You Can’t Talk Your Spouse out of an Addiction

You Can’t Talk Your Spouse out of an Addiction

If your partner is struggling with drug abuse, normally just talking to him or her isn’t enough. I see it over and over that partners seem to live on ‘hope’ for so long before finally being able to draw a line in the sand. Normally separation unfolds. Whether or not divorce follows afterwards is your partner’s ability to ‘do the work’.

I had a man who came to me with incredible anxiety and a history of 45 years of alcoholism. He was divorced for many years but still had a good relationship with his ex.

Over the first couple of sessions, he weaned himself off of medication including cannabis. After about 6 sessions and building a deeper rapport with him, I told him that there was very little I could do regarding his anxiety, shame or guilt UNTIL he stopped drinking for good. I asked him to please go to rehab as most cannot do it on their own…he said he could not… and replied ‘I got to do it on my own if I am going to do this’ to which I replied ‘ okay you have a week to get sober and if you can’t say no to alcohol, then there is no point continuing on with me’.

It felt cold for me to say it…but necessary.

He did it. He came back one week later and told me he quit that day.

We have had a few sessions since but yesterday was so incredibly moving for both him and I. He was 35 days sober and I just had to ask him: ‘What was the exact catalyst for you to move past that fear of what was on the other side of your addiction?’

His answer: “When you told me I couldn’t come back.”

{Mic drop}

Well, we were both bawling.

Let me be clear. This is not about me (as a therapist/coach). This is all about the drive for connection. And the connection starts with you. Am I worthy of having that connection with another person?

If you are struggling with an addiction and you still have some sense or desire of what it feels like to connect deeply with another human, then you have hope. For those whose addictions do not allow their minds to have enough moments of clarity and contemplative thought within that cycle of addiction, then there may not be hope. And – there is no one to blame in this cycle – it just is.

I spoke to him at the exact right time when his desire, his hunger, and his need for connection for himself as well as for me, was enough to overcome his addiction. His inner work now continues.

He is not loving by what he sees in deep reflection as he struggles with guilt and shame in the process, but his yearning for connection now manifests from his new frame of reference – when his mind is clear.

As author MaryAnn DiMarco described it beautifully, “We learn to separate genuine humility, a divine value, from the search for approval, and ego-based addiction.”

Join me in my upcoming Masterclass: Finding Peace and Hope in Your Current and Past Relationships. For more info on my Masterclass click here.

When Your Partner Craves a Substance More Than He Craves You

When Your Partner Craves a Substance More Than He Craves You

If you are someone who has been in a committed relationship in which your partner is struggling with substance abuse or misuse, you will certainly relate to the words on this page. No one wants to compete for attention with a drug or behaviour, whether it be cocaine, alcohol, work, pessimism, or gambling. It is a very lonely place to find yourself.

Everyone has a different story as to why they started to take on an unhealthy habit. For some it might be trauma, others peer pressure, while for others it can be innocently beginning a to just feel what it was like, but after years of partaking realized that their own body’s physiology has changed, and the craving is now controlling them. They have normalized disconnecting from their body.

Difficult conversations need to happen between the couple. For the partner that chooses the substance over family and friendships, it is a choice of whether they are ‘interested’ in breaking the cycle of addiction, or whether they deeply want to change. I have a lot of individuals coming to me that are interested in quitting, but very few who are committed. I can reflect back to how I helped a woman break free from a relationship where her partner chose a drug over her.

I explained that she did not need to feel embarrassed, guilty, or ashamed of her decision to step away from the relationship. The solution lies in looking inside herself. What sort of person is she aligned to becoming? When asked this question, she realized that her values aligned with family life, spending time with the children, and building a future together that would support one another as they work towards a shared vision of what their life might look like once the children have left the family home, and retired from their respective careers. As clarity and light penetrated her loneliness, she didn’t approach him with blame and criticism as she once did. Instead, she used loving words to communicate that she decided to honour herself and her needs, and therefore took responsibility towards herself and left the marriage. Every woman’s decision to remain in a marriage is based on many variables and must be treated case by case. However, it all starts with self-honour and then practising this skill set daily to build a new thought pattern that reflected her values.

I hope that in the process of sharing my experiences as a coach might shed light on what your next steps may be. You are welcome to contact me if a similar transformational journey is something you crave.