How To Get Help for Your Spouse?

Are you struggling to get your spouse into addiction treatment? Finding that line between saving the loved one who is struggling with addiction and saving yourself isn’t always easy, and that becomes an urgent matter when the loved one is your spouse. Knowing the facts listed below, may put things a bit more in perspective.

  • Addiction is a disease that triggers obsessive substance use
  • Substance dependence on alcohol or drugs can drive your spouse to lie, steal and hurt those she is close to 
  • There is an urgent need for a support system for you and your family to deal with the problem at hand
  • You need your own support system to help you deal with your spouse
  • Recovery is always possible, but relapse is common and multiple treatment attempts may happen

If your spouse is struggling with an addiction, he or she may deny that there is a problem and believe that rehab is not a necessity. However, as a spouse, you can help your loved one overcome these reservations by starting a one-on-one conversation about the subject or utilizing a formal substance abuse intervention. The goal of any “intervention conversation” is to get the person to accept help and enter rehab. Getting your spouse into an inpatient rehab program is often the most recommended course of action. Removing your spouse from current temptations and distractions will allow your loved one to focus on getting well. Try to keep the following general guidelines in mind:

Show that you’re concerned and that you care. The essential thing to get across is that you’re coming from a place of love and caring, one in which you really want the best for your loved one. Saying “I love you” and “You’re not alone” are important phrases that prove to be more effective than showing “tough love” alone.

Show care and compassion. Although it can be difficult, you should try to take a calm, loving, and compassionate approach to your meeting. Being angry and using harsh words are never productive. Try to remember that addiction is a disease.

Help your spouse make the connection. Lost in a haze of substance abuse, chances are your spouse really hasn’t ever made the connection between the substance abuse and the impact it has on the people he/she loves most. Make tangible connections that can help your spouse understand that he/she has changed. For example, talk about the activities your spouse used to cherish that are no longer an option because of his or her drug or alcohol habit.

Prepare for the conversation by doing research beforehand. Your challenge, after all, is how to get your spouse admitted into rehab. So you should know as much as possible about the available treatment program options. Bring written material related to the treatment programs and the activities of the treatment facility you recommend.

Try to listen at least as much as you speak. This is a good rule of thumb in any conversation, but it’s essential in a conversation you hope to convince someone you care to take drastic and life-changing action. One of the most powerful needs of any human being is to know that he or she is seen and heard.

Be Frank. If your spouse refuses help and doesn’t want to change, make sure you let your loved one know the consequences of that decision. If you feel that you can’t continue living with your spouse while he/she is still abusing drugs or alcohol, say so. Especially if you’re afraid to allow your spouse to be alone with the kids, be very clear about that.

Understand your limits. While you should always hope for the best when trying to get your spouse into rehab, be prepared emotionally for the worst, which is his or her refusal to accept what you are asking for. Even if such an “intervention conversation” fails and your spouse refuses treatment, keep in mind that you may have “planted a seed” that could bear fruit at a later time.

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