"I have an addicted husband, and I'm honestly not sure what to do about it."
"I can remember the first night he came home after a night of binge drinking. We both laughed about how drunk he was. He slept it off, and he had a hangover the next day. After that, he was fine. I didn't really think too much of it until it happened again. And then again and again. After some time, I started to notice it was becoming a habit. Before long, binge drinking was how he was spending his weekends.
"After a while, it wasn't enough for him to be an alcoholic. He started taking prescription drugs too. When those ran out, he turned to heroin. Suddenly, I found myself married to an alcoholic and a heroin addict. I couldn't figure out how I allowed my life to turn into this.
"I'm still struggling. He gets violent sometimes, and I'm worried about my safety. I'm worried about my kids' safety too. I just don't know what to do. I feel trapped."
You may know that you don't like your husband's substance abuse. However, you're not entirely sure that you're dealing with an addiction. This is really pretty common. It's not always easy to decipher between drug and alcohol addiction and alcohol and drug abuse. If this is the situation you're in, it's good to know the difference.
The person doesn't go through withdrawal symptoms when the substances are stopped. If he stopped using tomorrow for the rest of his life, it would have no negative impact at all. An addiction is much different. With addiction, addicts do feel compelled to use. When they stop using, they go through withdrawal. They have cravings for their substances of choice.
Some common signs of alcoholism and drug addiction include:
Have you noticed any of these behaviors? If you have, there is probably an addiction present. If you're still not sure, taking a family member addiction quiz can be very helpful.
Many wives and spouses wonder if they should think about leaving their addicted husbands. Obviously, this is a decision that you will need to make for yourself. However, there are some instances in which you may want to consider leaving. These include:
Making the decision to leave isn't easy. However, if you're in danger, you should leave. It might actually be the one thing that causes your husband to see the damage being done.
Spouses and wives often think that they're helping their husbands when they're enabling. The last thing you want to do is to allow the addiction to continue on. Maybe you've been doing some of the following:
All of these are great examples of enabling behaviors. If you're doing any of these, it's time to stop now. In order to do that, you need to set some clear boundaries.
Setting boundaries will involve having a conversation with your husband. He needs to know that things are going to change. This is going to be a hard discussion to have, but it must be done. Keep in mind that he will try to talk you out of it. He may tell you that the situation really isn't all that bad. He may promise to change in a week, a month, or a year. No matter what, you need to stand firm. Let him know what he can expect from you, going forward.
Let them know what's been happening, and what you're going to change. Ask them to come to you and talk with you about how things are going.
Right now, your primary concern is probably your husband. Because of this, you're probably not taking good care of yourself. It is so important for you to care for yourself during this time. You can do this in a few different ways.
This is a very difficult time that you're going through. You need to be the best you can be for your family.
At some point, you should attempt to talk with your husband about addiction treatment. However, you should only talk with him alone if you feel it's safe. If you think he may become violent if you bring it up, it's best not to. Or, you may want to bring along a friend to be there with you.
It will be helpful if you know a little bit about what he can expect with drug treatment or alcohol treatment. This might help to put his mind at ease. Let him know that he will probably be in an inpatient facility. He will be treated for any co-occurring disorders, which might have led to his addiction. Programs usually last around 30 days and they involve counseling and group therapy.
You should know that he will probably be resistant. If he is, there is another option.
If your husband refuses to go to addiction treatment, there is another option. You can choose to have an intervention. Intervention services are available to you through substance abuse treatment programs. It is a meeting that involves you, your husband, other friends and family and an interventionist. The interventionist will talk with you ahead of time, and all of the participants, if possible. You'll learn what you should say, and what boundaries you need to put in place. This will encourage your husband to agree to treatment.
You'll take turns talking, and at the end, he'll be given the opportunity to get help. He'll need to make a decision right away. Most people do agree to treatment following an intervention.
As the wife or spouse of an addicted husband, the situation you're in right now feels hopeless. You spend most of your days worrying about whether he'll be OK. He may spend countless hours out at night, leaving you to be concerned about him. Right now, your life is nothing like you thought it would be when you got married. Fortunately, there is hope for you and for your husband.
Drug and alcohol rehab can change everything for your family. It might take some planning to get your husband to agree to it, but it will be so worth it.
Here at Northpoint Washington, we take the time to get to know our patients. Our goal is to help them get the addiction recovery they need. This involves putting together individual treatment plans that address their specific needs. If there are any underlying issues behind the addiction, we will treat those as well. Our methods have proven to be successful. We've helped so many spouses go through this process with their husband successfully. It would be a privilege to help you as well.