Addiction can have a significant impact on the whole family. When you are witnessing your spouse grappling with an active addiction, it can become overwhelming at times. Despite your sincere desire to help them, enabling their addictive behaviors will not result in positive outcomes for either of you. It is essential that during this strenuous period, you establish boundaries with your spouse, as it can serve as a lifeline that leads both of you toward healing and recovery. Taking time to set boundaries may be your saving grace in your relationship and overall well-being.
The Significance of Set Boundaries
Implementing boundaries does not mean you are seeking to punish your spouse. Instead, it is an act defined by affection and self-preservation. When your loved one is dealing with an active addiction, their actions hold the potential for negative repercussions not only in their own life but also in the lives of others. Having set boundaries is essential to safeguard your mental and physical well-being while helping your spouse take responsibility for their actions. Set boundaries can function as a wake-up call for them to seek the assistance they may need.
How to Set Boundaries
Establishing boundaries with a spouse who is actively struggling with addiction can be emotionally exhausting and pose significant challenges. Nevertheless, it remains crucial for your well-being and to create an environment that fosters encouragement for your spouse to seek treatment. There are several steps and techniques you can utilize to help set boundaries that foster a healthy environment for your relationship to thrive.
Before setting boundaries in place, you must understand the basics of the cycle of addiction. Understanding addiction can help you to further understand what your spouse is going through and find ways to best support them. Failure to understand addiction may lead you to implement harsh boundaries that do not encourage your significant other to seek the help they need. Developing this understanding allows you to support them with empathy without putting too much of a strain on yourself.
Define Your Boundaries
After understanding the basics of addiction, you may have some boundaries that you feel the need to implement. It is important to outline these boundaries and understand them clearly to healthily communicate them to your spouse. Clearly define behaviors and instances that you no longer are willing to accept while expressing your feelings behind these manners. Some examples of boundaries you wish to set may include:
- Substances may not be present around your children.
- You may not be intoxicated when around your children.
- There will no longer be any financial contribution to fund their addiction (this does not have to include costs for recovery).
- You will no longer accept lies regarding their behavior.
- Substances are not allowed within your shared household.
Your boundaries can go beyond what is listed and be altered in any way that is needed to suit your limitations. It can be difficult to share these boundaries, but having them lined out can help you stay accountable to yourself and your personal needs within the relationship. Keep in mind that your spouse may have boundaries to set with you and your family as well. It is important to respect their needs in return.
When disclosing the set boundaries to your significant other, it is important to be calm and respectful throughout the conversation. For example, it may be difficult to overcome lying if your spouse has been consistently lying about their use behind your back.
When they are honest about this in the future, you must remain calm and discuss ways to overcome this use healthily. Having empathy during these conversations helps to emphasize that you are trying to create a supportive family environment for your spouse, rather than placing consistent judgment on their actions.
Once you have established, communicated, and set your boundaries with your significant other it is important to be consistent with them. If you allow these boundaries to slip from time to time, it reinforces that they are not important to your spouse. Being consistent can help them to adjust to these new boundaries and understand the importance that following them means to you and your relationship.
Encourage Seeking Help
It can be overwhelming for individuals in active addiction to reach out for help and admit that they are struggling with an addiction. As you set boundaries and show empathy towards them, you may be able to encourage them to reach out for help in overcoming their addiction. Spero Recovery is a great place to start this journey and find a solution that works for both of you.
When your spouse is in a state of active addiction, they may not always be there to support you through difficult times, especially when it is related to their addiction. Having an outside support system can be extremely beneficial to your own mental well-being and consistency with your boundaries.
Spero Recovery is geared towards aiding family members enduring the struggles associated with someone facing addiction. You can work with our therapists and support groups to seek advice from experts on how to best manage your spouse’s addiction. Our resources can offer guidance, empathetic companionship, and constructive strategies to help you overcome these obstacles.
If you find yourself struggling with setting boundaries with a spouse in active addiction, remember that you are not alone. Take action today to prioritize your well-being and encourage your spouse to seek help. Educate yourself, define what your boundaries are, communicate in a calm and empathetic way, be consistent with the boundaries you set, encourage them to seek professional help, and seek support for yourself. Implementing boundaries with loved ones is not an easy task. Utilizing these techniques can help you to overcome this barrier to help ensure your mental health is cared for while your spouse is in active addiction. To learn more, reach out to Spero Recovery at (303) 351-7888.