Marriage and the Addicted Spouse

Marriage is hard enough without the complication of other issues. But in the real world, people get sick. One of the most challenging illnesses to affect your marriage is addiction. The addiction of one or both partners can be devastating to the marriage, but it does not have to end it. Countless marriages are saved from the ravages of addiction each year with the help of professional counsellors and addiction recovery groups that allow one to recover from addiction privately. There are people who can help you with your issues if you are willing to make some changes.

Addiction can take many forms. Some people are addicted to substances, such as alcohol, drugs, or food. These people are compulsively drawn to use these substances over and over regardless of the negative consequences and debilitating side effects. They become obsessed with the acquisition and use of the substance over all other activities. This obsession takes over the life of the addict until he or she is no longer able to function and must either get professional help or succumb to the fatal consequences of their addiction.

There are some signs that your spouse might be addicted to a substance. Alcoholics are often characterized by isolation and defensiveness around their drinking habits. They may be hiding bottles of liquor around the house and lying about their consumption. They may exhibit moodiness that is unexplainable by other aspects of their day. For example, everything may seem to be going along well, but they are constantly angry or resentful. Eventually, alcoholics may exhibit signs, such as tremors early in the morning until their first drink, inability to remember their behavior when drinking due to black outs, and weight loss due to lack of appetite.

A drug using spouse may exhibit many similar symptoms as the alcoholic spouse, and in fact may also be alcoholic. Sings of drug abuse include mood swings, excessive sleep or alertness for periods of hours or even days, and scattered thinking. You may find that the drug abusing spouse is gone for inexplicable periods of time and leaves at odd hours for errands that have no relevance. Eventually, the drug addict succumbs to the inability to eat and complete apathy about other areas of life.

When your spouse is addicted to food, you may find it difficult to tell. Most likely, they will exhibit behavior that shows their eating as a coping tool. They may eat when depressed or tired. They may eat in order to quell anger. Most likely, their food consumption also takes place in secret, often late at night. Severe weight gain and mood swings are signs of food addiction.

If your spouse is addicted to sex, you may know of a few common signs, such as pornography use and excessive internet chatting. However, you may be surprised to know that sex addicts also pursue meaningless sexual encounters with strangers in order to fulfill their compulsive desires. You are at risk of getting several common and potentially fatal diseases that can be transmitted through sexual contact if your partner is messing around with strangers. So you need to do your best to identify this behavior.

Other addictions include gambling, prescription pills, and even the internet itself. Any and all of these addictions are discussed at length in health journals and at support groups around the nation. You will need to find a sufficient source of information in order to deal with this situation.

The key is not to go it alone. You are powerless over your spouse’s addiction. The first thing to remember is that you did not cause the addiction. Your spouse may try to blame you or your behavior for their drinking, eating, or drug use, but do not take the bait. This is simply common addictive behavior and is a perfect example of the kind of denial that takes place in the addict’s mind.

Also keep in mind that you cannot control the behavior of your addicted spouse. This is usually the most difficult concept for partners to grasp. You feel that if you only reasoned well enough or pleaded hard enough that your spouse would cease their destructive behavior. This is not true. Your spouse is not using or drinking or abusing anything else in order to hurt you or to display their lack of regard for you or the marriage. They are incapable of controlling their own obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions. And if they can’t control it, you certainly cannot.

So if you suspect that your spouse has an addiction of any kind, seek help and talk to others who are familiar with your experience. Support is available and recovery is possible with time.



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