Coping with an addiction is a difficult task for any family member. It is especially dangerous and taxing on the spouses of addicts. These individuals, like the children, bear the greatest brunt of the abuse. The day in and day out abuse from addiction can create irreconcilable differences. Voids in families can be created that can never be fixed. The emotional, mental and sometimes physical abuse can be too much for many spouses to handle. Living with an addict is very tough. The household is often in constant turmoil and chaos. Spouses are often stretched incredibly thin because they must take on many of the responsibilities that the addict no longer accomplishes. They must confront the problem and get help. When an addicted spouse is in recovery there are a number of ways that you can support them. Here are five ways to support your spouse’s addiction recovery.
Understand the Long Term Problems
Addiction treatment is not a one and done type of program. Addicts must continue to evolve and better themselves through treatment and therapy. Most treatment centers provide the recovering addict with a support group to which they must continue to meet with after treatment. There a number of emotional issues that the family must continue to reconcile. Financial issues are often caused by addiction; therefore, you should seek help from a financial planner. Doctor visits and family counseling is also recommended to ensure physical and emotional stability for the future.
Stay Involved in the Recovery Process
As previously stated, treatment is not a one-time solution. Spouses should continue to support the growth of the addict and the family by staying educated on addiction and active in the recovering addict’s life. Family therapy and group counseling are wonderful tools to help the family continue to grow together in a healthy manner. To ignore the ‘elephant’ in the room would be a huge mistake.
Continue to Support Sobriety
Addicts cannot go back to using or abusing alcohol or drugs. There is no cure for addiction. It requires constant attention. After treatment recovering addicts are not ‘good’ to go back for have a few beers with the boys. You must continue to support a sober home by refraining from engaging in that type of behavior. Spouses should get rid of all substances in the home and find new, healthier ways to spend time together. Physical fitness or projects are great ways to stay active and healthy.
In many cases, the addict takes up all the time of the rest of the family. The spouse must find time for herself or himself whenever necessary. If you do not, you will end up resenting the addict for everything and life will not get any better. Along with family counseling you should seek individual help to ensure your mental and emotional well-being. Speaking with friends and family are also great ways to ensure your overall health.
Get Rid of Stress
The best way to ensure a healthy living environment for a recovering addict and the family is to reduce stress. Stress can lead to unpleasant situations. It is best to keep lists and schedules to eliminate any chances of stress inducing situations. By following along with the previous four tips you should be able to eliminate or at least limit stress significantly. Addiction is a powerful and dangerous issue that millions of families suffer through, so do not let it drag you down. Speaking with others can help. There are a number of support groups, not only for recovering addicts, but for their families as well. These groups can help everyone grow and learn from others.