If substance use has caused unsalvageable conflict in your marriage, you may be facing separation and divorce while also dealing with your addiction. This is a period when you may not be able to solve all of your problems as substance use disorder drains much of your energy and capacity to deal with intense and stressful situations. Entering treatment during this time can help you regain your bearings to deal with the process of redefining your relationships with your spouse, but there will be many emotional and mental hurdles to prepare for.
Prepare to Feel
If the threat or reality of divorce forced you into addiction treatment, the first few weeks of healing could be a very overwhelming and confusing time. On the one hand, you are facing the consequences of substance use and the way it tore apart your marriage, but on the other hand, you are also taking measures to get help. Although this treatment may not fix your marriage, you will be able to handle your divorce proceedings with much more clarity and dignity. While you may have perilously relied on substance use to get you through difficult emotions, going through this event without the usual coping mechanism of escape will allow you to use them as a basis for regaining your emotional and mental strength. Feeling these emotions fully will make sticking to treatment very challenging, which is why it’s important to set yourself up with a network of people who can help.
This is the right time to reach out to family and friends for support. Going through treatment and divorce at the same time is a massive undertaking, and it’s essential to be around people who care about you. If these relationships with your loved ones have also become strained through the time you battled your addiction, you may find it beneficial to invite them to counseling sessions with you where a professional can help mediate these sometimes tough conversations. Building up support from friends and family will help you stay committed to your program and avoid relapse triggers like guilt, loneliness, and stress. Renewing and improving these relationships while going through your divorce can also help you rebuild your future in recovery.
If your spouse has made their final decision to go through with the divorce, you must have some understanding and perspective moving forward. The very raw feelings of anguish, hurt, and heartbreak you feel at this point may bevery similar to what your spouse felt when they endured the pitfalls of addiction with you. They now need time to heal themselves, as well. Addiction is a family disease because it affects everyone who is in contact with someone who has substance use disorder, especially those closest. Cooperating with the proceedings would be beneficial for everyone involved, and using spiteful behavior to make things more problematic will only cause a more significant rift, and keep you from healing too. If there is custody of children involved, their best interest must be at the heart of all your actions.
Addiction treatment provides the tools to deal with all of life’s stressors, including major life changes you may not think you are ready for. While it’s going to be difficult to mourn the end of your marriage, using your support network and services available to you during your treatment program will help you along.