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Addicted Spouse Should Be Aided, Not Enabled

Addicted Spouse and Addiction Recovery - The Bergand Group

If you have an addicted spouse, then you may have been living a roller coaster of emotions through the process, especially if they’re not yet working toward addiction recovery. How can you best help them to get to that point without accidentally becoming an enabler?

How You Can Really Help an Addicted Spouse

“Spouses often feel helpless watching the one they love self-destruct, and they also feel angry about their partner’s deception and betrayals.” If the person hasn’t had an issue with substance abuse previously, but they’ve developed one more recently, then you may have no idea how to react. Depending on the addiction, your life with this person may change drastically, or you may not even notice until well after it develops. These things are highly circumstantial, so take a deep breath and take all this one step at a time.

How do you know for sure that you have an addicted spouse, rather than someone who just has an obsessive habit? A lot of people these days binge watch TV, for example, but that doesn’t mean your husband has a Netflix addiction. Though it’s possible to develop actual dependence on this and other non-drug or alcohol-based things, there is certainly a difference between a habit and an addiction, and determining which is taking place is the first step. “Addictions are secretive habits the person has unsuccessfully tried to stop, and that have disrupted work and home.” Put simply, if they’ve tried and failed to cease the ‘habit,’ then it isn’t just a habit anymore.

Denial plays a huge role in the development of most people’s addictions. They don’t want to admit to themselves or to others that they have a problem for one reason or another. It’s human nature to be embarrassed by our mistakes, to want people to look the other way, but addiction isn’t a ‘mistake.’ It’s a serious condition, one that requires attention and care, and one that won’t go away on its own. In fact, left untreated, it will only grow worse.

This is how cravings for the substance or activity become the most powerful force in that person’s life, why seeking it out is the most important thing. If an addicted spouse seems to value that substance over their husband or wife, then it can be confusing, distressing, and upsetting, to say the least. However, often times this is beyond their control, as the chemicals in their bodies and minds have been shifted dramatically, rewritten by the substance. It may be “easier to ignore warnings, or deception than have difficult conversations, but this avoidance leaves problems free to grow.”

The biggest thing, perhaps, to keep in mind when trying to help a loved one to addiction recovery, is to avoid enabling their behaviors. It’s often not done intentionally, but it is done often. If you provide excuses or funding which perpetuate the behavior, then you are enabling. This is dangerous as it may signal to them that they are fine to continue what they’re doing, which is the opposite of what you want for them. Be honest with the person, “set boundaries,” and do everything that you can to guide them to a professional or an addiction recovery center. This is the best thing that you can do.

To get help for an addicted spouse or for others who are struggling with addiction, contact The Bergand Group. We offer recovery programs for yourself or for others or are seeking education materials about addictions. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues, including direction for those who may be denying an addiction.  We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.

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About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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