Tuesday, July 9, 2024

When Your Spouse Is An Addict

Physical Signs Of Drug Use In Your Spouse

How To Handle An Alcoholic Spouse | Paul Friedman

Of all the warning signs of addiction, the physical side effects may be the easiest to spot. These changes in your spouses appearance and actions can confirm the suspicions you already have. Look for physical symptoms like:

  • Bloodshot eyes.
  • Weight loss or weight gain.
  • A decline in overall hygiene and self-care.
  • Sniffling, runny nose, or bloody nose.
  • Foul or unusual odors on breath, body, or clothing.
  • Tremors.
  • Physical marks, such as injection sites.

Addiction Goes Far Beyond The Substance

When married to an addict, and once the addiction is shouted out loud, what becomes the main issue in the family is treatment. But, as is commonly known, there is no treatment without an honest decision to do so.

Also, this decision is not enough. What is also not enough is a detox. Many people mistakenly believe that once the drugs are out of the system, the addict is basically healed.

This cannot be further from the truth. Addiction goes far beyond the substance . It is a combination of different psychological mechanisms that made the person vulnerable, kept them addicted, and kept them from healing.

This is why living with an addict often turns into an endless game of getting in and out of treatments.

Dealing With An Addicted Spouse: 4 Things You Need To Do For Yourself

Having a spouse thats an addict is brutal. Its frustrating, exhausting, hurtful and completely terrifying for you both. You love them and want to enjoy life together again, but the truth is, you cant do it on your own. They need help to recover, and so do you.

Its crucial to understand that addiction is a disease that infects everyone it touches. Your husband or wife isnt the only one thats sick and in need of treatment. Well get to you in a minute but first, if your spouse is struggling with substance abuse, find a residential treatment center for them. Addiction is a cunning disease, and like any disease it requires professional treatment.

You may hesitate to send your husband or wife away from home for 30 days or more. Many people with partners in active addiction become controlling to cope, and feel like if they dont have their loved one near them at all times, something bad will happen. Remember that this is the beginning of the rest of their life – and yours. Putting them in the care of professionals could save their life and your relationship. Letting go and trusting the process is the first step.

For more information on how to approach your loved one about going to treatment for addiction, read Intervention: Dos and Donts For Helping an Addicted Spouse.

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The Impact Of Substance Abuse On Parents Of Adult Children

As children transition into adulthood they are still strongly affected by their parents as their parents are by them. One of the factors that can perpetuate SUDs is the enabling that family members frequently engage in. Enabling is a form of accommodation that protects the individual with the SUD from fully experiencing the consequences of his or her substance use. An example of enabling is when the parents of a 25-year-old man repeatedly bail him out of jail and pay for lawyer and court fees generated as a result of drug-related arrests. The parents are attempting to help their son and maintain homeostasis in the system by preventing him from going to jail, however the secondary effect is that the son experiences no consequence to his use. As a result, his SUD is more likely to continue. Parents and grandparents do not always agree on how to âhelpâ an adult child with an SUD. Social workers can encourage parents of adult children to seek their own help in Al-Anon and Nar-Anon. These are 12-Step programs for family members that will help them disengage with love, so that they stop enabling and begin to care for themselves. Often parents blame themselves for their children’s substance use and feel responsible for fixing the problem. In Al-Anon and Nar-Anon they receive support from other family members and learn they did not cause the SUD, nor can they control it or cure it.

Helping Your Addicted Spouse At 12 Keys Rehab

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You and your spouse can begin the journey to recovery together at 12 Keys Rehab. Located in Florida, 12 Keys Rehab offers a strong plan of recovery that includes body, mind, spirit and family to help addicts become free of drugs and alcohol.

At 12 Keys, your spouse will find plenty of support. Many of the staff have recovered from addiction themselves, so they know what your spouse is going through. The ratio of clients to staff is kept low so clients can always find someone to talk to or help them over a rough patch.

Your spouse will be treated like an individual at 12 Keys. We dont believe in a cookie-cutter approach to recovery. We know certain things are a must, such as complete abstinence from substance abuse, but we offer many therapies to help people chart their own personal course of recovery.

12 Keys offers group and individual counseling, 12-step meetings, holistic therapies and more to help people recover. Theres plenty of down time for rest and reflection, and if your spouse loves being near nature, our waterfront location is ideal.

We have a board-certified addiction psychiatrist on staff, Dr. Balta, to treat the medical issues related to addiction. Our staff includes therapists and others who can help your addicted spouse understand the disease of addiction and cope with cravings that can lead to relapse.

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Educate Yourself On Addiction

Understanding why your spouse is addicted can help you be more empathetic. When you communicate from a place of empathy, you get better results. Substance abuse is a chronic disease of the brain. People cant just quit once theyre dependent on drugs or alcohol. Drug addiction and alcoholism change the brain. They also frequently co-occur with mental illness. People with depression, anxiety and other co-occurring disorders may abuse substances to cope with psychiatric symptoms. Alcohol and drug abuse can also bring on psychiatric symptoms. Self-medication is a vicious cycle. These facts dont excuse your loved ones behavior. It doesnt invalidate your feelings of anger and sadness. Those emotions are legitimate reactions. Addiction education serves you by helping you understand how your addict spouse got here and what they need to get better.

What You Can Do Right Now

If you find yourself feeling stuck, there are actions you can take on your half to alleviate the pain. Being the spouse of an addict is not easy. Thats why self-care is crucial during this challenging time. Fortunately, there are many steps that the spouse can take to help themselves. Some of the many options include:

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What Do I Do If My Husband Is Addicted To Porn

Ending a husbands porn addiction is not a small feat. You are right to ask, can a spouse actually help their husband end a porn addiction?

To recover from porn addiction, as any other one for that matter, the person needs to want to change. When the desire to transform exists, there are ways you can help in getting over porn addiction

Set Your Own Boundaries

What to do if your alcoholic husband is being rude to you

Many spouses struggle to set boundaries with their loved ones. Sure, they may try to establish boundaries. However, they often falter to enforce them.

Addicts can be very deceiving. They can manipulate your thoughts. They know how to tell you what you want to hear.

Often, this is not malicious because its a matter of survival. They want you happy and calm. On the same token, they dont want anything getting in the way of them using.

How do you know if its time to set or strengthen your boundaries? Consider these factors:

  • You guilt-trip or nag to get your way
  • You continuously provide advice or solutions
  • You defend for him or her
  • You walk on eggshells in your home
  • You neglect other family members or yourself

Setting boundaries can feel harsh. However, you need to honor your needs. You also need to send a clear message about what you will tolerate.

Boundaries may include:

  • I will not give you money
  • I will not lie or cover for you
  • I will not allow drug-using friends in my home
  • I will not bail you out of jail

You can change or add boundaries at any time. That is your right as an adult. If you need helping setting boundaries, consult with your therapist or support network.

Also Check: Can You Get Addicted To Nicotine

How To Help An Individual Who Is Suffering From Substance Use Disorder

When a family realizes that one of the members drinking problem is probably alcoholism, it is a big step forward in handling the situation. The same is true when a family realizes that a persons drug use is likely an addiction. You may have suggested that they cut back, improve their behavior, not go out to bars as often, and stop spending time with other drug users.

Then you wait to see what happens. When there is no improvement, family members and close friends may begin to realize the seriousness of the problem. The individual is out of control of their drinking or drug use. He or she is likely to be physically and psychologically dependent on the substance and is compelled to drink or use.

There is a fine line between helping an individual and enabling him or her. It is important to avoid helping in a way that makes it easier for him to continue the addictive behavior.

When the person has been given chances to improve on their own and can not do it, it may be time for the family to step in. An addiction rehabilitation program is necessary.

Is Divorce Inevitable When Married To An Addict

Addiction is, without a doubt, one of the greatest challenges for a marriage. The non-addicted spouse is affected by the addiction directly and indirectly.

They have to watch someone they love going through a disastrous downward spiral. Often, they also have to look at how this affects their children.

On top of that, they can be lied to, possibly cheated on, shouted at, possibly physically hurt, and be treated with far less respect than they deserve to be treated with.

Addiction will gradually eat away the trust and the closeness and by being legally bound to the addict, the non-addicted spouse will also be legally bound to share the damage that the addict might cause.

All this has the power to strain the marriage and drain the non-addicted spouses energy and tolerance. And it may be the cause of a divorce.

Not necessarily, though, as to whether the divorce will happen depends on a number of reasons, such as whether the addict is getting a treatment and how successfully, the quality and strength of the relationship prior to the addiction, etc.

Now, if you decide to get a divorce due to drug addiction, you will come across the questions, how to divorce a drug addict and when to divorce an addict.

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Find An Ongoing Support Community

Whether your opioid-addicted spouse chooses to enter treatment or not, you may experience a range of emotions. If your spouse enrolls in a rehab facility, you may feel immense relief. Some spouses also experience bouts of resentment, especially if they are left to tend to household responsibilities.

Whatever your personal situation, you may benefit from seeking ongoing support. Groups like Al-Anon and Nar-Anon offer no-cost meetings in most towns and cities. Additionally, many people benefit from engaging in mindfulness groups, yoga practices, or therapy sessions. These self-care practices can help spouses reduce stress and build a sense of emotional resilience.

Opioid addiction is not a quick fix, and often involves several steps. At Vertava Health Massachusetts, we provide family addiction therapy and follow-up services for spouses and children. These counseling sessions allow families to process their emotions and develop positive coping skills.

The Good News Is That Just As Addiction Can Affect Others In A Negative Way Recovery Can Impact Others Positively A House Living In Recovery Is One Of Transparency

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Trust can, however, be restored with consistency over time. The principles of recovery demand honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness. If your partner is practicing these on a daily basis, it will eventually become evident to you. The good news is that just as addiction can affect others in a negative way, recovery can impact others positively. A house living in recovery is one of transparency.

Does it mean that youre an enabler, and/or have a codependent personality type if youre in a relationship with an addict? Is there work that needs to be done here?

Chances are, yes. While there are situations that develop well into a relationship or come as a complete surprise, the vast majority of people who repeatedly choose addicts as their partners have some unresolved issues of codependency. Often but not always, these are people who grew up with some sort of an addict in their family. If you recognize enabling/codependency in yourself, you may want to consider therapy or support groups like Al-Anon.

Is there a productive way to check in with your partner, to make sure that the recovery is on track, without having to nag or slip into a mother/father role?

Unfortunately, not really. This is the sort of codependence that could end up backfiring. If youre taking care of yourself and the addict is working with a program, a space will naturally open in which you two can connect on a healthy level.

How do you establish healthy boundaries?

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How Substance Abuse Can Affect The Relationship

  • Verbal abuse
  • Financial difficulties
  • Legal conflicts

When somebody is suffering from substance abuse, its almost as if that person isnt even in the drivers seat of their own life. The urges someone has to use drugs tend to interrupt every part of a persons life for those who are married, this disorder tends to take the steering wheel of their shared lives together.

Its not easy being the spouse of an addict. The psychological torment of watching someone you love so dearly be controlled by the influence of drugs hurts more than anything else. Drugs and alcohol have a way of not only impairing ones judgement, but also influencing harmful actions, both physically and psychologically. This tends to be upsetting as it only leads to even more conflict, intensifying a couples circumstances.

Due to the residual effects of substance abuse, treatment should be considered and executed in the most serious of manners. This is especially true for those who have been abused, whether it be physical or psychological. For those who are being abused as a result of addiction, it is imperative that they seek help immediately.

Ask Ammanda: My Husband Is Addicted To Drugs And Has Betrayed My Trust

Ive been with my husband for nearly sixteen years. Married for nearly ten, we have four children together. For the first thirteen years, my husband was the most wonderful husband and father you could ask for. Our relationship was solid. Then three years ago, I found out hed started using cocaine in our home once a month while the children and I were in bed. This was a complete shock to me, as my husband has always been practically teetotal. Having asked him to leave, he broke down and confessed everything: hed tried it once on a work night out and liked it, so looked forward to it as a treat once a month. He went to drug counselling, but they said his occasional use didnt constitute addiction and he claimed he could stop.

Over the next few years, my husband became addicted instead to prescription drugs given to him by the GP for backache. It was obvious he was abusing his medication and it was difficult to tell sometimes which drugs he was actually taking.

My husband has now admitted to everything but says he doesnt know why he did any of these things. He claims that he didnt find any of the women attractive and probably did it because of the hurt I caused him.

Ammanda says…

Ammanda Major is a Relationship Counsellor, Sex Therapist and Head of Clinical Practice at Relate.

If you have a relationship worry you would like some help with, email All communications will respect your anonymity.

  • Talk to a trained counsellor
  • Private and confidential

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Ways To Help A Spouse With Drug Addiction

One of the most challenging experiences in a marriage is dealing with the toll of addiction. Whether the spouse has had long-standing challenges with substance use or whether their challenges have just begun, addiction spares no one in a relationship. Luckily, there are resources available to help your spouse get the help they need. Recovery is not an easy road but is possible.

Though you may feel like your spouse is being reckless and irresponsible by continuing their drug use despite the consequences, understand that addiction is a chronic condition that becomes deeply embedded in the brain. Luckily, with proper support, mentorship, and guidance, your spouse can recover. You, too, should prioritize your emotional, mental, and physical health over the long road towards recovery ahead.

Here are 5 strategies to help your spouse who is struggling with a drug addiction.

Tips For People With Addicted Spouses

Divorcing an alcoholic or addict

Recovery Community

When your partner is away at treatment – and even once they have returned home – its important for you to have a recovery community of your own. You have your own sickness and symptoms. People living with an addicted partner often make excuses or lie to the people around them. Keeping up with the lies and the loneliness is exhausting and isolating. If you can find a couple of trustworthy friends to lean on, then take the leap and open up. True friends will be there to see you through.

Even better, find an Al-Anon or CoDA group. Al-Anon is an anonymous meeting for the loved ones of addicts or alcoholics to get support and advice from one another. CoDA is often helpful for people in a relationship thats messed up by addiction as well. Either fellowship will give you a community that understands what you are going through, along with an outlet for the stress thats associated with being the spouse of an addict. Both offer online zoom meetings, so you dont even have to leave your house to get support! For more information on Al-Anon . More info on CoDA is available here.

Learn About Addiction Recovery

Denial is a classic symptom of addiction. Youve probably spent years trying to ignore the massive problem unfolding right in front of you. However, you should know by now that you cant outrun addiction. Trying to avoid it will only add to your stress and exhaustion. Now is the time to face it head on and educate yourself on addiction as much as possible.

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