Spouses can usually remember the exact moment when they learned or realized their loved one’s substance abuse or addiction. Whether it was suspected for weeks, years or it came as a sudden shock, the feelings are usually in the vein of betrayal, rejection, pain and loneliness – these emotions are to be expected when learning of a partner’s substance problem.
But although we may know addiction is a disease, it still causes those close to feel personally wronged. It’s next to impossible to trust a spouse who has lied about his or her addiction, or has snuck around to get high. Trust issues are incredibly common, and very damaging.
There is hope for these relationships; emotional scars can heal. Spouses should also receive help, or the relationship will continue to struggle. They can and should be part of the recovery process and work on their own recovery, too.
Family therapy can help end the pain of addiction.
Spouses working through addiction should spend quality time together in a non-stressful setting, keeping open the lines of communication. Support groups like Al-Anon help family members learn from other people’s experiences and gain strength from those who have been in similar positions. According to Livestrong, “…many spouses who are married to addicts may struggle with marked emotional stress regarding the partner’s drug or alcohol use. Spouses should seek emotional support from a professional counselor or community group to develop improved coping skills and for support with long-term decision making regarding the relationship.”