If You Are Married to A Drug Addict, Should You Continue to Live with Them and Be Miserable?
This is one of those questions that I hesitate to answer because there are so many variables to consider.
Luckily, my wife decided to stay, and she helped me overcome my addiction. However, when I sobered up, she dealt with the inner monsters that led me to drink and use drugs. Believe me, when I stopped using, my attitude was tough to put up with.
- Asking for help when addiction is affecting one’s life is essential. It helps the isolation brought by addiction and getting support from professionals and those with the know-how. Contact us if you or a loved one’s life is being impacted by alcohol or drugs, whether rehab is an option, or what the next steps are.
Maybe you don’t know this, but usually, addicts don’t use it because they like to live an uncontrollable and painful life. We carry a lot of emotional weight, some of us since childhood because of toxic systems or parental trauma, and these unresolved issues trigger drug and alcohol abuse. Other people suffering from addiction have a coexisting mental disorder on top of substance abuse; this is very common. When the addict sobers up, it is time to find the cause of their emotional distress and deal with it head-on and with courage.
I believe you cannot change a person, and I don’t think it is suitable for relationship health to try to do so. Life has shown me that the truth cannot be told to someone – this person must realize it. What does this mean? Humans usually don’t learn by listening; they must live it to incorporate that experience into their knowledge. We usually only know when life gives us a good smack in the face. You can be subtle and gradually make it clear that you do not want to deal with the problems caused by the addiction.
My wife hit it on the spot with me; she read all the AA literature during breaks at work and kindly suggested that I try attending a meeting. She had already put up with my alcohol and drug addiction for a year, and it was tough on her—the ridicule of the drunk husband at parties with her corporate coworkers and drunk driving, amongst other behaviors. We went to a AA meeting together one morning; I had woken up with a terrible hangover, full of fear because I didn’t remember what I had done. I had the fortune of realizing that I had a problem; most addicts don’t accept this at such an early stage.
Addiction is chronic and progressive; thus, it will undoubtedly worsen. A possible course of action for dealing with the problem is to get your partner into rehabilitation therapy, where they will be taught the skills and tools that come in handy to achieve long-term sobriety. However, the addiction makes your husband or wife think they are not in a crisis. Substance abuse conceals that fact because realizing this would kill the addiction. Our ego fights for our addiction, as do our fears, traumas, and other emotional and possibly co-occurring mental health disorders.
You might begin to believe that the only choices you and your family have are endless battles with addiction and rehabilitation treatments. Deep inside, you may think one of the options will undoubtedly bring your partner to opt for rehabilitation therapy. But things might not turn out that way, forcing you to decide to stay or leave.
If you are bluffing, I would not recommend threatening divorce to get your partner into rehabilitation therapy. If the person decides not to go to rehab and you don’t go ahead with the divorce, this will be problematic because it will downplay your credibility and leave you appearing to be weak. Nevertheless, if you are genuinely planning it, you should discuss it. Some people struggling with addiction who see an imminent divorce will experience how it is to hit bottom and might look to go to rehabilitation. It is essential to know that they may refuse rehabilitation; at this moment, some opt for the intervention method. Having a group of family friends confronts the addict has shown results.
If you are contemplating divorce, see a specialized therapist to assist you in dealing with your emotions. It is best to make a thoughtful decision and not one based on reaction and uncontrolled feelings. It could be a good idea to tell others what you are considering if you trust them and ask for their feedback. However, remember that their opinion will not be objective because they don’t know all the facts-they did not witness everything that happened between you and your partner 24/7- and friends usually say what you want to hear. The decision is yours and yours only; the weight of the decision is intangible for the rest of your life. I would not consider a divorce a failure; I call it a learning experience.
However, a red line needs to be drawn when married to an addict for the mental health and safety of yourself and your children.
Here are some tips on how to find out if any red lines have been crossed:
- Physical or psychological aggression is unacceptable. Any violent behavior from your partner is a sign to leave. Find support and protect your youngsters and pets.
- Children are also emotionally vulnerable. They are subject to verbal abuse (physical as well) when their mom or dad abuses one of them; it causes long-term trauma.
- Infidelity destroys relationship trust and leads to sexually transmitted health problems.
- Openly using drugs around your kids is unacceptable. Don’t expose children to your partner’s drug consumption. They could interpret it as normal behavior.
- Do not accept intoxicated strangers in your home, even though your partner says they are friends. Running into a drunk or high stranger inside your home disturbs you and your youngsters and could be dangerous.
Comprehending when is the right moment to leave a partner who abuses substances is never easy. However, if it is time to leave to protect yourself and your children, you must be brave and go.
By Andrew G.