A marriage is built to withstand the test of time and the tribulations life throws our way, but something like substance use disorder can put a heavy strain on even the strongest relationships. When a spouse is grappling with addiction, their partner can go through many difficulties in dealing with their behaviors, broken promises, and attempts at getting better. Understandably, this experience can forever change the dynamic of a bond they share. Still, spouses who support their loved ones through the treatment process can gain a new appreciation for the person they married and rekindle the love that has been troubled by a chronic disease.
When a partner begins to slip into addiction, it’s not uncommon for their spouse to see it as a “bad habit” instead of a disease. Substance misuse can seem infrequent, especially if they use away from home, while some people can also become somewhat functional in their addiction. The science behind substance use disorder has grown in the past decade, giving us new insights into how the brain works and how it’s affected by drugs. Spouses of people battling addiction would greatly benefit from sitting down and taking some time to learn about the intricacies of the disease, particularly how it influences behaviors and prioritizes drug use. Understanding these details can help ease resentment and frame addiction as a chronic condition that affects these behaviors rather than a bad habit or hurtful actions that are entirely intentional.
During the first few months of treatment, patients will spend a lot of time working on themselves and rebuilding what addiction took away from them. Spousal support is crucial during this time in early recovery because it can be full of ups and downs as the person in treatment relearns to handle their thoughts and emotions. Although those married to someone with substance use disorder are usually accustomed to making concessions due to their spouse’s drug misuse, this doesn’t mean that there won’t come a time where attention is concentrated on improving issues in the marriage caused by addiction. It’s best, however, that the spouse with substance use disorder first gets themselves to a place where they are clear-headed and further along on their personal journey to properly engage in productive discussion.
Spouses of those with substance use disorder can feel like they’re often set on the back-burner while their trouble’s partner’s needs take precedence. Once the spouse with addiction receives treatment, it’s an excellent opportunity for their significant other to take care of themselves and focus on their needs that may have been neglected for an extended period. With both partners taking care of themselves during such a transformative time, motivation and self-perception may improve, setting the stage for productive and restorative marriage relations in the near future.
Middlesex Recovery can help those struggling with substance use disorder using evidence-based methods and FDA-approved medications. Our convenient and confidential outpatient treatment programs allow people with families and other responsibilities to treat their addiction while maintaining their lives. If you or your spouse needs help with their drug misuse, give us a call today to discuss options.