Strategies for Coping with Your Partner’s Addiction

coping with your partners addiction

Is your partner struggling with addiction? If so, you know how huge of an impact their condition can have on you and your entire family. You know how many fights and sleepless nights it takes for all of it to get at least a little better.

And, while it’s only natural that you want to help, it can have a detrimental impact on your emotional and mental well-being. That’s why your best course of action is to learn healthy strategies for coping with your partner’s addiction. With these strategies in mind, you can help your spouse while at the same time not risking your own mental health or burnout.

Educate Yourself About Addiction

The first and most necessary step for coping with your spouse’s addiction is to learn more about it. Even if you think you’ve got all the basics down, you probably missed some crucial spots regarding addiction and substance abuse.

So, take a step back. Unlearn everything you thought you knew about addiction and start over. For starters, make sure you go over the most common myths about addiction. One of them is that it’s a choice. It’s a physically and psychologically crippling disorder that affects practically every part of a person’s everyday life and changes the brain’s chemistry.

Understanding this, knowing addiction is a disease rather than a decision or a moral failure can help you start to get past your own hurt. You’ll no longer feel like your loved one is choosing addiction over you, which will help you feel even better about helping them through recovery.

Prioritize Self-Care

It’s not selfish to care about yourself and your mental well-being. When you have a spouse battling addiction, it’s only natural that you feel overwhelmed and burnt out at times. This is when you need to take a step back and do something for yourself.

Put yourself first and spend time doing things you enjoy. Take a walk outside or a long bike ride to enjoy the sunny weather and clear your head. Make yourself a bubble bath, or curl up with a good book. Get a huge bag of popcorn and enjoy a movie night. If you don’t do things like this every once in a while, you’ll tire out and won’t be able to help your partner through their hard journey to recovery.

Set Healthy Boundaries

Establishing ground rules for your relationship is crucial, particularly if you think your spouse may be developing or already has a substance abuse problem. Boundaries are clearly stated expectations or standards that are established so that both parties are aware of the appropriate behavior.

Setting boundaries reduces the chance of unintentionally encouraging substance use and the possibility of feeling constantly frustrated or angry with your partner’s behavior—angry at being exploited materially, emotionally manipulated, or powerless in the face of addiction.

Examples include not allowing alcohol or other substances inside your home or near you. Moreover, make it clear that you won’t be lending them money, which is something a lot of addicts ask their loved ones.

Stop Enabling Your Partner

Sometimes it’s really hard to draw the line between supporting a loved one and enabling them. So, for example, don’t think you should attempt to rescue your partner. This is not what they need. Instead, they need to face actual consequences for their actions. So, don’t coddle them. Let them deal with their own problems instead of trying to solve them for them.

Moreover, don’t make excuses for them when they come up short. Many addicts will put off getting help as long as their loved ones are covering up their mistakes. Instead of enabling them in this way, try to talk to them openly, encourage them to enroll in rehab, and make a  jump start to lifelong sobriety. Medical detox can be the first scary step on a long way to recovery, but it’s worth taking it.

Research Treatment Options

Your spouse might not be ready to accept your assistance just yet if they’re still using it. If you simply wait for them to reach out, it can be very difficult and perhaps lead to further issues. Most likely, what will actually happen is that your loved one’s condition will get worse over time, but they still won’t ask for help.

Use this time to research different addiction treatment facilities and the range of services they provide. Visit their website, peruse the details of their programs, ask for their brochures and pamphlets, or give them a call. Consider your choices and decide which would work best for your loved one. When they’re ready to talk about it, present them with some of the best options for their problem.

Talk With a Professional

One of the best strategies for coping with your partner’s addiction is to talk to a therapist. While your partner should undoubtedly seek professional help for their addiction, you should do the same.

This will help you deal with and process all your complicated emotions about their addiction and turn you into a better partner. When you don’t feel resentful and have positive outlets for your feelings, you’ll feel more ready to take on the part of the burden on your partner’s journey to recovery.

If you’re experiencing problems in your marriage due to your partner’s addiction, consider also getting marriage counseling. This will help you understand each other better and appreciate each other more at the end of the day.

Have Realistic Expectations

In the end, it’s really important to be realistic. Dealing with addiction is hard. Don’t lecture or preach to the addict. Most of the time, it will go in one ear and come out on the other. However, addiction recovery experts at Archstone Behavioral Health suggest you continue to hold your loved one responsible at every step and provide assistance in guiding them to the necessary medical care.

Final Thoughts

Dealing with addiction can be really hard. What’s even harder is when your partner, someone who’s supposed to be your rock and guiding light, is the one going through it. This is where you need to step up and try to help them in the best way possible.

However, you shouldn’t just drop everything in your life in order to guide them through their recovery journey. This is neither healthy nor helpful. To be the support they need, you have to come up with your own strategies for coping with your partner’s addiction. Only by drawing clear boundaries and taking care of yourself will you be able to help them get better.

Meta: Is your partner struggling with addiction? Here are the top strategies for coping with your partner’s addiction.

Nicole Middleton
Nicole calls herself a typical millennial girl and thrives on her share of social media, celebrity gossip, and all things viral content. She’s a big fan of pop music and plays the guitar as a hobby.