Addiction Can Take a Toll on Your Relationship
Addiction can destroy lives, including those who have no substance abuse disorders. Spouses are often innocent bystanders to the wrath of substance abuse. If your marriage is strained due to issues of addiction, it’s important to seek help for both your relationship and the person suffering from addiction.
Sometimes a separation or divorce can be the best route to health and safety for both parties, but it’s also important to separate the negative behaviors of an addict from their potential if made well through treatment and recovery. It’s a long road, but there is help along the way, no matter what turn you take. Here are some tips on how to navigate this trying process.
Spousal addiction is devastating
If you’re going through the devastating ordeal of spousal addiction, you likely feel helpless. But you should know that you are far from alone. Addiction is everywhere. Men and women from every walk of life and economic background deal with addiction every day. It’s a pervasive problem in our society, and it affects relationships profoundly. It’s little comfort merely to know that others are similarly burdened, but the widespread nature of the problem means that there widely available resources to combat addiction.
Accompanying behaviours of addiction hurt the relationship
Addiction brings a slew of negative behaviors into a relationship. Substance abuse is in and of itself a negative action, but other accompanying behaviors could be dangerous and detrimental to the relationship. Incidents of domestic violence, trust issues in the relationship being broken and your spouse’s irresponsible or embarrassing behavior while under the influence of substances. These negative behaviors often harm family members and spouses and can drive relationships past the breaking point.
In fact, when we think of the common sources of stress in a relationship, they usually are trust and money issues. Adding an addiction into that mix only amplifies the negative results. Addicts likely spend money that they don’t have on substances, miss work and potentially lose their jobs because of intoxication and other bad behavior. And then you have trust issues that spring from their behavior while they are under the influence.
Sometimes separation and divorce may be the only option
If the combination of lack of trust and negative behaviors become too much for a spouse to bear, separation and divorce may be the only reasonable option. If considering leaving the substance abuser, spouses should carefully consider their actions, ideally after speaking with counselors and legal counsel. Some substance abuse and behavioral professionals believe that the threat of divorce is wholly ineffective in getting an addict to change their ways. So if the goal is to shock the addict into rethinking their behavior, you may not fully understand the nature of addiction.
Consider treatment options
If you decide to try to stick with the relationship, fortunately, there are treatment options available that are effective. Treatment is, however, not a simple route. It requires hard work on the part of the person suffering from addiction and their spouse. It includes one-on-one counseling intervention and post-treatment. Treatment often has to consider more than just the addiction, but a holistic approach to solving the underlying issues that fostered the condition. In short, it’s not always as simple as putting down a drink or drug.
Addiction has a devastating effect on marriages and family. Sometimes, the person suffering may be dangerous to others, necessitating separation. In other cases, where a spouse can safely commit to helping recovery, treatment options exist that can address underlying causes.
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