Having an addict or alcoholic in your family is devastating. For years, you’re hurt, disappointed, and frustrated over and over again. They’re harming themselves with their drug of choice, but you’re filling up with resentment and anger that will eat at you from the inside, like poison. Sometimes, it feels like you’ll never know how to forgive an addicted loved one.
When they finally get on the path of recovery, though, it’s time for you to start your own healing too. That can take many forms, but a key step in any process is to forgive them. Depending on where you are at in your own journey, that might sound like total BS to you. How do you forgive your addicted partner after everything they did while using? It’s possible, and it’s actually necessary. Here’s how to do it.
1. Accept that Addiction is a Disease
We all know forgiving is easier said than done, but an important step to forgiving your addicted partner is to educate yourself. Addiction is a disease, and remembering that will help you find your way to forgiveness. Yes, believe it or not, the lying, secrecy, and bad behavior are all symptoms of addiction, too. You wouldn’t tell someone with cancer to just, “Get better or I’ll divorce you.” If they were in the delicate stages of remission, you wouldn’t attack them for all of the things they said and did when they were exhausted and beat up from their disease. Just like cancer, addiction needs to be professionally treated, and people with addiction deserve your understanding and compassion.
2. Don’t Take Their Drug or Alcohol Addiction Personally
Addiction causes people to do things that they would not normally do if clean and sober. Remember to think about your loved one’s addiction as a mental health disorder. They weren’t the one who called you those hateful names. Like someone with Tourette’s, their brain was taken over by addiction. Of course, they do have to take some ownership for their actions, and anyone working a good recovery program will likely apologize for what they’ve done. If you can give them a little grace, though, this will help you on your way to forgiveness and acceptance. If all else fails, just remember that whatever their addiction is doing to you, it’s doing a whole lot worse to them. They’re in a lot of pain, too.
Again, this is a disorder that deserves treatment, and if your spouse is willing to go, give them some credit for it. It can be hard for them to accept that addiction is a disease, too, and that they need help. If your partner has yet to go to addiction treatment or has relapsed, encourage them to go. By accepting they need help and taking action they will show you they’re willing to change and move towards recovery. Keep that in mind, because it will help release some frustration, allowing you to begin to forgive. In the beginning, the change starts small, but every step means even more.
At Transformations Care, we can help your partner actively try to find a solution, so they can come home after treatment and not only be sober, but have a healthier relationship with you.
3. Don’t Expect Everything to Go Back to Normal After Addiction Treatment
So, your husband or wife finally decided to go to treatment. You’re not out of the woods just yet. Don’t expect everything to “go back to normal,” whatever that means. Setting realistic expectations will stop rising resentment or frustrations from destroying all the progress you’ve made just to get to this point.
The truth is, you should be hoping that you DON’T go back to the way things were before or during your partner’s active addiction. They were sick, and now they’re getting better. Expecting and accepting a new normal will help you on your path to forgiveness — if you find the right residential addiction treatment facility.
At Transformations Care, we provide a dual diagnosis approach to addiction treatment. This means that we don’t just focus on your spouse’s addiction, we also focus on the underlying mental health conditions that are fueling it. We will not only get your partner clean and sober, — but will get them to stay clean and sober. By being able to forgive your partner, you can move on to a better life and better relationship. Your partner going to residential addiction treatment might even save your marriage!
4. Support for the Loved Ones of Addicts
While you’re being patient as your spouse heals at an addiction treatment facility, a step towards forgiveness is getting support for yourself. You might not want to hear it, but addiction is a family disease, and it infects everyone it touches. Right now, you’re sick and hurt, too, and you deserve support.
Having pent-up negative emotions toward your spouse will prevent you from forgiveness, and harm you at the same time. Don’t keep it bottled up. Find an outlet! You deserve to feel some relief.
Al-Anon is a support group for the loved ones of addicts or alcoholics. In these meetings, you can speak about your frustrations and look to others for advice. The best part is, you can do it from the comfort of your own home through Zoom meetings! Not the right fit for you? At Transformations Care we are happy to provide you with a list of alternative family support group meetings near you to help you on the path to forgiveness. Reach out to us today or check out some resources here.
5. Gratitude & Overcoming Addiction
For many people starting the road to recovery, forgiveness may feel completely out of reach — but it’s not with Transformations Care! Another helpful step toward forgiveness is to keep a list of reasons you are grateful for your spouse and having them in your life. Read them when needed or even carry around that list as a positive reminder. Remember that this person you love is very, very sick, but you can find hope with Transformations Care. Even though bad things have happened during your partner’s struggle with addiction, you can continue to hope for a better life for you and your partner — but only if you allow yourself to forgive.
Forgiving Your Addicted Spouse
Actively trying to forgive is an important step in your healing, because you know you can’t keep living this way — filled with resentment. It’s exhausting! At Transformations Care, we will give your partner the tools they need to help mend your relationship. Taking a dual diagnosis approach, we work with your partner on communication and relationship skills. We will also teach your partner healthy coping mechanisms, alternative to drugs and alcohol. The combination of your partner coming home sober with new tools to work through life’s issues and you forgiving them for the past, your relationship can be mended for the better.
If your spouse has not gone to residential addiction treatment yet and you are struggling with their addiction firsthand, it’s time to talk about it with them. Approach your partner in a calm and helpful manner. By showing them the right residential treatment facility, they will see it as their solution rather than you two playing another blame game of their alcohol abuse.
Showing them the addiction treatment center is especially helpful when your partner sees that the facility doesn’t have a hospital vibe. Transformations Care is tucked away in a quiet Neighborhood in sunny Los Angeles, making your partner feel right at home and ready to focus on their path to recovery. For more information on how to approach your loved one about their substance abuse or more tips to help you forgive your addicted spouse, give us a call at 424.339.0965.
Getting Clean & Sober at Home
Today, more than 75% of hospitals and healthcare providers offer access to telehealth treatment, with 29 states having gone so far as to enact telehealth parity laws, which force insurance companies to reimburse patients for telehealth at the same rates as they would for in-person treatment.
If you’ve been thinking about getting clean and sober, or if you’ve been wanting to work on and strengthen the recovery you already have, it’s never been easier to do it through telehealth.
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