What do I do when my significant other is abusing drugs?
By Michael J. Costantino, Esq.
Basic advice on what to do when your significant other is abusing drugs
Getting happily married to the love of your life is such a beautiful thing. However, when you learn that your significant other is abusing drugs, the dark reality sets in that there must be changes, changes for the marriage or relationship to survive, or changes for you and your children to survive.
You may not have noticed or considered the drugs usage as an issue in the past, but as time passes, you realize that help should be sought for your significant other.
Knowing the right step to take in a situation like this may not be a welcome idea to your significant other. And keeping quiet is as good as supporting their poor decision. Reach out to family, friends and professional support services as soon as possible.
In the process of helping your significant other to recover, you end up spending lots of time and energy. If you are making efforts to hide their behavior, help them not to lose their jobs, or rescue them, caring for significant other that is abusing drugs can be a full-time job. In fact, the process can sap all your energy, but that does not help your significant other neither does it help you. When trying hard to help your partner, you may neglect your physical and mental well-being. And that can further aggravate the situation, especially when there is a child or children you need to care for.
What can you do to take care of yourself, your children, and your significant other during the trying period? Get educated about drug abuse and addiction. Several misconceptions surround drug addiction. Quite a large number of people assume that addiction is a choice, that it can be stopped anytime. Knowing what addiction and abuse are, their effects on your spouse and household, and the right steps to take can speed up the recovery process of your significant other. And if all efforts fail, what next?
The parental child custody rights of the abusing spouse may be affected if the struggle with drug abuse continues. You, as the sober spouse, have a duty to protect your children from the party abusing drugs. Your failure to protect can result in the children being removed by the Department of Children and Families. This may mean require you to take the first step, which may result in a physical separation, and preventing the other spouse access to the children.
If it becomes evident that you must take this type of action, then you will have no choice to seek the courts to legalize your actions, to grant an order that may suspend the parental rights of your significant other and grant you 100% of the time-sharing, or allow supervised time-sharing, during which the child will be spending a specified amount of time with abusing parent but under supervision.
When that time comes you need to hire an experienced family law attorney with knowledge in time-sharing problems to counsel and guide you in the process of the supervised time-sharing to protect your child from physical and psychological influence.