However long ago it was that you said, “I do,” doesn’t really matter. You made a commitment and you are doing your best to stick to it. But you never realized you were entering a lifelong commitment to more than your spouse. When addiction arises in an established marriage, it can feel like the foundations are crumbling. The daily repercussions of their substance use disorder seem like more than you can handle.
If you find that you are currently in a marriage where your spouse is addicted to drugs or alcohol, you are probably feeling despair and confusion. And even in a perfect world, every marriage takes effort and work on the part of each individual. It’s not surprising that so many marriages plagued with addiction end in in separation or divorce. But it doesn’t have to.
Part of the problem is that spouses take action, believing they are helping, but they are actually making matters worse. Here are 6 things not to do if your spouse is locked in addiction. … There is also one thing you can do that will help, but we will get to that in a bit.
What Not to Do If Your Spouse Has an Addiction
1. Don’t blame yourself
“It’s your fault I drink!” Sound familiar? Well, it’s a common statement. However, you are not a licensed therapist. You are not responsible for the health of your spouse. They are working out their issues in an unhealthy way, and you are in the crossfire. Please always remember, you are not the cause of anyone’s addiction.
2. Don’t take it personally
It is a common sentiment for a spouse of an addict to feel like they are not enough. Their spouse has made promises to stop, and the promises never last. They might have sworn off drinking or drugs for a few months, and inevitably go back to it. Most likely more than once. They are often out with their friends or even alone spending time with their substance. However, addiction is a disease and your spouse needs a professional help.
3. Don’t try to cover it up
If your spouse is making a mess, the temptation is to clean it up. And this is more than cleaning spilled bottles. Being late for work, missing family functions, getting a DUI … these things need to carry consequences for your spouse. Sometimes it’s actually harder work to let the chips fall where they may, but it is important for individuals to feel the weight of their actions.
4. Don’t Stay Ignorant
Enabling behaviors will happen. As well you will blame yourself. Or you will try to cover it up. However, the more informed you get on the disease of addiction the better off you are to engage in the most appropriate manner. Substance use disorder is a disease. It’s a deadly one. But because of that, simply hoping that will power will help your spouse get better won’t work. Al-anon meetings are a good place to start.
5. Don’t allow them to be horrible
There comes a time when your protection is the most important thing. With this in mind, you might ask if there is ever a time for you to leave? The answer is, “absolutely.” When addiction and the concurrent behaviors become dangerous, you need to leave. If you have children, even more so.
Is there violence? If the answer is yes, it is time to leave. This might be temporary or permanent, but you can decide that later. Right now, you need to protect yourself and your children. Violence is unacceptable.
Other dangers include:
- Are there strangers in the house involved in drug or alcohol use?
- Is there emotional abuse occurring?
- Illegal activity?
All of these things and more are clear signals for you to get out for your own safety and protection. Again, it might be temporary or it might be permanent, but that decision can come later.
6. Don’t turn your back
With that in mind, remember, your spouse is dealing with something that is out of their control to fix, heal, or overcome. They need your help. If you are safe, you can still lovingly do what you can to help them understand and work through this disorder.
7. What can you do?
Call us. There are lots of things you can try, but ultimately your spouse needs professional help. They need detox and residential treatment from a qualified treatment center. The disease of addiction is one that people hope will just go away on its own. But in reality, that will not happen. Remember, recovery is possible, but it comes when individuals make a decision to get healthy and reach out for help.
It’s time for you to take the burden off your shoulders and give it to us. If your spouse is suffering from an addiction, call us today. We will help you understand your options and walk you through the first steps they can take on the road to lasting recovery. Call now, 1-844-489-0836.