Joining the lives of two people in a marriage usually comes with several blissful moments and some obstacles. Some of these challenges are predictable, but others are not. Addiction is one of the biggest hurdles some couples face. The mental and emotional impact of addiction can take a serious toll on a marriage and create several financial and even legal issues, especially when one spouse is hiding his/her addiction from the other.
There are several resources out there to assist addicts who are seeking treatment. Many of these resources are also available for sober spouses who are watching their loved one suffer and helping the addicted spouse recover. Since there are so many emotions involved, and addiction can be devastatingly life-changing, it’s important to know how you and your spouse can heal from the pain of addiction.
How Addiction Impacts Marriage
Marriage is often a safe space where two people can be their full selves without worrying that they’ll be judged. However, when one spouse has an addiction, it will change the marriage dynamic. As one spouse continues on the destructive path of addiction, the other spouse is left to clean up the financial, emotional, and mental mess that addiction leaves behind. The sober partner often battles with resentment while trying to love their partner and/or convince them to get help. This can cause intense conflict within the marriage.
There are also tangible losses that come with addiction, such as dishonesty, stealing, job loss, changes in finances, legal issues, and infidelity. The sober spouse often feels most of the impact of these negative changes, since they are often trying to hide their partner’s addiction from their children, other family members, friends, and professional associates.
Spouses shouldn’t keep secrets from each other, but the addicted spouse may start hiding things from their partner in order to support their habit. Addiction turns spouses against one another and creates confusion and chaos in a marriage that used to be happy and secure.
Recovering From a Spouse’s Addiction
After the sober husband or wife has watched their spouse struggle with addiction and face the consequences of this terrible disease, it can be difficult to reconcile the relationship. However, it is possible to find healing and restore the marriage.
If your spouse is an addict, you should get professional help for yourself and your spouse as soon as possible. A counselor or therapist can offer you a scheduled appointment so you can express your feelings in a safe environment. During counseling sessions, you may be able to articulate emotions that have previously fallen on deaf ears. A therapist can provide you with techniques to handle the unstable emotions and difficult situations that come with living with a spouse who is addicted or in recovery.
Establish a Network of Support
About 23 million Americans are living in recovery from addiction. This means that there are millions of ex-spouses and current spouses who have lived through a spouse’s addiction. Going to Nar-Anon and Al-Anon meetings provide a safe space for you to share your feelings and connect with people who can empathize with you. You can also use the stories you hear at these meetings to assist you in the recovery process.
Don’t Forget to Do Things You Love
Whether your husband or wife is still dealing with addiction or in recovery, it’s essential for you to do the things you enjoy. When a spouse is in the throes of addiction, it’s easy for the sober partner to put their life on hold to help their partner. However, this will only cause resentment in the future. As the sober spouse, when you make time to do things you love, you’ll find power and confidence while reducing stress.
Focus On Your Recovery
Recovery isn’t only crucial for the addicted spouse, it’s also necessary for the sober partner. As an addicted husband or wife is going through rehab, the sober spouse should learn about how disease affect the brain and emotions. It’s also important to meditate, attend support meetings, and talk to people who have lived through a spouse’s addiction and get a mentor. Find methods that work best for you and make sure you commit to practicing healing exercises daily.
When you’re ready to find healthy ways to overcome your addiction or work through the effects of dealing with a spouse who is an addict, we’re here to help. Contact us today at 833-610-1174 to speak with one of our counselors.