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Self-Care for Spouses: Dealing with Addiction

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Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV.

Self-Care for Spouses: Dealing with Addiction

One of the most commonly overlooked implications behind addiction is the impact it has on the people that we love. Our partners, our lovers, our spouses – whatever you call the most significant person in your life – are suffering too. Rather than wallow in the guilt that comes from being at the perceived centre of their misery; let’s talk today about some constructive ways we can help them with self-care.

Addiction is hard on your Loved Ones

It doesn’t matter what way you look at it; alcohol addiction and substance abuse hit hardest on those closest to home. The ones that spend more time with us, that live under the same roof, and that we claim to love, are often those who put up with the most when addiction strikes. Worse; if your loved ones are the ones that checked you into alcohol rehab in Fulham then they are probably suffering from just as much guilt as you are. In order to help you understand both where your loved ones are coming from, and what they have to endure; counselling will be a big part of any drug rehab. Educating both them and yourselves regarding each other’s current feelings and thoughts can really help to soothe things. The most important part of a relationship surviving addiction is communication. If you can, always talk to one another, you can always work together. So is it a losing battle? Is any relationship with an addict doomed? Psychology Today says not. Although the world seems to be against the spouses of addicts; some relationships do survive addiction. The numbers, however, are not in your favour. Some of the addictions in the UK figures are terrifying…
  • 5 per cent of all adults in England and Wales took an illicit drug last year.
  • 2016 saw 2,593 drug-related deaths in the same area. A 58% increase from 2006.
  • 24% of school-aged children admit to having taken an illicit drug by the time they are fifteen.
With the numbers already looking grim, it is no wonder that some of us will end up supporting a loved one through their addiction. However, that does not mean to say that we should isolate ourselves, or that the partners of those suffering from addiction should take any less care of themselves than they are everyone else.

Self-Care for Spouses with Addictive Partners

The upshot of all of this is that it isn’t just the addicts in our lives that need a bit of support now and again. When you are stretching yourself thinner and thinner to accommodate someone else and their needs; it becomes vital that you take a regular time out. Making self-care a regular part of your routine may help to do just that… but what exactly do we mean by self-care and how do you go about getting it? Here are some basic tips to help you get started.

Basic Self-Care Tips for Spouses

1 – Learn to Say “No”

This is the biggest self-care tip for anyone suffering from a partner’s addiction. Over time you will learn the difference between being there for someone, and enabling them to go out and score. The more you develop your ability to say no to them, the easier this will be. Anyone interested in psychology that is also dealing with addiction in Glasgow or the UK, should consider reading about Transactional Analysis. In particular, the Drama Triangle is an effective way of accurately encapsulating your partner’s psychology while they are in an addictive state. You cannot respond to them in the same patterns as you have before because this has enabled them to keep using. Changing the patterns of behaviour can seriously benefit everyone, all-round. Understanding transactions between you and your addicted spouse can be of help in this case.

2 – Take a Time Out

Whenever you need to, be aware that you are allowed to walk away for a while. Just like in any situation, when you have had enough there is no point in pushing the matter further. You will end up resentful of your partner. Instead, remove yourself from the situation until you feel calm enough to deal with it in a rational manner. If that takes two weeks and a holiday somewhere warm – then so be it!

3 – Remember Your Hobbies?

Do you remember what your hobbies are? How long has it been since you last spent an afternoon enjoying one of them, just for yourself? When we become embroiled in helping another person achieve day-to-day survival we forget the things that are important to us… the things that make them adore us in the first place. Take time to remember yourself. The best way to do this is by enjoying some of the things you used to enjoy. It gives you a chance to remember what it is you have to look forward to.

4 – Ask For Help

You are also in a vulnerable position. While your partner might be suffering from physical withdrawal, you are suffering in other ways. You are no longer receiving the same level of love and attention you once were. You may find that you are now the breadwinner or sole earner. It may even be that you are facing an uphill struggle to simply keep a roof over your head. You are not alone. Ask for help. Call us right now on 0203 955 7700 – even if all you need is a frustrated chat to vent some emotion. Ask for help. Your friends and family don’t see everything that goes on. It might even be wise to see a counsellor of your own. If you feel like you need some extra help then reach out. Tell your GP you feel overwhelmed and they can assist you. Tell your friends you are struggling and you will soon find your burden shared. Don’t go it alone. It isn’t worth it and you don’t need to. Life as the spouse of an addict is already tough enough.

Are you struggling to Support Someone You Love?

If you are struggling to support someone you love through drug or alcohol addiction then we can help. Call us today on 0203 955 7700 for free, impartial, and helpful advice. You are not alone. Together we stand stronger against the destructive force of addiction in the UK. [i] https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/statistics-on-drug-misuse/2018

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