Once you determine that your spouse is suffering from a drug addiction it can be difficult to know what steps to take next. The first thing you can do is connect with a friend or family member who is supportive and loving, and ask for their continued friendship during what is sure to be a difficult time for both you and your spouse.
Here are some other ways you can try to cope with a spouse's drug addiction:
- Ask for professional help: Addiction isn't something that can be overcome through simple willpower — it's a complex disease that requires professional help. Call a certified addiction specialist for advice on treatment options for you and your spouse. Ask for resources that can provide you with more information about addiction, so you can better prepare yourself for the road ahead.
- Be prepared for change: A common mistake people make is believing that if their partners would only stop abusing substances everything would go back to normal. However, addiction is a psychological as well as physical disease, and it's important to accept that your life will be different as a result of this struggle. That doesn't mean that you can't eventually have a happy and healthy future with your spouse, but it does mean that addiction will be a constant factor in your marriage, even if your partner is able to achieve long-term recovery.
- Be there to listen: Offer your partner emotional support and let them know that you're listening to them and want to understand what they're going through. You don't have to act as their professional therapist or know just what to say — simply providing a caring presence is making a difference, whether you can see it or not.
- Remember that addiction is a disease: Your spouse may be hurting you in unimaginable ways as a result of his or her addiction. It's deeply traumatic to witness a person you love and trust transform into someone manipulative, deceitful and destructive, but try to remember that your spouse isn't choosing to be addicted to drugs. Addiction is a disease that can affect anyone, and underneath everything the person you love is struggling and suffering as much as you are.
- Set your boundaries: Create a plan for your physical and financial safety. For instance, set aside money that your spouse can't access and isn't aware of, and talk to family or friends who might provide you with a place to stay if you feel that you need to leave your home at any time. You can support your partner through the struggle with addiction, but that should never mean putting your own life at risk.
- Tend to your own needs: Throughout this time, make sure you're taking care of your own physical, mental and emotional needs. It won't help your spouse if you become exhausted, isolated and discouraged. Nurture healthy relationships outside of your marriage and stay in touch with your feelings. You, too, are a victim of drug addiction, and you also need support in order to stay strong and healthy.
If you believe your spouse is struggling with drug addiction, contact the professionals at Fairwinds Treatment Center today to discuss treatment options.
Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef founded the center over 25 years ago after having pioneered the dual diagnosis method of treatment, which involves healing patients through both clinical treatment and therapeutic counseling.
As a result, Fairwinds is one of the most highly respected dual diagnosis treatment centers in the nation, and it's our goal to help patients achieve long-term recovery so they can return to their families healed in mind, body and spirit.