Help for Spouses of Addicts: How to Deal With a Husband or Wife Addicted to Drugs
Help for Spouses of Addicts
Drug abuse is one challenge that some marriages have to deal with. It can cause serious instability in a marriage and affect the camaraderie between a husband and a wife.
How do you deal with the situation, if your spouse uses drugs? What help is there for spouses of addicts as they try to deal with the situation?
Let us find out some of the things a spouse can do and the help for partners of drug addicts he or she can take advantage of when they are dealing with a husband or wife who is addicted to drugs.
Educate Yourself About Drug Addiction
The best course of action to take and the kind of help you can get for your spouse varies according to the substance your spouse is addicted to. So, visit credible sites such as the website of the National Institute of Drug Abuse drugabuse.gov
Learn all you can learn about his specific kind of addiction and the treatment options available to someone with that particular addiction.
For example, The American Society of Addiction Medicine can give you information about treatment options. Additionally, they can provide you with addiction resources.
Taking this action will help you to arm yourself with knowledge which will guide you as to measures you must take to avoid worsening the situation. Consequently, you can maintain some level of stability in your marriage. Additionally, you will learn what to expect and how to protect yourself if your spouse becomes violent.
Look at the Positive Side of the Whole Situation
Remind yourself often that this test or challenge will help you to grow as a person. Remind yourself that it will teach you how to be more loving, patient, and kind, which will all increase your value as a spouse.
Adopting this mentality will help to prevent depression when your spouse is proving difficult and you feel as though you would just give up.
Additionally, it will help to make you feel positive, which will increase the chances that you will relate to your spouse in a loving, caring manner which will make it easier for you to influence him or her to seek help.
Be Careful How You Relate to Your Spouse
Remind your husband or wife of the ways in which the addiction is affecting his or her life and your marriage. However, refrain from criticizing him or her harshly. Rather, let him or her see that you are saying what you are saying because you love him or her and want the best for them.
Additionally, do not be judgmental and do not show contempt. Moreover, try not to confront your spouse about his or he behavior for that could lead to bitter disagreements.
Remind Your Spouse of How He or She Stands to Gain if They Tackle the Problem
Let your spouse see how he or she will benefit if they decide to stop abusing drugs.
For example you might say, “Isaac, I am worried that the drugs you are taking is having an adverse effect on your health. Isaac, you used to be a very healthy man.”
Then, shake your head and say, “No, Isaac! You deserve to give yourself something better than this. Think again about the good health you used to enjoy when you were clean. And think about the money you could save and use to go on vacation. You can’t do all that now because of your habit.”
Pause and shake your head again. Then say, “Think about it, Isaac. You will benefit in many ways if you stop this habit. Reconsider your life and what you are doing to yourself.”
Give your spouse something to chew on and it may spark a desire in him or her to do something about the situation.
It is hard to live with a person addicted to drugs because the person may act irrationally at times. This demands that you try to exercise a lot of patience so that you can avoid having unnecessary fights with him or her which will do nothing other than make you more worked up and irritated.
Control Your Ego
Some spouses tend to feel they are better than their drug-addicted spouse, adopt a holier-than-thou attitude, and treat their spouses with contempt, because they begin to feel that they are clean and their spouses are unclean.
Treating your spouse with contempt or looking down on him or her will only make him or her stubborn and uncooperative when you want the person to seek professional help.
Therefore, when you see such tendencies cropping up in your heart, learn to control your pride.
Watch What You Say
Choose to communicate in ways that will help to prevent misunderstandings in the house. Choosing to communicate positively will help you to maintain peace in the house. Additionally, it will help to prevent situations that may cause you to push your spouse away emotionally which may make him deteriorate or which can hurt the marriage.
How can you communicate positively?
- Avoid threatening your spouse or engaging in hot arguments with him or her.
- Do your best to control your voice when you have disagreements with your spouse. Resolve to speak in a firm but calm voice.
- Refrain from shouting when you are irritated or annoyed.
- When you see that tempers are rising, just leave the scene so that both of you can cool down. Moreover, keep reminding your spouse of your love for him or her. This will make him or her feel that you still care about them and that can influence him or her to give you a positive response when you suggest that he or she seeks treatment.
- Furthermore, avoid using “you” a lot when you communicate with your spouse. Rather, use “I” a lot. For example, instead of saying, “You should seek treatment. You are responsible for the situation you find yourself in, “ say “I think it will help both of us if I support you to seek treatment. I suggest that we consider what we can do as a couple to solve this problem.” Let him or her know that you feel you also have a stake in solving the problem so that he or she will be more willing to compromise and cooperate with you to solve the problem.
Let People He Respects Talk To Him
Let Others Talk to Him
Involve your spouse’s friends and family, especially those he respects and admires, in the fight to help and restore him or her. Let them also advise him or her so that he will see the kind of damage he is doing to his or her life. It may help your spouse to take an objective look at his or her life, see that he or she is going downhill and may “crash” his life, and that may influence him or her to seek help.
Furthermore, try to get an authority figure, such as an eminent personality in your community or the pastor of your church, to talk to him. According to Dr. Robert Cialdini, people respect authority and so there is a greater likelihood that a person will comply with the request made by an authority figure.
Remind Your Spouse of the Dreams He or She Had
Remind your spouse of the dreams and visions he had for his life which he has given up because of his habit. For example, you may say, “Isaac, you dreamed of becoming the greatest writer in the world. Are you going to give up that dream and instead destroy yourself with drugs? No, Isaac! You know, that dream is not dead yet! You can still achieve it. All it requires is for you to have the will. I will support you, darling. Dream again! Desire to live a worthy, fulfilling life!”
When your spouse ruminates on this, it may make him or her see that there is still hope for his or her life and that can motivate him or her to cooperate with you to deal with the problem.
Be A True Friend
Be a True Friend to Your Spouse
See your spouse’s addiction as a test of your love for him or her. This will motivate you to have compassion for your spouse and to empathize with him or her which will increase the likelihood that you will support him or her. Your spouse needs you most at this time and so you must demonstrate your love for him or her every day.
One way you can demonstrate your love for your husband or wife and to be a true friend is to talk to him or her about the importance of having worthwhile goals in life. Remind him that there is a better life he can lead if he chooses to stop using drugs.
Reason with your spouse that he or she does not need drugs in order to be happy but that working towards achieving his goals in life will give him satisfaction.
As you talk to your spouse, you may choose to put your arm around his waist or around his shoulder to make him feel that love connection. Speak in a tender voice so that his heart will be touched. Let him feel that you are a friend so that you can gain his or her trust.
Encourage Your Spouse to Seek Treatment
Have a serious discussion with your spouse. In a calm manner, and with a loving voice that shows that you are concerned for the life and health of your spouse, encourage him or her to seek the help of medical professionals who deal with such issues.
You may say something such as, “Isaac, I love you. I want the best for you. It hurts me to see you like this. I am scared of what might happen to you if you continue using drugs. You know the consequences, don’t you?” Pause and look into his eyes. Give him an opportunity to reflect on the situation for about ten seconds.
Then continue by saying, “I can imagine it is hard to stop all by yourself. But the good news is that you can be helped! Won’t you consider seeking medical help?” Give him the option to make the final decision. Let it be his will to seek treatment. Do not push it on him. Your job is just to direct him and leave the final decision to him.
Additionally, inform him or her about the treatment options. Assure your husband or wife of your unflinching support. Say something such as, “We are in this together, Isaac. I will sacrifice my time and accompany you to the rehab center, if you want me to.”
A spouse who takes drugs can increase your stress levels. This can make you feel confused at times, angry with him or her or with yourself and your situation, and cause unnecessary quarrels because you get easily irritated with little things.
However, there are support groups that can help you to come to terms with the situation and which can give you valuable advice about how to handle yourself and how to relate to your addicted spouse.
There is help for partners of addicts in the shape of groups such as Al-Anon, Ala-Teen, and Nar-Anon which can give you information and support to help you deal with the emotional aspects of living with a spouse addicted to drugs.
So, get in touch with them and request for some of their literature. You may consider giving some of the literature to your spouse. It may encourage him to seek help.
See a Professional Therapist or Counselor
Inadvertently, you may be acting in ways that may be unhelpful to your addicted husband or wife, or causing a lot of friction between the two of you.
Therefore, consider talking to a therapist or family counselor. The professional will give you tips on how to communicate with your spouse better so that you can avoid reinforcing your spouse’s negative behavior.
Furthermore, the therapist or counselor can give you information about what to do when your spouse relapses or what to do when there is an emergency such as a drug overdose or when your spouse becomes violent.
It may take a while for your spouse to come around and see the need to seek help. During this time of waiting, continue to give emotional support to your spouse. Say positive words of encouragement to him or her every day.
Additionally, read your Bible every day so that you can find spiritual strength from above which will strengthen your spirit so that you can remain positive and hopeful.
Furthermore, continue talking to him or her about the treatment options. This will help your spouse to see that there is nothing to worry about or fear about going through the process of rehabilitation. Moreover, continue to assure him or her of your unwavering support and continue to coax and encourage him to consider seeking treatment. Perseverance is the game here.
Let A Conqueror Speak To Him
Get an Overcomer to Talk to Him or Her
If you find it hard to convince your spouse to seek treatment, find someone who has also been addicted to drugs before but who has overcome the habit, preferably a person of the same gender as your spouse and who abused the drug your spouse is abusing, to befriend your spouse.
Invite this person to your house sometimes and let him or her talk to your spouse in the comfort of your home.
Additionally, let this person tell your spouse about how he or she got involved in drugs, the negative effects it had on his or her life, how he or she got out of it, and how life has changed for the better since he or she quit abusing drugs.
Your spouse is more likely to respond positively to someone who has been through what he is going through and to open up to the person. So, that person can exert a greater influence on your spouse than you can—your spouse is more likely to listen to this person when he or she encourages your spouse to seek treatment.
Using this strategy will help your spouse to see that many other people struggle with addictions but they are able to overcome it and so he can also overcome it if he adopts the right attitude or chooses to seek help.
Give Him Practical Support
When your spouse decides he or she wants to be treated, search online together with him or her to find detoxification clinics and rehab centers in your town or city that treat people with drug addictions. Offer to contact these places if you have to do further research.
Finally, let him choose a detoxification clinic or rehab center himself. Then, offer to call the place to book an appointment.
Doing these things together will give your spouse the sense that you are solving the problem as a team, and that will encourage him or her to go through with the process.
Contact Support Groups
There is a lot of help for spouses of addicts in the form of organizations which have regular meetings to help drug addicts. Some of these organizations can help you to find treatment for your spouse. Additionally, they can give you other resources which can help your husband or wife.
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) can give you information on clinics and rehab centers that treat addicts. Call them on 1-800-662-HELP.
- Faces and Voices of Recovery helps people who are battling with long-term addiction.
- The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry can help you to locate a physician who lives in your locality or close by, and who specializes in addictions.
Pray for Your Spouse
In certain cases, people do not recover when they get treatment in clinics or rehab centers. According to psychiatrist, Professor Arthur Guerra de Andrade at Sao Paolo University in Brazil, about only 30% of people treated in clinics recover from drug addiction. US stats
However, the Bible says in Mark 10 v 27 that, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”
Even if your spouse does not get reformed after going through rehabilitation, God can help your spouse to come out of his or her addiction if you have faith in Him and pray for deliverance for your spouse.
You may say a prayer such as this every day, “Dear God, helper of the helpless, hope of the hopeless. I have a problem which I want You to help me to solve. Father, Isaac abuses drugs. It is destroying him and it is hurting our marriage. I have tried all I can but there seems to be no sign of change. However, I know you are the Great I Am who is able to solve impossible problems. You are the God who healed all sorts of afflictions through Jesus many years ago, and you still deliver people from afflictions today. You are the God who gives us hope and saves us when all hope is lost, like you did when you saved Paul when he was shipwrecked in Acts 27 of the Bible. Please hear my cry and save Isaac. Deliver him from this addiction so that we can enjoy the kind of relationship we used to have when he was not abusing drugs. You tell us in Your word that we should not worry about anything but instead we should pray about everything. Furthermore, You tell us to ask and You will give us what we ask from You so that we will be happy here on Earth. Father, this is the cry of my heart. Help me! Save Isaac! Amen.”
God is merciful and gracious. He will respond to the prayer of faith and work on the mind and heart of your spouse, and in due time, He will bring the deliverance.
Consider Separation if He or She Does Not Seek Treatment
If your husband or wife does not cooperate with you and does not seek treatment, or if he or she becomes very violent and abusive, or if your spouse exposes your children to drugs, choose to separate from your spouse so that you can secure your personal safety.
You may consider keeping your new address secrets if you think that your spouse may come after you.
Additionally, if your spouse is engaged in illegal behavior, consider notifying the authorities.
Take advantage of the help for spouses of addicts outlined in this article so that you can manage the situation effectively and ensure that you have a stable marriage, if you love your spouse very dearly and do not want to divorce him or her. This will make you a true lover for a true lover sacrifices to help his or her spouse when the spouse is in trouble.
Help for Spouses of Drug Addicts
Will you stick with your spouse if he or she uses dugs?
© 2017 Isaac Yaw Asiedu Nunoofio