How long do you hold out hope for an addicted spouse before you just have to move on?
When you’re married to an addict, your whole life turns upside down. Chaos naturally accompanies the disease of addiction. What used to be a happy home can quickly take on the appearance of a circus – especially if your spouse is actively using drugs/alcohol.
Does your loved one realize on any level that they have a problem with a substance?
Maybe they don't call themselves an addict or an alcoholic but they will say, ”I drink too much“ or “sometimes I go a little overboard“ or “I need to stop doing this or stop doing that”. If you're hearing any variation of these statements, it means that they are in the contemplation stage of change and I have more videos that elaborate on these stages of change you can watch HERE. But essentially, when they are in this stage, it's kind of a bargaining phase. It’s a realization that ‘sometimes things get out of hand but they don't want to stop completely‘. They will try all kinds of different little tactics, but the unfortunate truth of it is that most of the time those tactics don't work.
Back to the question, obviously, there's no black and white answer to how long you should hold out hope. But I would like to give you some general guidelines and ways of thinking to help you figure out what's right for you so you can make the best decision for your family.
Here are three reasons why you might want to consider leaving...
first and foremost if whatever they're doing is putting you/your children or other family members in danger. Whatever it may be, if it's a major safety issue then you have to deal with that that doesn't mean that you're giving up on you're spouse but it does mean that you have to deal with safety first.
another time when it might be time to get a little distance in the situation is if it‘s gotten to the point that you don't even recognize yourself anymore. I like to call it when it's gotten you to “flat out crazy“ and you don't trust yourself. Almost like you've turned into an FBI office and you're constantly investigating and arguing and it's all you can think about. You cant even function at work, concentrate on your kids, tasks, etc.
If they're not physically putting you or other people in danger, but they're emotionally and mentally abusive, that’s like being held hostage and that is also not okay. Are they constantly yelling, angry, raging, or threatening?
Here’s the harsh reality, it seems like no matter what you choose, your spouse is struggling with addiction. You are in an impossible position and there is no good answer, especially if there are children involved. It's you that's having to endure the weight of everything. You feel like you're holding the whole house together and no matter what decision you choose you to feel like you're letting someone down or you're doing the wrong thing. If you choose to stay, you're thinking "Am I doing the right thing? is this messing up my kids?" If you choose to leave you're thinking the same thing.
It's just so very difficult.
Remember this: you don't have to make a forever decision right this moment at least not in most cases. You can work quietly and behind the scenes to get yourself an escape plan if you need it. It doesn't even mean you have to quit talking to you're loved one if it's safe, you can keep that relationship going while at the same time giving yourself and your family a little more sanity. I always say when you have a front-row seat to this, it's really hard to keep your sanity in check.
I know that not everyone's situation is the same, so it makes it very hard to give you general information that's going to apply across the board. However, if you're still struggling and you're not sure what to do in your situation, you may want to think about having a consultation with one of our family recovery specialists.
We collect all the puzzle pieces we can, then give you our best most strategic individualized plan for you're situation. If that's something you're interested in, you can learn more about that, HERE.
Expert Secrets For Motivating Others
Ask The Right Questions
Navigate Around Resistance
Help Your Loved One Make The Decision To Change!