Addiction

If You Believe Your Spouse Is An Addict 

                                                           

More Sad Humor—Communication Problems?

If you still love your spouse, you can expect “communication” problems. The following is a “joke” unless you have lived with an alcoholic and are trying to “relate” by just asking “How was your day?” 

A POLICE OFFICER pulls over this guy who's been weaving in and out of the lanes. He goes up to the guy's window and says, "Sir, I need you to blow into this breathalyzer tube." The man says, "Sorry, officer, I can't do that. I am an asthmatic. If I do that, I'll have a really bad asthma attack." "Okay, fine. I need you to come down to the station to give a blood sample." "I can't do that either. I am a hemophiliac. If I do that, I'll bleed to death." "Well, then, we need a urine sample." "I'm sorry, officer, I can't do that either. I am also a diabetic. If I do that, I'll get really low blood sugar. All right, then I need you to come out here and walk this white line." "I can't do that, officer." "Why not?" 

"Because I'm drunk."

                            

Read This Before You Start!

 

                                                                           My Husband Is Sneaking Drinks!!

                                                                                            

The Choices You Need To Make

The spouse of an alcoholic or addict must make some difficult decisions. My advice to thee spouse who knows, fears or suspects that addiction has become a problem in their relationship with their spouse: 

1.   First, take care of yourself.

2.   If you want to “protect” your children, take care of yourself first.

3.   Do not become dependent upon the alcoholic/addict, either emotionally or financially.  To do so is to place yourself (and your children) at risk.

4.   If you are already dependent, take steps to reduce the degree of dependency. You must develop life strategies of your own and over which you have control.

5.   “Get a Life”….and this is not intended as a pejorative. Develop a support group separate from your spouse.  People with whom you can be honest, whether they are friends, associates, or members of Alanon.  People with whom you are willing to honestly share your concerns.

6.   Develop your own financial independence.  I call it “Freedom Money” to be accessed if and when needed. It should be money in an account titled in your own name.

7.   If you choose to stay with and to “support” an alcoholic, it is important to you, and to the alcoholic, that you do so out of love and affection for what he or she can become----not because you must. If it is done for the latter reason, the resentment and anger, produced out of the fear generated by the precariousness of a dependent situation, will become an aroma which cannot be eradicated.

8.   You did not cause your spouse’s addiction, although an addicted spouse may blame you for having done so.  Nor can you prevent your spouse's future substance abuse.  Recovery from addiction is, ultimately, the addicted person’s responsibility.

9.   It is important that you explore and examine your own ideas about addiction. That means educating yourself about the disease.  If you firmly believe that addiction is a moral failing and a weakness of individual will power, staying with theaddict/alcoholic may be problematic for both of you. You are not alone. Far, far from it…..this is a disease which is common, even rampant in our society. But without awareness, no other steps are possible. Awareness requires unabridged honesty. By that, I mean looking at reality without the inhibitions of guilt, shame or blame—of yourself or of an addicted spouse.  If, eyes as wide open as you can make them, there is an alcohol problem----talk about it with others. If it is a topic you have been reluctant to talk about for any reason, find a comfortable setting or person to talk with. Finances are not an obstacle to this step. There are ample community resources. Help is freely available.

10.   Courses are available.  Go on the internet and look for courses in alcoholism/addiction located near you. Here's a nice link to the Office of Personnel Management's treatment of the disease. Look for information on Alanon and for meetings near you. You will be welcomed by others who have shared your experience and have developed their own coping methods. There are no better “experts” on this topic than fellow travelers-be they travelers of the road or of the rut.

11.   Stay realistic….there is no room for blind or naïve trust. Many addicts cannot, or will not, recover. Know the warning signs and be vigilant….don’t let your desires for normalcy tug you into your own form of denial. The most important weapon is awareness.

12.  The alcoholic/addict’s chances of successful recovery are much higher if their attempts are accompanied by the support and encouragement of family and/or others who care.

13.   Know the “warning signs” and do not kid yourself.

14.   Relapse is an all too natural part of recovery for many alcoholic/addicts—it is not fatal, and it may be a step toward recovery.

15.   However, the alcoholic/addict’s own motivation underlies the responsibility they have to monitor their own recovery--you must decide whether relapse is an unacceptable pattern or a step along a more constructive road….a hard choice.

16.   Even if the addict does not accept treatment, the remainder of the family needs help and should get it.  That help is freely available through Al-Anon, Alateen and family counseling.

Some Helpful Links--Learn More

 

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Hazalden

The Loft-NYC

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