A Guide for Addicted Couples

Close relationships, including family and friends, can also be the first casualties of addiction and substance abuse. A significant other is the one most directly in the line of fire when an addict is under the influence. So, as part of the recovery process, it’s important to understand how addiction has affected loved ones and even destroyed relationships. Then, the next step is to implement support systems, and determine how to repair those broken relationships before it’s too late.

How Addiction Affects Couples

Addiction and substance abuse can destroy a marriage or relationship. It can also be psychologically damaging even if the couple stays together, since patterns of co-dependency and enablement, as well as physical and psychological abuse,  can also be part of the equation.

Secrecy:

One of the devastating effects of addiction is the damage to open and honest communications in relationships. Deception and lies can go hand-and-hand with guilt and shame. A reality of substance abuse is that it can change a person’s behavior, even their personality.

Mistrust:

Even if you’ve been with the person for years, it’s still difficult to overcome the loss of trust. After all the painful episodes where trust might have broken or twisted in the past, it can be difficult for a couple to move forward. It takes a lot of strength and forgiveness to rise above as the history of repeated breaches in trust, even if each of them loves each other still.

Financial Difficulties:

Relationships can be even further destroyed and put in jeopardy when substance abuse and sometimes-erratic behavior leads to financial hardship. Beyond just the cost of booze and drugs, addiction leads those affected to make poor decisions, which in turn can lead to a devastating loss.

Partner Support

A relationship where one of the individuals is in recovery is not easy. Depending on the past history, the couple may be struggling with coming to grips with a partner who is trying to improve, perhaps even trying to change their habits, but it can also be easy to fall back into old patterns of addiction. A committed relationship is difficult, but it can also be one of the best ways to keep on that path toward recovery. A loved one/partner can offer support and encouragement, both in demonstrating love and forgiveness, but also in understanding the personal history that may have led to the addiction. A partner can also help by avoiding those people or places that were most associated with substance abuse.

Beyond just assisting in distraction and avoidance, a couple can support each other in a second-chance for their relationship, but also so their lives. Recovery from alcohol and substance abuse is a wake-up call to many, particularly when health, wellness, and even job and joint relationships hang in the balance. It often comes down to a choice of recovery or a permanent split, and even then, the relationship may be beyond repair.

Tap into Couples Therapy

Whether a couple moves forward with that “lifetime of love” together or not, couples’ therapy is an essential component of recovery. With what may have been years of secrecy, lies, growing mistrust, financial hardship, and loss, sobriety may sound too good to be true. Plus, there were probably other episodes when that road to recovery was attempted, with the only result being a heartbreaking relapse.  That’s why couples’ therapy is so important. After a history of a painful and difficult relationship, it’s important that both partners understand that recovery is a joint effort.

How to Sustain Recovery

Substance abuse affects every part of a relationship, so a couple who is working through recovery together can be presented with both positive and negative results. But there are several very important things to keep in mind:

  1. Change doesn’t happen overnight.
  2. Relapse is possible, even when you love each other.
  3. Time really doesn’t heal all wounds, but forgiveness can help.
  4. Each partner is important to the survival of an addicted couple.
  5. The scars may fade, but it may be difficult to forget.
  6. Therapy really is essential to the survival of a couple dealing with addiction.
  7. Couple revitalization and survival also must involve communication and rebuilding a life back together.
  8. Sobriety is a choice an addicted person must make every day, but so too is the decision to support and stay in a relationship that has been dismantled by substance abuse.
  9. A very real part of the recovery of an addicted couple is also the process of building new habits.
  10. While not fast or easy, the journey toward recovery for an addicted couple can be rewarding.

Ultimately, the direction of your recovery may not end up where you’d anticipated, but we don’t have any really great way of predicting the future of a relationship. Even without drug abuse, alcohol, or substance use, a relationship can be hard. So, allow yourself time and space, and seek out the help you need as you journey toward recovery together.  Contact us today to make the first step on the right path to recovery. Newport Beach Recovery Center is here to help.

The Pros + Cons of Couples Addiction Treatment

Addiction is a progressive and fatal disease that can be difficult to overcome. The road to recovery can be difficult for some, while others recover without issue. When it comes to couples that are addicted, it can be an especially difficult process, however, that doesn’t mean couples cannot recover together. There are those professionals who do not support couples addiction treatment, while others are finding success thanks to individualized and evidence-based programming.

The underlying psychological patterns that so often cause addiction are usually laid down during childhood traumas. The roots can include disorders such as depression, anxiety, unchecked rage, and personality maladaptations. It goes almost without saying that relationship difficulties and strife can also be caused by these same dynamics. Therefore, on a certain level, it does make sense to address both addiction and couples problems in the same safe therapeutic setting. If there is a group of the right therapists and patients, then great progress can be made towards mental health and recovery.

The Upside and Downside to Couples Addiction Treatment

Couples counseling, when it takes place in a setting of abstinence from all controlled substances and with the guidance of professional counselors, can conquer these issues and help put them permanently in the past.  This could potentially save the marriage or relationship that has been jeopardized by substance abuse. The assistance of counselors is key.  When a couple finds themselves navigating through recovery without a program of support, it will often happen that one addict will fall back into patterns of substance use while the other one is finding success going clean.  This greatly increases the chances of a double relapse and adds a great weight of recrimination and responsibility to the already difficult situation.  The couple’s individual issues and the way they work together as a team will probably have grown at least somewhat toxic during the process of addictive behavior, so it may not be an easy thing to untangle. Individual conventional behavioral therapy will be necessary as well, as it is essential to conquering the underlying reasons behind each person’s reason for using substances obsessively in the first place. Then a team of therapists must make clear how each addict’s behavior influences the other, creating the addictive team they have become.  This gives the addictive couple the hope to live normal, happy, and productive lives, to be good parents and good family members.  In order for this to become a reality, both people must be willing to humble themselves and go through the full program of couples recovery.

What to Expect in Therapy

Untangling the reasons behind addiction and investigating the problems with a relationship or marriage are no easy tasks by themselves.  Taken together, they represent a great feat that requires deep willingness to get to the root of problems and test each person’s ability to feel great discomfort. Healing is no easy task. It requires each person to look inward and take responsibility for their own emotions, actions, and personal histories. The couples in couples rehab can expect uncomfortable questions, feelings of  vulnerability, and emotional exposure. A deep level of trust has to exist in the relationship for therapy to even have a chance to work. If the relationship is without that trust in both individuals, then therapy will be useless.  Without trust, no true emotional opening can occur. However, the rewards are also great.  The addicted individuals can expect to feel great emotional relief after a successful session or series of sessions. If both people commit to giving the program 100% of their effort and thought, then they can confidently expect immediate improvements in the dynamics of addiction and their relationship. The only barriers that lie in the way of success are in the inability of one or both parties to confront their tumultuous inner landscapes.

Hard Decisions

The individual addicts and their relationship as a whole must be assessed to see if it can remain viable. Both parties should decide if the relationship is worth saving. An addict being married to another addict can be a truly dangerous thing, especially when there are children involved. The couple should consider their children, their family, and the quality of love that they both feel in that relationship. If the relationship is lacking in any way that cannot be repaired, then the couple should do the responsible thing and separate. After all, it is much easier to get sober without another addict’s battle against substance abuse to influence and affect the situation. If there is no possibility of ending the relationship, then it is paramount that both people in the relationship give 100% of their effort to recovery. If they do not, then they face disaster, financial ruin, and possibly death.  A solid commitment from both people to behavioral talk therapy and some sort of structured recovery program will mean that success is absolutely possible.  There is a life after addiction, and therapy can get them there.
Although couples addiction therapy is seemingly overwhelming and may seem impossible, it is possible. With the right professional help and guidance, we can help you get through addiction together. Contact us today to find out more information.