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When a loved one struggles with drug or alcohol addiction, it can disrupt the peace of the entire household. Everyone who loves them must watch them suffer. Helping an addicted spouse may therefore help the entire family. Whether you have children together or it is just the two of you, the sobriety of your wife or husband can bring solace to the home and everyone who resides within it.
If you need assistance helping an addicted spouse, allow the following information to help you out. It just may prove beneficial in securing your loved one’s future health and safety—not to mention your own peace of mind.
“My Husband is an Addict”
Our conversation on helping an addicted spouse should begin with the husband, as males typically misuse alcohol and illicit substances at higher rates. Furthermore, males report greater numbers of overdose deaths and emergency department visits for drug-related purposes each year. As such, we find it more common for partners to approach treatment centers with the goal of helping an addicted husband than an addicted wife.
A major problem with helping an addicted husband is that they often become the recipients of enabling. Many partners, whether male or female, prefer to see their husbands as strong individuals. They struggle to use the words “my husband is an addict” or “my husband is an alcoholic.” Such labels are replaced with “a drug habit” or “a drinking problem.”
While not untrue, these terms focus on the substance rather than the individual. You are not blaming your husband or casting him as a villain by saying “my husband is an addict” or “my husband is an alcoholic.” When you say “my husband is addicted,” what you’re really saying is “my husband needs help.”
This also opens the door for you to realize that allowing him to continue on his current path, while perhaps a decent show of forgiveness, is only enabling his substance use and allowing his disease to get worse. It is okay to see your husband as a strong, self-sufficient individual. Enabling him, however, is only hurting his autonomy by denying him the chance to grow. To help both of you begin the healing process, you must learn to look in the mirror and say “my husband is an addict, and he needs treatment so that we can get better.”
“My Wife is an Addict”
While men may report higher rates of use, some studies find women more likely to experience cravings and relapse. Since women are typically more likely to enter treatment having suffered health issues as a result of their substance use, a program with a strong focus on relapse prevention is necessary. Helping an addicted wife requires great dedication, as their disease progresses more quickly and they are more likely to drop out of treatment if there are children at home to look after. Women also require treatment at a facility with a thorough medical staff, as many suffer ongoing fertility issues as a result of their history of substance use.
Enabling is generally less of an issue here. For many spouses, “my wife is an addict” rolls off the tongue with a bit more ease than “my husband is an addict” as discussed above. Nonetheless, some will still struggle to admit that their wives suffer from a condition outside of their control. Even if they recognize the presence of addiction, male partners often prefer solution-based approaches. Some will immediately identify treatment as the right approach, but others may try the tough love route first.
This looks different for different couples. Unfortunately, the behavior some men refer to as tough love is simply abuse by another name. In most cases, however, tough love means attempting to set restrictions. Attempts at helping an addicted spouse in this fashion may include limiting them to a certain number of drinks at social outings, demanding that they stop seeing friends who use drugs, or taking away their car keys. Some of these may sound as if they border on abusive control, but that does not necessarily speak to the true intent behind them. Helping an addicted spouse is hard, and those who have admitted “my wife is an addict” will often look for any available remedy they can devise.
Unfortunately, this tough love approach sometimes backfires by increasing your loved one’s sense of defiance. You may say “my wife is an addict, and should not hang out with certain friends.” Your wife will say “my partner is controlling, so I must hang out with my friends in secret.” You may say “my wife is an alcoholic, and should not have any wine with dinner tonight.” Your wife might say “my lover is a square, so I should hide some bottles around the house.” If this occurs, a more formal intervention may be the only solution left open to you.
Seeking Options for Your Addicted Spouse
Most likely, you have tried at least one of the approaches above. Perhaps you tried enabling, thinking that a soft touch would heal your partner’s wounds. Maybe you took the tough love approach. Either way, you would not be here right now if you did not need a new approach to helping an addicted spouse. Professional intervention assistance can help.
If there was ever a time to get your loved one into treatment, it is now. With people dying every day, you need an immediate solution if you wish to keep your partner safe. An interventionist will help you lay out your fears and concerns with the goal of getting your wife or husband into treatment before this deadly disease claims their life. If you’re at the end of your rope and out of other options, this may just be the only way to go.
Once your wife or husband enters treatment, we will get to work providing our unique approach to personalized programming. We will assess your spouse’s needs and formulate a treatment plan that caters to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of their addiction. Through a combination of program features selected from our wide array of services, we will get them on the path to a better way of life. As they heal, so will the family unit.
For more information on helping an addicted spouse, contact us today. We can answer any questions you might have about intervention assistance or the treatment process at large. Do not worry needlessly about the future safety of your wife or husband. Help is just one phone call away.