Healing your Marriage after Addiction
Addiction has destroyed many, many relationships. Marriages are the easiest to pull apart with the lies and deception, cheating, neglect, and hurt feelings. If your marriage has been afflicted by the specter of addiction, you have a change to pull it back together.
Create a New Marriage
You cannot expect to get back the same marriage you had before the addiction and recovery. There is no way to change what happened and it is impossible to forget the hurt and the anger that you experienced because of your addicted spouse. Saying so and admitting to this may seem like the end of all hope; as if there is nothing to be done. On the contrary, it means that you get to create a new marriage.
Because you went through hell and back with your spouse, you may have a tendency to look back on the pre-addiction days as if they were blissful and perfect. Chances are that this is a rosey and false view. You undoubtedly had issues and problems, just like any other marriage. Now is the time to reflect on the marriage of your past and to think about what you would like to do differently in your newly reborn relationship. Just be sure to communicate these thoughts to your spouse. Changes will not happen if they exist only in your head.
Going through recovery to conquer an addiction is something that can rarely, if ever, be done without professional assistance. The same can be said about reconciling with your spouse after the trauma of addiction. The experiences that you had with addiction and trying to hold your relationship together are unique to the two of you and have left lasting damage to your marriage. To repair and reconstruct, you need to seek the help of professionals.
Consider getting counseling or therapy both together as a couple and separately. Both you and your spouse could benefit greatly from individual sessions to work on your own issues. But, it is also crucial to work together, so at the very least set up appointments for both of you to attend together.
Although not considered professional counseling, a support group can be very helpful too. Go to AA, NA, or AlAnon alone or with your spouse. Whichever group suits your needs best is the one you should attend. Even if you only listen to the experiences of others, they can be very helpful. Having the support of others who are going through the same things as you is very comforting.
Write it Down
Writing about your issues, concerns, and feelings is a powerful way to work through your problems. Sometimes there are things you just can’t say to your spouse because they would be hurtful and counterproductive to the reconciliation. If you can’t say it, but you are still feeling it, write it down. Keep a journal that is private and just for you. You should feel safe to write down whatever you want here and the experience just may be cathartic.
You can also use writing as a way to communicate with your spouse. If you are finding it tough to talk to your spouse, you are not alone. After months or even years of feeling angry and hurt because of the lying and hiding, it can be very difficult to switch gears and become open and communicative. If talking about the issues that need to be discussed is too hard at first, write it down in a letter. Once the two of you have begun communicating through letters for a while, it should become easier to have face-to-face discussions. Remember to be honest, but not hurtful.
Work on You
As you work towards reconciling with your spouse and creating a new and happy marriage, don’t forget yourself. With so much emphasis on the two of you as a couple, it can be easy to forget yourselves as individuals. Make sure you both take the time to develop as individuals. You should have your own interests and your own time alone to do whatever makes you happiest. If you need to participate in individual counseling, you and your spouse should support each other in doing that. By becoming the best people you can be, you will have a better chance of creating a wonderful and successful marriage.