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Marriage and my addiction

Even dealing with this takes two
Even dealing with this takes two
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Let’s talk about the pink elephant in the room. This issue seems to plague marriages all over town, not just this town. What is it about addiction that, despite its catastrophic consequences on marriage. Couple after couple not just here in Wichita Falls, are throwing in the towel due to the frustrations and abuse that is the destructive paths left in its wake. No, it’s not ok for spouses to tolerate the abusiveness that make up the characteristics of one in active addiction. But maybe we are swimming upstream and uphill here. Every day people are stressing that their addicted spouses need to find help.

The problem is that those spouses are finding that the help here in Wichita Falls is very limited. It’s really not possible to find an answer for why this is the case except may be due to the limited funds and possibly because Wichita Falls has not lent itself to be much of a recovery friendly community. Addictions of all sorts have created earth shattering consequences for lots of people, we rush them to jail and divorce court but in many cases the buck stops there. Yes there are a few that manage to get help from a couple of local outpatient options and there are couple private pay/insurance treatment facilities.

So either you find yourself leaving a two hour group a few times a week and are left to take on your daily stressors or you don’t have the means to pay for long term treatment. Yes there are a lot of options outside the Wichita Falls community…but why? It’s not like we don’t have local issue just ask any CPS caseworker or probation officer. I wonder how many couples, with children, they see torn apart. And, despite the raging pink elephant society seems to just keep filing for restraining orders and divorces. The other side of the coin is the uneducated spouses of the addict. Lots of people still have the “just stop it” mentality, boy if it where that easy.

We see that we have lost our cars, our homes, our freedom and our spouses and children, “just stop it” would imply that we have just simply desired for these things to begin to happen to us. This article is not intended to help make excuses for an addicted spouse, just to suggest that maybe our approaches have been all wrong. Addiction is a disease, the challenge is to research the symptoms and compare them to diabetes and mental health disorders. The similarities just might surprise you. It’s also not a moral or values issue, many great, giving and caring people fall victim to addiction. One of the cunning and baffling characteristics of addiction is the ability for it to create the denial of its own existence.

It is no wonder why marriages, families all over the world are destroyed by it every day. The same goes for mental health issues but no one seems to question those, no one questions the issue, but it too destroys families. With addiction people are battling a fight that is not like any other. The mental obsession can be so over whelming. We experience an obsession when we are trying to stay abstinent and are overpowered by thoughts of using. People who love addicts experience obsession in their relationships when they feel the desire to control their spouse's moods or behavior. Obsession can take a variety of forms.

You may go out your way to keep things clean, minimize the stress so maybe he or she won’t drink. Yes, you become obsessed too, only not about drinking or drugging. A reoccurring obsession is a thought of using that enters our minds over and over again throughout the day. Fighting with this thought consumes all of our energy. We try to remind ourselves of the importance of not using, of all the things we will lose if we use again, and of what always happens to us when we are on a spree, but the thought keeps coming back and seems to grow stronger over time.

If we are able to hold out against the reoccurring obsession, we become exhausted and depressed. We are easily irritated and find that normal daily tasks require an enormous amount of effort. Even if we don’t use, the reoccurring obsession wins by beating us down. Choose your style of communicating your frustrations to your addicted spouse carefully as well. No, their addictions are never your fault but keep in mind that addicts, due to a lot of shame and guilt, can become hypersensitive to your words, actions and body language. I am not saying to walk on eggshells but to just beware that what you choose to do may work against you.

Contempt is the worst of the communications that cause problems in relationships, with or without an addiction issue. Contempt, scorn, or distain show open disrespect of your partner. When you do have to fight or argue, and you will, never, ever display contempt. Disgust causes common problems in marriage, because it shows an acute 'dislike' of your partner. It shows you are revolted, sickened, or repelled by your partner. This is the opposite of love. This erodes both of your bundles of love. Just as you control yourself so as to never strike each other physically; you must learn to control your words, gestures, and expressions, if you really care about having a happy marriage that lasts. May this start you on path towards healing.

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