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Dr. Cassidy Blair, Psy.D. Licensed Clinical Psychologist | PSY 22022

Dr. Cassidy Blair, Psy.D.

How To Cope With a Spouse Who Has a Drug or Alcohol Addiction

Marriage is hard enough, even when you’re getting along and everything seems to be going perfectly. But, when one spouse is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it just might be one of the toughest challenges you’ll ever have to face. That’s because addiction involves more than just the person who has it — it affects the relationships and trust between you and your spouse, as well as your friends and other family members. Being married to someone with an addiction can take a mental, physical, and emotional toll on you that’s difficult to overcome. 

For those who are wondering what they can do to help their spouse while also prioritizing their own health, keep reading. We’ve compiled some helpful strategies that will allow you to provide the support your partner needs while building your own mental and emotional fortitude. If you’re looking for support in the form of relationship therapy, help for a toxic relationship, or drug addiction therapy in Los Angeles or the surrounding area, we encourage you to give Blair Wellness Group a call.  

Education and Understanding Is Key


For someone unfamiliar with how addiction works, it might seem as though your spouse just doesn’t care about you enough to stop engaging in their destructive behavior. Despite the effect it’s having on your relationship and your family, they continue to do things that they know will make things worse. It’s easy to lay blame, but educating yourself on how addiction works will help you to better understand and accept that it’s not about a lack of willpower. Addictive substances actually change brain chemistry — making the process of altering addictive actions and behavior incredibly difficult. 

Provide Support Without Enabling


Because you love your spouse, you may want to do whatever it takes to help them and sometimes that means you may make excuses for them, allow them to neglect their responsibilities, or neglect your own needs to help. The problem is, in doing these types of things you’re actually causing more harm than good because you’re unknowingly allowing them to continue their behavior without facing the consequences. There are many ways that you can support your partner — you just have to make sure you’re doing it in a way that isn’t enabling them.

Seek Healthy Coping Strategies


Being the spouse of an addict can often feel lonely. It may seem like you no longer have the life partner you had when you first got married. Plus, the consequences of their addiction might fall on your shoulders, requiring you to do more around the house, take on a second job, or make other sacrifices for your family. To avoid becoming angry and resentful, it’s important to seek out healthy forms of coping that will provide you with an emotional outlet for everything you’re dealing with.  

For instance, make time every day just for yourself. Whether you use that time to exercise, meditate, engage in a hobby, or get out and have coffee with a friend, this much-needed break will allow you to relax and focus on your own mental wellness.  

Get the Support That Both of You Need


Chances are, you may have already talked to your spouse about getting help for their addiction, but for one reason or another, it just hasn’t happened yet. Some people are in denial that they have a problem, while others just become trapped in an unending cycle of unhealthy behaviors. What’s important to remember is that you shouldn’t give up. You can’t make someone seek treatment through force, guilt, or by any other means, but you can continue to gently remind them that recovery is possible, and it’s not something they can do on their own.

Just as your spouse needs support for their recovery, you, too, will benefit from seeking a caring and compassionate psychologist who can help you cope with the challenges of living with someone with an addiction. If you’re looking for someone who can provide the support that both of you need through relationship counseling or drug addiction therapy in Los Angeles, contact Blair Wellness Group at 310.999.4996 to schedule an appointment.

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