When Should You Leave Your Drug-Addicted Spouse?

Living with a drug addict spouse often leads to a life full of turbulence and unpredictability. Your spouse probably has a lot of mood swings or emotional outbursts, and each day you may wonder what’s going to happen next. He or she may stay out later and later each night and sooner or later doesn’t come home at all. You struggle to hold onto cash or to keep credit cards away from your spouse. It’s a stressful way to live, and it’s hard to know at what point you should leave.

How Much is Too Much?

Friends and family are likely to urge you to leave if they are aware of what’s going on, but for you it may not be that simple. You may share children or possessions with your spouse, which can make it complicated to walk away. Your spouse might get sober for a while, and you desperately want to believe that things can get back to normal, because you still love him or her. But there is a breaking point when you are living with a drug-addicted spouse. Some behavior is impossible to live with, such as physical or verbal abuse, neglect or abuse of children or financial instability. Your own health may begin to suffer because of constant stress. Only you can decide when it’s time to leave.

Getting Help for Yourself

You may stay in the relationship longer than you should because of your own problems with codependency or fear of abandonment. The most important thing you can do for yourself is to get help for yourself regardless of what choices the addict makes. A therapist who specializes in treating codependency can make a big difference in your life. Attending meetings of Al-Anon or Co-Dependents Anonymous can also help you to learn about addiction and the way it affects families. You will be able to learn new behaviors and coping skills from others who have had similar experiences. Addiction is a family disease, and when you get help for yourself, you will become strong enough to leave if it’s the right thing to do. If you choose to stay in the marriage, you will be able to learn how to stop enabling and making the situation worse. While it’s possible that your spouse may not recover, when you get help for yourself, you will realize that you are going to be all right no matter what.


Promises: Why Addicts Always Choose Drugs Over Love https://www.promises.com/articles/drug-addiction/why-addicts-choose-drugs-over-love/   National Institute on Drug Abuse: Understanding Drug Use and Addiction https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-use-addiction

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