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Drugs, Alcohol and Working Through Addiction, While You’re Considering Divorce

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Every day, thousands of Americans file for divorce or finalize a divorce proceeding. Many people decide to split due to their spouse’s alcohol or drug addiction problem. If you find yourself in this position, know that you aren’t alone and that divorce may not be your only option.

Here are tips from Emily Graham, founder of the support website Mighty Moms, to evaluate your current situation and to decide what steps to take next.

So, Is There a Problem?

Drug and alcohol addiction presents itself in many different ways. Symptoms are unique to each person, but there are a few signs to help you determine if there’s a problem before you confront your spouse.

Drug addiction is characterized by increasing tolerance and an inability to stop using the substance. A person will experience physical and emotional symptoms, known as withdrawal, when they don’t have access to their drug of choice. Secretive behaviors, legal issues, and relationship problems are also common.

Here’s How to Talk to Your Spouse About Addiction or Alcoholism

Of all the issues that can arise during a marriage, addiction ranks right up there with infidelity in terms of unpleasant conversations. But if you want to save your marriage—and possibly your spouse’s life—it’s a conversation worth having. Talk to your spouse like an adult and calmly explain that you’re concerned about them. 

The Mayo Clinic notes that a direct, heart-to-heart conversation can help set your spouse or partner on the road toward recovery. Whether you choose to make it a private matter or host an intervention is a personal decision that must be made in regards to your spouse’s willingness to listen to you and your need for emotional support.

Seeking Treatment

If your spouse is open to seeking treatment, you can decide together what options are best. Depending on where you live, you may have access to both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs along with therapists and counselors who can provide support along the way. Inpatient programs are intensive therapy that typically lasts 30 days or more.

Outpatient treatment programs may be designed around his or her schedule. In addition to intensive treatment, your spouse may need the continued care of a drug addiction therapist. This person may recommend joining a 12-step program or other similar support group for the person in recovery and their families.

To Set Things Right or to Separate?

While you may believe that drug addiction is an absolute relationship-ender, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’d like to save your marriage, you must be willing to put in lots of work and support your spouse as they overcome the crippling effects of the disease of addiction. You’ll also have to learn to forgive any lapses in judgment your spouse may have experienced. 

Starting today, you can strengthen your marriage and begin to rebuild a loving and healthy foundation by looking to the positive. Reaffirm your commitment to one another by focusing on the good in your mate. You can also offer support by helping your partner find healthy ways to reduce stress, offering to take them to meetings, and being a good listener. Of course, you need bolstering too, and it’s important to find support outside of your relationship, whether it’s through friends or therapy. 

While finding a way to make things work is ideal for many people, for some, addiction may be the breaking point of a marriage that has been strained by abuse, infidelity, and a pattern of destructive behaviors that have led to financial hardships or emotional turmoil. If the best choice for you is to move forward with divorce, find a support system you can count on, and connect with an expert divorce attorney from Smedley Law Group. From a human standpoint, our attorneys can offer you practical solutions so you can more easily get through these turbulent times.  

Finally, one of the most difficult hurdles is separating the person from the actions brought on by addiction. However, that’s perhaps the most important obstacle that must be crossed. It’s difficult, but keep in mind that the actions of an addict are often irrational. They may emotionally remove themselves from bad behavior as a coping mechanism. Your spouse may have done things to hurt you that they would never have considered doing while sober. While they must be held accountable, you must learn to forgive if you want to move forward with your marriage intact. Remember, that there are many resources available to you and your spouse that you should take advantage of so that you can move forward.

About Emily Graham

Emily Graham is the creator of Mighty Moms. She believes being a mom is one of the hardest jobs around and wanted to create a support system for moms from all walks of life. On her site, she offers a wide range of info tailored for busy moms, from how to reduce stress to creative ways to spend time together as a family. Contact: emilygraham@mightymoms.net.

Contact the Experienced Family Law Attorneys at Smedley Law Group in Williamstown, NJ Today

If you’re facing a difficult situation with your spouse, you’ll need to speak with a qualified attorney to learn your best options for moving forward. The New Jersey family law attorneys at Smedley Law Group represent clients throughout the state, including West Deptford, Woodbury Heights, Runnemede, and Westville. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at (856) 251-0800 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 750 Cooper Street, Woodbury, NJ 08096.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you’re seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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