As the spouse of an addict, you have probably had to deal with your loved one’s substance abuse in one manner or another. However, learning what you can do to deal with your spouse’s addiction is just as important as your spouse realizing they need substance abuse treatment. Addiction is a complicated disease that affects more than just the addict.
How Addiction Affects Your Relationship As The Spouse Of An Addict
The dynamics of your relationship with your spouse will change due to their addiction. Initially, they may seem full of energy and want to do fun and exciting things. This can be very enticing for you, especially if your relationship has become stagnant.
Yet, this change in your spouse will be short-lived. Eventually, their substance of choice will become their primary focus. If you do not drink or use drugs with them, they can start to pull away from you.
Other things that a spouse of an addict can have to deal with as the disease of addiction worsens could include:
- Physical Assault
- Verbal Abuse
- Sexual Assault
- Financial Problems
- Loss of Income
- Loss of Home
- Enabling Their Spouse’s Addiction
- Becoming Addicted Themselves
It is essential to remember addiction can be destructive and complicate matters. The important thing is to ensure you take care of yourself and avoid becoming an addict yourself.
Common Signs of Substance Abuse
If you are worried that your spouse is abusing alcohol or drugs, take the time to know what common signs to look for, such as:
- Staying out late or not coming home for several days.
- Associating with new friends that like to drink and use drugs.
- Encouraging you to join in and drink and use drugs with them.
- Engaging in risky behaviors, such as having unprotected sex with multiple partners.
- Allowing “strangers” to move into your home that clearly have a substance abuse problem.
- Noticing the money in your joint bank accounts disappear.
- Noticing all your joint credit cards are maxed out.
- Your spouse is late to work or taking an excessive amount of time off.
- Your spouse has lost their job.
- You find drugs and drug paraphernalia in your home or in your spouse’s clothing/belongings.
- There is a lack of personal hygiene, like wearing the same clothes for days or not bathing.
What Should I Do Being The Spouse Of An Addict?
As the spouse of an addict, you need to do what is best for you and your children. Understandably, you want to help your spouse with their addiction. To do that, you need to:
You need to learn more about addiction to better understand this disease and how it affects your spouse.
You need to learn about enabling behaviors and how you could be enabling your spouse’s addiction. Once you do, you need to take steps to stop enabling it.
Stage an Intervention
You can get help from an interventionist to stage an intervention to make your spouse aware of how substance abuse is affecting your relationship and family.
Take Care of Your Needs
You need to put your needs first and foremost, such as:
- Move money from joint accounts into your account.
- Ensure you have money to pay bills and buy food.
- Cancel joint credit cards.
Join a Support Group
There are support groups for spouses of addicts you can join. These groups can provide addiction support and give you insight into what other spouses are doing to address their spouse’s addiction. Buckhead Behavioral Health offers virtual support groups.
What If My Spouse Refuses to Admit They Have an Addiction?
As the spouse of an addict, you need to be prepared that your spouse can refuse to admit they have a substance abuse problem. Instead, they may try to downplay its seriousness or shift blame and say you are making more of a big deal out of it than it is.
Furthermore, even after staging an intervention, they can still deny they need help. It is better to be prepared for this to decide what course of action is best for you and your family. It would help if you also remembered that it could take time for your spouse to fully accept they are an addict.
As such, some of your options to consider include:
If you truly want to save your relationship, then be patient with your spouse. However, ensure you do things that do not enable their addiction and remember to put your needs first.
Don’t put your life and your kids’ lives on hold because of your spouse’s addiction. Distance yourself by spending time with your friends and other family members. Plan vacations with your kids. Do the things that you and your kids enjoy.
Let Them Hit Rock Bottom
Sometimes the only way an addict will admit they need help is when they hit rock bottom. This could involve losing their job, not having any money for drugs or alcohol, or getting into legal problems. Regardless of what they do, remember to let them face the consequences of their addiction.
If you find it too challenging to be around your spouse and their substance abuse, move out. After all, you need to do what is best for you and your family.
File for Divorce
If you are legally married, sometimes filing for divorce can be the wake-up call for your spouse to admit they have an addiction.
Get Help If You Are A Spouse Of An Addiction With Addiction Treatment
When you are looking for support as a spouse of an addict, help is closer than you think at Buckhead Behavioral Health in Atlanta. We can help educate you about addiction, enabling, and connect you with a spouse support group.
Furthermore, we can assist with staging an intervention and provide customized substance abuse treatment options when your spouse is ready to admit they have an addiction. For further information about our support for spouses of addicts and addiction treatment programs, please feel free to contact us by calling (470) 460-6962 today!