How To Help Your Spouse Through Addiction Recovery

Updated on July 19, 2021

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woman helping her spouse

Addiction does not discriminate. It can affect you, your parents, your children, or even your spouse. When your spouse is dealing with this type of problem, it can be difficult to know exactly what to do and how to proceed. However, the more you learn about addiction and addiction recovery, the better you’ll be able to handle the situation and learn how to help your loved one overcome this problem. Because of how dangerous drug and alcohol addiction can be – it is vital to take action as soon as possible.

Before you decide to take action, let’s first work to better understand the signs of addiction so you can know for sure if your loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse.

 

How To Help Your Spouse Through Addiction Recovery

 

Signs Your Spouse is Abusing Substances

 

If you are worried that your loved one may be dealing with some sort of addiction problem – whether the issue is opioids, alcohol, or even illicit substances – there are strong signals and a number of signs that can point to an addiction problem. It is important to be able to recognize these signs of abuse so you can offer help to your loved one when an issue does arise.

Some of the most common physical signs of addiction include:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Major changes in appetite
  • Poor personal grooming habits and hygiene
  • Runny nose and sniffling
  • Sudden weight loss and weight gain
  • Slurred speech
  • Tremors

Along with these physical changes, some common behavioral signs of addiction include:

  • Secretive or suspicious behaviors
  • Problems with the relationship
  • Neglecting professional or social responsibilities
  • Newfound financial problems
  • Abandonment of hobbies

Lastly, there is a number of psychological signs of substance abuse as well, including:

  • Fear and anxiety for no reason
  • Lack of motivation
  • Apathy
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Unexplained change in personality or moods

While these are good to know when it comes to all types of substance abuse, let’s look a little closer at alcohol specifically. Due to its legality, alcohol is one of the most widely used drugs across the country. Unfortunately, extended exposure to alcohol and regular use can lead to major problems that can cause addiction.

Some of the common warning signs of alcohol abuse include:

  • Attempts to stop drinking are unsuccessful
  • Drinking alone
  • Displaying anger when questioned about one’s drinking habits
  • Drinking frequently and excessively
  • Binge drinking

Okay, so now you know some of the most common warning signs for drug and alcohol addiction. What do you do if you notice a problem in your loved one?

A good place to start is opening up the dialogue. Let’s take a look at how to do an intervention.

 

How to Stage an Intervention for Your Spouse

 

You know they have a problem, you can see it affecting them and it may even be taking a toll on you – but what do you do now? Staging an intervention can be a great way to truly demonstrate how much of a problem your loved one’s substance abuse has become. If you are worried that your loved one’s drug or alcohol use is out of control and may be leading them down a dark and dangerous path, follow these steps for staging an intervention to help open their eyes to this.

One of the first things you want to do is seek out professional help when staging an intervention. After this is done, you can heavily rely on this person to walk you through the rest of the process, but just so you can plan, let’s take a look at some of the subsequent steps.

 

1. Gather friends, family, and loved ones.

 

The intervention shouldn’t just be you, it is important your spouse sees that others have noticed an issue too. If it is just you, it can be easy for them to push to the side.

finger art unhappy family

 

2. Write impact statements.

 

You and your loved ones need to show how much of an effect your spouse’s drug or drinking habit has had on each person. Whether this is done by bringing up examples of things that your spouse has done while under the influence or showing a comparison of this person from before the addiction to now, you need to have evidence of the addiction leading to a problem.

 

3. Offer them help.

 

You’re not there to hurt them and make them feel bad. You’re gathering with your loved one and going through this process because you love and care about them and you want to help. So, do that – offer to get them help. There are tons of treatment centers near you and around the country that can assist you with getting them the professional care that they need to conquer this problem.

 

4. Don’t let it go.

 

Once the intervention has been done, you must continue to follow up with whatever was decided. If your spouse decides that they want to go through a treatment program, start reaching out and look to find one that can help.

people showing empathy to each other

 

Finding an Addiction Recovery Facility

 

Now that your loved one has agreed to get the help that they need, you may need to start taking on this process. Just because they agreed to go through treatment, doesn’t mean that they are motivated enough to actively search for this help. This likely will be up to you. But how do you do this? What are you supposed to look for when searching for a treatment facility?

There are a few things that you should be aware of when searching for help for a drug or alcohol treatment center.

When searching for an addiction recovery facility, look for treatment centers that can offer personalized treatment plans, evidence-based treatment methods, behavioral therapy, aftercare programming, and more.

Overall, it can be a bit overwhelming to have to sift through all the rehabs near you, so to make this easier, you can utilize the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) treatment locator tool. This tool will allow you to search in your local area for quality treatment centers that are verified by SAMHSA.

While this tool can be helpful, the best thing you can do when you are deciding between facilities is to call them and figure out what they offer and how they can help with your specific situation.

Along with asking about treatment options, you can also take this time to ask the admissions team what you can do to help your loved one conquer this issue. They will likely have tips, and may even have the first-hand experience in knowing what they need.

To dive into this a little bit more, let’s take a look at some of the things that you can do to help your loved one after they return from an inpatient or outpatient rehab program.

 

Assisting with Long-Term Sobriety

 

Just because your loved one has gone through the treatment process doesn’t mean the fight is over. Addiction is a lifelong disease that needs to be treated as such. If your loved one has completed the initial treatment, there are things that you can do to help them continue down their path toward long-term sobriety.

One of the easiest things you can do to decide what is best for your loved one is to talk to them. At this point, they are much more in control of themselves and can help decide what needs to be done to improve their chances of long-term sobriety and avoid relapses.

Many times, substance users feel urges to use again when exposed to certain stimuli – such as empty beer bottles, cigarettes, and more. It can be a good idea to discuss and identify what these stimuli are and limiting any exposure to these items.

Furthermore, when your loved one does feel these urges to use again, it can be dangerous, but luckily, these urges and cravings don’t last too long and after 10-15 minutes they can pass.

Along with controlling stimuli in your house, you can also provide encouragement to your spouse and help them find alumni and community events to keep them engaged with others who are living a new, sober lifestyle.

Overall, drug and alcohol addiction are serious problems that can lead to a long list of issues including liver failure, heart disease, coma, seizures, drug overdose, and death. These serious consequences are the reasons why if you notice your spouse or loved one struggling with a substance abuse issue, you work to help them immediately before the issue spirals out of control further.

 

To help you first want to ensure there is an actual problem at hand and work to help open their eyes to this problem.

 

Staging an intervention can be a great way to explain to them what their actions have caused and show them that you are worried and care about their well-being. From there, finding a treatment center can help them get the early sobriety out of the way and learn the tools and knowledge they will need to hold on to their long-term sobriety and prevent relapse.

While there is more that can be done to help, seeking out an addiction professional is going to be your safest bet for helping your loved one conquer this dangerous disease.

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