Does Addiction Need To Lead To Divorce?
Addiction can wreak complete havoc on a marriage. The addict partner may neglect or even abuse his or her spouse, drain the family’s finances, and be completely unavailable to any family member. The resulting feelings in the non-addicted spouse often include depression, resentment, anger, and even outright hatred. It seems inevitable that these marriages are headed for divorce, but when both partners make a commitment to work through the issues, that outcome can be avoided.
How Can The Addict Turn Things Around?
If you are the addict and you want to save your life and your marriage, the first and most important thing you can do is to get treatment for your addiction. Commit to your treatment plan and work hard to get sober and stay sober. This step is a powerful statement to your spouse about your intentions. Actions always speak louder than words; if you have promised your spouse again and again that you would get help but didn’t follow through, only action will save you now.
In spite of making the move to get help and make things better, some marriages fall apart once the addicted spouse enters recovery. Seeking addiction treatment means more time that you need to focus on yourself and your recovery to the neglect of others. As you go into rehab, talk to your spouse and explain that you will need to be self-involved for a little bit longer, and that it is necessary in order for you to get well again. Ask for patience and time. Involving your spouse in the process to some extent can be helpful for your marriage. Consider including some therapy sessions with the both of you so you can start working on rebuilding your relationship as you learn to be sober.
How Can A Spouse Forgive?
If you are the non-addict, forgiveness and repairing your relationship with your spouse may seem impossible. You have been hurt and ignored, time and time again, but as long as your spouse is seeking treatment, there is hope. Start on the path to forgiveness by learning more about addiction. The more you understand the disease, the more likely you will be to develop some compassion for your spouse.
It may also be helpful for you to seek some counseling. See a therapist who specializes in helping people who have been hurt by addicts. Also consider joining a support group for the loved ones of addicts. You can learn a lot from the experiences of others who have been in your position. The support and camaraderie can also be a powerful tool for healing. Once you have taken the time to work on yourself, be prepared to forgive and to get involved in your spouse’s treatment. Your marriage cannot move forward if you still harbor grudges and resentments.
What if Divorce Is The Best Option?
Despite your best efforts your marriage may be headed for failure. How do you know if divorce is your best option? If you are the recovering addict, no matter how much you try, your spouse may not be able to forgive you or get past the damage you have caused. If you are the injured party, you may try everything to get your spouse to stay clean, but you see failure again and again. If you can’t live with your spouse anymore, you may need to follow through with a divorce. Even if you do split up, keeping up with therapy for both spouses is crucial. You have both been damaged and you both need healing, no matter what happens to your marriage.
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