If Your Spouse or Partner Has a Substance Abuse Problem

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What can I expect if my spouse or partner is addicted to drugs or alcohol?

If Your Spouse or Partner Has a Substance Abuse Problem

An addiction can seriously disrupt or end a marriage or relationship. If your partner is active in an addiction, you have probably experienced ill effects ranging from distance and lack of support to disappearing money, infidelity, or violence.

If you are afraid for your safety or that of your children, go to a safe place.

Talk honestly and calmly with your spouse about what you have observed, and offer your support in getting treatment and maintaining abstinence.

Of course you want your partner to choose you and your life together over the addictive substance. But the reality is that many addicts are willing to pay the price of losing their relationships and families. If that is the case, your job is to minimize the harm to yourself and others.

Even if your partner is willing to get help and build a new life, things will not be easy. This is a difficult path, and you shouldn't try to walk it alone. Seek help from Al-Anon or Narc-Anon meetings, which are for the families of people with addictions, and maintain ties with supportive friends, family members, and your religious community. Your partner's treatment center may have programs for spouses and families; take advantage of them to learn more about the early stages of recovery.

Once the addict has begun to establish a pattern of abstinence, it may be necessary to rebuild the relationship from scratch, to undo the damage done during the active addiction.

   

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