Watching a loved one deal with addiction is one of the hardest things anyone can go through. When you love someone so sincerely, you feel their pain, you struggle with them and you want, more than anything, for them to find a way to get out of the dark place they’re in. When two people are so deeply connected, it can be hard to deal with something as difficult as an addiction; however, there are methods that can help bring solutions to the table that can potentially save lives.
Approach the situation with compassion
If your spouse has hit rock bottom with their addiction and you feel that it’s time to face the issue head-on, consider a caring approach rather than a hostile one. Loving someone who has an addiction can be incredibly frustrating at times. While it’s sometimes impossible to ignore deep-rooted resentment and anger towards the addiction, it’s important to remember that your loved one needs medical help for a disease and their behavior is caused by the control addiction as over them. In the past, people have sought out confrontational interventions in order to bully a loved one into seeking treatment. Experts have found that this method is not as effective as a more loving approach. Showing real concern and support can get better results than being argumentative and pushy. Most people dealing with substance use disorder (SUD) greatly fear what their lives will be like without their substance misuse. Offering gentle support can help guide them to seek the treatment they need.
Push through denial
It’s difficult for many people dealing with addiction to accept their circumstances. Some may not realize how severe their condition has become, insisting they can stop any time they want. If they refuse to acknowledge their drug misuse, even with overwhelming evidence of the destruction it has caused in your partnership, it’s time to cease helping them maintain their denial. It’s common for spouses to help each other “keep up appearances”, but if an addiction has gotten so out of control that it’s hurting you and other members of your family, it’s time to allow the person dealing with addiction to show their reality to the world. Starting with a small statement of withdrawing any enabling support, the person dealing with SUD will have to deal with their addiction head-on. Previously, they had a partner they knew they could rely on, which was helpful in creating excuses for their drug misuse or behaviors. By withdrawing any enabling support, they cannot be distracted or feel that their partner will continue to tolerate and help conceal the destruction of their addiction.
Create a bottom line
Sharing a special bond with your spouse helps your personalities adapt to each other. When one person in the relationship is dealing with addiction, they may fall into a manipulation and codependency cycle with their partner. Often times, people want to help someone deal with addiction but inadvertently end up hurting them. This is why it’s important to only help those dealing with addiction on your terms, not theirs. If you set a bottom line, stick to it, no matter how much the bargain or plead. Just remember, those manipulation tactics is the addiction speaking. Only offer help that assists them in getting sober or into treatment. This includes not giving them money, rides to places, or anything that may be used as collateral for buying drugs. Often times, when someone is focused on feeding their addiction, it’s their first priority. Giving someone with addiction disease any financial assistance or help in any way that can go towards drug use is hurting them, not helping. Be prepared to stand your ground, even if it hurts. Continue to extend help in order to move them closer to accepting treatment.
Move from acceptance to action
Once you’re able to help your spouse acknowledge that they are truly experiencing a drug problem, it’s time to persuade them towards taking action with treatment. This step is trickier than it seems in most cases. For people dealing with addiction, the thought of their lives during and after treatment can be terrifying because they have not yet built the skills needed to cope with the emotions and thoughts that have been driving them to drug misuse. Helping your spouse get over their fears with loving support is the best way to help ensure them that treatment is the best decision. Sit down and research treatment options together to help ease anxiety. Come up with a plan so your spouse feels like they have an active role in taking the first step towards getting better. Interventions, if necessary, should be considered. Both formal and informal interventions can be arranged, along with a professional, who will have a treatment plan set and prepared to present to your partner needing treatment.
Prepare for recovery
When your spouse enters treatment, you will also be undergoing your own transformation as well. Treatment facilities focus on whole family recovery by offering therapies where loved ones can be involved in the treatment process. There is a lot of work you have to be willing and prepared to do in order to ensure long-lasting recovery for your partner. Not only will these steps help ensure recovery, they will also help maintain a healthy and strong relationship amid all of the drastic changes that will occur. Recovery will become a team effort with potentially amazing results that can reinvigorate a connection of love that has previously been ravaged by addiction.
Deciding to take the first step towards helping your spouse seek drug treatment is not an easy one, but it is a very important one. Bringing in professional help can help salvage a relationship that has been affected by addiction while also healing all people involved. With the right tools, successful and long-lasting recovery can be achieved.