There can probably be no more hellish situation than being married to a drug addict. Addiction is like having a monster move into your house or apartment and start dictating exactly what will happen there. A drug addict husband basically has chosen the use of drugs over the needs of his wife and children, and every woman who is dealing with this situation must face this uncomfortable truth eventually. It’s irrelevant whether you are dealing with an alcoholic or a user of street or prescription drugs – the behavior will basically be the same.
Yes, addiction is a disease, and in many cases a treatable one, but it is also a very destructive one, and the longer that the addict is ‘allowed’ to use drugs, the less chance there is that the household will ever be normal or happy. Any woman who is married to a drug addict will have to take steps fast if she ever hopes to have a normal life for herself or her children.
Is a Normal Life Possible with a Drug Addict Husband?
The answer to the above question is ‘No’. Whenever there is an addiction problem, everyone in the home is affected in one way or another. However, you are not alone, there are approximately 23 million addicts in the country, and a considerable number of them are husbands and fathers.
There is no way to sweep the addiction problem under the rug and hope that it will go away or be disguised enough to ignore. However, when you take this approach to the problem, you become the enabler – the person that allows the drug addict to continue his destructive behavior. There are a number of ways that a drug addictive husband will disrupt a household:
- Money that would go to food, lodging, medical expenses, and clothing can be spent on drugs instead. The drug is the center point of the addict’s life.
- A cognitively impaired driver could cause an accident, resulting in injury and/or damage to himself and his vehicle as well as to others.
- The drug user is inevitably in a downward spiral – the use of the drug will only increase as tolerance is built up and more of the drug is needed to simply maintain some equilibrium.
- A drug addict’s household is often chaotic. The addict often does not keep regular hours, may skip work, or become verbally or physically abusive.
Rehabilitation does not just refer to the drug addict husband; it also refers to the wife and any children. Drug abuse and addiction is not discreet, it affects the entire family. At some point, the wife must make a conscious decision to face up to the husband’s addiction and try to do something about it.
Addiction can turn the nicest person into a manipulative liar, and when the woman decides that it’s time to enforce some positive changes in the family she should be aware that her efforts will most likely be met with resistance.
- The addict will often deny there is any problem at all, that everything is under control and that he can ‘handle it’.
- The wife will often be blamed for the addiction, the husband will say that she wasn’t supportive enough or didn’t understand him.
- If the wife seems serious, the addict may promise to clean himself up. The addict will often resist seeking treatment.
- Counseling will often be spurned, but often this is the only way to get the addict pointed in the right direction.
Addicts will always seek to rationalize their addiction or deny it. If a wife is serious about helping her husband to become drug free and making a normal life, to begin with she must be firm in her conviction that a change is needed. She must also stop ‘helping’ him in his addiction by covering up for his work absences or lack of participation at family gatherings. She must never make excuses for him.
Treatment and Beyond
Although addiction is a disease, it is a singularly damaging one. Treatment programs can often help a drug addict husband to stop using drugs, but it will usually take more than one course of treatment for success to occur. If the addict agrees to a treatment program, so much the better, but it should always be remembered that unwilling participants in these programs (taking treatment because of a court order or ultimatum from the wife) very often have a better success rate than those who enter voluntarily.
The best thing that can happen is that the drug addict husband will undergo treatment and be cured and a normal, happy family life will ensue.
However, the wife must always be prepared for the opposite: no amount of treatment, pleading, or threats has any effect on the addict and there is no hope in sight for the situation. In this case, it’s time for the wife to think of herself and her children. Children who grow up in a home where addiction is present are more likely 8 times more likely to become addicts themselves. In order to save herself and the children, a trial separation is in order.
Many times, separation from the family is enough to jolt the addict into taking treatment seriously and family life can be carried on. For those drug addict husbands who will not or cannot change, the only answer will be divorce.
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