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Dear Spouses (Husbands and Wives) and Significant Others of Substance Users - There is Hope

When you love a substance user, it seems everyone has "the answer" for your relationship. At The Freedom Model for Addictions, we know the only answer that's right for you is the one you choose. No one else knows your situation, your relationship, or your life, as well as you do. After all, no one else will live with your choices except you.

A long-term, even permanent, end to addiction is possible for your spouse or partner; however, it's difficult for them to make that choice successfully when they are shackled by substance use misinformation and addiction myths. This is true for you too. We offer an alternative approach to help you untangle some of the chaos around substance use so you determine your best options moving forward.

The Focus of The Freedom Model Is Addiction Solution, Not Accepting a Life of Relapse and Recovery

Whether your partner has been to treatment many times or has never sought help before, you and they have likely been introduced to addiction and recovery myths. Our society is riddled with them. Most of these myths have been repeated so long they have become unquestioned "facts".

We often work with people who have been unsuccessful in ending addiction after going to treatment and that's to be expected. Treatment focuses on indoctrinating people into accepting failure and returning to treatment after their "inevitable" relapse. Research has shown that one of the top predictors of binge using and relapse after treatment is belief in these treatment principles.

We want to help free you and your partner from myths of addiction, treatment, and recovery that can actually promote struggling with addiction. The Freedom Model approach focuses on helping your spouse or partner deal with their personal issue with substance use completely and move on with their life so you can move on with yours.

The Uncontrollable Compulsion Myth

Substance use is a choice, not a disease or uncontrollable compulsion. Yes, your partner is choosing to use substances, and he or she is choosing to do so even when using may hurt your life and relationship together. The idea that substance use is an uncontrollable compulsion brought on by an unknown genetic defect, medical disease, or the overwhelming power of the substances themselves, has never been supported by scientific research. The idea of "uncontrollable compulsion" promotes the idea that:

  • your partner has no responsibility for choosing to use
  • they can use without consequences because they have no control, and
  • your partner with no ability or hope to end their addiction

The good news is the idea of uncontrollable compulsion is completely WRONG! If it were true you can't control substance use, no one would be able to change—ever. Fortunately, decades of research have proven just the opposite: people can and do control their substance use habits. They can change and even end addiction.

Substance use is a habit that has become familiar and largely automatic for your loved one, but it isn't inevitable. Substance use has become their tried and true way to achieve a wanted goal or state of being. Like any other behavioral act, it starts with a choice followed by an action. Your partner decides, at that moment in time that they would be happier using a substance than not using. There are two things in this statement to note: the transient nature of the decision and the quality of happiness.

Happiness Is Relative

The decision your partner makes to use is usually just that –made in a moment in time. A decision to use substances is not usually made looking at long-term happiness, but is often one of immediate relief. Many substance users struggle with delaying gratification so they grasp at the pleasure and relief in the here and now.

In fact, even the happiness your loved one is seeking from using substances doesn't always translate to gaining pleasure. The happiness they gain from using substances may be simply an escape from stress, a relief from withdrawal symptoms, or just a break from reality for a time.

When your spouse or partner can banish the myths of addiction and any life-limiting beliefs and habits they have are revealed, this leaves them wide open to the ability to make new choices. Now, instead of operating from the limitations of fear that they won't be able to change, they can move forward productively. This freedom also relieves you of the worries, anxieties, and fears that have haunted your life regarding the substance use by your partner that you could never control.

You Can Only Control You

Living with someone who struggles with substance use is often chaotic, confusing, frustrating, and can be heartbreaking. It may seem as if all the problems and worries would disappear if your loved one would just stop. While it is tempting to try to coerce a loved one into quitting with threats and ultimatums, it is a losing proposition. When someone ends substance use solely to avoid an ultimatum, they often come to resent the control taken from them. They may revert back to old habits because they didn't choose to end their addiction; you forced them to do so. As humans, we don't fully buy into forced change long-term, even if that change may bring us positive changes or avoid negative consequences.

The power of decision-making you have lies entirely with you and your life. You can make conditions of what behavior and choices of your loved one you will and won't accept in your life. Your spouse or partner, in turn, has to determine what is most important to them and decide accordingly. When you are both making life decisions from positions of strength and resourcefulness, rather than fear and anxiety, you will finally be able to move forward with your lives.

The Freedom Model is an approach that can liberate both of you. If you or your partner would like to find out more about how this revolutionary model can help end the chaos and pain of addiction in your lives, please call 888-424-2626 and we'll be happy to show you how The Freedom Model can work for you.

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