Millions of Americans are affected by drug and alcohol abuse. For example, among Americans aged 12 years and older, 31.9 million are current illegal drug users. If you’re living with an addict, you know the pain and frustration that comes with it. You may be feeling hopeless like you’re constantly walking on eggshells.
This article offers advice to understand addiction. As well as, how to deal with a spouse who is an addict and in denial. At first, you may feel alone, angry, and frustrated. However, you are never alone. Many people have been in your shoes, and help is available.
Living with an Addicted Spouse
Addiction is a mental health disorder. It causes people to have an intense and persistent craving for a drug or experience. Additionally, it causes harm to themselves and others. Addiction is also characterized by withdrawal symptoms when the person tries to stop drug or alcohol use.
Firstly, dealing with addiction is understanding what addiction means. Next, recognize how it affects the family and why people become addicted. Learn to recognize the signs of addiction in your spouse. By doing so, you can take steps to help them get treatment.
Being addicted to drugs or alcohol is devastating to both sides of a relationship. Feeling angry, resentful, or scared is normal for a person who is not suffering from the addiction. They can find themselves embroiled in conflicts with the addict which can be destructive to their mental health. However, there are ways to manage your feelings and build a healthy relationship outside of addiction.
Our relationships and homes should be a place of love and safety. Addictions can lead to an unhealthy relationship with emotional, mental, and both physical stress and abuse.
Consequently, a relationship with an addicted spouse can become a source of emotional upheaval. Further, there is potential for domestic violence. Substance abuse can eventually destroy a relationship by destroying trust. When children are involved, issues of abuse and neglect occur.
How to Help an Addict
1. Addiction is a disease that can be fatal. It’s also important to remember that you can’t cure someone yourself. You can help the journey to recovery.
2. Encouraging support for the addicted spouse is the first step to seeking available help. The most important thing is for an addict is to want help, No matter what type of support they need, and not feel ashamed of the addiction.
3. Loved ones need to know when it’s time for them to step in and offer support. If this person doesn’t want help or refuses your help, you must remember to care for yourself.
Supporting Vs. Enabling
Do you know if you are supporting or enabling the addict in your life?
- Are you making excuses?
- Explaining away behaviors?
- Lying to friends and family?
It is critical to support the addicted spouse but not enable their behavior.
Codependency is when a loved one is dependent on another in a relationship. Therefore, a couple living with substance addiction can end up enabling. In some cases, the spouse loses their own identity attempting to rescue the partner from addiction. Further, when that addicted partner seeks recovery, the codependent may undermine the process. Codependency is a trap many loved ones of addicts fall into. Be mindful and aware that this is self-defeating.
Importance of Seeking Professional Help
To conclude, the spouse of an addict needs help from professional counselors. Dealing with the stress is traumatic. A life with someone addicted to drugs is a difficult one. The counselor can provide guidance, support, and treatment for the addict’s spouse.
A spouse cannot deal with the addiction independently. The importance of seeking professional help must be the top priority.
If you notice the warning signs of drug abuse or an addicted spouse, contact a treatment center right away. The Harm Reduction Center located in South Florida offers both addiction treatment and mental health services. Approaching a loved one who is abusing drugs can be a difficult task. However, at HARC, we are here to help you every step of the way.
Getting your loved ones the help they need is just as important to us as it is to you. Contact us today for more information.