If you are the spouse of an addict, you may feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of taking care of your partner and struggling with feelings such as anxiety and depression. You may also face financial difficulties due to the cost of supporting someone with an addiction. While this might be a challenging time in your life, please know there are resources available to help you navigate this process. Read on to learn the importance of seeking addiction counseling as a family member or loved one of someone with a substance use disorder.
Drug and alcohol addiction affects the user and their loved ones. As such, it can affect the relationship between the user and their spouse. It’s important to remember that addiction is a progressive disease that deteriorates relationships over time if left unmanaged.
Benefits of Addiction Counseling for Spouses
Addiction counseling for spouses offers persons affected by their partner’s addiction to receive support and guidance to assist them in improving or healing their relationship with the addict. It is a significant step that both partners need to take together to improve their communication, understand each other’s needs, and learn how they can help each other through this difficult time. It is important for couples struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction to seek professional help if they want to save their marriage.
1. Provides a Safe Place to Discuss Addiction
If your partner is dealing with an addiction, you may find it has affected your relationship in several ways. Addiction can cause tension and conflict in the relationship. Addiction counseling for spouses allows both parties to get supervised help that is separate from the other person’s treatment.
2. It Helps Couples Navigate Traumatic Events
It’s common for couples to have a difficult time coping with one another when they have experienced repeated traumatic events due to addiction. After a traumatic experience involving a loved one, finding a safe space to discuss what happened is challenging. Addiction counseling provides that environment.
3. Gives Direction to Spouses to Prevent Enabling Behaviors
Counseling for spouses is important because it offers a safe environment where those who suffer from codependency and enmeshment can discuss their concerns and learn how to improve their own lives while remaining supportive of their partner’s recovery efforts.
Codependency is a condition where a person cannot stop themselves from trying to control or fix another person’s behavior. It often involves an emotional attachment to someone with an addiction or mental illness, which can cause the caretaker spouse to feel like they are constantly at odds with their partner.
While most people don’t realize their codependency or enabling behaviors, attending counseling can help them recognize these behaviors and prevent them from happening in the future.
4. It Helps Couples Address Barriers That Might Interfere With Treatment
Addiction counseling for couples can help address barriers in the relationship that could hinder progress. Addiction counseling is an intervention that helps individuals understand their role in the addiction and how to improve their communication with each other. The therapist will work with both partners individually or together, depending on what is best for them as a couple.
They will start by helping spouses understand how their actions or past experiences have played a part in causing pain for their partner (and vice versa). The therapist will also discuss how these issues might still impact them today, which may lead to new discussions about what changes need to happen for both individuals going forward.
5. Provides Guidance to Rebuild Relationships
Spouses of addicts will benefit from professional guidance as they strive to overcome codependency and rebuild relationships that were damaged by addiction. Addiction counselors can help spouses learn how to deal with stress and anger. Tap into how guilt, fear, and grief affect their lives. And focus on healing from the emotional wounds of abuse or neglect at the hands of their partners.
Seeking Addiction Counseling for Spouses
Addiction counseling for spouses can be an important part of the recovery process. While it may not be possible to remove all negative emotions from your relationship, working with a trained professional can help you learn how to cope with them constructively.
Beyond speaking to a professional counselor, spouses of addicts can seek peer support help. There are many support groups for families of addicts, including Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, and Families Anonymous. Remember, you’re not alone in this process, and support is available whenever needed.