Dealing With an Addicted Spouse
For countless Americans, being intimately involved with an addicted partner becomes a source of chaos, negativity, emotional turmoil, and even violence. Drug abuse erodes trust, weakening the bond between partners and potentially causing conflicts over parental responsibilities, neglect, or abuse, especially when children are involved.
If your husband is addicted to drugs or alcohol, reach out to Zinnia Health at (855) 430-9439 to gain knowledge and guidance. Our team of qualified experts can refer you to resources and addiction treatment options such as detox and alcohol rehab.
Drug and Alcohol Abuse
According to the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), substance use continues to be a significant public health concern in the United States. In 2021, an alarming number of people — 46.3 million aged 12 or older, representing 16.5 percent of this demographic — battled a substance use disorder (SUD) within the past year.
The breakdown included 29.5 million grappling with an alcohol use disorder, another 24.0 million coping with a drug use disorder, and a staggering 7.3 million individuals confronting both alcohol and drug use disorders simultaneously.
What Problems Can Addiction Cause?
Having an addicted spouse can cause many problems. Trust in each other starts to break down, communication becomes difficult, and respect can be lost. Issues like money troubles, emotional distress, and constant worries about health are common. This situation can change a marriage filled with love and support into one dominated by worry, fear, and sadness.
Couple burnout is a term that captures the exhaustion, emotional strain, and diminishing satisfaction experienced within a romantic relationship. The impact of couple burnout can permeate various aspects of the relationship, eroding communication, intimacy, and trust.
According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, the weight of couple burnout tends to be more pronounced in relationships where women are involved with substance-dependent partners. Recognizing this, it is crucial to implement targeted interventions, such as educational and counseling programs, within health centers and substance abuse treatment facilities.
By doing so, we can address the additional burden women with substance-dependent partners often endure, offering them the support and resources needed for their well-being.
Danger to Children
The Child Welfare Information Gateway states that a parent’s battle with drug addiction inherently disrupts their ability to perform their crucial roles as caregivers, thus heightening the risk of maltreatment.
Cycle of Conflict
A cycle of conflict arises in domestic partnerships due to substance abuse, leading to verbal and physical disputes that revolve around the addiction itself. Couples affected by substance abuse may also experience financial difficulties, legal conflicts over child custody or drunk driving, and instances of verbal, physical, or sexual abuse.
Alcohol and drugs impair judgment, ignite anger and resentment, and create a hostile environment that breeds conflict within the home.
When a husband is entangled in the grips of drug or alcohol addiction, the destructive consequences can extend far beyond substance abuse alone. Unfortunately, addiction can fuel a devastating cycle of domestic violence within the home.
The distorted mindset and impaired judgment caused by substance use can intensify feelings of anger, aggression, and resentment, ultimately giving rise to explosive and abusive behavior toward their partner.
The Department of Justice states that domestic violence is an agonizing cycle of destructive behavior that unfolds within the confines of an intimate relationship.
What Can You Do to Cope?
This guide will shed light on how you can bolster your loved one in his fight against addiction while simultaneously maintaining your own emotional well-being.
Is Domestic Violence Present?
The initial step in addressing a situation when your husband is addicted to alcohol or drugs is to assess whether domestic violence exists within your relationship.
Assessing whether domestic violence exists within your relationship requires careful consideration and examination of the dynamics at play.
Identifying the existence of domestic violence can be a crucial step toward ensuring safety. Here are a few key actions that may guide your understanding:
- Observe the indicators: Broaden your understanding of domestic violence. Get to know the typical behaviors and how they might manifest within a partnership.
- Self-reflect: Take time to contemplate your experiences and the dynamics of your relationship with your partner. Evaluate whether your relationship is filled with feelings of safety, respect, and value.
- Assess behavior patterns: Look for recurring patterns that cause distress or harm.
- Trust your instincts: Take note of your gut feelings. Trust your instincts and emotions as valid sources of information.
If you’re grappling with domestic violence within your relationship, here are some vital steps you can take:
- Enlist aid: Connect with trusted friends, relatives, or organizations that understand domestic violence. Share your worries and seek their advice and support.
- Safeguard your well-being: Initiate measures to protect your safety and the safety of those in your environment. Have a contingency plan ready in case a dangerous situation arises.
- Assemble an emergency pack: Compile a bag with vital documents, cash, medications, clothes, and other necessary items for an emergency departure. Keep it in a secure location.
- Pursue expert assistance: Consider talking with a counselor, therapist, or other professional mental health expert to discuss your experiences and explore the support available within your local area.
- Remember, you’re not alone: You don’t have to navigate this challenging situation in isolation. Reach out to support groups and individuals who can offer understanding and guidance as you strive toward safety and healing.
If domestic violence isn’t present in your relationship, you may decide to stay and help your husband work through his addiction.
Understanding addiction is a fundamental step in dealing with it effectively. Addiction is a complicated brain illness that causes a person to use a certain substance(s) despite negative effects on their life. This causes them to become fixated on the substance(s), like drugs or alcohol, and it becomes a major part of their life.
Addiction changes the brain’s “reward circuit,” making the person need the substance(s) more while enjoying other activities less. This biological alteration can make quitting extremely hard, even when the individual recognizes the problems their addiction is causing.
Physical signs of addiction include:
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Deteriorating physical appearance
Financial signs include:
- Unexplained expenses
- A constant need for money
Emotional signs include:
- Mood swings
- Apathy or lack of motivation
- Difficulty in relationships
Al-Anon and Nar-Anon are additional resources that can help you establish coping strategies and explore the dynamics of addiction. These support groups provide a safe space to share experiences and gain insight into perspectives from family members or friends of someone trapped in addiction.
Avoid Enabling Behaviors
While supporting a partner through rehab can be physically and emotionally draining, it is essential to avoid enabling behaviors. Enabling occurs when one partner, often unintentionally, allows the other to continue drinking or using drugs without facing the consequences.
Enabling behaviors include neglecting one’s own needs to assist the partner, making excuses or covering up for them, and allowing the partner to neglect their responsibilities or abuse others.
It’s essential to distinguish between supporting and enabling by examining whether you find yourself lying, making excuses, or creating explanations that enable the partner to remain in denial.
Watch Out for Codependency
Codependency can also emerge in relationships affected by addiction, wherein the codependent partner loses their sense of self while attempting to “save” their partner. In some cases, the codependent may undermine the recovery process to maintain a sense of power or self-esteem. They may also use the partner’s addiction as an excuse to avoid their own emotional issues.
Self-Care is Non-Negotiable
It’s important to prioritize self-care while supporting your partner through their rehab and recovery journey, regardless of whether domestic violence is involved. This includes establishing clear boundaries and refraining from shouldering more responsibilities than you can comfortably manage.
Your well-being matters, too. Carve out time for activities that nourish your mind and body, like exercise, relaxation techniques, and nurturing connections with friends and family.
Consider seeking guidance from a mental health professional if necessary, as it can help you control stress and manage any associated emotional challenges.
Try Family or Couples Therapy
The disease of addiction affects the entire family. Couples therapy and family therapy are important tools to address this. Both forms of therapy can create a safe, structured environment to communicate, understand each other’s perspectives, and rebuild trust that may have been eroded by addiction.
Couples therapy can specifically address the dynamic between you and your partner, facilitating productive conversations about the impact of addiction on your relationship. It can help you both develop healthier ways of communicating, setting boundaries, and resolving conflicts.
Family therapy can be particularly beneficial in situations where addiction has led to strained relationships, frequent conflicts, or a general atmosphere of tension and mistrust. It provides a neutral, professionally-guided space where each family member can openly express their feelings, fears, and expectations.
Act Now to Find Support
Taking action to support a partner through their addiction is an incredibly challenging process. It’s essential to remember that self-care and establishing healthy boundaries are non-negotiable to protect your own well-being.
For personalized assistance in helping your husband recover from addiction and find happiness in a sober life, call (855) 430-9439. Trained staff members are available 24/7 to provide support and guidance and recommend appropriate treatment programs, such as drug rehab facilities.