08 Apr Hope and Peace in Recovery
I came across an article from 2008, written by a therapist from LDS Family services, Michael D. Gardner, entitled Hope, Healing and Dealing with Addiction. He outlines the importance of maintaining a positive, hopeful attitude as addiction is faced head on. He also specifically describes measures that addicts and their spouses need to take in order to find hope and peace throughout the battle with addiction.
Face the Music
Gardner says that in all of his experience counseling couples who are struggling with addiction, he has learned that turning a blind eye to the problem often delays and impedes recovery.
He says, “Accepting the full scope of the problem is necessary for healing to begin. I advise spouses to calmly, and with love and support, encourage their partners to fully disclose the extent of their addictive behavior rather than allowing information to trickle in over time. Specific details may not be necessary; rather, it is more important to disclose the type of addictive behavior, its duration, and its frequency.”
He also counsels that the spouse needs to be careful of their reaction. Don’t discuss the problem when tempers are high, and having the help of a counselor may even be necessary. Be careful not to “ ‘catastrophize’ things, overgeneralize, or get stuck in all-or-nothing thinking.”
Controlling the Situation
Gardner warns spouses of addicts about the dangers, both to themselves and to their loved ones, when they try to control their spouse’s addiction through constant monitoring and policing. He advises that spouses, “focus their attention and efforts on what they can change, not on what they can’t. They can work on efforts to make their own lives better. These changes may not have any effect on their husband or wife, but this should not be the goal of the behavior.” He goes on to list the factors that spouses can and can not control in the following table included in the article:
Factors Spouses Cannot Control:
-Their partner’s behavior
-Their partner’s desire to change
-Their partner’s repentance process
Factors Spouses Can Control:
-Their response to their partner’s behavior
-Their ability to care for themselves
-Their willingness to forgive
-Their own spiritual progression
Kris is a Advanced Substance Use Disorder Counselor and has been working in the field of substance abuse since 1996. Kris is the Program Director for Renaissance Ranch. Kris’s passion for and commitment to assisting people in their healing and recovery is a great joy for her.