Wednesday March 29th 2017

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Help your husband with drug addiction (by helping yourself)

How many more sleepless nights and anxiety filled days will you endure? Are you in love with an addict but don’t know whether to leave or to stay?  If your life is unmanageable because your spouse is a substance abuser, you probably want to help them make a change. But how can you start?

We will answer common questions around spouse and drug addiction here. Plus, we explore how helping yourself is a positive step and can actually help the person you love. Then, we invite your questions or comments about having zero tolerance for drug use in the home at the end.

Is Your “Help” the Right Kind Help He Needs?

Sometimes the more “help” you try to give to an addict, the worse the addict behaves. You have picked up the slack at home, made excuses for your spouse at work, made appointments for counseling, read books on addiction, shown unconditional love, begged, and tried to reason with the addict. Every word that comes out of the addict’s mouth is a lie. Despite all your efforts, the person you love is spiraling more and more out of control or alternating between sobriety and relapse.

You do not realize how much time it takes to deal with the addict until, at some point; you realize that you are taking care of everything else but you. And while we know that addict’s families need help, it’s often difficult to start. What now?

Is it time for a new approach?

If you are starting to feel like there is nowhere else to turn, it may be time to take a different approach. You have tried to work on your husband but the person you should be working on is yourself. Addiction must run its course and we can either fight it or allow it to play out. You cannot act the same way again and again and expect different results. An addict will do the same thing over and over again, regardless of the harm they are inflicting upon themselves. If this behavior seems insane, you must look at your part in it.

For example, you do not want your spouse to leave the house and get high, but think about what happens when you try to stop them. Attacking them turns into a big argument and they leave anyway feeling justified or they lie to your face and sneak out later. All you have accomplished is prolonging the inevitable and upsetting yourself in the meantime. An addict will get high with or without your permission.

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This is not to condone living with an addict that is using, but if you intend not to leave the situation, there is little reason to continue getting upset over predictable addict behaviors. If your husband always goes out and gets high regardless of what you do to try and stop it, then why do you continue to try and stop it? You have to ask yourself what type of satisfaction you are getting out of this exchange?

A big lesson: Worry about yourself

My husband and I were having the same fight as he was getting ready to leave the house. I was telling him I knew he was high and he was telling me he was not. I was trying to convince him to admit that he should not go out and get high again. I was doing my usual–getting upset, yelling, crying, and begging him to see the error of his ways. Then he said something to me that made a real impact.

He said, “You are acting like a crazy person. What is wrong with you? Why are you so worried about my life? Worry about yourself!”

He was right. If he had no intention to get sober then why was I still so invested in his life and not my own?

Start caring more about yourself

It did not happen overnight, but I noticed that the less I cared to help him, the more I was helping myself. I started to see a therapist again and go to support meetings. Over time, it no longer mattered to me what happened to him because I was concerned with the happiness and safety of my daughter and myself.

What can happen? Change!

A few things can happen if you help your husband by helping yourself, you can:

  • gain a better perspective on the situation
  • move on with your life
  • help him get better by allowing him to hit bottom with his addiction
  • inspire him to change when he sees you are no longer going to be concerned with his problems
  • obtain independence
  • and/or find a renewed peace and happiness in your life

These outcomes are likely better options than the current situation. It is easy to get caught up in the cycle of addiction. Self-help may be just the catalyst you need to end the progression of co-addiction.

There is very little anyone can do to change the course of addiction an addict is on. It is important to remember that you cannot change anyone but yourself. If your spouse is going to make a change it will be a decision they will come to on their own time.

Photo credit: Camdiluv

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10 Responses to “Help your husband with drug addiction (by helping yourself)
7:24 am February 3rd, 2015

Thank you so much for this information. Just what I needed to read.

Amanda Andruzzi
5:52 pm February 9th, 2015

Thank you for your comment. It is always great to hear my articles are helping people.
Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from a co-addict

7:05 am March 3rd, 2015

My husband is a drug addict and has overdosed, been in rehab…now he is home and he is back on pain med. He had cancer one year ago (mouth) and they think it came back. Said he has to quit dipping but he’s still doing it…..what am I going to do help please.

Amanda Andruzzi
9:03 pm March 6th, 2015

Thank you for sharing with us. We always welcome new people. I hope that you know you are not alone.
The help I offer here highly depends on what you are prepared to do. If you want out, if you want to find peace with the addict, if you want to get help for yourself, we can work on that. The one thing I can’t offer is advice on how to help your husband, unfortunately I have learned, the hard way, that an addict must help himself.
Depending on what you are ready to do, the best advice I can give is that you should focus on you. You need to worry about yourself, sanity, safety and happiness. If the addict is active, they must deal with their own consequences. You are responsible for your own happiness and as hard as it seems to say or hear, if he decides to change his life, it won’t be because of anything you did. If addicts could simply change for their loved ones, then they wouldn’t have become addicts in the first place. Their addiction runs much deeper and so do the reasons co-addicts stay and don’t leave them.
Rosalie, if you want something to change then I suggest you make that change. Click on my name here in this blog, Amanda Andruzzi and a list of articles I wrote to help with this topic will come up. These are from personal experience and can be very useful. Keep me posted.
Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from a co-addict

2:11 am November 24th, 2016

This makes so much sense. I am on the verge of losing my job because I darent go in because he might leave and get high and I won’t know about it. I have to hide money and bank cards and I constantly worry. He has been using again for 3 weeks. He came back early hours this morning and I just broke down for 2 hours uncontrollably. He tried to comfort me while goucheing..! It just hurt more. I have been to one of the trap houses he goes to twice this week and brought him home. I know it’s silly and dangerous but I feel consumed. I told him tonight to chose which was probably silly. He has an appt to get back in a subutex script again at the end of the week he is going to do detox and then they will put him on something that will make him sick if he touches the drug. I am worried he is doing it for the wrong reason. I haven’t lived in months. The only way I live is when he goes off. As soon as he is home I stay in. Can’t even leave the room he is in for two long because he goes when I do that. I feel overwhelmed and trapped. He has only recently taken money from my account bc he got a job which he lost bc of this for the second time and he felt he has a right to as his money was paid into there. We booked a holiday a month ago and things were going great he was clean for two months he put on weight was doing great. Then just didn’t pick up his script and disappeared again. I feel like I’m going crazy. I love him so much this is taking over my life. He is such a nice guy. This is ruining everything. I have felt so desperate….

I forgot to say that he is using heroin and crack cocaine. He came back at 5am and has been asleep since 7am. He can’t stay awake. This is so worrying. I have been with him 8 months had no idea when I met him. I found out 3 months later when he disappeared. I am reading books. They also have a counselor where he goes for family. I don’t know if that will help. I’m lost I don’t know a lot about all this never been around it but I know when he is lying and even know now when he is going to “go”..! I am researching so much. I am going to have to start living this is no good for me and my kids. Your article will help me push through I hope. Thank you.

8:42 am December 7th, 2016

Reading this brought me to tears, it hurts to know that I try as hard as I can to help my husband and my efforts are not even denting the surface. I realized now that I do need to help myself to be able to help him,yet I know myself and I wouldn’t be able to see him hurt himself and turn away. How were you able to ignore that and help yourself first? I know that would be my down fall and I need advice for it, please and thank you.

Amanda Andruzzi
12:37 am December 8th, 2016

please keep reading the other articles I have written here. Just click on my name near my picture and 45+ articles will come up. Also pick up Hope Street if you can. It is really important that you know what you are dealing with and that you know what addiction is really about. If he does not hit rock bottom and you keep saving him, he may never really want to go for help because HE wants to. Either way, he is staying on the same path so you babysitting him will not help him, I know, I did this with my ex-husband for 12 years and he used behind my back and was high in front of me even though I tried everything. You need to really understand your part in his addiction.
Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer:

Amanda Andruzzi
12:46 am December 8th, 2016

If you want to understand what you are going through and how to get out of it please read Hope Street. It took me a long time, a lot of tears, a great deal of pain and a journey to get to where I am today which is a place of freedom, independence and happiness. I was just as deep into my ex-husband as anyone else, probably moreso but if you want to change and believe there is a way, let me, this blog, the other’s posts and my book help you get there. You can do this.
Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer:

10:59 am January 11th, 2017

My question is did leaving your husband help him? Is he still an addict? Or is this a step that only helps you to be free of an addict.

Amanda Andruzzi
4:22 pm January 11th, 2017

I cannot guarantee you about what happens to an attic after you leave them. Have you read Hope Street? It’s hard to understand when you are in the thick of it but you leaving should not be because it might help him. You leaving only has to do with your well-being. Being concerned about everything you do and how it will affect the addict is what you’re trying to change.

Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer:

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About Amanda Andruzzi

Amanda Andruzzi, MPH, AADP, CHES, is a Certified Health Coach, founder of Symptom-Free Wellness, and the author of Hope Street. Her first book, Hope Street memoir is an inspirational story of one woman's frightening journey of co-addiction that led her to uncover courage, unbelievable strength and overcome great adversity. She resides with her daughter, husband, and two sons in Florida.

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