There are few things that can undermine the health and sanctity of a marriage like a drug addiction. If you’re the wife of an addict, you probably spend much of your time worrying about your partner’s well-being and struggling to keep your family intact. You may even take regular actions to prevent the consequences of your husband’s addiction from progressing.
It’s not uncommon for spouses of addicts to call in when their husbands can’t make it to work, clean up their messes, fight their legal battles, and take on additional financial stress. However, the only way to truly help someone who’s addicted is by finding the right options in professional drug treatment. It’s also vital to note that when you’re dealing with addiction, no efforts to help will work until the other party is ready to help themselves.
Although your husband might think and say that he’s got everything under control, failing to get the right support often causes addicts to experience job loss, homelessness, and the loss of their significant others. Moreover, the lack of inhibitions that drug use causes and the fact that an addict’s first priority is always getting high, you have to account for your partner’s:
- Increased likelihood of engaging in high-risk sexual behaviors
- Tendency to lie, steal, or manipulate to either secure drugs or hide drug use
- Increasing denial and inability to see the true magnitude of his actions
These and other signs of drug use in your husband can make life incredibly difficult for him, but they can also make life hard for you. If you’ve got minor children living in the home, you can count on addiction negatively impacting them as well. This makes it important to achieve a delicate balance between helping your husband and helping yourself. In some instances, it may be necessary to detach with love.
Loving detachment, when married to a drug addict, allows spouses to focus on their self-care and on the care of their minor children while ensuring that they’re always available to provide the necessary support when their husbands are ready to accept treatment. At Recovery Bay Center, we’ve got a dynamic men’s rehab program that’s designed to help men address addiction at its source. This gender-specific treatment places men in a comfortable environment that’s filled with like-minded individuals who share similar challenges, fears, hopes, and recovery goals.
How to Help Your Husband With Drug Addiction
For many reasons, admitting that you’re married to a drug addict isn’t easy. Drug addiction is highly stigmatized throughout all areas of society. In fact, the stigmatization of drug addiction is so prevalent that many people feel uncomfortable even asking the question, “How to help my husband with drug addiction?”. However, in order to assist your spouse in successfully achieving recovery, you’ll need to confront his addiction head-on. Living with an addict means that you and everyone else in your household are affected. Most spouses and children of drug addicts are codependent. As a result, they spend much of their time and energy worrying about and caring for their addicted loved ones, rather than focusing on their own needs, self-care, and life goals.
Avoid Enabling Your Husband
Many friends and family members of addicts are also guilty of enabling their loved ones. It is easier to enable someone you care about than it is to let them naturally descend to their personal “rock bottom”. Enabling doesn’t change or prevent an addict’s behaviors. Instead, it merely ensures that things stay exactly as they are. If you’ve been enabling your partner, seeking therapy is a great way to start helping. With therapy, you can learn how to start drawing firm boundaries.
These boundaries will set limits on the types of behaviors that you’re willing to accept, and the different consequences that you’ll leverage when boundaries are crossed. Setting firm boundaries is a great way to encourage your spouse to seek treatment. Often referred to as “tough love”, boundary-setting with addicts creates clear lines that people cannot cross without permanently damaging their relationships.
As the wife of an addict, you have the power to decide when to stop being subjected to verbal or physical abuse, unnecessary financial distress, or continued lack of support in household management and parenting. Setting boundaries is a critical step whenever treatment is offered to an addicted spouse and refused. Without addiction treatment, and without boundaries, unacceptable behaviors will both continue and progress.
The Importance of Self-Care
When you’re married to an addict, you have to make a concerted effort to avoid overlooking yourself. In addition to seeking therapy for addressing codependency and enabling behaviors, consider:
- Joining a support group
- Implementing an effective stress management plan
- Giving yourself permission to start exploring your own passions and pursuing your own goals
Once your enabling behaviors are put to an end, you’ll find that you’ve got far more time and peace of mind for enjoying and enriching your own life. Your efforts in self-care will also set the stage for forgiveness.
Addiction is a disease. Also known as substance use disorder, it is not a problem that people intentionally create in their lives. As your understanding of addiction and its challenges increase, you can assist and support your partner from a much healthier place.
Living with an addict and supporting them in recovery can also mean taking a good look at your own substance use. Being married to an addict and living with the challenges of addiction often causes people to use drugs and alcohol as their own coping tools.
Whether your loved one chooses to accept inpatient treatment or take part in an outpatient program, you’ll want to create a home environment that’s absolutely substance-free, and free of all triggers of temptations. This can mean getting rid of alcohol, locking up or tossing out any unnecessary prescription medications, and dealing with any of your own issues with recreational drug use. These are all efforts that are essential for ensuring that your partner’s recovery isn’t being undermined within the home.
- Identifying and addressing the causes of their addictions
- Taking a holistic approach to promoting physical, emotional, and spiritual health
- Learning new coping skills
- Redefining who they are and who they want to be
If the signs of drug use in your husband have been wreaking havoc on your life, you’re not alone. Our counselors are available to help 24 hours per day. To get your husband the detox support, medication-assisted treatment, and targeted rehab therapies he needs, call us today.