Sunday, December 3, 2023

How To Help Your Partner With Addiction

Acknowledge And Feel Your Emotions About Their Addiction Relapse

Dealing with an Addicted Partner | Marriage Expert & Therapist Todd Creager

Addiction is an emotional rollercoaster, and you may have gotten used to the chaos and emotional pain. Youve probably pushed aside your needs and emotions to help your spouse. Its common to feel a wide range of feelings when watching your spouse struggle with addiction.

  • You may feel broken, hurt and ignored.
  • Feels of being invisible, powerless or unworthy of attention.
  • You may feel resentful for holding everything together behind the scenes.

If youve tried expressing your feelings, your words may fall on deaf ears. Your spouse may not have empathy or understand your side of the issue. They may acknowledge their addiction is hurting your marriage, but they may not know what to do with your emotional pain.

You cant control how your spouse behaves or feels, but you can adjust how you respond. Here are some ways to address your needs without hurting your spouse more.

Understand that your sacrifices and struggles may never be fully recognized by anyone other than you. It may not feel very good at first, but releasing toxic feelings can help you live with this reality. Maybe your spouse will acknowledge the impact on you during their recovery, but they may not. You can keep moving forward without getting bogged down by an unmet expectation.

How To Cope With An Alcoholic Spouse

Coping with an alcoholic spouse is a dynamic processone that is more of a journey than a recipe. What helps you in one moment or scenario may be different from the next, so its important to have a variety of coping methods in your personal toolkit. Some things you can do to help yourself cope with the experience of having a spouse with an alcohol use disorder include:

Read Also: How To Curb Sugar Addiction

Do Get A Professional Medical Opinion

Reaching out to a family doctor can also be useful in beginning to move towards treatment. Consider setting up an appointment for a routine checkup for your spouse, and then privately talk to the doctor about their addiction. This will help the doctor be better able to identify health issues and take any excuses or explanations from your partner into a larger context. Their professional opinion, along with observation of any medical issues as a result of the addiction, can be a helpful reality check for someone struggling with addiction.

Read Also: How To Help An Addict Without Enabling

Ways You Can Help Your Partner Through Addiction

Addictions Content Team

Our Addictions Content Team has been providing up to date information on substance use disorders, and co-occurring disorders for over a decade. Each piece of content is reviewed by our team of medical experts, consisting of doctors, registered nurses, and licensed therapists, as well as by our editorial staff.

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Addiction can be a struggle for everyone involved. For the loved ones of the person with the addiction, it can seem like there isnt anything you can do to help them. In actuality, there are quite a few things that you can do for your partner when they are going through addiction.

Let Recovery Unplugged Help With Your Partners Addiction

How Can A Marriage Survive Drug Addiction?

Recovery Unplugged is ready to help your partner or spouse with their addiction so you can restore trust and love to your relationship. We offer full menu of addiction treatment services, including detox and withdrawal management, behavioral rehab and more. Recovery Unplugged accepts most major insurance plans and offers locations throughout the country. Our Family Program allows you to be an active participant in your partner or spouses addiction recovery, learn about the disease of addiction and support your partner with their ongoing needs. We also offer sensitive and supportive care for LGBTQ+ couples struggling with addiction. Start your treatment now.

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Finding Help For A Partner With An Addiction

Being supportive does not mean you need to be a punching bag for your partner or be the one to hold up all of the emotional baggage. Instead, you simply need to be someone they can trust and open up to.

If your partner has an addiction but is not ready to seek help, be patient. Let them know you are ready to support them and offer help in whatever way they are willing to take it. When they are ready to get treatment, help them find the right place to go and the right treatment options. NorthStar Transitions has a variety of options to fit each client’s unique needs, and we offer family counseling to help you through the process and be the best support system you can be.


Support For You And Your Partner

You should always give support to your addicted partner as it may be the key to helping him or her overcome the addiction. But if you are unable to do that calmly, you can ask your family members or friends for support. Usually, if your partner is willing to try to beat their addiction, they will be more willing to discuss the treatments options available.

Its not easy being the partner to an addict. Drug addiction has the power to destroy any kind of relationship. Romantic relationships can suffer because of broken trust and a lack of communication that comes with addiction. You also want to avoid enabling them. While you want the best for your partner, remember that your health and well-being is just as important. Perhaps consider a support group or counseling. Learn how to live better despite the addiction.

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Research Alcohol Treatment Facilities

Whether your partner has alcohol abuse or alcohol addiction, they may require treatment from one or more of the following facilities.

Alcohol Detox Centers

Detoxification or detox is an important step for people who developed a physical dependence on alcohol. If your loved one experiences withdrawal when theyre not drinking, they need to undergo detox.

Alcohol detox helps people stop drinking in a safe and comfortable environment. By easing the discomfort caused by alcohol withdrawal, detox prevents relapse and helps them transition into recovery.

Most alcoholics can detox safely at home without the supervision of a health professional.3 However, if your loved one experiences delirium tremens, a severe form of alcohol withdrawal characterized by hallucinations, seizures, and tremors detox must be done at a facility.

Alcohol Rehab Centers

Like drug addiction and other types of substance abuse, anyone who is struggling with alcohol problems can benefit from a rehab program. There are two types of rehabilitative centers:

  • Inpatient rehab Inpatient treatment is generally shorter, lasting anywhere from 28 days to six months. However, your loved one needs to stay at the facility throughout the course of their addiction treatment.
  • Outpatient rehab Outpatient treatment is longer and can last up to 3 months or over a year. If your loved one chooses an outpatient treatment program, they can undergo addiction treatment while continuing their normal routine.

Sober Living Homes

What If My Spouse Wont Agree To Treatment

Dealing With Addiction In Your Relationship | How To Deal With An Addicted Partner

If your spouse wont agree to treatment, there are professional resources available. Interventions can help motivate loved ones to get the help they need. An intervention brings family and friends together to address the individuals addiction while encouraging them to seek treatment. Interventions are most successful with the guidance of an addiction professional, which can include counselors, social workers, and interventionists.

You cant force your spouse to get addiction treatment, but you can hold healthy boundaries that dont enable their addiction. You can also make sure youre taking care of yourself so you can be strong for yourself and your loved one. Practice good self-care, consider seeing a therapist, and lean on support groups for loved ones of addicted people.

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Address The Issue Not The Person

Approaching your significant other about addiction and your concerns can be tricky, as this can be a sensitive subject. While in active addiction, your loved one may be experiencing many challenging feelings of their own, including frustration and shame. It is likely very difficult for them to share their feelings and experiences with you due to that shame as well as fear of rejection and retaliation, even if they know you are loving, caring, and supportive. You can start by addressing the situation calmly.

Instead of blaming your partner for behavior or actions that have hurt you, try focusing on sharing your feelings and informing them of the impact things have had on your closeness with them. This can be done through the use of I-statements. This is when a person keeps their sharing rooted in their own experience which creates an opportunity to give feedback that is clear, full, and respectful. Instead of, you are being an xyz, try saying, when x happens, I feel y to influence less defensiveness and more desire to unite as a team to address the problem at hand.

An example would be reframing you never want to spend time with me, which could elicit a defensive or otherwise polarizing response, to, I feel lonely and disconnected when we go days without spending any quality time together which will likely signal to the other person that you want more time together.

How To Help A Spouse During Addiction Recovery

The home and the marital relationship are supposed to be sources of comfort and healing from the impersonal chaos of the outside world. But when a spouse is addicted to drugs or alcohol, the home goes from a place of stability to a place of turmoil. In worst-case scenarios, substance abuse can turn a loving partner into an abusive stranger. Trust is the basis for a stable marital relationship, but addiction severely undermines that trust and can destroy the feelings that two people once had for each other.

When children are involved, the situation takes an even more complicated and tragic turn. If both partners are addicted to drugs or alcohol, the problems can quickly multiply. How can non-addicted spouses help their partner in recovery without enabling? Its a fine line to walk, but education and understanding are the keys to helping a spouse stay clean and preserve the relationship.

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Unhelpful Things To Say About Your Partners Addiction

Addiction is stereotyped and stigmatized, and because of this many people avoid talking about it. At the same time, the word is often trivialized. People use it in casual conversation were addicted to avocado toast or Netflix or houseplants.

Its important to recognize this stigma before approaching your partner about their addiction, Owens says. Trying to understand their experience for what it is versus how addiction is portrayed in pop culture will help avoid your partner from shutting down the conversation.

You can really see internalized stigma where people feel so much shame about their use but also what they do because of their use, Owens explains. That causes a lot of spiraling, where people use more to cope with that shame, then feel more shame. That shame is a huge barrier to reaching out for help.

There are a few things to avoid doing or saying when talking with someone about their addiction.

Addiction In The Family

How To Help And Addict

The pain of addiction is something that everyone within a family is familiar with. Quite often, people only think about how the addict is impacted. The truth is, the family suffers as well. There are all types of addictions, and each one stands to tear families apart. The cost of addiction has the power to ruin an otherwise beautiful home and marriage. To make matters worse, the effects of it are long lasting for everyone involved. It is so hard to live under the same roof as someone who is abusing substances. It seems as though problems are caused left and right. The addict is torn, wanting the stable life and the family at the same time. When things go wrong, they blame others for their own actions. There is no denying the type of pain youre in if this is the life youve been forced to lead. If you have an addicted spouse, you need answers for your dilemma. Whats more, you need real-life advice that you can put to use right now.

Read Also: How To Cut Sugar Addiction

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Offer To Help Them Quit

Do you know what the hardest part of drug addiction is? Quitting. It takes an incredible amount of effort for anyone who is addicted to stop using the substance they love so much. They dont want to quit, because as far as the person struggling knows the only good things in their life are those drugs they find so easy to get addicted to. You can offer your support and help them overcome it by quitting right along with them. It may take some time but it will be worth it when you both show each other that you can kick this problems ass together and become stronger than before you both got started on it.

Tips For Helping Someone With An Addiction

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The challenge with addiction is that the addict is not the only one impacted by this disease. Family and friends can have difficulty with the addicts behavior, financial problems, legal problems and the daily struggle of supporting a loved one. Here are seven tips that family and friends can reference to support an addicted family member or friend.

Also Check: Can You Get Addicted To Morphine

Dont: Violate Their Privacy

In taking care of yourself and attending therapy, you may be tempted to vent about your loved one with an addiction. While you should be as honest about your feelings as possible when getting therapy, its important to respect their privacy. This is especially relevant when discussing someone with addiction with friends or family.

Make sure the person is okay being talked about and having their struggles discussed. If you attend counseling with your loved one, make sure you dont reveal what was said in session to others. If your loved one attends therapy or counseling on their own and dont want to discuss what they talked about in session, respect that and dont push them for details.

Educate Yourself About Addiction

How Long Should I Hold Out Hope For My Addicted Spouse?

If you have never been exposed to alcoholism or drug addiction, it can be difficult to watch your partner struggle with this disease. Your partner may be displaying concerning behaviors, unlike their usual self. It might feel as though your relationship is not the priority right now. All these factors can put a strain on your mental health as well as your connection with them.

However, its important to realize that addiction is not a choice. Its a debilitating psychological and physical condition that alters a persons brain chemistry and controls almost every aspect of their daily life. Gaining an understanding of how addiction is a progressive brain disease, rather than a choice or moral failing, can help you move through your own hurt. Understanding that once in active addiction, a person is no longer making choices in terms of critical thinking or assessing short-term and long-term consequences can provide a helpful perspective into what you are seeing as well as what they are experiencing.

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Philly Woman After Many Failed Attempts Takes Savage Approach To Addiction Recovery

Sarah Laurel is executive director of Savage Sisters, a Philadelphia-based non-profit that helps people recover from substance use disorder. In this photo, she watches as names of victims of addiction are read during an opioid awareness event on the steps of the state capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Aug. 31, 2022.Mark Pynes | pennlive.comMark Pynes |

Editors note: PennLive spent much of 2022 trying to understand the opioid overdose crisis, which has returned to Pennsylvania with a vengeance. We focused on questions including what caused the surge, what did we do right and wrong in earlier efforts to fight the epidemic, and what else should we do. We interviewed experts and regular people and attended hearings and rallies. Most importantly, we talked to Pennsylvanians impacted by the crisis, to convey the human impact and learn what they believe might have saved their loved one. Finally, we spoke to people recovering from addiction to learn what works and what doesnt. We hope the resulting six stories will help people protect themselves and loved ones, be better able to evaluate proposed policies aimed at the crisis, and find insights and hope that can lead to recovery and saved lives.

It taught her much about what doesnt work as well as what does.

She attributes her failed treatment stints to being there only because of pressure from others such as her family or probation officer.

Heroin Or Other Opioids

With the abuse of prescription opioid painkillers on the rise since the 90s, heroin has become a commonly used substitute for the more expensive prescribed pills. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine , Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US, with 52,404 lethal drug overdoses in 2015. Opioid addiction is driving this epidemic, with 20,101 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers, and 12,990 overdose deaths related to heroin in 2015.Clear signs that your spouse is using either prescription opiates or heroin can include:

  • Track Marks & Collapsed Veins Is my husband injecting drugs behind my back? This might be something youve wondered. Nothing is more tell-tale than the marks of heroin use that can be found on the body. Since heroin is usually intravenously administered, your loved one may have markings on their body at injection sites.
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