marriage divorce

What It’s Like to Be Married to an Addict

Relationships are a beautiful thing, even when they don’t work out entirely in the end. Just to watch them blossom, bloom, and in some cases wilt away- there is a fascinating sense that remains. Money comes and goes, as do looks, but the memories and laughter shared with others is what we take away forever. At the end of the day, nobody wants to be entirely alone in this world. Some people might be more introverted or even prefer to isolate, but those people and all the others still crave companionship to some degree. It ties into our primal nature and is just who we are. We want help. We want love. We want friendship. We want somebody to understand. The thing is, well, we can’t really be there for somebody else if we’re not there for ourselves first. Everybody is different of course, and for some- it’s easy to find love and move through life with that aspect of companionship or sanctity. Marriage ends up being the traditional way to wear and proclaim the love for your significant other and by doing so, we sign up for everything- the good and the bad. Addictive and alcoholic thinking can appear sporadically in anybody’s life and most overlook the chaos being married to an addict can bring. There are a number of roads it can lead to, but knowing about your partner’s ailment can protect most holy matrimonies if you’re lucky.

Keeping the Ship Afloat

One thing to keep in mind is that chemical dependency is a mental disease. It is not something that can just be forgotten about, or to pull a Nancy Reagan and “just say no.” This is a mental blockage that haunts the affected person for all of their life. It never goes away and is cured, but it can be dealt with in a healthy enough manner to where it is put on the back burner and not obsessed about. This takes time for addicts and alcoholics, though. Most of us are dealing with other psychological issues revolving around or simply involving our abuse. For the record, this applies to any form of addiction whether it be body dysmorphic issues, using substances, self-mutilation, gambling, all of the above or anywhere in between. There is a root problem inside our skulls that subconsciously and consciously causes us to have the illness of addiction or alcoholism. Doing introspective work on ourselves and discovering how we tick is the solution to treating our destructive ways. The point being dragged out here is that it takes years and years to do that kind of work on an individual, and so to have expectations that there will be no road bumps in that time period is a set up for failure. That all being said, being married to an addict who’s actively using and being married to an addict who’s in recovery are two entirely different things of course. One will be delivering a tornado of unpredictability and the other will be working on themselves diligently and growing mentally along the way with you.

Being tolerant of your spouse’s way of life is a big deal and takes a lot of time and patience. Of course they are the product of all their own decisions, but having that aid and moral support along the way makes a huge difference. Believe me, most addicts and alcoholics didn’t wish to become one, nor did they want to spend their free time going to anonymous meetings and fellowshipping, but it’s part of the territory that chemical dependency brings.

married couple fighting

My mother is a recovering alcoholic but was married to my father for 21 years as an active alcoholic. Addiction and alcoholism are family diseases, as they say. The widespread butterfly effect that is addiction doesn’t just stop at patient zero who is the perpetrator of all the hysteria. The actions of their addiction tend to erode away all sorts of relationships with friends/family, co-workers, and other affiliates in and out of their life. My father tried to help my mother as much as he could as the disease took a grip on her in their last 6 years together, but eventually, it was too much for him and it was taking him down with her. I share this personal information as an example of boundary setting. My father was desperately in love with my mother but had gotten to a point where he realized that this disease was going to take them both down mentally, physically, spiritually, and financially if he didn’t step away. Now, this isn’t necessarily always and every situation varies depending on the substances being consumed and the lifespan of the marriage. It was a last resort to separate but he had come to the realization that my mother didn’t love herself and therefore wouldn’t allow anybody else in to love her either. That’s what addiction does sadly. It turns us into people we don’t want to be and turns our loved ones into individuals we hardly identify.

At the end of the day, being married to an addict involves all the trials and tribulations that regular love carries plus more. It is important to remember that with the proper support by their side, addicts and alcoholics all over live happily ever after with their significant others.

Communication is key and making sure that the same better life is wanted by both parties involved makes a world of difference. Not giving up on somebody and having faith is admirable because even if your spouse is using, the “real them” is still in there. Yet also know that there is nothing wrong with removing one’s self from toxic situations. Sometimes you just have to go with what you need and not necessarily what you want.

Avoiding a Relationship With Yourself?

Everything is gray and there is no more color to life anymore? Sounds about right because that’s exactly what addiction does to us. Recovering from chemical dependency will help us be able to truly feel again. It takes getting clean and sober before our senses and true happiness come back. If you or a loved one is struggling with chemical dependency and are ready for help, please call 1-800-481-8457 or visit www.ohioarc.com. Our specialists are standing by- ready to give you any suggestions possible and set you or your loved one on a path that we can all be proud of.

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