Drug addiction is an extraordinary challenge to overcome in any relationship. Honesty goes out the window when one becomes addicted, because nothing matters more than satisfying powerful cravings. People who are addicted to drugs do things that may be very out of character, including lying and stealing, when experiencing a craving. As the spouse of someone who is addicted to drugs, it’s important to understand that addiction changes the way the brain functions. Your partner, for example, may not be very rational about the decisions he/she makes due to a one-track mind: drugs. Knowing this does not necessarily make it any easier to live with a spouse who is addicted. The relationship feels the strain in many ways. You may feel like your partner is constantly hiding things from you and is no longer trustworthy. You may worry that he/she will lose his/her job and that you will have to support your family with your income. Intimacy and romance is likely dead, and it feels like you are in a relationship with a stranger. Here are some tips for how to deal with a husband’s addiction:
- Do not enable the addiction. Set strict boundaries with your husband and make sure he understands what those entail. Separate your bank accounts if needed so he cannot use your money, for example. Enabling can be discreet, like cleaning up an addict’s messes (literally and metaphorically). Instead, let your husband clean up his own messes and face the consequences of his addiction.
- Find treatment options for your husband. When your husband finally agrees to go to a rehab program, you want to seize the moment and check him in right away. Do research ahead of time to find out which treatment options are best.
- Consider an intervention. If you’re having a hard time communicating with your husband and he refuses to admit he has a problem or that he needs help, consider contacting an interventionist for assistance.
- Go to counseling. Learning how to deal with a husband’s addiction is emotionally draining. Go to counseling for yourself first, and then consider couple’s therapy when your husband is in recovery.
- Take care of yourself. Find an activity that lets you release some pent-up stress so that you don’t end up taking it out on your husband and saying or doing things that only make matters worse.
- Practice meditation to stay calm and patient. You’ll need plenty of patience to stick through this rough patch in your marriage. Even after your husband is sober, he’ll need time to learn how to right his wrongs and to live a healthier life. If patience is not your strong suit, learn how to meditate or how to practice mindfulness in order to stay at peace with yourself and your husband.
Marriages can and do survive drug addiction. It’s a rocky road, but if your marriage can survive drug addiction, it can survive anything.