Working Through Serious Issues

3 Tips for Supporting a Spouse with a Drug Addiction

Posted by on Feb 29, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Tips for Supporting a Spouse with a Drug Addiction

When you get married, one of the first things that you promise your spouse is to stand by him or her in both good times and bad times and through both sickness and health. However, when you realize that your spouse has a drug addiction, those promises can really be put to the test. In fact, statistics show that 7.3% of divorces are caused by substance abuse. Sometimes a divorce or separation may be unavoidable, but if your spouse wants to get sober and both of you want to preserve your marriage, it can be done. Take a look at some tips that will help you support a spouse through the addiction recovery process. Ask for Help It’s common knowledge that addicts have to admit they have a problem and ask for help before the recovery process can truly begin. That’s true for the partner of an addict as well. If you’re in denial about the extent of the problem or if you’ve been enabling your spouse, for example, then you’re going to need to break old habits and learn some new skills, as well. Often, partners of addicts deny the problem or enable the addict in an effort to cope with the problem—you may have been doing it without even realizing it. That’s why many rehab facilities and addiction programs offer corresponding therapy for spouses and family members of an addict. Counseling can help you learn more about addiction so that you know what your spouse is facing, but it can also help you learn healthy coping skills so that you don’t enable your spouse. Counseling can also help you take better care of yourself. Your partner may need support during the recovery period, but you won’t be able to support anyone else effectively unless you’re emotionally healthy yourself. It’s important to take care of yourself during this time— you won’t do your partner, yourself, or your marriage any good by failing to make sure that your own needs are met. Prepare Yourself for Change As your spouse works through recovery, you’ll see him or her change, and your relationship may change as well. You should be prepared to see sides of your spouse that you’ve never seen before. You may find that new friends, like your spouse’s sponsor or other people they meet in rehab or counseling groups, become very important to your spouse very quickly. He or she may also throw him- or herself into work or decide to work less and spend more time pursuing a talent or hobby. Your partner needs freedom to explore his or her options and decide how to make life work without drugs or other substances, so be patient with these changes. Keep the lines of communication open between you so that you’re not blindsided by a major change. Practice Forgiveness Loving an addict means spending a lot of time practicing forgiveness. You may be angry for many reasons. If your spouse has been using drugs, he or she may have been lying to you about it, recklessly spending money, or behaving badly toward you. Even if you think you can put that behind you, as your spouse goes through recovery you may end up getting angry all over again when he or she confesses something that you didn’t already...

read more

4 Ways To Manage Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Posted by on Nov 13, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Ways To Manage Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) can make life overwhelming when you are constantly worried over everyday stress or anticipate bad things may happen. In some cases, you may have GAD in conjunction with other mental health conditions, such as depression or other anxiety disorders. Although you may feel like GAD has a grasp on your life, there are multiple treatment options to help make the condition more manageable. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an approach used for many types of mental health concerns and is focused on the underlying thoughts and behaviors that facilitate anxiety. For example, you may realize much of your anxiety is rooted in your own negative internal dialogue. If you constantly tell yourself something bad is going to happen, this is part of the negative thought process. You and your therapist can work together to help you overcome these negative thoughts or behaviors. Many of the techniques used in CBT also require you to perform activities or engage in homework as part of your treatment. Psychiatric Medications For GAD and other anxiety disorders, the first-line medication is the use of reuptake inhibitors. If you also experience depression, you may find some antidepressants can help both conditions simultaneously. Usually, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the first type of reuptake inhibitor prescribed for the management of GAD. If you do not notice any benefits, there are other reuptake inhibitors that affect one or more neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. Even if you do not achieve complete remission of your anxiety disorder, you may find medication intended for long-term use can make your symptoms more manageable in combination with other treatment approaches. If you experience panic attacks, your psychiatrist may prescribe short or long-acting benzodiazepines until your symptoms stabilize. Unfortunately, benzodiazepines can be habit-forming and they often come with side effects, such a drowsiness, which may impede your daily activities. Other Medications If you already have problems with anxiety and have concurrent medical conditions, you may want to talk with your primary care physician about the medications you are taking and how they may impact your anxiety. For example, if you are currently on an ACE inhibitor for hypertension, you may want to discuss the possibility of switching to a beta blocker. Beta blockers are effective for hypertension and other cardiovascular problems, but they have a positive effect of reducing some of the symptoms associated with anxiety, such as heart palpitations. Some hormones used for birth control, the management of menopausal symptoms or ovarian cysts may enhance anxiety. Similarly, if you are on steroids to reduce inflammation, this can add to your anxiety. Talk with your doctor to determine if there are other options that have less of an impact on your anxiety or if you can lower the dosage of your current medication while continuing to have therapeutic benefits. Stress-Reduction Techniques When you are overwhelmed with anxiety, especially if you also deal with panic attacks, learning stress-reduction techniques can seem useless. Although they may not be immediately effective at reducing your anxiety, you may notice with continual practice, episodes of panic or anxiety may become easier to handle. One of the ideal stress-reduction techniques for reducing anxiety is any activity, such as focused breathing, meditation or yoga, through which you become more aware of your...

read more

Becoming A Step-Parent: How To Help Your Blended Family Succeed

Posted by on Sep 1, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Becoming A Step-Parent: How To Help Your Blended Family Succeed

When you take on the responsibility of raising children that your spouse has from a previous marriage, you may feel like you don’t even know where to begin. Step-parenting has some major challenges, and if you are not careful, the dynamic of a blended family can put stress on the relationship you have with your spouse. There are a few things you will need to do in order to make sure that your blended family succeeds, even when you find it difficult to assume the role as a parent to your step-children. Don’t envy or compete with your step-children This is one of the major problems that many blended families face. Your spouse, as the natural parent of the children, will have a more secure and firm connection with their children than you have. He or she will spend more time with them and will have a history with them that you will not have. It can be easy to wish that your spouse would spend time with you instead of with the kids or to feel jealousy over the close relationships that your spouse shares with them. Children will naturally feel jealousy or the need to compete with you– this can pass, but it important not add fuel to the fire with your own competition. If you do have these feelings, share them with your spouse and ask for suggestions as to how you can grow closer together as a couple. Try not to force your companion into a situation where he or she will have to offend one family member in order to please the other. You need to accept your partner’s role as a parent and celebrate it by being supportive of strong relationships between parent and child.  Also, you should try to be supportive of your step-children’s need to build a relationship with your spouse’s ex, if this person is still in the picture. Forming an agreeable relationship with the other parent will help to remove conflict and feelings of resentment from your new family dynamic.  Understand that love takes time Even though you may deeply love your spouse, it will take longer for you to develop love for any children that your partner brings into the marriage. If you do seek a close relationship with these children, you will need help from the person who knows them better than you know them. Ask you partner for advice on how to get closer to each child. If you are unable to form a close bond with them, don’t take out your frustrations on your spouse. Blending a family is difficult work, and it may not always be as successful as you would like. It’s tempting to try to “win over” stepchildren by taking them on fun outings or buying them things. However, it is best to allow them to grow close to you in everyday life. Do things with them that you could do everyday, or every weekend. Allow them to see you as a person, and take time to view how they interact with others. As you get to know them, they will eventually come to you on their own timing.  Parent with your spouse One of the sticky areas that comes with a new blended family is the role the step-parent will play...

read more

When Your Child Is Diagnosed With Autism: Saving Your Marriage In The Face Of Adversity

Posted by on Aug 5, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on When Your Child Is Diagnosed With Autism: Saving Your Marriage In The Face Of Adversity

As a Christian, you know that new babies are a true gift from the Lord. While every child is perfect in the eyes of God, some children are born with illnesses or conditions that require special care. If your child has been diagnosed with autism, it can put a lot of stress on your marriage. It’s natural for many couples to have arguments while everyone adjusts. Before deciding to divorce, read through this article–it just may give you the info you need to fix things. Become a United Force for Good While no marriage goes without petty squabbles every so often, one of the most common issues relates to the fact that couples fail to work together. You and your partner may have completely different ideas about how to raise and care for your child. If this is the case, you must come to an understanding and decide how you both want to move forward. This requires a great deal of comprime, and a willingness from each partner to pick and choose your battles. Proverbs 1:8-9, teaches that both the mother and father play a pivotal role in parenting. By focusing on working together, you provide the stability your child needs to learn and flourish, regardless of his diagnosis. Don’t Blame One Another For Your Child’s Condition There’s nothing quite as devastating as getting the news that your child has an illness or condition they may struggle with for the rest of their lives. Trying to place the blame is something that almost all parents go through when they have a sick child. It’s easier to direct anger, grief, and fear outward toward a single source than to deal with it and turn to God for comfort. If you can say, “YOU caused my child to become autistic,” you may feel better temporarily…but it’s a bandaid fix at best. If this has happened to you, understand that you aren’t alone. Many couples fall into the common trap of laying the blame on each other–making the adjustment process more difficult when there simply isn’t any blame to lay. Instead, drop the blame game completely. Understand that, sometimes, these things just happen. Neither you or your spouse did anything to “cause” autism. Move forward with an understanding that both of you are doing your best to adjust. And, perhaps most importantly, share these emotions with each other and with God. In Exodus 20:16, Christians are commanded not to bear false witness against their neighbors. What this is saying is that false accusations are considered a sin. This also applies to loved ones–including your spouse. Get to the Root Of Your Real Emotions If you find yourself yelling at your spouse over something small, consider what’s really making you upset. Are you feeling out of control, angry, or sad about the diagnosis? Has your child missed a milestone? Parenting a child with autism is rewarding, but it can also be difficult–it’s ok to acknowledge that you’re struggling to control your emotions on any given day. The key is to point them at the right target, instead of those around you. In Colossians 3:18-19, Christians learn that married couples should love and support one another, as that is their holy duty. Move forward and keep this knowledge in your heart, remembering that both of you are loved...

read more

When Gay Marriage Is Legal, But Your Partner Says “I Don’t”

Posted by on Jun 24, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on When Gay Marriage Is Legal, But Your Partner Says “I Don’t”

 After many years of fighting for marriage equality, gay and lesbian couples can now get legally married in 36 states. While many in the lesbian and gay community have welcomed this right, there are others who — for one reason or another — want nothing to do with marriage. Unfortunately, this has led to a problem that many heterosexual couples have dealt with for years — relationship woes that arise when one individual in a gay or lesbian relationship wants to get married and the other doesn’t.  Marriage Isn’t for Everyone According to USA Today, a recent poll showed that 52 percent of those in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community want to get married; 33 percent were not sure; and 15 percent did not want to get married at all. So what should you do if you are one of the 52 percent who wants to get married and your partner is in the 15 percent who doesn’t and you are at an impasse? It could be time to seek the aid of a couple’s counselor, who could determine why your partner is so against getting married. While it’s hard not to take the rejection of marriage personally, it’s very possible that your partner is deeply in love with you but has personal reasons why they are against the institution of marriage. Some of these reasons may include: Moral reasons. Some people won’t get married until gay marriage is legal in every state in the union. Fear of divorce. Children who have grown up in families that ended in nasty divorces are often reluctant to re-live that nightmare. Wanting to avoid the financial responsibilities of marriage. When parties get married, their lives become legally and financially intertwined, which is something that some individuals — whether gay, lesbian or straight — want to avoid. Getting married could also mean that a couple may have to pay higher taxes.  Feeling that you are more interested in the idea of getting married. Your partner may believe that you are more interested in the notion of getting married than you are in actually getting married to them.  They are perfectly happy with your relationship as it stands. Your partner may truly believe that a wedding certificate is nothing more than a meaningless piece of paper and that they don’t need one to prove their love to you. The counselor will also encourage you and your partner to engage in honest communication with one another to discover: What it is you’re hoping to get from being married. Do you believe that your relationship will be more solid if you have a wedding certificate attached to it? Or are you hoping to have children some day and you want to get married before you bring kids into your relationship? Whether you can continue a relationship with your spouse if they won’t get married. If getting married is very important for you, it could leave you bitter and disillusioned in the future if you never do end up legally tying the knot — especially, if you and your partner were to ever break up.  While marriage equality seemed like a dream come true for many gay and lesbian couples, it has also opened up the same can of worms that so many heterosexual couples have had to...

read more

Understanding The Three Main Sources Of Stress For Blended Families

Posted by on May 28, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Understanding The Three Main Sources Of Stress For Blended Families

Living as a blended family can be difficult. In fact, 66% of second marriages that involve children fail. It is important to recognize the difficulties associated with a blended family so you can work to prevent them. Whether the blending of your family seemed to be going well at first but has now started to become difficult, or it was a struggle from the beginning, you should consider seeking professional help to assess your current situation and give you tools to work as a couple and a family. Below are three of the most common sources of stress that you may be facing as the parent in a blended family, and what you can do to reduce the stress you are experiencing.  Different Parenting Styles  Different parenting styles is a common complaint by both the parents and the children in a blended family. It is usually exacerbated if one parent is the stay-at-home parent and is in charge of all of the children. The stay-at-home parent’s biological children are used to their parenting style, and the non-biological children can be seen as problem children if they cannot adapt quickly to the new parenting style. Alternatively, if the stay-at-home parent adjusts their parenting style to accommodate their new children, their biological children can become defensive and resentful. Often, the working parent may sense the disharmony at home and feel that their biological children are not being treated fairly, causing relationship problems as well as family stress.  The key to dealing with parenting style issues is consistency. Both parents need to agree to a certain parenting style and then stick with it for an extended period of time. It may take over a year for the children to adjust to the new parenting style, but if you constantly try to make adjustments to accommodate your children, they will become confused and frustrated.  A Lack of Authority  A second common concern in blended families is a lack of authority from the step-parent. This can happen because the step-parent does not feel comfortable stepping into a role of authority or because the children refuse to recognize the authority of the new parent. Over time, both parents and the children can experience feelings of resentment and insecurity if boundaries and authority are not established. However, it is not as simple as the biological parent explaining to their children that the step-parent has authority. If a biological parent relinquishes too much control over the home situation before trust is established throughout the family, their children may feel abandoned.  You should build authority over an extended period of time. To do so, both parents should engage equally in the setting and enforcing of rules. Only after trust has been established should the step-parent begin enforcing boundaries without the active input of the biological parent.  Undermining from the In-laws  While you may expect problems with your ex-spouse when you are building your new family, you may not be prepared to deal with undermining from in-laws. Undermining of your blended family can take on many appearances. For example, grandparents may only want to spend time with their biological grandparents, or perhaps your sister-in-law constantly makes negative comments about you to your step-children.  Unfortunately, you cannot bring your entire extended family into therapy sessions. However, you can build defenses...

read more