The Impact Addiction Can Have On A Marriage
Addiction is a tough experience for all involved. Addiction within the context of a marriage can be even more difficult. Having a spouse with an addiction can be one of the most trying things a person ever has to contend with. Far from being a personal decision, a spouse’s addiction has a direct impact on their partner and the life they are attempting to build together. If you or a loved one are married to someone with an addiction, or you are battling addiction yourself, read on. Here is a brief explanation of the impact addiction can have on a marriage and what you can do about it.
In a recent study, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported that almost 25 million Americans are currently dealing with a spouse who is battling a substance abuse issue of some sort. Whether you are married to an addict or struggling with an addiction yourself, odds are you feel isolated and frustrated. One way or another, this is obviously not what you planned for when you got married.
While addiction is an existential problem in and of itself, it is often accompanied by some unsavory, dangerous behaviors. One of the most common occurrences is lying, which results in a slew of negativity that can create profound misunderstandings that eventually drive couples apart. In addition to lying, an addict may resort to cheating and stealing in order to keep their addiction under wraps or simply to get what they need. As a spouse, all of this sneaking around could serve as one of the final nails in the coffin.
Many people believe that having a spouse with an addiction always leads to separation or divorce, which could not be further from the truth. However, while addiction does not always result in divorce, one thing is certain: tackling it requires a lot of hard work on behalf of both parties. Crucially, it is important that both parties give the problem their full attention, as ignoring it historically leads to worse behavior. Sweeping it under the rug is also not an option, as it could bleed into your personal lives in one way or another. There’s no doubt about it, battling addiction takes commitment—but recovery is possible.
When we are struggling with a loved one battling addiction, we typically do not want to admit there is a problem. More often than not, we ignore or outright justify self-destructive behavior that points to a truth we do not want to recognize. If this sounds like you, it’s time to stop living in denial. Whether you or your spouse are addicted to alcohol, abusing prescription medication, or using another addictive substance, recognizing that there is a problem is a definitive first step towards recovery.
Have you ever altered your behavior or gone against your own morals in order to justify your spouse’s addiction? While you may feel like this is protecting them, it is actually accommodating and perpetuating their addiction. This type of response is known as enabling, and as long as you engage in it, your loved one will lack the motivation to cut the addiction out of their life. Psychologically, enabling someone sends the message that you endorse their behavior to some extent.
Addiction can become all-consuming, and not just for the addict. A spouse who is constantly running around cleaning up one mess after another is not focused on themselves or their home life, at least not in any manner that would be deemed healthy by a reasonable medical professional. This especially applies if you and your spouse have children together.
In reality, you should be putting the needs of yourself and your children before the needs of an addicted spouse. This includes engaging in traditional family activities, eating meals as a family unit, consistently seeing other family members and friends, getting ample amounts of sleep, exercising on a regular basis, and managing and reducing your overall stress levels.
If your spouse has decided to take the plunge and enter treatment, there are a few physical things you can do to lend your support. First, do everything in your power to care for yourself and your family. Second, consult with the treatment professionals at the clinic in order to establish guidelines. Finally, be sure to attend all scheduled family therapy meetings and events.
On the flip side, there are some subtle mental techniques you can exercise as well. For one, focus on maintaining a positive demeanor in all correspondence. Battling addiction is a harrowing journey and it’s difficult to see the situation from the inside out, so give your partner the benefit of the doubt and refrain from imparting any negative emotion that could prove detrimental to their recovery. In this regard, patience is a virtue.
If you or a loved one have a spouse who is battling addiction, or are an addict yourself, do not hesitate to seek treatment immediately. Restore Health and Wellness is a Joint Commission accredited and licensed drug and alcohol rehab center with a proven track record of success. Whether you require medication assisted detox, residential treatment, partial hospitalization, or intensive outpatient treatment, their impeccable staff of trained professionals are more than ready to lend a hand.