When your spouse develops an addiction, it may be one of the most challenging obstacles in your marriage. If there is no assistance provided, the marriage can quickly fall apart. Unfortunately, many couples can’t cope with the stress, anxiety, and unhappiness and end up divorcing or breaking up. So, if you suspect your partner has an addiction, learn how to help them. Read on to learn the dos and don'ts of helping your addicted spouse.
We should state right away that addiction is a medical condition. And you wouldn't generally blame someone for having diabetes or hypertension. Instead, you would be sympathetic and eager to help overcome the disease. Right? Addiction, like other conditions, requires compassion and understanding. As a result, the first step in helping your spouse with their addiction is to recognize that it is a disease, not a personality attribute or a choice. Also, it is essential to understand that external factors can feed the addiction. For instance, stress can be a great contributor and trigger for addictions. And once an addiction begins, it’s harder and harder to control it and stop it from developing further into other and more destructive habits. You might even expect financial infidelity from your spouse or trouble with the law. So be compassionate, build your trust, and work together to solve your issues.
Don’t turn a blind eye.
Out of fear, many people turn a blind eye to their spouse's addiction. They may be terrified of the repercussions, or they may be worried that things will change. Never ignore your partner's issues. If your partner is complaining of chest pain, you would call an ambulance or go to the hospital. If your spouse is addicted, you also need to give them the best advice and help them find a rehabilitation program. Or reach out to professionals that can help you find the best rehab for a loved one. Just ignoring the problem will not make it disappear.
Expect it to be rough.
Rehab will be tough for you and your spouse. That is why many people with addictions are usually avoiding to seek help. They feel a combination of emotions that can drive them to become paranoid and harmful to themselves and the people around them. For instance, people may feel ashamed and believe that admitting their problems would make them lesser. Or they can’t live with the idea that people around them will stigmatize them. Not to mention those who refuse to recognize they have a problem and will not accept help. In any of these situations, you must have a positive attitude and support your spouse unconditionally. And even if it is difficult, try to avoid the don'ts and focus on the dos when helping your addicted spouse. That way, you have a much better chance of success.
Take care of yourself.
Self-care is essential when you are dealing with an addicted loved one. Sometimes, the healthy spouse gets dragged into the addiction or derails their life thinking they are helping their partner. In reality, if you try to live a balanced and healthy life, you are helping more than you think. You need to be well so that you can help those around you. If you let yourself go, you won’t be of any use to your spouse. Therefore, keep your plans alive, stay positive at work, find a hobby, and socialize more. Sure, you can have activities with your spouse, but don’t let them be the center of your day. You need time for yourself to do things for yourself and yourself only.
Don’t give up
Sometimes, you might become frustrated with your loved one if they refuse to seek help or relapse. Unfortunately, you must realize that the struggle might be too much for your spouse, and they will lose a fight or two. However, they are still the person you fell in love with and are worth saving. The addiction is just covering their beautiful personality, but don’t worry. Deep down, your partner is still there, waiting for you to help them. So don’t lose hope and don’t give up. It might be scary to continue, but you might be your spouse's only chance. Addictions can tear people apart, and having strong support can make all the difference. You can be the motivation for the change and the source of strength for your partner. But if you give up, you might be closing your partner’s last gate to freedom from addiction.
As the old saying goes: “Knowledge is power!” Therefore, learning about addictions and treatment will help you and your spouse. Research alcoholism, drug abuse, or dangerous substances and learn about their symptoms and available treatments. Also, look for rehabilitation centers and specialists that can help your partner. Look for support groups for codependent partners to help you understand what is going on and what to expect. You can only help your loved ones when you fully understand what they are going through.
Other things you can do to help your addicted spouse:
While addiction might be lonely, you and your spouse do not have to be or fight this challenge alone. Many others have gone through or are going through addiction and can help you with advice or recommendations. Also, some might have the knowledge and resources to help you and your loved one overcome addiction. Therefore, for the sake of your marriage and family, do what is best for you and seek out people who can assist you. They will educate you on the dos and don'ts of helping your addicted spouse and how to fix and strengthen your relationship. God bless!
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