Living with a drug-addicted spouse is very stressful. The usual way of life is hampered because you must consider new issues. This article will inform you about the basics you should know about handling a drug-addicted spouse.
There are symptoms of addiction that you should notice if your spouse is addicted to drugs. Drug paraphernalia, health, and behavioural symptoms can signal drug abuse. You must know when to consult professional help for your spouse and yourself. These topics are discussed below.
Symptoms of drug abuse
You need to first understand the symptoms of drug abuse. Substance abuse leaves traces of abnormalities in health and behaviour that will not go without your notice. Some of these are,
- Sleep patterns are affected by cocaine and amphetamine abuse.
- Cannabis abuse causes excessive sedation, and cannabidiol addiction can make someone hyperactive.
- Your spouse will show signs of eating disorders. Such as gaining or losing excessive weight. Addiction directly affects our liver and metabolism.
- Poor hygiene and lack of self-care indicate substance abuse.
- Eyes and skin may get yellowish or red due to drug abuse.
- Scarred arms or legs and itchy noses can indicate drug abuse.
- Chronic itch all over the body and feelings of bug crawling are signs that your partner may be abusing drugs.
- Sudden unexplained seizures are indicative of substance abuse.
- Things like rolling paper, bongs, glue sticks, aerosols, or pacifiers are used to consume drugs.
Things you can do
Arrange an intervention
An intervention can give your partner the necessary wake-up call about their addiction problem. Listening to the concerns of their friends and family can help them understand the gravity of the matter.
There are a few things you need to consider before arranging an intervention.
- Don’t rush. You shouldn’t rush to an intervention. Take some time and think about how you want to tackle the problem first.
- Only involve close people. You should only Involve close friends and family members who are genuinely concerned about your partner’s well-being.
- Consult a professional. There are professional interventionists who can better direct intervention meetings. Try consulting them.
- Take preparations for yourself. Prepare yourself mentally for the confrontation. It wouldn’t be easy bringing up and discussing the topic.
- Speak for yourself. Using ‘I’ statements can help you express your emotions and struggles better.
Take care of yourself
Living with an addict is not easy. It is mentally and physically taxing.
You can consult therapists or join support groups for loved ones of addicts. Support groups can offer comfort through interactions with understanding individuals.
You can learn to set boundaries, deal with an addicted spouse, and improve communication through support groups or professionals.
If caring for your spouse is proving too much for you, turn to rehab centres. There are Christian mental health facilities that you can check out.
Learn about addiction
You cannot head into confronting addiction without knowing much about it. You should know what symptoms each type of addiction carries.
You should know that addiction changes the physical structure of the brain. So it’s not easy to just quit. Getting frustrated with why your partner won’t stop drinking, or snorting drugs won’t help the problem.
After learning about addiction and what may cause it, you will be able to understand your spouse and their struggles. While this won’t excuse their behaviour, this will enable you to make correct decisions about the problem.
Don’t play the blame game
You shouldn’t lose patience and fixate on blaming your spouse for addiction. Blaming them will cause them to blame you in return. This will start a vicious cycle that won’t reach any solutions.
Instead, focus on the reasons behind the addiction. Try to work on the problems from your side. See a therapist solve the underlying issues of marriage that may have pushed your spouse towards addiction.
Boundaries need to be set up to protect yourself and your family. If you don’t set up boundaries and strictly enforce them, an addict will continue violating your peace.
You should set up rules about what they can and can’t do around the house. Taking drugs, bringing fellow addicts home, and frequenting old hangouts where they used to take drugs should be banned.
Consequences of violating boundaries should be enforced.
Don’t isolate yourself
With an addict spouse, it may seem easier to avoid social gatherings than face people and explain your problems. Explaining your spouse’s condition and how it got to such a stage can be embarrassing. But it is important not to isolate your family and yourself.
Dealing with an addicted spouse can be upsetting. You may get mentally sick from dealing with all the pressure. It is important to enjoy life and go out to meet people whenever possible to offset those feelings of loneliness. Practise spirituality to take care of your mental state.
Don’t live in denial
A lot of people live in denial and try not to see the signs of addiction. They make excuses in their heads for the suspicious behaviours of their spouse.
It is important to get a reality check and accept that your partner has an addiction problem so you can start focusing on solving the problem instead of avoiding it.
Codependent relationships are where one partner puts in a lot of time and effort to take care of the other partner while the other partner takes advantage of the situation.
You may become codependent while taking care of your spouse the entire time. It’s a disorder on its own and should be avoided.
Stop enabling your spouse
Enabling behaviour can be hard to notice. You may be unintentionally helping your spouse stay addicted. Letting them violate your boundaries, not keeping track of funds, and letting them hang out with other people who are struggling with addiction may be enabling behaviour.
You should consult a professional to learn how to deal with your partner’s addiction and what may be enabling them.
Know when to quit
Wanting to save your marriage despite your spouse’s addiction may be your initial response. However, knowing when to quit or at least enforce some distance is important.
Physical and mental abuse should not be tolerated.
If your partner’s behaviour endangers your children, then it is safe to consider moving out for some time.
Dealing with an addicted partner is not easy. Accepting the problems and wanting to solve them is a healthy response. Hopefully, these tips will help you overcome the issues.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She is interested in mental health and well-being.
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