Drug addiction takes a toll on marriage. It erodes the connection between husband and wife, making it difficult to almost impossible to solve the normal dilemmas that occur between marital partners. More times than not, the tension and fighting regarding the drug abuse lead to increased substance abuse, resulting in a vicious cycle that quickly becomes out-of-control. You may need outside help in order to cope, and to help your husband manage or overcome his addiction.
Recognize co-dependent behavior. Spend time analyzing your feelings and behaviors, keeping a journal for a week or two to take notice of any patterns. Taking on responsibility for your addicted husband's actions, putting his feelings ahead of yours, fearing abandonment at all costs, failing to set and maintain boundaries with him and holding onto the fantasy that you can fix your husband are all signs of co-dependency. Before you can help your husband, you need to develop self-awareness regarding your part in his struggles. This recognition will help you make necessary changes in your life that will give you the strength to protect yourself, your finances and stage an intervention should it become necessary.
Seek professional help to begin the unraveling your co-dependency. Getting in touch with your feelings through individual or group therapy such as Nar-Anon or even Al-Anon can assist your ability to set boundaries and take a stand regarding your husband's addiction.
Protect your financial assets. Your husband may deplete savings accounts, college funds and retirements savings to support his habit. You may also see inexplicable changes to your credit scores, lump sums of money taken from savings accounts for no apparent reason, and credit card statements forwarded to a different address. It may be necessary for you to open separate accounts so that you can continue to pay your bills and other necessary expenses. Additional strains on your finances include recovery and rehab programs that you encourage your husband to enter.
Stage an intervention if your husband refuses to get help on his own. He is likely to be in denial about his drug addiction and, therefore, is unlikely to seek treatment on his own. In this case, an intervention can provide the necessary focus and structure to change the situation before your marriage falls apart completely.
State specific examples of issues and behaviors as well as how they affected you and your family. For example, your children may be suffering with academic difficulties, withdrawal and depression or acting out in an aggressive manner because of the ongoing tension in your home as well as not having an emotionally stable father. Tell your husband if you find it nearly impossible to keep food on the table or buy your children clothing and shoes because he has used all our money to feed his addiction. Have a treatment plan set up and ready to implement if your husband consents to it.
Lastly, establish a consequence if your husband refuses treatment. Discuss it with your therapist or other professional beforehand. Keep your boundaries firm during this time and follow through with any consequences you've set.
- Mental Health America: Co-Dependency
- Addictions.com: Are You Addicted to Someone Who's Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol?
- Newsday: Your Finance: Protecting Assets From Addict in the Family
- Mayo Clinic: Intervention: Help a Loved One Overcome Addiction
- American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy: Substance Abuse and Intimate Relationships
- Al-Anon: Home
- Narconon: How to Help a Friend or Family Member Addicted to Drugs
- Nar-Anon: Home
- Take responsibility for your own well-being.
- Focus on taking control of your own life.
- Contact a financial adviser or lawyer to help you create a plan if you suspect your assets are being depleted.
- Dial 911 if you or your children are in danger.
Karen Kleinschmidt has been writing since 2007. Her short stories and articles have appeared in "Grandma's Choice," "Treasure Box" and "Simple Joy." She has worked with children with ADHD, sensory issues and behavioral problems, as well as adults with chronic mental illness. Kleinschmidt holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Montclair State University.