At Alpine Recovery Lodge, we meet many partners who in some way feel responsible for their partner’s addiction.
This is a common misunderstanding to make, especially when you’re so close to somebody. It can be difficult to have a clear perspective on the issue, leading many to blame themselves.
But in reality, your partner’s addiction isn’t about you.
According to American Addiction Centers, as many as 12.5 million spouses suffer from addiction. Some partners want to blame themselves, but in reality, addiction is a disease and one you didn’t cause.
Drug and alcohol addiction can break down even the strongest relationships. Communication and trust often falter as an addict is pulled further into the problem. These are unfortunate symptoms of addiction, but they can’t be fixed by you (the spouse), alone.
So what should you do?
Support Them, But Avoid Enabling
It’s entirely possible that you’ve already tried to seek addiction treatment for your spouse with poor results. The process is complex, and your partner may also be resistant to the treatment, or “fall off the wagon” from time to time.
In this situation, it’s important for your role to be one of support. Don’t enforce treatment, but instead, encourage it by giving them opportunities to seek help and voicing your confidence in them to succeed.
The important thing to avoid here is enabling behaviors. Don’t make excuses for habits that are self-harmful and become complacent with the situation. Be sure you draw a boundary between supporting and enabling, to make sure your role is always a positive one on their path to recovery.
Talk To Them About The Problem
Conversations about a partner’s addiction can be uncomfortable, but they’re an unfortunate reality if you want to start taking small steps towards improvement.
It’s important to regularly have frank conversations with your partner about their problem so you can encourage them to seek treatment.
Here are some tips for these conversations:
- Don’t engage when he or she is still under the influence.
- Try to avoid a harsh or judgemental attitude during the discussion.
- Be honest and speak calmly.
- Don’t bring up old incidents, simply say, “This isn’t the first time.”
- Focus on communication before creating a plan of action.
- Suggest group therapy.
Healing Takes Time
Finally, it’s important for you as a supportive partner to understand that healing takes time. In reality, many addicts will relapse, but that doesn’t mean that they’re ultimate failures.
They still have the potential to become healthy again, and their chances of succeeding are always better if they have someone who loves and supports them helping along the way.
So as you encourage your partner to embark on a journey to heal, remember to stay strong when they hit bumps in the road.
Know of any other meaningful ways a partner can support their loved one in addiction recovery? Please share in the comments section below.