Coping with drug abuse and addiction is dangerous and heart breaking. It is incredibly stressful and pays a toll on everyone involved. The pain and destruction that addiction can cause is severe. It can take several years to fix the problems that addiction can cause. The first step to fixing those issues and dysfunction is to accept help and get professional treatment. Most addicts agree that professional treatment is critical to their recovery. The more severe the addiction is, the more crucial the treatment must be. Being in a relationship with an addict is especially tough, but if you are recovering from addiction and your spouse is using and abusing drugs it can be very dangerous. Leaving someone you love can be very difficult, but your health and safety is the most important.
Loved One and Addiction
Addicts often consider their issue to be a ‘me’ or ‘I’ issue. Meaning, the addict believes that his/her addiction only affects their lives and not anyone else’s. It is ‘problem’ that they control and if they want they can continue to use and abuse dangerous substances. The best way for families to confront an addict about their substance abuse is through an intervention. At which point that family informs that addict that they have a problem. This problem is destroying their lives and is negatively affecting those around them. Each family member discusses how the addict is affecting their lives and emotions. This can be an incredibly powerful experience for an addict and interventions are popular because of their success. They are successful because it gives the addict a chance to hear firsthand how their substance abuse is damaging their own life as well as the lives of their loved ones. It gives the family an opportunity to ‘clear the air’ and get an addict to physically see outside of their ‘drug-box’. Drugs and alcohol can force an addict into seclusion and isolation of substance use and abuse. If you tell your spouse that their addiction is negatively affecting you and your recovery, then they should get help. If they do not, they are not the one for you.
Family can and should play a major role in the recovery process of an addict. Overcoming addiction is very tough and requires more than just an addict ready to get sober. Having the love and support of family can help recovering addicts stay focused on their recovery. Each member of the family can play a pivotal role in the recovery process or conversely be a player that enables the addictive behavior. In the structured family recovery model the family must work together in various aspects. Every family member should provide positive reinforcement and be willing to follow through with consequences of broken rules. Loved ones who continue to use and abuse drugs while you are in recovery are addicts and not helpful. If they are a spouse, it is best to leave them. It could be the push they need to get help, but at the very least it reduces the chance of disrupting your recovery.
The family should also be involved in the 12 step process, or other styles of treatment. Involved family members should be positive role models and supportive in times of weakness or relapse managers. Being engaged in a loved one’s treatment process is important; family should adjust their lifestyles to support the recovering addict. They should also insist that the addict participate in aftercare. It is time to leave your spouse if they are using and abusing drugs while you are in recovery. Separating yourself from triggers and enablers is a major step towards proper and long term sobriety.