Addiction is all-too-common in the world, and unfortunately, it knows no gender or circumstance. Though it’s a terrible thought, there is no guarantee that your spouse won’t at some point fall into addiction. If this happens to you, don’t begin filing for divorce just yet. Hope is not lost. Use these tips to help you cope with your life from here on out.
Take Care of Yourself First
If you’re living with an addict, your life is probably a little out of whack. You probably spend a lot of your time helping your spouse work on defeating the addiction. However, you can’t devote your entire life to this. If you want your marriage to work, you need to take time for yourself. Letting your spouse’s addiction consume your life will not help anyone; it will only make the strain on the relationship worse. Taking time for yourself is the first step towards healing.
Support Your Spouse to an Extent
If your spouse is suffering from an addiction, you should be supportive—if your spouse is genuinely trying to get better. You can make a huge difference in your spouse’s recovery if you’re supportive. If your spouse is sinking deeper and there is truly nothing you can do about it, you may need to take a break from the relationship for a while.
Know the process of recovery and the risks and likelihoods of relapses. Learn about the science of addiction and the triggers associated with relapses. By beginning to understand the obstacles your spouse is facing, you can help him/her heal.
Communication Really Is Key
Keep all lines of communication open during this time. Tell your spouse how you’re feeling, but also be positive. Talk about your goals and your plans to keep those goals. Ask your spouse specific questions to make sure he/she remains honest with you.
Unfortunately, healing cannot happen overnight. The science of addiction is such that recovery requires retraining the brain, which will take time. Recognize that there will most likely be relapses. This does not mean that there is no hope—just that it needs more time before full recovery.
Prepare for Different Outcomes
Though it may be hard to think about, you need to be prepared in case recovery does not work for your spouse. If your spouse becomes abusive to you in any way, or if his/her addiction is ruining you financially, emotionally, or any other way, be prepared to leave.
If your spouse is committed to recovery, be prepared to stick with it. You must be patient and open in communication. It will be extremely difficult for both parties, and you need to be prepared to handle it.
Don’t Place Blame
For a healthy life, avoid placing blame on anyone. Your spouse’s addiction is not your fault, and you should never believe otherwise. There is nothing that you could have done to deserve this. Don’t blame your spouse either. You will be able to lead a happier life if you don’t hold a grudges.
If your spouse’s addiction becomes too much for you and you need help, don’t hesitate to call us. We can offer you the support and counseling you may need to get through this tough time.