Question: When standing for our spouses through addictions I feel like I am enabling him and I feel myself angry. He is not a Christian and was seeking God until I came back after separation and he went back to old ways. As I walk with Christ I do not know what direction to go according to Gods word.
Guidance: Feelings of resentment and anger are natural to have when living with someone who has an addiction. It could very well be that you are enabling him and you just don't know it, and that is why you feel angry afterwards. I commend you on your willingness to support your husband through his addiction. One important aspect about being able to be supportive and encouraging for your addicted spouse is being able to forgive them on a consistent basis. You do this by reminding yourself that the addict is sick in body and spirit, and for reasons beyond your control they have a compulsion to drink, and that has nothing to do with you.
So after saying that, I must bring up detaching from the addict so you can learn to forgive them. And that is the direction your walk should go in doing God's will for your life. Forgiveness can only be achieved by detaching emotionally from the addict. Most spouses do not detach from the addiction and they become just as mentally, emotionally and spiritually sick as the addict - don't let that happen to you. God's will for you as the wife of an addicted spouse would be to continue taking care of your responsibilities as a wife but to not become the victim of your husband’s weakness and that involves forgiveness and detachment.
Your purpose for your marriage at this time is to be a bright shinning light for your husband. You will need to ask God everyday for the peace of mind to get through these trials. You will suffer, and there will be days where you just might feel like giving up, but that is why Christ has given us the blessing of His Spirit within us, so we may not be alone to tackle our troubles in life. We are not alone when we have the Love of Christ within us. Below are some ways in which you can learn to not become the victim of addiction.
Stop Trying To Control The Addict
Yelling, threatening, blaming, and arguing with the addict is not going to help them or help you, so ask God to help you take away the urge to want to control the outcome of your husbands addiction or control his behavior. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference". Write this on cue cards and read through out the day.
The wisdom to know the difference is VERY important here. You can change the way YOU feel and you can change your attitude towards your husband's behavior through accepting the fact that he is sick, mentally and spiritually and because of that you can be forgiving and tolerant. (this is how you help the addict the most).
You have take care of YOU. And when you take care of YOU it reflects back on the addict because they will come out from denial and accept their addiction. Once you learn to stop enabling and rescuing their behavior through CONTROL tactics is when the addict must accept responsibility for himself and realize he is sick!
Set Boundaries For Yourself
Notice that I did not say to set boundaries for them, and the reason is, they cannot abide by any boundaries you enforce, so don't even try. Boundaries are for your own sanity. Boundaries make it easier for you to not allow their roller coaster emotions to affect you. Boundaries are ways in which to detach from the addict. When living with an alcoholic or drug addict you need to set boundaries to define your area, to protect your space - physical, emotional, mental, sexual, spiritual, financial, etc. You set the boundary because it is what you need to do for yourself. Stick to your boundaries. If the addict is trespassing on your spiritual well being by behaving abusive in any way, you need to have your own space, away from the alcoholic, preferably behind a closed and locked door.
Love The Person - Don't Love The Addiction
What does this mean? It means to understand the difference. Don't have anything to do with the addiction, but love the person behind the addiction. You do that by not enabling, and not rescuing, and by being supportive and encouraging only when the addict is not using. Let them know you love them as the person God created, but you do not love the addiction. God does not create addictions, people create addiction within themselves. That is not "who" your husband is, your husband is a man, husband, father, but because of his own unbelief has created addiction for himself through his lifestyle and thoughts. Just as easily that he became addicted can he become the man that God intended him to be.
Detach With Love
Detach from the abuse of the addicted person by not making the addiction your problem. When their problem becomes our problem we tend to help too much and in the wrong ways, such as helping them to deal socially with life, and to pardon them when they get into brawls and squabbles with others. You see, if you are trapped within the addiction with the alcoholic, how will you be able to pull them out? What you need to do is to stop concentrating so much on what the alcoholic is or isn't doing and focus on yourself and that will keep you from feeling angry when your addicted spouse mistreats you.
Detach from everything and anything associated with the addiction, including the negative behavior.
Pray For The Addict
I cannot tell you how important the process of daily prayer can be. Not only does it bring you closer to God but also it will get you into the habit of going to God with your life challenges. God does hear your cries of pain and He will give you the answers you need to get through these trials in your life. Some people think that just because they cannot see God that He will not hear them when they pray, or that God will not answer their prayers. But God will answer your prayers; just not in the way you want. We're so used to praying only when we want something or when we need comforting, but daily prayer for others nourishes the soul, and gets us in the habit of praying to God for our needs.
Most loved ones of alcoholic's are unhappy and lonely because they are not doing anything about their circumstances. If your spouse had cancer or diabetes, would you get sick with them? Of course you wouldn't. But that is what you're doing each and every time you enable, rescue, and stay in denial with the addict. Granted the addict cannot and will not love you back in the ways that they should - it is beyond their power while in the throngs of addiction. That is why alcoholism is called the insidious disease for a reason. Alcoholism and other addictions have broken apart marriages and relationships, and kept the addict from discovering their Creator - the source of who they are. Can it get anymore insidious than that?
There is so much more that I could say to you to support you in your journey. I have written a book called the Alcoholism Trap to help loved ones deal with the aspects of alcohol addiction. I also talk about why an alcoholic drinks and what the alcoholic can do to beat addiction for good and achieve total sobriety, which is getting to the ROOT of the alcoholic's problems first, and then tackling the drinking problem, which is only a symptom of alcoholism. The most important aspect of total sobriety is to look at all the areas of an alcoholic's life instead of just focusing on the drinking. The drinking is only secondary to the addiction. This is a great book with lots of valuable information for the alcoholic and the loved one of an alcoholic.
We also have written a great ebook on this subject called "How Do I Detach from an Alcoholic Spouse, you can find this book on the home page of Heaven Ministries.
I am offering two free copies of The Alcoholism Trap (first to email me will be first to serve) to anyone on my subscriber list that would like to give me a review and post it on Amazon. Please email me if this sounds like something you would be interested in. You do not have to be a professional writer to write up a short reveiw. All you need to do is read the book and tell potential buyers what you felt about the book. Did you like it? Was it interesting? Did you learn anything from the book? Did you think the book was explained in easy to understand terms? Would you read other material by this author? What was your overall feel of the book?
Do You Love An Alcoholic? Setting Boundaries For You!
The Alcoholism Trap:
Please see Chapter Preview. This book teaches about how to come to “total sobriety”, which is healthy in body, mind, and soul. All addicted persons need some kind of inner healing and without humbling our lives to our Creator for the healing we need total sobriety will never be. An alcoholic drinks to feel better emotionally and mentally – that is where the compulsion to drink stems from. We absolutely NEED God in our lives to conquer our troubles and addictions and become the people God created us to be.
Until next Wednesday, May God bless you for His glory in His kingdom!