Seeing your spouse’s drinking or drug use affect every member of the family for years can leave you feeling helpless. While the responsibility to end a partner’s substance use isn’t yours, reducing the harm to you and your children is within your reach. In this blog post, we will discuss healthy ways to deal with your husband’s addiction and provide suggestions when looking for help.
A husband’s substance use is never the responsibility of a spouse. However, you can find ways to support him and lead him to helpful resources. Learning the signs of addiction can be a valuable first step for you. As addiction impacts your marriage and your children’s lives, consider family therapy as part of your husband’s treatment for a substance use disorder.
Signs Your Husband is Addicted to Drugs
There are several categories of signs to look for when trying to determine if your spouse is battling addiction: Physical signs and appearance, emotional and behavioral signs, and drug-specific signs.
Let’s share some physical signs first.
- Your spouse’s eyes may be frequently bloodshot or dilated from drug use.
- Skin can become blotchy and red.
- Frequent sniffing and/or bloody noses.
- You may also notice changes to his regular hygiene, including less showering and wearing dirty clothes.
Emotional changes can also occur in someone with an addiction. Your husband may become more secretive about his whereabouts or spend more time away from home. You may notice he’s made a new friend and avoids old friends. His interests might have changed dramatically, and he’s shown more mood swings lately. He may seem inattentive when home, potentially preoccupied with a drug craving.
Each type of drug used leaves some specific clues for a spouse to see. For example, misuse of prescription opioids may cause your husband to lose weight. He may appear drowsy throughout the day. Drug injections will leave track marks and possibly collapsed veins. Signs of cocaine use will be anxiousness, sweating, and fast-talking. Your husband may not be able to sleep for several nights in a row.
Other evidence of drug use may be left in the house, garage, or in family vehicles. It might be paraphernalia, small plastic bags, or wrappers. Anything with a strange residue left on it might be a sign of your husband’s drug use, especially if it seems there was an attempt to hide it.
Who Can I Call for Help?
Learning how to deal with your husband’s addiction is difficult because it is a sensitive issue and may involve mental health concerns. However, confidential help is available from a variety of sources. Calling a family physician is one option. Talking to a trusted friend who’s been through addiction or who offers addiction support is another option.
Addiction specialists at treatment facilities in your area are available to answer questions. In addition, they can help you make an informed decision about how to handle a substance use disorder in your family.
The call for help isn’t solely for your husband’s drug use. It’s a part of you seeing the need to minimize the impact on your health and well-being. As a spouse of someone with addiction, your best chance at providing steady support is to make sure you also take care of your needs.
If carefully planned and coordinated, an intervention can be an effective way for a spouse to learn how to deal with a husband’s addiction. However, it should never be used spontaneously. Blindsiding your husband with endless criticism about his suspected drug use is not the same as conducting a safe and productive intervention.
You can set up an intervention with the help of family members and close friends. Discuss the timing of the intervention, the location to be used, and the expectations of everyone who will participate. It should seem like a coordinated plan with a single person leading the intervention, without cross-talk or heavy criticism.
Speaking in the moment can be stressful and intimidating for some people, especially younger family members. Therefore, it can be helpful to have designated speakers take the time to write down what they want to say during the intervention. It also helps the organizer have a sense of how the intervention will flow.
What are his options for treatment?
Educating yourself on treatment options is important. However, as it’s your husband’s decision to make, you don’t need to insist on one specific outcome. Instead, it can be a matter of presenting choices to him and seeing what he decides to do.
One option is residential or inpatient treatment. For the duration of the program, he would reside at the treatment facility. Participation in both individual and group therapy is standard. Additional interventions, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), are also offered. This setting will allow your husband to focus on his recovery while building a support network of peers and staff.
One significant advantage of residential programs is the availability of dual diagnosis treatment. If your husband has an undiagnosed mental health condition that’s been worsening his drug use, this option is strongly recommended. Inpatient programs offering a medical detox can also help your husband avoid the risks of withdrawing at home without medical supervision.
Many residential treatment centers offer the option to use insurance to pay for treatment. Finding a treatment center that is in-network with your insurance can help take the financial stress out of seeking treatment for a spouse.
Again, it’s important that you look at help as equipping your husband with choices rather than making an ultimatum about choosing to go to treatment. Any choice to start working on sobriety will be the first of many choices in the future to sustain recovery. Setting that expectation early can help your loved one understand the long journey of creating a sober life.
Your husband is not the only one who needs healing as part of his recovery work. Each member of the family who’s been impacted by his drug use has their own healing to do. Family therapy sessions can be a valuable part of setting that healing in motion.
In supervised sessions, family members can learn how to communicate their feelings about your husband’s drug use in healthy ways. Then, in a safe and supportive setting, they are given a chance to share how addiction has touched their lives and what changes they want to see in the family.
As part of inpatient treatment, family therapy can help you learn how to deal with your husband’s addiction and help your husband recognize the impact of his addiction on his loved ones. In addition, he can learn how to navigate the process of rebuilding relationships with his children and with you. Also, the entire family as a unit can learn healthier communication skills and how to establish healthy boundaries with everyone in the family.
Origins Recovery Center is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration.
We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety.
For information on our programs, call us today: 561-841-1019.