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addiction in marriage
12.04.2020

How to Handle Addiction in Your Marriage

The disease of addiction is insidious and pervasive. It is designed to do anything and everything to destroy both the individual directly affected and anyone remotely connected to it. When addiction is occurring within your marriage, you know this to be true. 

Watching your spouse battle drug or alcohol addiction can create a complex blend of several different emotions for you. One day you may feel angry and resentful, while the next day you are empathetic and worried. The emotions that flow through you during this time are each big emotions in their own right. So, when you are constantly going through the ups and downs addiction can bring, your marriage can feel like it is in nothing short of shambles. 

So, what are you supposed to do? Do you file for divorce and leave as soon as possible? Do you stick around and try to encourage treatment? Do you decide to ignore what is happening and move on with life as if this major problem isn’t present in your marriage? All of these questions are the questions many spouses ask themselves when their husband, wife, or partner is hooked on drugs or alcohol. 

The good news here is that there are many things you can do. You do not need to continue to live in a marriage where addiction is running rampant. You have the power to affect positive change regardless of what outcome you want to achieve for you and your spouse. 

How Do You Handle Addiction in Your Marriage?

When in the cycle of active addiction, seeing things clearly is often extremely difficult, making it hard to figure out how to properly handle all the aspects of addiction in your marriage. Not only are you experiencing personal emotional turmoil, but you are also watching someone you have committed your life to struggle as well. The most important first step you can take in deciding how to handle addiction in your marriage is to get help and support for your mental and emotional health. 

Get support

Your first instinct is likely to find a way to get your spouse into treatment. In some cases, it doesn’t take much finagling to get someone to accept help, but in many other cases, the challenge can be significant. So, the most important thing that you can start doing right now is to seek support for yourself. Look up local Al-Anon or Nar-Anon meetings in your community or consider attending meetings online. Within Al-Anon and Nar-Anon meetings, you will have the opportunity to meet with others who have or who are currently sharing similar experiences to yours. You can sit in on meetings and spend time listening to the testimonies and tactics of others or you can join in on the conversation and utilize this resource as an outlet and a place to grow. Your goal in Al-Anon or Nar-Anon is not to figure out how to get your spouse into treatment or how to fix them, but instead, your goal is to address the impacts of addiction on your wellbeing. As you begin incorporating meetings into your life, you can start to empower yourself in your marriage in an effective manner. 

Talk to your spouse

Many people never fully address their spouse’s substance abuse out of fear of what an accusation of addiction might bring. Addiction is no joke — those who struggle with it often become irritable, agitated, and closed off, making it hard for someone to address their spouse with their concerns. But, if you want to take on the elephant in the room, having this conversation is vital. Try to find a time when your spouse is not under the influence (or is not as high as normal) and share your concerns. Do so in a manner where you are speaking in a non-judgemental tone. Be compassionate and empathetic with your spouse. Share with them that you love them and want what is best for them. Encourage reaching out for help and let them know you will be there to support them.

Get educated about addiction 

When addiction is happening with the four walls of your home, it can be anything but easy to see it for the clinical disease that it is. All you may be seeing are the negative effects that your spouse’s addiction is creating within your marriage. Something that can help you tremendously is to spend some time getting educated about addiction as a disease. There are countless reputable resources online that can help you understand the changes that occur within the brain when addiction is present. There are likely local resources available that can show you why your spouse keeps using despite your requests for them not to. Learn why your spouse is behaving in the manner they are and utilize that education to try and separate the addiction from your spouse. When you do this, you can begin to develop a clearer perspective on the state of your marriage.

Hold an intervention

If your spouse is highly resistant to getting treatment, you may want to consider an intervention. You can hire an interventionist to meet with you and your family to develop a plan specific to the needs of your spouse. An intervention occurs when the loved ones of an addicted individual come together and strongly encourage the individual to get professional help while providing ultimatums for if they refuse treatment. Having an interventionist present when approaching your spouse about getting help can be a major benefit, as they have the ability to moderate and guide the intervention in ways that hopefully promote a positive outcome. 

Do You Need Help? Call Us Right Now.

If you are dealing with active addiction in your marriage and need help, reach out to us right now. We can help you get started on making the decisions that will hopefully change your marriage for the better. 

Do not wait. Do not hesitate. Your spouse and your marriage are worth the work. Call us today. We can help.

Listen to Podcasts
Season 3, Episode 31: 29 Years of Recovery w/ Andy V.