How to Cope as a Spouse of an Addict
Supporting your spouse or partner through their addiction recovery can be difficult, it’s important to focus on yourself as well. Here are some tips to help navigate your relationship with someone dealing with substance abuse.
Every year, the US spends $700 billion on drug abuse through healthcare costs, legal costs, criminal justice costs, lost work productivity and more.
But, if you’re the spouse of an addict – what is it costing your health and mental wellbeing?
If a loved one is struggling with an addiction, it’s likely to be consuming your world. However, it’s important to reflect and focus on yourself too.
In this article, we’ll go through some of the ways in which you can try to take some time to cope as a spouse of an addict.
1. Don’t Live in Denial
If your spouse is living in denial, it doesn’t mean you have to be. If you think they have a problem, start reading.
By reading books and as many articles or blogs as you can about your spouse’s addiction, you can learn how to support them in an effective way.
Rather than worrying about what to do, you’ll have answers. You may also want to consider speaking to your doctor to get some actionable advice.
Facing your partner’s addiction will enable you to learn how to help them deal with it. Then, you can begin working on your own health and wellbeing.
Finally, you will be able to begin fixing the negative ways their addiction effects your relationship and mental health. But, this process will take time.
2. Set Boundaries with Your Loved One
Are you enabling your partner to continue with their addiction? By setting boundaries, you can make sure your home is a safe space.
Take control back of your home and help them recover too. Such boundaries can include no drink or drugs in the house, near you or near children. No lying or covering for your spouse if they get into trouble.
By effectively communicating where your boundaries lie, your spouse will be held responsible for their actions. Being firm can be difficult, but it’s necessary.
Examples of Enabling Behavior to Avoid
If you’ve read books or articles about living with an addict, you’ll definitely have come across the term “enabling”. But what are some examples?
- Going to a bar with your loved one because you’re worried about them going alone and not being able to get home.
- Lying to your friends, children or family for your partner or to hide their behavior.
- Lending your partner money whenever they ask for it.
Essentially, doing anything to enable your partner to continue living in denial and avoiding facing up to their problems can damage both of you in the long term.
3. Find a Support Network
This could be a group in your local town or city specifically for people whose partners are addicts. Consider groups such as Recovering Couples Anonymous.
Online support networks are also a great way to get some insight into how others in your situation cope.
If you’ve already searched for such a group and one doesn’t exist in your local area, speak to someone else that you’re close to.
By speaking to a friend or family member, they can help shed some perspective on the situation and give you useful advice.
4. Get Out of the House
If you’re the main caregiver in your household then it can be hard to make new friends and pursue a hobby.
But, to cope with living with an addict, you should give yourself some time to relax, decompress and enjoy life. Consider trying meditation or yoga classes, join a hiking or sports group or maybe go to an art class.
If you aren’t close to anyone in your town, then go out and meet new friends. By getting out of the house and going to a class, you’ll be able to focus on something else for a few hours.
5. There’s NO Shame in Seeking Professional Help
You don’t need to carry all of the problems in your marriage on your shoulders. Reach out to a professional who can help you deal with the situation better.
Coping as the spouse or partner of an addict can be overwhelming and a professional will be the best person to give both of you counseling and help.
Although you’ll likely be attending sessions with your partner, it’s also a good idea to attend sessions alone.
Behavioral couples therapy and emotionally focused therapy are just two ways in which you can help fix your relationship with your partner.
6. Focus on Your Health – Are you Eating Well?
It can be easy to forget to eat healthily at the best of times. But, when we’re stressed, eating well becomes seemingly unnecessary.
However, it’s been proven that eating well can drastically improve the way we cope with stress and difficult situations.
If you have children with your partner, it’s important to focus on them and make sure they’re still eating well.
You should also ensure that you’re drinking the daily recommended amount of water. Such small measures can drastically help when you’re feeling troubled.
7. Can’t Cope Anymore? You Have the Right to Leave
If a partner becomes emotionally or physically abusive or violent towards you, your children or pets, you should leave immediately.
You should also leave if your partner is unfaithful, uses drugs openly in your home and around your children or brings home strangers.
Of course, this can feel more easily said than done but it is within your best interests to get out of the home as soon as possible.
There are many organizations which you can turn to if your family or friends are not able to help.
Moving out does not need to end your relationship completely if this is your major concern. But, it will give your partner a wake-up call.
People can change with the right help. But, this won’t be an easy process and will take time.
Your partner may need your help and the best way for you to do this may be from afar. Look after your own and your children’s needs before your partners.
Being the Spouse of an Addict is Hard – You’re Not Alone
There are many different program options available to you and your partner which can do wonders for their addiction and your relationship.
As the spouse of an addict, you don’t need to suffer alone. Our testimonials prove how effective treatment can be.
If you’re still struggling to know how to help your spouse, get in contact to find out more.