If your significant other has been suffering from an addiction, you’re likely going through several emotions. It can be very hard not to lose your self-esteem or confidence after seeing your spouse or loved one expressing attraction for other people or neglecting your needs. To make sure that you maintain your sanity and exhibit healthy love for yourself and your significant other, keep these tips in mind.
According to LifeStar, “In many cases, spouses of addicts find themselves asking why they weren’t good enough, sexy enough, smart enough, thin enough—the list is endless.” The answer to those questions: no, it wasn’t you. Their addiction has nothing to do with you. They have a disease, and that is not your fault.
Dave Ramsey says “there’s nothing loving or kind about giving a drink to a drunk”. While you should be supportive and nonjudgmental, you should not condone misbehavior or facilitate it’s continuation. It may be counterintuitive, but protecting your significant other from the consequences of their destructive behavior may be the least helpful thing you can possibly do.
Don’t take on the burden of covering for your spouse and giving them the impression that you will always be there to pick up the pieces. It’s not tough love; that’s just love! Cutting off the security blanket is an act of love toward your mate and will help you maintain your sanity and help facilitate recovery.
Find a way and space to healthily express your feelings. In many cases, significant others of addicts repress their feelings because they are so focused on caring for their addict spouses. However, this can lead to resentment, which only makes the situation worse. Your spouse will likely not be in the right mental space to hear and understand where you’re coming from, so keeping a journal, going to counseling or joining support groups could prove effective.
Trying to help an addicted loved one become sober means that there will be times when you doubt yourself. You’ll wonder if your spouse will remain sober after rehab this time. You’ll question whether you’ll be attracted to your significant other in the same way after the emotional turmoil you’ve experienced. Let yourself feel the doubt and talk to someone you trust. Remember that you deserve to have feelings concerning this situation as well.
It’s very important that you come to terms with the fact that your significant other is an addict, and that there may not be anything you can do about that. After you’ve done everything you can to get your loved one the help they need, you need to accept that healing is up to your spouse. Manage your expectations and don’t feel as though you are responsible for your mate’s healing or sobriety.
Finally, make sure that you make your health a priority, especially while you’re trying to care for a loved one who is addicted to sex, drugs or alcohol. Pay attention to your diet, maintain an exercise routine and go to therapy regularly to keep your mental health intact. This will keep you from experience the burnout that could lead to the dangerous behavior you’ve seen in your mate.