Many people expect a long-term relationship to be a fulfilling experience that helps them grow into better people. Romantic relationships require a commitment to one’s partner and the ability to show that partner support and love no matter what. Some situations can drastically change your relationship for the worse, and one of these is addiction. Addiction can be a harsh and brutal wake-up call for a spouse of an addict.
Being the spouse of an addict can be extremely stressful and complicated. While it may be challenging, it’s essential to be honest with yourself and your spouse at all times. Usually, the best course of action when there is trouble in a relationship or marriage is to reach out for professional help. If this sounds familiar, you can reach out to a facility like Phoenix Rising Recovery to get the best treatment available for you or your spouse. Our addiction treatment services can help your spouse, while our family therapy can help you address issues within your relationship.
How Does Addiction Affect a Relationship?
As the spouse of an addict, it doesn’t take long for you to see the stressful tension and problems that can arise with drug addiction. Substance abuse affects both people in a relationship. Being married to an addict can be complicated and painful. While the person on drugs suffers in their way, the spouse of an addict can experience mental distress and other problems as well.
A few problems that may emerge within a relationship with an addict include:
- Financial troubles
- Verbal, physical, or even sexual abuse
- Frequent conflict
- Anger and resentment
- Legal issues including child custody or drug use
- Depression, loneliness, and other adverse mental health problems
- The spouse of an addict might turn to drugs or alcohol to cope
In addition, alcohol and drugs can create a household of resentment, anger, and impaired judgment, among other problems. In severe cases, drug abuse and drinking can escalate to physical, mental, or sexual abuse. It’s also important to know when to get emergency help (such as legal charges and other consequences). As the spouse of an addict, if you ever feel that you are in danger, seek immediate help from your local authorities.
What is Enabling?
Offering unconditional support before, during, and after a spouse’s addiction treatment is essential for recovery. For instance, as the spouse of an addict, you should remain supportive and focused on the end goal–-sobriety. The process can be grueling and exhausting, but a life free of addiction can be the key to happiness and a much better life for you and your loved one.
It is imperative that you aren’t unintentionally enabling your partner to continue using substances. Enabling a person occurs when you allow a person to continue using without consequences. Unfortunately, enabling behaviors can occur even when a person has the best intentions.
Examples of enabling behaviors include:
- Picking up the responsibilities of a loved one who is using drugs
- Giving up your own needs and desires to help someone else
- Making excuses or even taking the blame for a loved one who’s using
- Allowing physical, emotional, and sexual abuse to occur (to yourself or another family member)
- Letting them borrow money or use the money for drugs or alcohol
- Ignoring or avoiding the problem
Setting boundaries and being honest with your partner is essential to avoiding enabling them to continue their drug use.
What is Codependency?
Codependency can be dangerous in relationships where you are the spouse of an addict. This occurs in a relationship where a partner has intense physical and emotional needs. In turn, the other partner spends much of their time catering to these needs. This combination creates an unbalanced and dysfunctional relationship between the pair.
In codependent relationships, a person can be enabled to continue using drugs or alcohol, leading to worsening issues in the relationship. Being in a codependent relationship with an addict can be toxic and destructive. Therefore, it’s essential to know the signs of codependency.
Codependent behavior can include some of the following traits:
- A blurred line between love and pity
- Doing much more than one’s fair share of responsibilities
- The intense need for recognition and approval
- Feeling hurt if a person doesn’t recognize one’s efforts
- A significant sense of responsibility for other people’s actions
- Highly dependent on relationships (going out of their way to keep a relationship and avoid being abandoned)
- Putting too much effort and time into the relationship (for the other person)
How You Can Help Yourself As A Spouse Of An Addict
As painful as it can be to be the spouse of an addict, there are things that individuals and their partners can do today to help the situation. Being the spouse of an addict is not an easy journey, but addressing the issue is essential for a happier and better life. By acknowledging the problem, you can work through various steps to help yourself and your spouse with an addiction.
Practice a Healthy Routine
Being married to an addict can cause many issues for a person’s mind and body. As a result, it can be tough to focus on your own wants and needs within the relationship. In these cases, being self-aware is key to success. One of the best things a spouse of an addict can do is practice healthy and productive activities. No matter how busy you or your spouse may be, you can practice healthy habits whenever possible.
Being the spouse of an addict can end up taking away a lot of your energy and time for yourself. Some healthy habits to bring into your routine for a clearer and more focused mind include:
- Exercise when you can (jog, go to the gym, walk, swim, etc.)
- Eat healthy meals
- Practice good sleep habits
- Drink a lot of water (stay hydrated)
- Practice mindfulness for yourself and your spouse
- Pick up hobbies or interests you enjoy
- Practice holistic and spiritual techniques
- Attend support groups or therapy
With anything in life, it’s important to stick closely to a routine and not let it become forgotten. Practicing healthy habits has been proven to improve people’s quality of life. These habits can be great ways to refresh your mind and body. Lastly, healthy activities can even become ways to bond with loved ones in a better way.
Don’t Play the Blame Game
Unfortunately, the blame for a spouse’s addiction is passed back and forth within the family. Addicts may blame their spouses for their addictions, and in turn, the spouses may blame their addicted partners for using substances in the first place. The blame can cycle endlessly without solving anything.
It’s important to avoid playing the blame game and instead have honest and productive conversations. Open and honest communication is crucial to a healthy marriage. Even if stress and emotions run high, focus on working together to solve problems rather than looking for someone to blame.
Set Boundaries and Stick to Them
Being married to an addict can be a bumpy and unpredictable road. One essential way to avoid enabling a partner is to set boundaries. It is best to set boundaries and be consistent with consequences when boundaries are crossed. For instance, someone can have consequences for a person’s actions and decide what’s tolerable for both of you. Drugs can rewire how a person thinks and acts; however, don’t let this change your perception of what matters most.
Treatment Options When Your Spouse is an Addict
Fortunately, there are many addiction treatment options available for your spouse. No matter how bad an addiction may appear to be, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Recovery centers like Phoenix Rising offer many individualized and specialized forms of addiction treatment.
Talk with your spouse about the possible treatment options and choose one that’s right for you:
- Quality outpatient and intensive outpatient programs
- Partial hospitalization programs (PHP)
- Individual therapy with qualified professionals
- Group therapy for both men and women
Treatment for an Addicted Spouse in Palm Desert, CA
As the spouse of an addict, it’s vital to support your partner to lead a healthy life while also caring for yourself. Phoenix Rising Recovery of Palm Desert, California is here for addicts, spouses, and families to recover together. Contact us today to learn more about treatment and rise above addiction.