Choosing to Forgive Your Spouse & Support During Their Recovery

When you’ve committed to a relationship with someone you
love and care about, it can be tough to watch them suffering through an
addiction. You may be feeling as though you can do nothing but watch from the
sidelines. When a spouse has an addiction, it’s likely that they’ve done things
that have hurt you. They may have lied to you, deceived you in some way, stolen
from you or other family members, or neglected their familial responsibilities.
All relationships go through ups and downs, but dealing with an addicted spouse
can be an especially trying experience.

If you’re reading this, you might be at the point where you
would like to make the conscience effort to forgive your spouse and be
supportive of their recovery. The good news is, with a little love, patience,
and hard work, it can be done. The first step to being a supportive spouse is
to make the decision to forgive them and be supportive no matter what.

Remember, when you choose to forgive, you are putting the
past in the past, and moving forward. You may still feel hurt from time to
time, frustrated at the speed of which your spouse is making changes, or even
resentment. The key to success is to process your feelings a healthy way and
stay the course of being the supportive partner your significant other needs
during this time.

Here are some tips for success on this difficult journey
with your partner:

Don’t expect immediate change, change happens little by
little over time. Expecting your spouse to do a complete 180 in a few weeks
will only lead to frustration and disappointment on your part and possible
guilt and resentment on your partner’s side. Change takes time, so be
understanding, supportive, and stay the course, your spouse will get there.

Don’t be a parent, be a partner. Its normal to want to
protect your spouse and keep them out of trouble, but in this situation, you must
let them do things for themselves. Don’t tell others not to offer them
drugs/drinks or protect them from their addictive habits. Your partner must
learn how to navigate these situations on their own so that they can learn how
to say no to their addiction without your help should they need to.

Always remain understanding, offer support, encouragement,
and love whenever your partner needs it. If they want your help in achieving a
goal they have set for themselves, then do what you can to help them. If they
tell you they want to achieve something on their own, let them do so and be
there to be proud when they’ve accomplished what they set out to. Each person
is different so listen to what your spouse needs from you and be there any way
you can.

 Choosing to forgive your spouse and support them through
their recovery is a kind and generous thing to do. It’s tough any way you look
at it, so don’t forget to be kind to yourself and stay on top of your own
stress levels and happiness as well. In time, your spouse will thank you.


N.D. For Those Who Care About Another. SMART Recovery. (Website)


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