Loving Through Addiction

When the magistrate confirmed your vows and pronounced you husband and wife (or husband and husband, or wife and wife-this is reality) that became the most happiest moment of your life. Through thick and thin, sickness and health, til death do you part, you made a promise to always be the person your spouse needed you to be. Not once did you imagine how thick it could become and how thin you would be spread.

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Finding out that your spouse has a drug addiction is the beginning of a long, hard journey to fate – be it sobriety or continued serfage. When substance abuse becomes an issue within a relationship it can cause a severe collapse in trust, respect, and communication. It can create an environment of fear and discomfort  for all those who have to witness it and is especially frightening when there are children involved. Where there was once peace there may now be turmoil. Confusion and anger become a constant equation for hurt that is easily mistaken for hate.

Loving someone with an addiction is far from easy. There may come a time where giving up seems like the only option. Remember that while drug use is a choice, drug addiction becomes an illness and just like any other illness the afflicted individual may need support. There is no quick fix for kicking a habit and the struggle for the user  who wants to quit is just as intense, if not more, than it is for the spouse.

I’m not here to tell you what you should do in this particular situation or how you should react to or treat the person who has the addiction. I would like to share with you some things I feel it’s important to understand.

It’s important for you to recognize when your suffering is enabling the other person to essentially suffer in the way that they choose – in this case by way of drugs. Do you recognize these 5 enabling habits:

  1. Providing money that you know will be used to buy drugs.
  2. Ignoring the issue hoping that it will go away. you may think it’s better to ignore the problem. Maybe if you ignore it- it will eventually go away or maybe you’re just in denial.
  3. Lying and making excuses for them to cover up the habit.
  4. Taking over their responsibilities. Paying their bills, rent or giving them a place to stay can enable them. They will rely on you to take care of their needs.
  5.  Fear. The fifth enabler is ultimately what holds a hellish grip on you. You are either afraid that something may happen to the user if you don’t take care of them or you’re afraid for your safety because the user may make threats if he or she is not given what they want.

You may decide that you’ll confront the problem but every time you confront do it just leads to other problems like arguing, fighting and crying but no resolution. This is not a battle that cam be fought alone. Seek counseling to help you survive and support your loved one in a healthy manner. You may reach out to your church priest or pastor or find a rehabilitation facility.

>It’s important for you to understand that no matter what you do, if the person who has the physical issue of drug addiction is not willing to comply, there’s nothing you can do.

>It’s important for you to understand that although you don’t have the physical issue of drug addiction, you now have the mental and emotional issue of drug addiction and you need to make sure that you’re ok, that your family is safe, and that you’re able to maintain a stable life for both yourself and those who rely on you. Once these things are established, you are ready to provide your spouse with proper support.

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You can expect that there will be a tug-of-war between checking into rehab and continuing bad habits. Unrealistic promises will most likely be made-promises to quit on his or her own just to pacify you. For the sake of your sanity and the success of rehabilitation accept nothing less than enlisting the help of professional services. This will be the hardest time to stick to your guns but don’t give in.

Take the initiative to research rehab facilities and choose the ones that you feel offer the best program. Speak with the program director and gather as much information as you can to provide to your spouse. During your search, be sure to ask if the facility also provides family support .  Although you know the person  who now has the drug addiction  you may not be familiar with the new behaviors they have taken on .  You will benefit from having someone who is able to explain to you and your family what’s going on with your loved one and what you can expect, as time progresses,with and without proper help.

Again I have to reiterate that if the substance abuser has no desire to quit, they won’t. It doesn’t matter what you say. It doesn’t matter what you do. So be realistic on what to expect. Prepare yourself to meet with a lot of resistance. In their weakest moments is when they need you to be the strongest. Make every effort to help them see how much you love them, how much you want them to be happy and how much you will support them on this journey to wellness as long as it doesn’t sacrifice the safety and mental wellness of those directly affected. Just like it’s not easy for you it’s definitely not easy for them.

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