For someone living with a spouse who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, life can be difficult and stressful. Often the individual doesn’t know whether to leave their spouse or stick it out. But there comes a time when they are ready to take action.
There are usually clear signals that the individual needs to make a change. Perhaps there have been years of crying and hoping, even praying, but they have had no effect on the addicted spouse, and the individual finally wants to make a change. So, how can they tell when the time is right?
The 4 Signals of Change
- Observing that other families are normal can be a game changer. When the individual is constantly confronted with normality in other families and relationships, they start to imagine what life would be like without their addicted spouse. They may envy others or feel sad when they watch other families.
- The individual might start spending more time outside the home, and want to get away from the destructive situation. They may join support groups, or make new friends who they can talk to about their struggles. This is a sign that the individual is becoming aware that they need to change their situation.
- A significant shift happens when the individual starts fantasizing about meeting someone new, someone who can be a good spouse and a good parent. Someone completely different to the spouse with the addiction. The individual has turned a corner when they start wondering about meeting someone new.
- Very often individuals can tolerate the emotional or physical hurt inflicted upon them, but not on their children or other family members and loved ones. That is harder to rationalize or ignore. And many times this is what fuels the individual to realize that something has to change, before futures are ruined.
When the individual is more interested in saving themselves and their loved ones rather that invested in saving the spouse with the addiction, then they are becoming emotionally detached. Emotional detachment does not mean that the individual doesn’t love their spouse any longer or does not care about their well being. It simply means that the individual is starting become less affected by their spouse’s problem and is mentally moving on.
The Fear of Leaving
The biggest reason that an individual continues to stay with a spouse who is addicted, in the face of all negative consequences, is because they are afraid to leave. Afraid of starting again on their own, or with their children. But when the individual starts thinking about the future, about what would happen 5 or 15 or 15 years down this path of destruction, they start fearing what will happen if they don’t leave. This is usually what gives the individual that final push to leave and make a healthy life for themselves.
If you are struggling with a spouse’s addiction, you don’t have to face it alone. At The Villa we have many treatment and recovery programs for addicts. Call us now.