Q&A: Spouse struggles with drug abuseWritten by Focus on the Family
Question: My spouse has serious issues with drug abuse. As a matter of fact, I think it would be fair to say that he’s an addict. This has had a devastating impact on our marriage and family, and I feel as if I’ve just about reached the end of my rope. Where do I turn for help?
Perhaps it will encourage you to know that you’re not alone. Drug abuse is just one of a number of addictions that have become strikingly pervasive in contemporary society. It affects men and women from every age group, every socio-economic stratum, and all walks of life. In nearly every case it is rooted in the basic human craving for attachment and relationship. Where satisfying relationships are perceived as lacking, the addict seeks to fill the gap and medicate the aching emptiness with drugs, alcohol, or some other self-soothing substance. Once the pattern is set in motion, a desire to repeat and increase the pleasure of the initial experience escalates until it becomes a virtually irresistible compulsion. Because drugs and other addictive substances change the chemistry of the brain, addiction is something more than a vicious and self-perpetuating cycle – it’s actually a physiologically based problem that can be extremely difficult to resolve. It’s important to bear these things in mind when seeking to help a loved one who has fallen prey to the deception of drugs and other forms of chemical dependency.
The good news is that effective help is available to anyone who is willing to do the legwork of investigating the options. We suggest that you and your spouse begin by seeking professional counselling, and we highly recommend that you do this together. Generally speaking, weekly one-on-one counselling is not sufficient to deal with an addiction of the intensity and severity you've described, but a substance abuse counsellor could be tremendously helpful in setting up an effective intervention. This involves arranging a specific treatment option prior to the actual intervention. The objective would be to persuade your spouse to agree to a program of in-patient treatment. Once this treatment is complete the counsellor could also participate in the follow-up plan. You can get a list of Christian counsellors in your area by contacting Focus on the Family Canada’s counselling department at 1.800.661.9800. Our staff is available to take your calls Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT.
Please also visit our counselling website, Focushelps.ca. Here you’ll find articles, resources and referrals to support your efforts to help your spouse find healing and release from the bondage of drug addiction.
© 2010 Focus on the Family. Used by permission.
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