Addiction is a frightening thing. Whether you are experiencing it first hand or watching a loved one suffer through it, it can damage lives and relationships.
Few understand this more than those married to an addict. It is one thing to feel powerless while addicted, it is another to feel powerless when someone else is.
You can’t control their actions, but you can be careful with your own. Somethings that may feel like compassion is actually enabling them and keeping them from real recovery.
Spot these behaviors and do what you can to turn them around, for everyone’s sake.
Excusing Their Behavior to Friends and Family
It is a common line when dealing with an addicted spouse. You say to your family and friends at every occasion, “Sorry, they can’t make, they aren’t feeling well.”
No matter the variation, the moment always does the same thing. It puts the awkward moment of dealing with disappointment and shame on you.
While this may seem like a kindness, understanding disappointment can be a motivating factor for the addicted. Either way, it shouldn’t be your burden.
Providing Services They Can’t Do Themselves
From designated driver to caretaker during hangovers, these services can be helpful but also enabling.
Helping out someone on the occasional time where they take it too far is one thing. It is when you become their crutch to keep doing the same destructive behaviors that you are doing more harm than good.
The fear that they will drive intoxicated is still there, but stopping that may require more forward action which we’ll cover later.
Supporting Them Financially
It is hard to find a job or have a meaningful contribution to the household if you are drunk or high or hungover all the time. It is easier if your spouse covers for your finances so you don’t need to.
If you have a job that can support you both then that is on you. You needing to get a job or overwork yourself so that you can support both of you is not good.
Dodging responsibilities in favor of addiction is how addiction rots away at life. Having to push yourself to recovery because you cannot live like this physically and financially is a powerful “sink or swim” moment.
Lying to Your Children
You should never lie to your children. You may find it surprising at how well kids can deal with the truth.
Telling your children that daddy or mommy is only sick gives them this idea that their addictive behavior is normal. Never normalize problems like this.
This can also extend to all abusive behaviors, like domestic abuse or lying. If something is wrong, do not normalize it and make an excuse. Tell your children the truth.
Refusing to Push Them to Recovery