Nothing is more painful than realizing your partner is struggling with a debilitating addiction. Whether it’s alcohol, drugs, sex, gaming or gambling, when you are living with a spouse consumed by a substance or behavior, it can turn your life upside down.
So how does one deal with this situation? Sure, you can ignore it for a while, go about your business like nothing is happening and everything is fine. But eventually it becomes impossible to ignore. Children may start to notice; normal, everyday interactions become strained, and the tension and resentments boil over—what then?
It’s common for partners of those who are addicted to take the stance of, “It’s not me, it’s them! Let them handle this mess.” It’s natural to be angry, to want the one who is struggling to just go away, fix the problem, then come back so everything can just go back to the way it was.
These partners may ask themselves what they did wrong to cause this, or how they could have prevented their loved one from falling down this dark path. Why can’t they save their spouse? They might ultimately ask if it’s best to detach themselves from this addict altogether.
In many cases, spouses don’t realize the extent of their codependency, and by not taking care of themselves, they are intensifying the issue and making it harder for everyone in the long run. For spouses and partners of individuals with addiction issues, there are free peer support communities such as Al-Anon and Nar-Anon. These meetings are comprised of like minded individuals who share these experiences. Twelve-step meetings for non-alcoholics provide a format where individuals can recognize the severe impact alcohol and drugs have had on their lives, even if they aren’t the ones abusing the substances. It’s also helpful for loved ones to seek out counseling in a formal therapeutic setting from a trusted professional who understands the nature of addiction, and loving an addict.
But what about the person who is abusing the substance or behavior? Thankfully these days, there are a multitude of treatment options. These resources can help get individuals back on the right path—and take the burden off their spouse. Southern California in particular is known for its top notch rehabs and Lighthouse Treatment Center, an Orange County drug and alcohol detox center, is no exception.
Offering an integration of evidence-based practices and holistically minded care, both clients and their loved ones can expect plenty of practical solutions, compassion and support. Lighthouse Treatment Center is a comprehensive drug and alcohol rehab that creates a customized treatment plan that aims to uncover the root of the problem for each individual. Treatment addresses not only the symptoms of the addiction, but also the psychological and physical states that might have contributed to it. Lighthouse Treatment Center truly makes it a mission to treat the whole person.
In addition to the programming designed for the individual client, Lighthouse also has a complete family program that teaches the whole family valuable communication skills, offers education about the disease of addiction and helps to shed light on the dysfunction that has consumed the entire family’s lives for so long.
While addiction may be seen as a “family disease,” it doesn’t have to render complete hopelessness.