Do you suspect that your partner or spouse is battling addiction?
It can be hard to watch and even harder to come to terms with. You may have noticed a change in behavior, extended nights out, or even excessive hiding. You may even notice the drugs or alcohol themselves.
So what do you do? This is a delicate time and it can be difficult to know what the right decision is. It can be uncomfortable to consult with friends or family because it’s a private matter, and you don’t want to risk alienating your partner by going about things the wrong way.
We want to offer some advice so you can start your loved one on the path to recovery. Help them and yourself through this difficult time. Keep reading to learn all about what you can do when you suspect that your spouse is battling addiction.
Do Your Research
If you suspect that your spouse might be battling a difficult addiction, it’s important to do your research before you jump to any conclusions.
What signs have led you to your current belief? Do they align with signs that other people have reported in the past? If so, it may be time to have a chat with your partner about your suspicions.
This is also the time to learn everything that you can about addiction and how to approach it. This is a complicated issue and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. You’re not responsible for your partner, but if you want to provide the best support possible you’ll need to do some learning of your own.
Understanding addiction is the first step towards helping your partner figure out how to battle alcohol addiction or drug addiction.
Talk to Your Partner
You need to open up a difficult conversation with your partner when you suspect that they have an addiction problem. This isn’t going to be easy, but it’s a crucial step in the process.
Talk to them about your suspicions but be gentle about it. You don’t want to scare them away. You can’t address the problem if your partner isn’t aware of the problem, and they might not be.
You shouldn’t be making accusations here. It’s best if you can let them come to you, but if you choose to address them, do so with love and concern rather than anger and accusations.
Provide Support, But Don’t Enable
There can be a fine line between supporting and enabling an addict.
Everyone is responsible for their own actions and recovery. Even though you should support your partner and encourage them to seek help, enabling may actually have the opposite effect.
People can become trapped further into their addictions if their loved ones aren’t firm enough with them.
It’s also enabling if you’re continuing to provide them with the thing that they’re addicted to. When you want to be a supportive partner, you have to keep temptations out of the home.
While your loved one is on their recovery journey, avoid drinking or consuming drugs while you’re around them. You won’t help them and they need to know that you’re on the same page.
Be Honest About Your Emotions
There’s some common advice in the mental health sphere that refers to “I” statements over “you” statements. This means that you can talk about your emotions and how the situation is affecting you without throwing the blame on the other person. How are you feeling?
Honesty is important here. Ideally, your partner cares about your emotions and the impact that they have on them. While serious addiction won’t be swayed through sharing feelings, it may help them understand your concerns and give them more motivation to seek out a drug detox center or any kind of addiction treatment.
Stage a Gentle Intervention
Interventions that are aggressive or accusatory aren’t helpful. They can cause your partner to run away or resist help.
Gather close friends and family together to create a supportive intervention: one where your loved one knows that the conflict is based in concern rather than judgment.
Make sure that you don’t include anyone who doesn’t already have the same suspicion. You don’t want to out your partner to friends who aren’t yet aware (though you may want to suggest that these same friends don’t use drugs or drink around your partner to avoid any bad influences. This can come later).
Take Care of Yourself
Don’t neglect your own needs while you’re going through this process. Helping someone else manage their addiction isn’t easy, and it can take a serious toll on your mental health.
Look into programs and support groups for people who are loved ones or people suffering from addiction, and consider seeing a counselor. Even though you’re not the person who’s going through the addiction, you still have to do some self-care.
If you let yourself get burned out you’re of no help to your partner.
Look for Recovery Options
Your partner needs help. This is a great time to look into your local recovery options so you can guide them onto the right path. Whether you need drug detox, an intensive inpatient or outpatient care program, or support groups, there are plenty of options that can help your loved one through their journey.
Find drug detox centers near you and go through them with your partner until you find the right fit.
Your Partner Can Get Help With Battling Addiction
Battling addiction is no joke, but admitting that your partner has a problem is the first step towards recovery. Your support is going to mean everything during this difficult time.