Marriage And Addiction Recovery
Opioid addiction can rip through a marriage leaving feelings of terrible hurt, mistrust, and hopelessness. The good news is there is help for the addicted and marriages can be rebuilt to be stronger than ever.
When your spouse is in recovery, you can help change the negative effects of opioid addiction on your marriage.
Take Time For Yourself
Many spouses of the addicted have put the needs of their addicted spouse ahead of their own because the addiction always take precedence. Their needs have gone along the way side because they needed to just survive, or to get the family though this turmoil. When your addicted spouse in in recovery, it is important to seek professional counseling. AMC offers Family Counseling which provides tools for you and the patient to start the healing process for your family. With your spouse’s addiction, you have probably led a life of dysfunction. You may have feelings of being defeated and your spouse’s addiction has left you mentally exhausted. Without realizing you may have developed unhealthy roles of being an enabler or a codependent spouse. Counseling will help you identify and stop these unhealthy patterns.
Looking forward to a better future and taking time for yourself will boost your self-worth and attitude. You should:
- pick up a new hobby or interest
- get reacquainted with a group that you enjoyed in the past
- hit the gym or take brisk walks
- take new steps toward a new career
The goal is to surround yourself with positive people and experiences; helping you to feel “refreshed” and confident with a better outlook on life.
Communicate With Your Spouse
With addiction in the marriage, communication with your spouse was probably either strained or nonexistent. Now more than ever in your spouse’s recovery it is important to keep the lines of communication open. Try to start positive communication by:
- Letting your spouse know you are there for them in their recovery. Ask them what you can do to show your support.
- Involve and listen to their thoughts, concerns, and view points. Your spouse needs to feel valued.
- Speak up for yourself, but don’t bring up the past and start the blaming game.
- Build up your spouse and help them feel confident in their new “self”. Tell them you appreciated that they….mowed the grass, fed the kids, let the dog out, etc.
Remember your partner’s main prioirity needs to be recovery. You may have feelings of being neglected but keep in mind they need to focus on their recovery to successfully rebuild their life. It is only when your partner is actively taking care of self that he/she can start to connect with you in an authentic, deeper level.
Work On Rebuilding Trust
With addiction comes a lot of feelings of anger and hurt from actions that simply put, are hard to forgive. If it is your desire to make your marriage work, considerable effort has to be made to rebuild trust with healthy boundaries. To rebuild trust you need to lead by example. Be reliable and trustworthy. Nothing will be gained by acting out or getting even. It is a choice you have to make to forgive your partner and not dwell on his/her past failures and mistakes. Many turn to their faith for help in forgiveness and others find support groups very helpful. For some it is therapeutic to write their feelings down daily in a journal to let go of past hurt. Talk to your counselor about your feelings and how best to approach or express these feelings with your spouse.
Improve Your Finances
Opioid addiction can create financial issues that have spiraled into a big source of stress in the marriage. Financially supporting a habit alone can be expensive. Some have the added expense of legal or health problems caused by the addiction which can drain finances. Others have lost their jobs and transportation because of their addiction. A positive way to deal with financial difficulties is to set short term and long term goals. For the short term, include your spouse in monthly budgeting and set achievable goals. For the long term goals, decide together as a couple what your long term goals are and work together towards achieving those goals.
Be Compassionate And Expect Setbacks
Recovery can be a long process and is not always a smooth road. There will be highs and lows for everyone involved. There are stresses that come with addiction and relapse triggers that your spouse may be fighting on a daily basis. If your spouse gets off track in their recovery, don’t ignore it but get professional help immediately for them. Showing your spouse support, kindness, compassion, and yes patience can go a long way with your spouse’s recovery and putting your marriage back together. Both you and your spouse can emerge from this changed, but stronger than ever with deeper bonds in your marriage.