by Restorations Therapy Center on Tuesday, April 13th, 2021
Finding out that your spouse is struggling with addiction can be heartbreaking. Someone you love with your entire heart struggling with the darkness of this disease is enough to make anyone feel angry, sad, frustrated, guilty, and lost. These feelings are normal when you find out something like this, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed for feeling them. However, you cannot allow yourself to become consumed by despair. Instead, take steps to educate yourself and support your loved one to get help. If you don’t know where to start, use these tips as a guide to help you both heal.
First and foremost, you must come to terms with the situation at hand. It can be easy to fall into a state of denial — it’s painful to watch someone you love struggling with addiction. It may seem easier to turn a blind eye, but this will only cause more harm. Facing the problem head-on is what will help you and your spouse. Once you have accepted your situation, you can begin taking concrete steps towards helping yourself and supporting your spouse.
You cannot expect to take concrete steps if you aren’t sure where to begin. It is essential to understand that a great deal of stigma surrounds addiction, and you may perpetuate these stereotypes and cause further harm if you aren’t careful. Educating yourself on the subject can help you understand what your loved one is going through and how you can adequately support them. It is imperative to read up on why addiction is a disease; this can help you better understand that your partner is not doing this to hurt you or themselves. You can also research options for staging an intervention and how best to motivate your spouse to seek treatment.
While you are learning about addiction, make sure that you take the time to learn about codependent relationships. Codependent relationships are unfortunately common when people experience their loved one’s addiction, and it can create a domino effect that affects everyone around the person struggling. You may unknowingly be enabling your partner’s addiction, which can cause more problems down the line. You may also begin to focus all of your attention on your partner to help them, developing into a codependent relationship over time. By learning about these dynamics, you can take steps to prevent a codependent relationship from forming and be able to genuinely help your spouse.
All of the work you are doing to help your loved one will be mentally and physically exhausting. The pain and stress can take a toll on your health, so it is important to remember to help yourself first. While your loved one does need support, you cannot pour from an empty cup. If you are not actively ensuring that you are mentally and physically stable, you cannot expect to help your loved one heal. Practice setting healthy boundaries with your loved one to ensure there is some respect and you have the time you need to refresh. You should also consider reaching out to a trained mental health professional. A counselor or therapist can discuss with you what is going on. Through professional help, you can learn healthy coping strategies and best move forward in helping yourself.
Enforcing boundaries can be grueling when your loved one is suffering. However, you cannot allow them to cross your boundaries without consequences. Otherwise, they will learn that there are no negative consequences to their behavior. You may find your loved one testing your limits as their addiction worsens, but you must continue to be consistent and uphold the boundaries you have set in place. When you set and maintain boundaries, you will help your partner understand that you won’t tolerate their behavior or disrespect.
It is all too easy to isolate yourself when you find out your spouse struggles with drug or alcohol addiction. You may be feeling ashamed, embarrassed, guilty, or depressed due to the situation and therefore don’t want to let anyone else in. However, this can lead to enabling behavior and worsening of your mental health. Reach out to those you love and trust to discuss what you are going through. Having someone to discuss these things with will help you get it all off your chest and help improve your mental health during this time.
Learning that your spouse is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction can knock the wind out of you. Your heart may feel broken, and you will most likely face a whirlwind of emotions in the coming days. However, allowing yourself to be consumed by the news will only make things worse. Taking steps to help yourself and your spouse will give both of you the best chance at healing. If you are unsure where to begin, contact Restorations Therapy. We work with couples facing addiction, mental health, and intimacy issues to help them heal and lead happy, healthy lives. Our comprehensive outpatient treatment can address both of your individual needs and your needs as a couple to set you both up for success in recovery. We understand how difficult addiction is, and we want to ensure that you are comfortable and knowledgeable about the situation at hand. Call us today at (720) 446-6585 to learn more.