Restorations Therapy Blog

What to Do When You Are Married to an Addict

by on Monday, November 9th, 2020

Finding out your spouse is struggling with addiction can be a difficult thing to understand and cope with. As their partner, you can suffer just as much trauma as they do, just in different ways. You may feel lost as to what to do, wondering if your spouse will get sober and if your marriage can be saved. Here are some things you can do if you find out your spouse is struggling with addiction.

How Does Addiction Affect Relationships?

Addiction can have severe consequences on romantic relationships. The arguments may start as being about things like the spouse staying out late and coming home either high or drunk, and can then escalate from there. This can be followed by money problems, a loss of trust as the person dealing with addiction begins hiding their behavior, and possibly even domestic abuse if arguments get too intense. These are all unfortunately very common problems in marriages that struggle with addiction. Both sides are affected in extreme ways, inflicting trauma on both partners. The relationship may even grow more toxic if the spouse of the individual suffering from addiction begins enabling the behavior by making excuses or covering up for their partner. The situation can seem hopeless, but there are things you can do to make the situation better, as the person in the relationship who is not struggling with addiction.

Tips for Helping Your Spouse

Knowing how to properly help your spouse can make all the difference in how your relationship progresses from this point. You can take steps to educate yourself and help your spouse, but you must know the proper ways to do so, to ensure you are not enabling or making the situation worse somehow. It is important to recognize that even with the best intentions, you may not be helping your spouse, in actuality. Here are some tips to help your spouse when you find out they are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.

Educate Yourself

The best thing you can do when you find out your spouse is struggling with addiction is to educate yourself on the subject. It can be easy to point fingers and ask why your spouse is doing this to hurt you. However, when you educate yourself about addiction, you should begin to understand that their actions and behaviors aren’t necessarily their own decisions anymore. Addiction is a chronic disease that affects not only the person struggling with it but also those closest to them. Oftentimes, the person with a substance use disorder is aware of the pain, so they try to hide their behaviors to avoid further grief for their loved ones. Reading up on the disease can give you the information you need to proceed. 

Make Sure You Aren’t Enabling

Enabling is a behavior often taken on by those closest to the person struggling with addiction. These individuals may protect the person from the consequences of their addiction. Enablers will often cover for their addicted loved one, making excuses for their behavior or shielding them from potential consequences. You can learn how to stop this behavior by learning about enablement, its behaviors, and how to change them. 

Read About Co-Dependent Relationships

Remember that addiction affects those close to the addict as well, especially their romantic partners. It is not uncommon for a romantic partner to take on the role of caretaker as they worry about where their partner is, how the addiction is affecting them, and more. Your partner becomes the center of your life, which can often result in codependency. This is a disorder of its own and is also an awful trap to fall into during this tumultuous time in your relationship. Talking to a professional and reading up on codependency can save you a lot of grief and keep you and your partner from becoming co-dependent.

Avoid Denial

When you begin noticing signs of addiction or the worsening of addiction in your spouse, do not deny what is happening. Ignoring the problem will only allow things to get worse. Addiction is a chronic disease and will get worse if nothing is done to slow or stop its progression, such as rehab. Living in denial typically also causes more pain and trauma as you see your spouse get worse over time. By taking off your blinders and dealing with the reality that is presented to you, you should be better able to handle it and get the help that you and your spouse need. 

Join a Support Group

Because of the trauma addiction inflicts on those closest to it, there are many support groups for partners of individuals who suffer from addiction. Being able to meet others who are going through (or have gone through) the same thing you are experiencing allows you to begin the process of healing. These group members can empathize with you on a level that no one else can, and this feeling of being understood and being able to talk about your experience can lift some weight off your shoulders. 

Being married to someone dealing with addiction is not an easy situation to find yourself in. You may begin feeling hurt, sad, angry, lost, confused, and so many other emotions that you may be overwhelmed and not know what to do. By taking the proper steps, you can begin to heal yourself and possibly get help for your spouse, as well. Educating yourself is the best thing you can do. A better understanding of addiction, relationships in addiction, and available resources can help you more than anything. You also need to take care of yourself and talk to someone about what you are going through. At Restorations Therapy, we offer a variety of programs that can help guide you and your partner towards a happier, healthier relationship. Our experienced and skilled staff can work with you and your spouse to find the type of treatment that is most beneficial for both of you. Contact Restorations Therapy today at (720) 446-6585 to learn more.

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