When you first got married, the love and happiness you felt made “for better or for worse” seemed so unlikely to happen.
But now, addiction has entered your home, and you’re concerned that your spouse needs more help than you can give.
Whether you are sober or also fighting addiction, getting the other person to admit they have a problem is likely a challenge. In the meantime, substance abuse is pushing your relationship further and further apart while you’re trying to hold onto it for dear life.
The good news is that you don’t have to save your marriage and your spouse alone. There are experts who have seen what you’re going through many times, and they know how to proceed. If you both need help, facilities like California couples rehab are available.
Since the pandemic, the rate of addiction in relationships like yours has skyrocketed, making it vital for there to be easily accessible information for DIY addiction discussions. When you’re ready to have that hard conversation, here are the essentials you’ll need to know to talk to your spouse about addiction.
Find the Root of the Problem First
When someone is addicted to a substance, it’s rarely as simple as they just enjoy the effects. There’s a reason underneath the addiction — a root problem that they’re trying to avoid by numbing the pain with drugs or alcohol. Before you attack your spouse and accuse them of being an addict, recognize that there’s an issue they’re hiding that you, and even they, might not be aware of. Coming at them from a place of grace and compassion will give you significantly different results.
Very rarely will anyone battling an addiction admit it right away. When you open the door to this conversation, don’t expect the results you want by the end of that discussion. Let them know you’re available to talk to them when they’re ready, but that you recognize there’s an issue and you’re concerned that there’s something bothering them they’re not talking to you about.
Wait until your partner is sober and not dealing with the distraction of a craving. Offer solutions such as rehab or counseling so that you come from a place of problem resolution rather than problem accusation.
Avoid Speaking For Them or Mindreading
The thing about most of us is that when we feel backed into a corner, we’ll attack. When you talk to your spouse, try to avoid telling them what’s wrong and why they’re drinking or using drugs. Don’t tell them you know how they feel or that they don’t understand the consequences of their choices. If you must get to the point where you make ultimatums — it’s either the drugs or me — do this only under the guidance of a professional.
Stay Away From the Shame and Blame Game
Finally, be cognizant of everything you’re saying. This can be difficult when you’re in an emotional and important conversation, but if you’re not cautious, you can fall into the guilt trip spiral, also known as the shame and blame game. This happens when you accuse the other person of not caring about you/the kids/their family and friends, etc.
You might want to blame their personality for their drug abuse, but that’s not accurate, either. People who become addicted to substances have a physical reliance on them. Shaming and blaming them into getting help is actually very unhelpful.
These discussions can start calm and turn heated quickly. For the best results, plan out your conversation ahead and determine a rational response to the negative reactions you may get. Working with an expert can help you prepare your mindset and your words wisely.