Al-Anon For Spouses

One of the helpful accomplishments of a support group is to assist the spouse in claiming their own emotions and feelings. Sometimes the spouse and the addict become co-dependent, using the other’s emotional state to reconcile their own. For example, if the addict feels frantic and anxious while needing their next ‘fix’, the spouse may respond with very calm and assuring behaviors. Each spouse has become the cue for the other’s behaviors and even their thoughts. Being alone, without the external cues for behavior, can be overwhelming. And create fear and confusion for the spouse at home. When married to an addict, the home atmosphere can be tense, like walking on eggshells, both when the addict is high and when they are coming down. The quiet home, without outside influences of chaos, is disturbing to someone used to constant motion and anxiety. The support group for spouses of addicts teaches coping skills and life skills. These skills are indicative of a healthy mental approach to serenity and peaceful surroundings.

Healthy marriages need a healthy foundation. These skills are usually taught, rather than acquired through experience. Unless one has taken conflict resolution courses and learned communication skills in extreme circumstances, communication can be hit or miss between parties involved. Even the healthiest marriage benefits from stronger communication skills. As well as positive and affirming behaviors. Attending a support group can teach a couple many useful life skills.

A support group for spouses of addicts can assist both spouses in communication and conflict resolution. When married to an addict, so much communication is in response to survival situations. Trying survive from one physical and emotional crisis to another is exhausting. It takes the emotional energy that is in reserve for positive communication. This positive energy can be renewed with the support of a group of caring friends who have been there, and know the way out of crisis. Support for spouses of addicts begins with re-building the bedrock of the relationship, the marriage.

Once the couple have moved out of the crisis mode and into everyday living, the support group will help the spouse cope with the new challenges. This marriage is not the same as the previous relationship. There will be new issues that need a fresh, third point of view to help with navigation. The support group becomes a sounding board as the spouse explores new territory. The recovering spouse will be attending support meetings to deal with their new frame of mind.

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