up with your own sickness—codependency. Literally, you lose yourself in their illness.
If you can learn how to recognize symptoms of codependent behavior, you can also learn how to make changes.
No More Enabling
It’s hard to know just what to say to an addicted spouse. If you say NOTHING, they will continue to hurt themselves because they have your unspoken “permission”. If you continually nag them about their alcohol or drug use, they will start tuning you out.
If things are going to change for the better, you are probably going to have to give them an ultimatum. If they refuse to get help, there will be consequences— you’ll kick them out, stop protecting them, cut off financial support, etc. As long as they are still actively using drugs and alcohol, you must detach from them, for the sake of your own mental health.
One of two things is going to happen. Either the fear of those consequences will motivate your addicted spouse to ask for help, or they will continue drinking and drugging, but you will have put some distance between yourself and their disease. At the very least, you will gain the invaluable peace of mind that allows you to put your own life back together.
They must suffer the consequences of their own addiction-driven actions, and you must be allowed to live your life in physical and emotional safety, away from their drug abuse.
Find a Support Group
Keep this in mind – YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
It’s important to talk with other people who have experienced the same issues and know what you’re going through. Support groups such as Al-Anon for spouses help you feel less isolated and hopeless. When you see other people with addicted spouses who are still living productive and serene lives, you will be able to draw strength and inspiration from their success.
Also, find specialized professional care for yourself. In a very real way, the collateral trauma associated with addiction may have made you just as emotionally unhealthy as your substance-abusing spouse.
The Next Step
If you are at the end of your rope because of your loved one’s addiction, Lasting Recovery can help. As the leading outpatient drug and alcohol rehab program in San Diego, Lasting Recovery can answer your questions, address your concerns, and help you take the necessary steps to convince your substance-abusing spouse to get the treatment they so desperately need.
At Lasting Recovery, your partner will receive the latest evidence-based care—treatment strategies that combat their disease of addiction on multiple levels. Best of all, there also services and resources for families, so you can begin healing as well.
If you are ready to get the help and support your family needs, contact Lasting Recovery TODAY.
Lasting Recovery—“Where Wellness Begins…”