Addiction, be it substance or behavioral, is often referred to as a “family disease” as it does not only impact the addicted person, but instead ends up affecting the whole family unit. The emotional side effects felt by the spouse, children and loved ones are devastating and life changing, often leading to separations, divorces and trauma.
Addiction is one of the greatest tests a marriage will face and it is heartbreaking to watch and witness a loved one destroy their life.
Recovery is of fundamental importance for both spouses, family members and for the improvement of the relationship.
If you are married to an addicted person here are five things you can do to help:
Self Care - Take Care of Yourself First
Living with an addicted spouse can be emotionally and physically draining. You won't be able to care and provide help for him / her if you do not take care of your well-being first. Self-care is essential; start taking the focus off of the person and turn it to yourself by setting goals and wishes that brings you joy. Despite having a loved one suffering from addiction, it is still possible to love and care for yourself. Start now!
Understand Addiction is a Disease
Educating yourself on addiction and how it affects the brain, can help you become more empathetic towards the situation. Addiction is a compulsive,chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance,behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects. Understand that people just “can’t quit” and that like any other disease it needs to be treated, with a structured and specific treatment approach. Addiction education will help you to better understand your spouse.
Setting boundaries isn’t the easiest of tasks for the spouse of an addicted person, however you must enforce them for the sake of your marriage. Addicts tend to tests boundaries in order to continue feeding their addiction. You must be consistent with what you do not tolerate and enforce consequences if the boundaries are crossed. Make sure to be unwavering otherwise, once boundaries are crossed and there are no consequences, it sends a message that the behavior is acceptable.
Practice Hard Love
Hard love is understood as love or affection that is expressed in a seemingly unsentimental or harsh way, but that is ultimately for the best of the addicted individual, out of a desire to help the person. Being assertive with someone suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, means being able to stand in a calm and positive way, without being aggressive, making the person suffering from the disease of addiction understand that, what is being done and chosen is for their best and for their recovery.
Don't Isolate & Seek Professional Help.
If your life revolves around your spouse substance abuse, you may find yourself avoiding family outings, friend’s dinner invitations and other social activities, to keep the problem a secret, without realizing that in such way you are indirectly enabling the addiction to continue manifesting. Stop isolating; you can overcome addiction in your marriage, but you need professional support.
Get in touch with an addiction treatment center or rehab in your community and seek for advice. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at +60128854686 / +60197154686