It isn’t easy to live with addiction, whether you are the one with the problem, or when it is someone you love. Feelings of frustration, hopelessness, anger and grief are common for all. It can be especially painful, though, when your spouse has an addiction and is in denial about it.
Addiction is a powerful disease that is difficult to understand if you have not experienced it firsthand. If you are a man or woman watching your spouse sink deeper into substance abuse you may feel confused and have difficulty understanding why your loved one would put themselves and their families through this.
As the spouse, you may find yourself wondering how things could have gotten this bad, why they don’t just stop, or how it is that they can’t see the damage they are doing, or don’t seem to care. This is known as denial, and it is a common characteristic of addiction.
It is important to understand that addiction isn’t a moral issue or a matter of willpower. It is also important to know that your spouse’s addiction isn’t a lack of love. Often, loved ones feel that if the addicted person really cared or loved them, they would quit. If love was all it took, no one would ever need to go to treatment, they would be able to quit on their own. Along the same lines, having the belief that if you just show him or her enough love things will be okay is unrealistic.
Addiction is a disease of the mind. It distorts thinking and virtually rewires the brain in such a way that is skews priorities, needs, reward/pleasure and overall behavior. Addiction often requires professional treatment.
Denial can be one of the most frustrating aspects of your spouse’s addiction. It is bad enough that they have the problem, it is even worse that they don’t seem to see it. Or worse yet, they are blaming it on you or others. Here are some common ways denial manifests itself in addiction:
Why can’t they see what is so obvious to everyone else? Is it intentional? Denial isn’t intentional, but it can feel that way sometimes. And yes, there are few things more stubborn than an addict who is firmly in his or her denial. Addiction is a defense mechanism. It serves to protect the individual from having to face their problems. It is often made up of fear, shame and guilt. It keeps the addicted person from having to take responsibility, and it protects them from the often overwhelming emotions that go along with addiction.
It is also, in part, an example of the increasing distortions in thought that occur as addiction progresses.
It isn’t easy to confront your spouse. They may get angry, they may outright lie and manipulate. They may blame and deflect and make you feel like you are crazy.
Start honestly and gently. Discuss your fears. If you have become frightened for the safety of your spouse, yourself or your children, be straightforward about it. They need to hear this.
Let your spouse know you love and support them, and that you understand they are fighting a tough battle.
In a perfect scenario, you would bring up your concerns, they would admit there is a problem, thank you for bringing it to your attention and volunteer to go get help on the spot. Unfortunately, this is not often the case.
If your spouse’s addiction is disrupting family life and you have pleaded with them to stop, if you are feeling tired of bargaining, arguing and giving ultimatums that you can’t follow through with, an intervention is the next step. In fact, you don’t have to wait for things to get to that point. If you know that your loved one has an addiction problem, you can start the intervention process. You don’t have to wait for things to get worse.
A professional addiction intervention can help your spouse and your family get the help that is needed to overcome addiction and restore your lives.
An interventionist will talk to you, listen to your fears and concerns and support you and your family from the beginning to the end of the process. This support alone makes intervention so powerful. Addiction is an isolating illness, and getting support and help is so very important.
Intervention works. In 90% of cases, the intervention results in the person going to get help.
If your spouse is in the grips of addiction, Intervention Services, Inc. can help. They provide professional, caring intervention services that can help your loved one get the treatment they need to overcome their addiction. The interventionist is there for you and your family and will continue to be there for you throughout the process. Recovery from addiction begins when you pick up the phone and call 1-877-478-4621 today.