Watching the person that you love most in this world struggle with addiction is one of the most painful experiences a person can endure. Having a spouse who is addicted to drugs or alcohol will be a challenging and tumultuous time, and you will likely want to seek out as much addiction advice as possible to help your loved one. Some of it will be easy to follow and some of it will be harder than you ever thought possible.
Here are 3 tips for spouses of addicts that will help you and your partner move forward towards recovery.
When you love someone, you naturally want to help them whenever possible. But when you’re dealing with drugs and alcohol, there is a fine line between helping and enabling. Enabling an addict will only keep them in their addiction.
When your spouse is abusing drugs or alcohol, it’s important that you set firm boundaries. Refusing to enable your partner means stopping any action on your part that contributes or allows their addictive behaviors to continue. This could mean a number of things, including:
not giving them money
not allowing them to stay in your home
not allowing them to see your children while they are still using
not cleaning up their messes/bailing them out of situations
not continuing the relationship while they are still using
It may feel like you are punishing your spouse for their behavior, but setting boundaries and not enabling their addictions is actually taking a step to help them get well.
A great way to phrase this to them might be “I love you, and I will do anything that I can to help you beat your addiction. But I won’t do anything to help it continue, including X, Y, and Z.”
SUPPORT THEIR RECOVERY
If your spouse has made the decision to work on their addictions, it's important to try to support their recovery. Be understanding if they need to take time away from you and the family to take care of themselves, whether that means going away to a residential treatment center, attending recovery meetings or working with a sponsor.
Your spouse can not be the partner that you want or deserve until they have addressed their addiction, so give them the space to do so and support them on the journey.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
If there is one piece of addiction advice that I could stress to spouses of addicts, it would be this: TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.
When an addict is in active addiction (and even when he or she comes into recovery), it can be all encompassing for the people that love them, especially spouses. You are so concerned about your partner that you forget to take the time to take care of yourself.
Go to therapy. Attend a support group. Reach out to friends and family. Get a massage. Exercise. Take a bubble bath. Whatever activities make you feel taken care of, do them. And do them often. Don’t let your own well-being fall by the wayside while you take care of your spouse.
Getting Help with Evolutions
If your spouse is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, please keep in mind that in no way is it your fault. Addiction is a devastating disease, but there is treatment available. If you need help, Call Evolutions Treatment at 1-800-795-8527.