As hard as going to drug and alcohol treatment programs is for the addict or alcoholic, it can be way harder for the spouse and significant others in the addict or alcoholic’s life.
Unless the person entering recovery has completely alienated his or her entire family and burned every bridge imaginable, there will be others in that person’s life that will have to make adjustments in their own lives as well. Many times, this can lead to more resentment than was present before the person went for help.
“Why should I have to change anything? He/she is the one with the problem!”
It is the common refrain of both the spouse and significant others of any alcoholic or addict. The truth is, though, that addicts and alcoholics will get away with as much as they can. They are natural boundary-pushers.
Spouse and significant support drug and alcohol treatment programs.
Give that person an inch, and they will almost certainly try to take a mile. What the spouse and significant others do not realize is that they are not dealing with a rational human being when they interact with an alcoholic in his cups, or with an addict bent on getting that next fix.
When we buy into the addict or alcoholic’s behavior, we become just as much of the problem as the addict or alcoholic him- or herself. Think: if you were given license to do whatever you please, and you were focused solely on your own needs, what would stop you?
Of course, no one intends on this happening, and that is not to say that what the addict or alcoholic is doing is okay—it is not. We have to remember, though, that these are sick people—not bad people. Read up on local drug and alcohol treatment programs to better prepare for what comes next.
It is not the spouse or significant others’ faults if the addict or alcoholic takes advantage of them, but actions do need to be taken if things are to change.
We have said it before, and we will say it again: alcoholism and addiction are a family disease. Without the help of those whom the alcoholic or addict considers family, their chances of recovery drop dramatically. Drug and alcohol treatment programs support the whole family.
It should be no surprise, either. Being alone, without a support system, spurned by the people they did not intend to hurt and the guilt associated with that…it is not surprising when these people turn to drugs and alcohol again, when that is the only tool for dealing with life that they have.
That said, sometimes the addict or alcoholic burns bridges too thoroughly. If this is the case, and reparation of the damaged relationship is impossible, it is better to let him or her know. Dragging out a false hope is only going to cause more pain on both ends in the long run.
It is important too to know that the changes do not happen overnight. It is a series of incrementally smaller changes that add up to a larger whole, but far more often than not, the spouse and significant others notice the difference in the alcoholic or addict long before the addict or alcoholic notices the change in him- or herself. Find drug and alcohol full-service treatment programs to support everyone involved.