Today, I mourn the death of my four-year relationship and marriage to a chronic substance abuser and addict.
Today was the last straw – he currently resides in a recovery-housing program through the VA and we have been separated for a month.
I realize that he is his own problem and I will no longer enable him. I have reached the limits of my patient and my endurance as of today – he is effectively on his own.
He has been in 18 different recovery programs in his lifetime and nothing helps because he will not change.Notice, I said, “will” instead of “can.”
Everyone can change but each person has to want to change and he has repeatedly shown he will not.Divorce is the only answer to my issue.
I can no longer live with the relapses, theft, stealing, lying, or cheating and I do not have to. I tell my clients and their spouses and families to save themselves first and that is what I am doing.
It is a selfish motive but I have done my time with a chronic drug abuser and I have committed no crime. I have never used alcohol or drugs, but have been a child, mother, and spouse of alcoholics and drug abusers enough for one lifetime.
Addiction is a mental illness, not a disease, which is progressive, incurable, and all encompassing. Alcohol, drugs, co-dependency, relationship addiction, and other obsessive and compulsive behaviors need to be stopped before recovery can begin.
An addict is an emotionally wrecked individual by the time that they begin attempts to cease their addictive behaviors. Often an addict will only cease one addiction and continue with others, which always leads them to relapse, especially if they simply stop without counseling or help from a support system.
The key to managing an addiction is abstinence plus change.
It has long been known that marriage (or other long-term, committed relationships) and substance abuse does not mix. Having a partner who drinks too much or uses drugs is very much like throwing a stone into a still pond: the effects ripple out and influences all that is near. In the case of a partner who uses drugs or drinks too much, the effect is felt by his or her children, relatives, friends, and co-workers. However, many would argue that, aside from the abuser, the greatest price is often paid by the abuser's partner.
Couples in which a partner abuses drugs or alcohol are often very unhappy; in fact, these partners are often more unhappy than couples who don't have problems with alcohol or other drugs, but who seek help for marital problems.
As drinking or drug use gets worse, it starts to take more and more time away from the couple, taking its toll by creating an emotional distance between the partners that is difficult to overcome. These couples also report that they fight and argue a great deal, which sometimes can become violent.
It is often the fighting itself that can create an environment or situation in which the partner with the drinking or drug problems uses these substances to reduce his or her stress.
When the substance use eventually becomes one of the main reasons for fighting or arguing, what we see happen is a vicious cycle, in which substance use causes conflict, the conflict leads to more substance use as a way of reducing tension, conflict about the substance use escalates, more drinking or drug use occurs, and so on.
Couples in which a partner abuses drugs or alcohol have a very difficult time getting out of this downward spiral; fortunately, we also know of proven ways to help these relationships and, in the process, help the substance abuser recover.
Rehabilitation at an addiction-counseling center is highly recommended for addicts in a co-dependent and drug or alcohol fuelled relationship – especially as the couple will need to be separated.
Relationships based upon unhealthy needs rarely become healthy and most will not survive if one or both individuals involved have a true desire to recover from their addiction.
Once all addictive behaviors are ceased, co-dependency and addictions counseling on a group and individual level will help the addicts in question to deal with their feelings, which they avoid through addictive behaviors.
Relationships based on drug or alcohol abuse or any other addictive behavior are extremely unhealthy and are quite a force to be reckoned with.
Co-dependency and relationship addiction are dangerous illnesses, which can be arrested allowing the sufferer to regain a normal life after counseling and treatment.