Addiction is a disease that can ruin relationships and even tear apart marriages without the right kind of help and support. If you are in a relationship with an addict then you have probably experienced the worst side of them and dealt with the frustration of seeing them drunk or high day after day.
They may not realize how much their behavior affects you and how draining it is to be in a marriage with a substance abuser. Relationships where one person is an addict tend to have communication problems, unresolved issues and plenty of anger or resentment.
These types of marriages are at a high risk for divorce if something is not done to combat the problem. The best case scenario would be that the addict goes into recovery and you continue to support them in their sobriety.
Until this happens you need to find ways to cope with their behavior if you want to stay in the relationship.
Learn More About Addiction
An important aspect of dealing with an addict is to educate yourself about their disease and understand the ins and outs of addiction. Gaining insight into how addiction works can help you develop some compassion and empathy for their situation instead of blaming or being angry.
When you know more about how substances impact the brain and affect a person's actions then you can separate your feelings toward your significant other and focus on the addiction itself. It can be helpful to also learn more about the recovery process if your significant other does decide to get help and go into rehab.
It will help keep your relationship together if you are supportive and understanding throughout their recovery.
Look for Support
Another way to handle a marriage to an addict is to find support for yourself from people who understand what you are going through. When you feel overwhelmed by the relationship you can talk to friends or a support group like AA where you can get helpful advice and vent your feelings in a safe environment.
This type of support group can be another way to continue educating yourself about addiction. Listening to other people's stories will give you an even better understanding of how addiction affects each individual personally.
You can also look for support from therapy sessions either as an individual or through couples counseling to help rebuild your marriage. Therapy will allow you to get the help you need while also showing your spouse the importance of mental health treatment.
Work on Positive Interactions
If your spouse is still abusing drugs or alcohol, you need to learn to manage your reactions to their behavior. You might feel upset every time they are using but negative patterns of communication can tear apart a marriage.
Lashing out or fighting with your spouse can only serve to escalate the problem and will never resolve anything. It could even turn them to withdrawing further into their substance abuse.
As much as you might want them to quit, you cannot force them to change their ways especially through negative interactions. You can use positive reinforcement by spending quality time together only when they are not under the influence.
Probably the most important way to handle your spouse's abuse is to find a way to get them to go into recovery. This could be through an intervention or a one on one conversation.
When they finally enter rehab you can continue using your coping strategies throughout their journey to sobriety. If they are able to recover from their addiction it can help restore the strength of your relationship and improve communication considerably.