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My Spouse is an Addict – What Can I Do?

I Have an Addicted Spouse - How Should I Handle This?

When I found out my spouse was addicted to drugs, that was when everything changed in our house.

Addiction and Your Spouse

"He had been doing a really good job of hiding it for a long time. I happened to come across his stash of heroin in his dresser drawer one day. When I saw it, my heart sank. Alongside it were needles, syringes and other paraphernalia. Suddenly, so much of what I had been going through over the last several months made sense. I had been worried that he had a mistress. Really, his "mistress" was heroin.

"I didn't know what to do. I needed to let him know that I knew, but I wasn't sure how he would react. I expected that he might become violent if he knew I was going to try to stop him from using. Honestly, I was terrified of what was to come.

"This feeling isn't something that I would wish on my worst enemy. It's terrible to discover that your spouse has an addiction. I've never felt so paralyzed before, or unsure of myself. If only I had known then what I know now."

Signs of Alcoholism or Drug Addiction in Your Marriage

It's not always easy to tell if your spouse is an alcoholic or an addict. Sometimes the signs are easy to see, and sometimes they're more difficult to see. Every person is different, as far as how they handle addictions. You may be in a position where you've noticed that something is wrong. However, you're just not sure if it's because of substance abuse.

You may want to consider taking a quiz that will ask you questions about your spouse's behavior.

This quiz is very thorough, and if there is an addiction present, it can help you see that. You could also look for a number of different signs. Some of these are:

  • Noticing that money has been disappearing and there is no explanation for it
  • Finding drugs, drug paraphernalia, or empty alcohol bottles around the house
  • Spending a lot of time with friends without you there too
  • Breaking promises to you that involve drinking or using drugs
  • Not being able to stop using once he or she has started
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Putting your children's lives at risk due to drug or alcohol use
  • Spending a lot of time away from home, but with no real reason
  • Having problems holding down a steady job
  • Experiencing health problems, such as liver issues or digestive problems

You may also notice some significant changes in your spouse's personality if he or she is using. Someone who was once pretty happy can suddenly start having violent mood swings.

When your spouse has an addiction, it puts such a burden on you. Not only are you worried about them, but the responsibilities of home life all fall on you. It's almost as though you've become a single mom or a single dad. It is such a hard thing to deal with.

If you've noticed any of the above happening with your spouse, an addiction is probably the reason.

Should You Leave an Addicted Spouse?

This is such a difficult question to answer. Many people wonder if they should leave an addicted spouse. Your answer to this question might be different from someone else's. You have to decide for yourself where the boundaries are in your marriage.

It's also important for you to remember that your marriage is a legal, binding contract. If your spouse is spending a lot of money on credit cards to fund their habit, this falls on you.

You're the individual who will be called if your spouse is arrested. These are important things to consider.

Of course, you also need to think about your safety and the safety of your children. There are some situations which might cause you to think about moving out, at least temporarily. These might include:

  • If your spouse becomes violent. Any type of violence is a sign that it's time for you to leave. Violence is never OK, and it's not something you should have to put up with in your own home.
  • If your spouse begins emotionally abusing you or your children. Emotional abuse hurts, and sadly, it's quite common among addicts. Your children don't need to hear those ugly words being spoken to them or to you. It will leave scars on them just like physical abuse does.
  • If your spouse cheats on you. Sometimes addicted spouses will use the excuse that they can't remember what happened. They'll also try to convince their partners that it only happened once, and wasn't a big deal. Infidelity is a big deal. If your spouse has been unfaithful, it's time for you to leave.
  • Drug abuse in the home. Even though your spouse is an addict, he or she should never be using at home. Your children should have to be exposed to that behavior.
  • Finding strangers in your home. When your spouse has invited strange people to spend the night, that's when you draw the line. It's frightening to think of your children being in the same house as others who are drug or high. You have to think of yours and your children's safety in this situation.
  • If you ever feel as though you're not safe. Maybe you're worried that your spouse stole money from someone. You may be concerned about drug dealers at your house. If you're worried about your safety, it's best to leave temporarily.

When you first married your husband or wife, you never once thought of leaving. Thinking about it now has probably broken your heart. You know that your spouse is sick, but you also know there's nothing you can do about it. Your main priority should be to take care of yourself and your kids.

Addicted Spouse

The Dos and Don'ts When Your Spouse is an Alcoholic or Addict

If your spouse is an addict or an alcoholic, knowing what to do and not to do can be hard. Here is a list of dos and a list of don'ts to help you.

What to do when You Spouse is an Addict

  • Do reach out for help. You may need to talk with your doctor, a pastor, or a trusted friend. Whatever you do, don't keep this to yourself.
  • Do be supportive. If your spouse is interested in getting help, do all that you can to assist with that.
  • Do take care of yourself. This is so important for your own health and mental well-being.
  • Do learn as much as you can about addiction. The more you know, the easier it will be to understand and cope.
  • Do try to be patient. It is hard to be patient in situations like this one. That is without question. However, real, sustainable change does take time.

What not to do when Your Spouse is an Addict

  • Don't avoid the issue of the addiction. Pretending that nothing is wrong will not help the situation at all.
  • Don't cover up the addiction. Don't throw away empty pill bottles or alcohol bottles. This is only a form of enabling.
  • Don't lie for your spouse. This isn't going to help them get into addiction recovery any faster. Don't make excuses to family, and don't take responsibility for the behavior.
  • Don't use drugs or alcohol alongside them. This happens all the time within married couples. Your spouse doesn't need you to become an addict as well.
  • Don't blame your spouse for what's happening. It seems like the most natural thing to do, and yes, you're angry. However, blaming your spouse is only going to cause problems and resentment.

Your Spouse Has Agreed to Drug Treatment or Alcohol Treatment. Now What?

Perhaps it's taken some time, but your spouse has finally agreed to drug and alcohol rehab. Now that you have that agreement, you need to know what to do next.

The best thing to do is to find an excellent addiction treatment facility like Northpoint Washington. Here, we make it easy to facilitate our patients' admissions into treatment.

All you need to do is contact us. We will talk with both you and your spouse and get the details about the addiction. We'll talk about what could have led to the addiction and what substances are being used.

Once we have a good idea of what type of treatment is needed, we'll verify your insurance. This is a very simple process that involves us contacting your insurance company. Once we do that, we'll be ready to set up the admission date.

What to do When Your Addicted Spouse Refuses Addiction Treatment

When your addicted spouse refuses alcohol treatment or drug treatment, there is really only one option left. It may be time to think about having an intervention.

During an intervention, you'll meet together with other friends and family members. Your spouse will be there, along with an interventionist. These meetings are a surprise for the addict because otherwise, they probably wouldn't come.

During the intervention, you'll be able to talk about the addiction to your spouse. Others will also have a chance to share. You will all ask your spouse to agree to treatment. The interventionist will guide the entire meeting. At the end, your spouse will be given the opportunity to go to treatment immediately. Many times, they do agree.

Taking Care of Yourself as a Victim of Your Spouse's Addiction

It's so important for you to use this time to take care of yourself. If you're not feeling well, or you're too mentally strained, you won't be able to care for your family. That's not something you want to deal with. Taking care of yourself might involve a few different things. It could involve:

  • Therapy
  • Spending time with friends and family
  • Going to support groups like Al-Anon or Nar-Anon
  • Participating in online support groups like SMART Recovery
  • Continuing to participate in activities that you enjoy

Please don't neglect yourself during this difficult time. Your family needs to be strong in both body and mind as you weather this together.

Alcohol Rehab and Drug Rehab for Spouses with Addictions: We Can Help You

The issues that you're going through now, no one should have to face alone. Maybe this is a burden you've been carrying on your own for quite some time. It's possible that you have struggled with this problem for years. You've kept it a secret from the people you love the most. You've wanted to reach out for help, but you didn't know how, or where you should turn.

Fortunately, Northpoint Washington is here to assist you. Dealing with an addicted spouse can drain the very life right out of you. You end each day feeling physically and emotionally exhausted. It may seem as though no matter what decision you make, you're wrong.

If your spouse is an alcoholic, or a drug addict, it's important for you to get support. If he or she is denying that there is a problem, you know the truth.

We can assist you by giving you the information you need regarding addiction treatment. We can also provide you with intervention services if you need them. At this point, the best thing you can do is probably to schedule an intervention. They have proven to be so successful for so many others. It could work for you as well.

How can we help you cope with your spouse's addiction? What type of support or information do you need? Please contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you.


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