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Practical tips for surviving a spouse's addiction

kmb2006 Practical tips for surviving a spouse's addiction

I've been reading all of the discussion of the tips. The core message is great, under the right circumstances with the right spouse. However, from my own experience, there are some practical things a spouse must do to survive an active addiction.

I asked my husband if there was one thing I did or didn't do that helped him the most during his addiction. His response?
You disappeared with the kids.

The one thing I've done or haven't done that has helped in his recovery?
You don't give me shyt about going to meetings, and you take away my excuses when I say I can't go.

So, from my experience, these are my tips...

1) Put yourself between the addict and the children. Be willing to throw yourself in front of a bus or an active addict for them. Putting a little piece of paper with a judge's signature on it between the addict and the kids is helpful, too.

2) If you don't already have one, get a job - you need to be able to support yourself financially. He's got other plans for the money he earns (if he earns any at all).

3) Move the money... and keep it moving. Open a bank account in your name only at a different bank that the one you use together. Go paperless - DO NOT have statements mailed to your home. Find a personal banker and tell her what's going on. She'll help you keep an eye on your accounts.

4) Protect your assets. I'm talking about mutual assets. If you're married and in a community property state, that means everything you've acquired in the marriage. If you don't want it to end up in pawn, nail it down or hide it away. If you have unliquidated financial assets - liquidate and hide them, if you can. He'll thank you later when you still have a television and a pot to pee in.

5) Find a back-up. Your mom, a trusted friend, a neighbor - anyone. You'll need somewhere to leave the kids when things at home get heated. Not to mention, your addict won't really be available to help with those two-person household things, so find someone that you can call on in a pinch to help you fix the leaky faucet or move the dresser to the other side of the room.

6) Be prepared to run at a moment's notice. Is your luggage full of off-season clothes and tucked behind a giant stack of boxes in the garage? Fix that. Plan like you have to leave for a weather evacuation. Make sure you can quickly and easily grab important paperwork and sentimental objects. Things happen, and sometimes, you have to run.

7) If you have kids, especially infants or toddlers, no drugs or paraphernalia in the house. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts. Do spot checks (I'm not saying rifle though his stuff, but make sure nothing is hidden in places where your kids can get to it.) My daughter found a pipe in a pillowcase. A baggie of shyt fell out of his sock.

8) If you have sex with your addict, use a condom. Doesn't matter if he swears he would never cheat or that he isn't a needle user. Addicts lie. You can't "help" him if you're dead. Plus, the last thing you want to do is bring a newborn into the mix. (I know whereof I speak.)

9) Get some distance... at least emotional distance. Addiction is like an undertow - stand in the middle of it and it'll suck you right under.

10) Get a life or go on with the one you've already got... take every opportunity to be around normal, healthy people. Isolation is deadly.

Okay. Those are my tips for now.

Re: Practical tips for surviving a spouse's addiction
I couldn't agree more. Being prepared for what an active addict might do is like preparing for possible tornado. Every day is a tornado watch day... the conditions are all there whether the bad weather will erupt... you just never know!
Re: Practical tips for surviving a spouse's addiction
10) Get a life or go on with the one you've already got... take every opportunity to be around normal, healthy people. Isolation is deadly.


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Communicating with a recovering spouse

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