One of the most challenging things that many couples face is addiction. Not every couple faces this, but some couples do. It can be hard to watch your partner suffer from mental illness and addiction, and all you can do is watch.
When it comes to approaching them and this whole situation about addiction and recovery, you need to go about it gently. While yes, you should help your spouse get into an intensive outpatient program if possible, there are still some other things to keep in mind. So, here are some do’s and don’ts about helping a spouse who has an active addiction recovery.
Do confronting them about their addiction
It’s never easy to confront someone with their addiction, but addictions can have the ability to be life-threatening. On top of this, it affects so many people, from the spouse to other family members, and even finances.
When your spouse is struggling with addiction, offering support is important. The addict needs to know they are not alone and can get help.
A supportive intervention can help make the difference between recovery and relapse. A professional interventionist can help you prepare for an intervention. They will be able to moderate your interactions and keep your focus where it needs to be. You can also set up a rehearsal. It’s up to you how you want to confront them, but an intervention can be powerful.
Do ensure you’re listening to them
If you want to help your spouse in active addiction recovery, you need to be an effective listener. You need to be able to listen without judgment. When you’re not listening, you may be missing important information or not paying attention to what the other person is saying.
Whether they want to vent about the struggles of being sober or anything else, just let them know that you’re always there to listen to them and help them out.
This alone is going to be major, as those who are addicts tend to feel alone. Let them know that you can help, whether it’s helping them look for TeleMed services in the local area or even getting admissions into a program. As their spouse, ensure that communication stays clear.
Do inform them you’re not judging
One of the most important things to learn is communicating with your loved one. Addicts will be defensive, so it’s best to be open and honest about your feelings. Also, be sure to avoid making derogatory comments.
In general, you will want to let them know that you’re not judging them. Harsh judgment may set them back during the recovery process or even make them become withdrawn- which will only exacerbate these issues.
Don’t make any threats
If you are helping your spouse in active addiction recovery, you will need to learn how to avoid making threats. This may be difficult, but it is critical to getting your loved one into treatment. Addicts are manipulative people who are not always acting rationally.
They often use derogatory terms and manipulation to justify their behaviors. Even though they’re not acting like themselves, it’s important not to make any threats such as “If you’re not going to get treatment, then I’m kicking you out”, this approach is not only forceful but will strain the relationship.
To avoid making threats, you need to communicate from a place of empathy and understanding. It is important to cultivate patience and understand that this process may take some time. It is also important to remember that your loved one is not a robot. Even if they are not responding the way you would like them to, you need to stick with your boundaries.
Don’t place blame or guilt on yourself
First, don’t blame yourself. Even though it’s easy to point the finger at yourself, this approach won’t solve the problem. Rather, it will increase the odds that your partner will continue abusing substances.
Another reason to avoid blaming yourself is that it will lead to more problems. For example, your spouse might try to reassure you that he or she is not a drug addict. This can be a dangerous trick to pull because it will only erode your trust in your partner.
Don’t try to take control
While taking control of the situation may sound easy, this isn’t going to be the best way about it. You can only do so much on your end. It’s still up to your partner if they even want treatment. If you have a spouse with a substance addiction, you may have questions about how to help them. You’ll need to be patient and understand that recovery is gradual.
A good support group can help you and your spouse recover. It can be a safe place to learn about addiction, the impact of addiction, and how to help your spouse.
The most important thing to remember is that you cannot control your partner. Enabling them to continue their harmful behaviors will only cause more harm to yourself and your family.