Addiction Counseling for Spouses
Do you feel hurt, angry and resentful because your spouse will not stop drinking too much even though you beg him to?
Do you plead and threaten to stop him from over drinking?
Does he shut down every time you try to discuss his drinking?
Do you lie awake at night worrying if he is out drinking with his buddies?
Do you find yourself solving his problems, bailing him out or covering up for him?
Do you often feel angry and resentful while taking care of the addict?
Do you believe that if he truly loved you, he would stop drinking?
Do you live waiting for the other shoe to fall?
Do you find yourself giving from a sense of fear and obligation vs. joy and purpose?
Do you use alcohol, food, shopping, etc. to deal with your feelings about the addict?
Finally, are you addicted to the Addict?
If you have answered yes to a few of these questions, you may be experiencing the devastating effects of living with an addict and trying to manage their addictive behaviors. Ask help of a therapist who understands and is experienced in working with issues of co-dependence.
I understand that it is hard to acknowledge that in spite of all your cajoling, threatening, ultimatums or consequences or heart-to-hearts, you cannot make someone quit drinking, drugging or looking at porn. But for the alcoholic, drug or sex addict, the addiction is too powerful to stop because another person asks them to. The addict has to come to the decision himself/herself.
That is not to say, you can’t do anything. What you can do is to take charge of your life. You can choose not to let the addiction take over your life as well. Relationships are dynamic — when you change, the relationship changes. What that means is that when you refrain from codependent behaviors, your relationship will no longer be a codependent relationship. In fact, I have seen many people live satisfying and fulfilling lives even when a family member continues to drink, abuses prescription medications or engages in unhealthy sexual behaviors.
I am not saying that this is easy. It is a process and it can take time to break down your patterns of reactions and resulting behaviors, but it can and does happen.
Ok, so you are ready for counseling, but you still have some questions or concerns…
Even if you have decided that you need professional counseling, you may still have questions about the process. You may wonder whether counseling works at all in the first place, you may be worried about the cost and the whole process may feel overwhelming.
Let me address some of your concerns and doubts:
“He is the one with the problem. Why should I have to go to Counseling?”
You are right. He is the one who is drinking. But you are suffering too. The counseling sessions are not aimed to get his drinking or other addictive behavior under control. They are for you. These sessions will help you live a life that is not controlled by someone else’s behaviors. Drinking is a Family Affair. A Drinking or drug problem or a problem of compulsive sexual behaviors not only affects the person themselves but the entire family. For this reason, addiction is called a family disease. By starting to become healthy yourself, (physically and emotionally), you are beginning to decrease the devastating effects that the addiction has had on your family.
“If I was strong enough, I would be able to do it by myself.”
I understand that sometimes it can feel difficult to ask for help especially when you may not been feeling good about yourself or your relationships. But the fact is, you have tried to do it yourself. What is important is not whether or not you can do it by yourself, but rather, whether or not you have the foresight and courage to see when you need help and ask for it.
“Is counseling worth the cost? Can I afford it?”
The best way to approach these doubts is to answer the questions for yourself:
- What does life feel like for you right now?
- What do you want it to be like?
- What if nothing changed?
Now tell me that changing the quality of your life is not worth the effort, time and cost. Therapy is a solution to a problem and you are a problem-solver. You take action to get done what needs to be done. Instead of tolerating or managing the problem you take action to resolve it. How do I know this? Because you are taking action already by reading this page. You want to feel better and you know you can do it.
“Counseling costs too much.”
You are right. Counseling can be expensive. But think of the times you go out to eat, or get your hair done. Or may be you have a gym membership that you never use. These are expenses that we usually chalk up to “necessary” and don’t give them a second thought. Yet when it comes to our emotional health and happiness, we hesitate. What counseling can give you will last you a lifetime, instead of just a week (like the new hairstyle) or a couple of hours (like a nice meal at a fancy restaurant). When you see it from that perspective, counseling may be well-worth the cost.
“Will Addiction Counseling for Spouses Really Help Me?”
I have worked with Addicts and their spouses for many many years.
I invite you to download our free report on Counseling for Spouses. It may help to answer many of the questions you may have about this process. It will also guide you through some simple and basic steps to avoid remain healthy and emotionally balanced.
While it is not always easy at first, you will begin to feel better very soon. When you are ready to begin treatment, give me a call. Or, simply make an appointment online. It’s easy! Taking that first step is a critical part of regaining control of your life.
About Rochna: Rochna Hazra is trained in Marriage and Family Therapy at Virginia Tech. She includes the emotional, psychological, spiritual and family aspects of a person in her work. Originally from India, she combines the Eastern traditions of mindfulness, non-judgment and a holistic approach to healing with the Western approach of realism and solution-focused action.
Rochna has extensive knowledge, training and experience in working with addictions and families struggling with addictions.
Rochna is also a Certified Advanced Relapse Prevention Specialist and trained in Sex Addiction and Mindfulness-based Therapy and Relapse Prevention.