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Monday, November 9, 2015

What to know about your spouse's addiction

I almost didn't write this post for two reasons:

1) It makes me want to throw up.

2) This post could be a major trigger for the spouse of an addict. So, if this is you, be very wary of reading this.

I am purposefully going to write vaguely here. There are a lot of things that I am not going to include, lots of details that I am not going to spell out. Because all addicts and addictions are going to be different. Just because one addict is involved in something, doesn't mean that another addict is.

So, why write this post?

Because all spouses of addicts reach a point where they panic and think, "what is my spouse involved in?" "What do I even look for?" "Help!"

So, I am going to go into what I personally think every spouse of an addict needs to ask their spouse about their addiction. Before you follow my thoughts here, ask a therapist what they think about my thoughts and what you should do. I am not so much giving advice as I am sharing what I have seen. Especially the more dangerous and threatening your situation is, these thoughts are not for you. If you are in a dangerous circumstance, go talk to an appropriate person for your case. Maybe that is a women's shelter, the police, a therapist, or a lawyer. Only you know.

1) What is the plan for nipping this addiction in the bud? Are they willing to talk to a therapist? Clergy? Both?

2) Lots of spouses immediately ask how long the addiction has been going on for, where the spouse has been accessing the pornography, etc.  Be careful about how many details you ask for. Before you ask any details, make sure it is for something you really want or need to know. Once you know you can't forget easily.

3) Does your addiction include porn that includes children? This is a major, major red flag that I think scares the crud out of each and every spouse of an addict.  Because addictions having to do with children are different. They are not the same. Once someone crosses that line, they don't just uncross it. Talk to your therapist about this if your spouse is involved with this kind of obscenity.

4) Any one night stands/ affairs/ or the like? Aside from wanting to know if this is involved in your marriage, it might make a difference in whether you need to go and get tested for STDs.

5) Are there any stashes of porn in your home? You don't want there to be ANY chance that your children come across those types of images, videos or texts. Yes, texts. The written word can be used for a lot of crud.

I am sure there are other things you should know, other things you should ask. There is a whole list I could post about the types of things addicts get into, but it would shock people. Most people would be shocked to find out what is available even close to your house.

What I would stress, and I have written posts about this in the past, is that you DO NOT GO LOOKING TO SEE WHAT YOUR SPOUSE LOOKED AT. When I first heard of a spouse doing that, I felt sick for them. I understand that they are in a state of panic and confusion, but you don't want that in your head. Find the phrase "Dead Deer" in my topic cloud to the right and see what I wrote on the subject.  And make sure you THINK REALLY HARD before asking any questions you may regret. Once you know the answer, you can't un-know it.

And, know that everything will be ok. It's hard, but many people come out of this stronger and sometimes even closer to their spouse than they were before. Sometimes it doesn't work out, the circumstances are too dangerous or what not and the marriage ends. Either way, there is hope for happiness.

Again, this is very heavy stuff. Talk to a therapist about it before you just take my observations.                                                                                                                              

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