There are several reasons why almost half of all marriages end in divorce. From marrying too young or falling out of love to infidelity or unresolved resentment, not all marriages can survive the trials and tribulations that life brings. Can a marriage survive drug addiction? While painful, sometimes getting a divorce is the best option for a couple who sees no light at the end of the tunnel for themselves as a couple. But when your spouse is struggling with the disease of addiction, turning around and walking out the door can be extremely difficult.
Is My Spouse a Drug Addict?
Drug addiction is an extremely hard disease to experience both first hand and second hand. The very thought that someone you love is addicted to drugs can be so upsetting that you excuse away their actions or try to make logical sense of it. For example, you might find comfort in telling yourself that your spouse only used too much because they were out having fun with friends, or that they had a tough day at work so using some is understandable. This does not make you oblivious to what is going on. It is a normal reaction to prevent ourselves from feeling any form of hurt or pain, even if it means that you are not accepting your spouse’s drug addiction for what it is. So can a marriage survive drug addiction? In order to push past this point in time, it is critical that you can identify if your spouse’s drug use is addiction.
Some of the most common signs that your spouse is addicted to drugs can include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Neglecting responsibilities at home
- Experiencing unpredictable mood swings
- Abandoning normal hygienic practices
- Getting into trouble at work, leading to write-ups, demotions, and even termination
- Struggling to find employment/stayed employed
- Unexplained spending
- Regularly running out of cash
- Socially isolating from others
- No longer participating in hobbies or activities previously enjoyed
Remaining married when drug addiction is raging on can be almost impossible. Many people have found themselves divorced after their spouse refused to get treatment. But if you want to preserve your marriage, it is important to reach out for help.
How to Help Yourself
It might sound crazy, but if you want to help your spouse, you need to help yourself first. There is no way that you can take on the challenge of drug addiction in your marriage without making yourself as stable as possible first. Even if you are not the one who is addicted to drugs, you have been impacted by this disease. That is why helping yourself is a vital first step in helping your spouse and your marriage. Some of the ways in which you can do this include the following:
- See a therapist — Do not be bashful about calling up a therapist and asking for help. Drug addiction is tremendously hard to deal with on a mental and emotional level. By seeing a therapist, you can identify and sort through your feelings so that you can focus on the bigger picture, which is seeing your marriage through this difficult time.
- Attend meetings — There are support group meetings in your local community that you can attend that can help you get through this difficult time. Nar-Anon, specifically, is a support group of people who have been impacted by a loved one’s drug addiction. Through listening to others’ stories and sharing your own, you can develop coping skills and begin healing.
- Ask for help — Simply reaching out and asking your friends or family for help at this time can make all the difference. Your loved ones can serve as a shoulder to lean on and can help you on those days when everything feels overwhelming.
Most importantly, make sure you are taking good care of yourself while drug addiction is occurring in your marriage. This includes eating well, getting enough rest, finding ways to develop inner peace (e.g. yoga, mindfulness, etc.), and exercising if you can. If you want to see your marriage through, ensuring that you are well enough to take on the challenge is necessary.
How to Help Your Addicted Spouse
When addiction has infiltrated your marriage, trying to defeat it can feel like you’re fighting several battles in a war. But, if you are doing the things that you can to care for yourself, you will be better able to help your addicted spouse.
So, what can you do to help your spouse break free from drug addiction? There are several things that you can be doing to encourage them to seek the help they need in order to get sober. Consider the following:
- Be honest with them — You are probably frustrated and angry at how drug addiction has affected your marriage, but allowing those emotions to take control can work against your goal of saving your marriage. Instead of yelling at your spouse about their drug addiction, sit down and talk with them. Share how their drug use is making you feel. Explain that their drug use has impacted your marriage in devastating ways. Talk about how you want your marriage to survive but you fear it will not if they do not stop using. Speak from a place of love and use a non-judgmental tone.
- Find treatment — People who are addicted to drugs typically do not find their own treatment, as doing so takes some leg work. Present your loved one with treatment options and details. You can do this by calling local treatment centers, speaking with others in your Nar-Anon meeting, or even reaching out for a referral from a healthcare provider. Share with your spouse what information you have gathered and ask them if they are ready to get help. When all options are presented, it can be easier for your spouse to accept help.
- Set boundaries — It is important that while your spouse’s drug addiction is active that you set healthy boundaries. For example, consider informing your spouse that they cannot stay at the house when high. Or, do not engage in conversation with them when they are under the influence. By setting boundaries, you are restricting your spouse’s ability to use. The overarching goal of boundaries is to protect yourself from a toxic environment while also pushing your spouse towards treatment.
If you are still struggling with getting your spouse the help that they need, do not be afraid to reach out to an interventionist. Interventionists can help get your spouse into treatment even when all else has seemingly failed.
Does Your Spouse Need Addiction Treatment?
The viability of your marriage will come as a direct result of you and your spouse’s efforts. You can put your all into saving your marriage but still find yourself signing divorce papers. Or, you can put your all into saving your marriage and find happiness on the other side with your spouse. Several factors play into how this part of your life will pan out, including how much effort your spouse puts in. But just because your spouse is addicted to drugs does not mean that your marriage is over.
If your spouse is ready to get help, do not hesitate to reach out and ask for help. At Discovery Place in Nashville, we can guide you and your spouse away from a life of active drug addiction and towards a happy, healthy life of recovery.