A 2014 study by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that 21.5 million Americans 12 years and older suffer from an addiction. About 80% of that number is suffering from alcohol addiction, and another 7 million is battling through a drug habit.
Addiction is progressive by nature. With continued use, it can deteriorate even the healthiest of bodies and minds. Now imagine that kind of affliction within the confines of a marriage, and you will likely foresee a host of problems that can unravel the relationship from its core.
Spouse Drug Addiction
Substance abuse most often leads to drastic changes in character and personality. Abusers often become aggressive and moody. They may no longer practice healthy lifestyles, and they may also become dependent on when, where, and how they can continue their habit.
Sometimes, drug addicts may forget their duties around the home and to their children. They may also lose their job as a result of their addiction. In effect, problems can arise within a spousal relationship that includes fighting, lying, disappointment, lack of motivation, loss of communication, and distance.
The Threat of Enabling
Especially in a marriage, the threat of enabling rises exponentially. Many spouses are unable to see how they perpetuate their loved one’s addiction. They may take the blame for their spouse’s mistakes, and they may unwittingly make it easier for their spouse to use. They may make excuses for their spouse’s behavior when they fall out of line. In all of these cases, the addicted spouse is able to continue their habit because their significant other is bearing the burden of their mistakes.
Communication Is Key
If you are married to a person with an addiction, it is prudent that you take a step back and analyze the situation. Where do you want things to go? How will you express your pain? Your fears? Communication is key. You must learn to talk to your spouse about your feelings, and it is vital that you are both sober during this interaction. In some cases, spouses are not responsive to these types of conversations. If this is the case, you may need to consider an intervention.
Intervention Is Essential
You may have to stage an intervention if your partner refuses to acknowledge that they have a problem. Intervention is generally done to kickstart the conversation about rehab and lifestyle change. A professional should be present for this meeting, so as to effectively facilitate the conversation.
Take Care of Yourself
Learn to take care of yourself. Be kind to your body and mind and engage in healthy lifestyle practices like exercise and mediation. Your spouse needs support and reassurance. The best way to aid in this process is with a cool and level head.
Take an Active Role
Getting a spouse into treatment can be very difficult, but you can also take part in the experience by showing support. Attend group therapy and listen. Consider a family or marriage counselor who can offer some advice. Take up a new hobby and involve your spouse. Establish a new routine. Mediate together. Whichever method you chose, make sure the activity is healthy and devoid of criticism.
The Denial Trap
This is a tough subject — there’s no denying it. And sometimes, it’s easier to ignore this massively painful problem than confront it. However, doing so will only prolong the problem and hurt you, your spouse, and your family. Learn about what’s going on inside your spouse’s head.
Addiction is an insidious, progressive disease. Understanding how it alters the mind, and how it can be helped is a great step toward initiating recovery.
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