There are few feelings more frightening or more isolating than learning that your spouse has a substance abuse problem. It can cause confusion, fear, and hopelessness for almost any individual regardless of age or economic status. Spousal substance abuse is a serious problem, not only for the individual with the actual alcohol or drug addiction, but also for the man or woman who shares responsibility for the family.
What are the Effects of Spousal Substance Abuse?
There are several things that happen to a family when one member is engaged in substance abuse -and none of them are very positive.
- Loss of trust. When an individual has a substance abuse problem, they have a tendency to lie to their family about their behavior. This can lead to broken promises and an overall lack of trust amongst the family.
- Financial hardship. Substance abuse problems lead to financial problems in several different ways. Either a head of household loses his or her job as a result of their behavior, or savings accounts are emptied out and used to acquire drugs or alcohol.
- Abusive behavior. Substance abuse, especially when it involves alcohol can lead to abusive behavior. This can create an unsafe environment for the spouse and the children living in the home.
What to do if Your Spouse is Involved with Substance Abuse
Confirm that they have a problem. Learn the most common symptoms of substance abuse and drug addiction and then evaluate for yourself whether or not your spouse has been involved with drugs or alcohol. Watch for warning signs such as withdrawal, isolation, financial problems, and other out-of-the-ordinary occurrences.
Call for an intervention. The best way to help someone you love with a substance abuse problem is to hold an intervention. An intervention takes place when family and friends hold a meeting to show the individual that they do indeed have a problem, and illustrate how it is affecting the people they love.
Get them into an addiction treatment program. Immediately following an intervention the individual should be taken to a alcohol or drug rehab program. Even in the strongest relationships, this is NOT something that a family can figure out on its own -professional help is required to get things right and help your spouse extend their life. Drug rehab programs are staffed by expert counselors and medical professionals who know how to heal individuals and families.
Provide lots of love and support -Assuming that the bonds of trust between you and your spouse have not been damaged beyond repair as a result of substance abuse, this is the time to provide as much unconditional love and support as possible. A strong support structure at home can mean the difference between success and failure for an individual in recovery. Remember, the person you fell in love with is still there! They can be returned to you with proper addiction treatment.
Michael’s House is a residential rehab facility in Palm Springs, California that helps individuals overcome substance abuse issues related to alcohol and drug use.
Contact Michael’s House today at 760-548-4032 for more information.