When Your Spouse Has an Opioid Addiction
Dealing with any opioid addiction is a painful experience. When it is your spouse, it is likely to alter the course of your relationship. Many couples don’t make it through addiction together, but it isn’t impossible to do. It will require a lot of time, dedication, and honesty from both people.
Finding out your spouse is doing any opioid behind your back equals to the pain of infidelity. In a sense, it is the same. The lying, sneaking around, and deception are almost identical. When the situation comes to light, there will be tears, anger, pain, and uncertainty about the future. Sitting in this pain and doubt can be the downfall of the relationship, so it is incredibly important to put on your game face and come up with a strategy for how to move forward.
Moving Forward from an Opioid Addiction
To move forward from an opioid addiction, first and foremost, both parties have to want it to stop. If the addicted person doesn’t genuinely want to stop, they will continue to find ways to get high, and it will be at the expense of the other person’s sanity and peace of mind.
The next thing that needs to be determined is the severity of the addiction. How long was your spouse using? What were they using? How were they using? Depending on these factors, they will most likely need professional help and treatment to get off of opioids. Withdrawal can be painful and scary and incredibly hard to get through without medical supervision. It is a time when most people relapse because they can’t handle the symptoms. Ironically, the symptoms feel terrible but usually don’t cause any real harm. A relapse, on the other hand, can be deadly.
Once you determine the plan of action, you need to be strong. You need to be supportive without enabling. You need to fake it until you make it – in the sense where you put on a happy face, no matter how terrible you feel inside, in order to make things work.
The problem with opioid addiction – well, one of the many problems – is that people who use will find any excuse to do so. If you yell at them or give them hell, they will think they can’t handle the pressure and they will use. Same if you are constantly sad and mopey around them. In a sense, if they want to stop, they want to be around cheerful people so that they can see light beyond the dark and realize that there is happiness in staying sober.
Concentrate on Yourself
Your own life can’t come to a halt because of your spouse’s opioid addiction. Sure, there are changes to be made and there is going to be a lot of weight on your shoulders. However, you need to keep living and moving forward, separating yourself from the addiction as much as you can. It is a balance of being there for them and supporting yourself.
It is essential to participate in self-care. Stick to people you trust and love. Go do the things that you enjoy so that your entire life isn’t occupied by this addiction. And, most importantly, turn to professional help. There are plenty of doctors out there that specialize in addiction, and they can help people who are not addicts themselves but who are affected by it. There are also groups out there like Al-Anon that specialize in helping families affected by addiction. The support is there, and you can take it. You do not need to feel completely alone.
Dealing with a spouse that has an opioid addiction is heartbreaking. It is like ripping a rug out from under you and having no idea what the future holds. Be strong, stay optimistic, and take care of yourself so that you can be strong enough to care for them.