Does your spouse have an addiction? Wondering what you can do for them?

If your spouse is addicted to a substance such as alcohol or prescription drugs, then they may have asked you to help them overcome their struggles. They might expect you to keep the reality of their addiction secret. After all, addiction can be damaging in many ways — not just to relationships and finances, but to reputations, too.

Unfortunately, if this sounds familiar, your spouse is asking you to enable their addiction. When you keep your spouse’s problem a secret and don’t seek outside help, you’re depriving yourself of the support you need. While you want to be a loving spouse, you can’t own the responsibility alongside them. Overcoming addiction is your spouse’s responsibility alone.

Wondering what you can do to help your spouse through an addiction? Read on.

Realize Addiction is Bigger Than Both of You

If your spouse has an addiction, the situation is already out of your hands. Their body and mind are attached to a substance and its effects. While you want to help them, this problem is beyond your capacity.

Addiction’s physiological cravings and emotional attachments are incredibly overwhelming. Put bluntly, they’re unstoppable without outside professional support. The best help you can provide for them is getting them to an appropriate professional who is trained in addiction recovery.

Seek Appropriate Professional Support

Whether you search online, ask your doctor or seek referrals from a trusted friend, you need reliable resources to point you toward the right professional help for your spouse. Most communities have great 12-step programs nearby that focus on drug and alcohol addiction recovery. Addicts are then assigned accountability partners, in addition to their regular group meetings, who help come alongside them during and after their recovery.

Depending on the severity of your spouse’s addiction, they may need to enter a short- or long-term treatment facility that will assist them with recovery. Whatever you decide, your spouse needs to be part of a system that understands the unique struggles and challenges associated with addiction. Their recovery is not your job. You won’t be able to handle this on your own, and neither will they.

Don’t Carry This Burden Alone

If your spouse has an addiction problem, you can’t overlook the importance of getting support for yourself. Being in a close relationship with someone who is addicted can impact your mental, emotional, and psychological health. While they’re focusing on addiction recovery, you owe it to yourself to concentrate on your own wellbeing.

This is especially true if you share children. Addiction recovery is a particularly vulnerable time for the entire family. You’ll need support for yourself so you can continue to be there for your kids. And if your kids have witnessed their other parent’s drug or alcohol use, they may also need mental health support during this time.

Focus On Your Health

As you focus on your own wellbeing, becoming a healthier person will help you in every area of your life. Our book, Healthy Me, Healthy Us, centres around emotional, psychological, and spiritual health. Make yourself a priority as your spouse heals.

Used with permission. Originally published on symbis.com.
Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash.