Those who are struggling with addictions of any kind often live a very evasive life, mostly out of necessity. There is so much turmoil going on that those who are addicted and often their families become involved in a type of “cover up” so others won’t know what is happening in their lives. And yet that, which is allowed to stay in the dark, often grows worse and causes more and more trouble with the passage of time. This is especially true when you are dealing with addiction of any kind.
Dealing with Addiction
To help you understand more about addiction, we will lead you to several articles on the Internet that could help. But first we want to share with you some important statements for you to consider. They were written by Dr Dave Currie and Glen Hoos. They came from an article titled, “Tiptoeing Around Addictions”, which was formerly posted on the web site for Marriageuncensored.com. In it, Dave and Glen addressed the issue of “what a family can do about the addiction that has invaded their lives.”
Here’s what they wrote:
“There’s the failure of the non-addicted spouse and other family members to respond appropriately and helpfully to the situation. Now, don’t get me wrong on this. I understand that the person with the addiction is the one who must ultimately take responsibility and make the changes to get healthy. If you are the supportive spouse, I am not suggesting that you are responsible for the addiction or the havoc it’s wreaking in your home.
“I am suggesting, however, that the way in which you respond can either create an environment that will help your spouse beat their addiction, or it can contribute to and compound the problem. As the partner who is one step removed from the addiction, you will have a huge impact on how this will turn out —for better or worse.
“The tendency of many in this situation is to tiptoe around the addict and their habit. But while letting sleeping dogs lie may get you through the day, it will not bring about the results you desire long-term.”
In this web site article, “Tiptoeing Around Addictions” Dr. Dave Currie, with Glen Hoos, made the point that “DENIAL” is one of the “unhealthy ways that “people respond to their spouse’s addiction.” They make the point that the addict tries to deny that there is a problem. But:
“Their spouse, family and friends often get hooked into it as well. The spouse in particular may deny the extent of the problem. They may try to convince themselves that their marriage is strong enough to bear up under this pressure. They figure the issue is better left alone.
“You’ve got to be willing to let go of the security of that fantasy, and face reality. The first (and often hardest) step is admitting you have a problem. The issue is there whether you admit it or not. But accepting the truth puts you on the road to recovery. If you deny the depth of the problem, your spouse will have no compelling reason to face it either, in which case your situation is never going to improve.”
And then there is, “ENABLEMENT,” which is ”denial taken a step further.” As Dave Currie and Glen Hoos write:
“It’s covering for the addict, protecting them from the natural consequences of their actions. Some examples:
• “The boss calls and asks the woman why her husband isn’t at work today. ‘He’s in bed, sick,’ she answers. She is neglecting to mention that the sickness is due to a killer hangover incurred the night before.
• “The wife’s gambling addiction has strained the family finances to the point where the bills can no longer be paid. Instead of facing the real issue, the husband arranges to skip a mortgage payment and opens yet another line of credit.”
Facing the Truth
It’s tempting to do this because it seems easier to do this than to face the truth. However, as it’s pointed out:
“What you’re doing when you cover for the person is removing their motivation to change. Maybe he needs to get fired to wake him up. Maybe she needs to go to the store and have her credit card rejected when she’s trying to buy groceries to realize there’s a problem here.”
“Instead of enabling, you’ve got to intervene. Whether that’s a one-on-one confrontation or some kind of a group intervention depends on what you’re facing. But you need to come to the point where you say, ‘Okay, we have a problem here. What are we going to do about it?’”
Another way that a spouse and family may tiptoe around addiction is that they turn to “ABANDONMENT” as a way to cope. They:
“Cover for the addict one too many times and have come to the point where they say, ‘You know what? You got yourself into this mess. Now get yourself out of it!’ They wash their hands of the situation and leave their spouse to deal with the problem alone.
“It’s understandable that some people get to this point. After all, it’s their spouse who chose this road. And paying for their bad behavior gets old very fast. Nevertheless, if you’re in this position you’ve got to ask yourself how you want this to play out? Do you really want your spouse to get cleaned up and get your marriage back on track? Because if that’s what you want, you’re not going to get it by leaving your husband or wife to fend for themselves. They’re going to need your support and encouragement every step of the way.
The Finger Pointing Urge
“Somehow, you’ve got to suppress the urge to cast blame and point fingers. Instead of putting the problem between you, you’ve got to stand side-to-side with the problem in front of you and say, ‘We have a problem. It happens to be your addiction. But it’s our problem, and we’re going to solve it together.’ What a world of difference from the, ‘It’s your problem… deal with it!’ approach.
“This is undeniably tough, especially if your spouse is not showing a willingness to do the hard work of recovery. However, don’t mistake support for softness. Supporting your spouse may mean confronting them, refusing to cover for them, and perhaps even separating for a period of time while they work through it. But it’s got to be done in a context of love and encouragement. It’s carrying an attitude that says, ‘We will do whatever it takes to get you healthy and to put our marriage back on solid ground.’”
Perpetuating the Addiction
Now, it’s true that you may have been there and done that. But it’s important not to keep allowing this addiction to keep going on in your home, because it will continue to erode your marital relationship until eventually your marriage will be totally destroyed. There is no doubt that help is needed —desperately!
“FLYING SOLO” is another temptation facing you in all of this.
Dave and Glen write further:
“As in many other areas of life, pride can be crippling when it comes to dealing with addiction. Pride causes you to say, ‘We don’t need help. We can handle this on our own.’
“Most addicts require outside help to fully conquer their habits. And fortunately, help is widely available. Whether it’s Gamblers Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous —name the addiction, and there is likely a group to help people through it. And if there aren’t any groups for it, there are counselors, pastors, friends to walk alongside you. Plus, there are helpful resources that can really make a difference.
“You’d be wise if you reached out for help at this time, and not just for the one with the addiction. There are also support groups for spouses, friends and family of addicts. Talking with others that are on a similar journey can bring you strength in difficult times.”
In your search for a “cure” for help in dealing with addiction issues, below is a link to an article written by Dr David B Hawkins. I recommend you read it. In it, Dr Hawkins addresses a wife who is “tired and confused” over the chaos that is happening in her home because of her husband’s addictions to drugs and alcohol. Please click onto the Crosswalk.com web site link to read the insights he gives her and can give you, concerning this matter:
The following is a link to a Family Life Today broadcast. It featured Bob and Karrie Wood, who are leaders in the Celebrate Recovery Ministry in a church in Arkansas. It’s actually a 4-day series of radio broadcasts (re-aired April 15-18, 2013). You can choose to either listen to, and/or read the transcripts of: Karrie’s Story: Sliding Into Addiction (Day 1); Stumbling Onto Hope with Bob and Karrie Wood (Day 2); Bob’s Story: A Wake Up Call (Day 3); and Bob and Karrie: On the Road to Recovery (Day 4):
Also, if you are dealing with infidelity issues on top of addiction here’s a helpful article we encourage you to read:
Maybe you are struggling with an alcohol or drug addiction. Maybe you have a sexual addiction of some kind. Or it could be you have a spending, eating or gambling addiction. Here are some suggested steps to help you understand the causes of addiction and begin the road to recovery.
To discover an answer to this and to learn of support groups, hot-lines, and helpful resources on this subject we will send you to different web sites. They will inform you and/or be able to help you. Please click onto the link below to read:
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this article.
If you have additional tips and information you can share, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.
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