Couples Counseling for Marriages Affected by Addiction
A healthy and fulfilling marriage takes daily commitment from both partners to actively show up for one another. Changes big and small can have an impact on the dynamic of the relationship.
When a person becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, it takes a toll on the relationships around them, especially marriage. The first step to repairing a marriage that has been impacted by drug use is to get the addicted partner into addiction treatment. As they progress in their recovery, attending couples therapy can be used to help fix the damage done to the relationship.
How Addiction Affects Relationships
Drug addiction affects not only the one using or drinking but everyone who has significant involvement in their lives. When a person becomes addicted, a significant portion of their life becomes dedicated to obtaining and using the drug or alcohol. Substances can affect a person’s mood and behavior, turning them into someone unrecognizable.
Addiction in a marriage tarnishes trust, intimacy, communication, and respect, leaving both partners feeling empty. When one person begins to prioritize their cravings for drugs or alcohol over their partner, they begin to neglect their responsibilities in the relationship. If there are children in the family, this can damage them as well and may deepen negative feelings one partner feels toward the other. Issues that can affect relationships with addiction can include:
- Infidelity and unfaithfulness
- Financial strain
- Broken trust
- Loss of intimacy
- Poor communication
When you are in a romantic relationship or marriage with someone who has developed a substance use disorder, you must seek professional help. Repairing the relationship will take help from someone that can offer unbiased guidance toward rebuilding trust.
What Is Couples Counseling?
Couples therapy helps married partners strengthen and grow their relationship. The couple will work with a licensed therapist who specifically works to help identify and treat issues that may arise in a relationship. This is provided by a licensed marriage and family therapist and sometimes includes a psychologist or social worker.
Some common reasons couples may seek therapy include:
- Pre-marital counseling to address any conflicts or develop skills
- Working on issues that may have arisen during the marriage (infidelity, addiction, child-related, etc.)
- Gaining a better understanding of the dynamic of the relationship
- Imbalance of intimacy or authority
The Benefits Of Couples Counseling In Addiction Recovery
Addiction in a relationship can introduce many new challenges and bring new or worsened stress. When addiction starts to affect a relationship, a licensed therapist can address and improve both the struggling relationship and the addiction or mental health issues the using partner is experiencing.
Long-term relationships require constant effort to strengthen and improve the relationship through the many ups and downs in life. The time, energy, and compassion invested into each relationship should be equal on both ends. Substance abuse can present new problems to the relationship because it impacts the user’s behavior which might upset the balance of time and energy from each partner. Relationships are never too broken to fix and, as long as both partners are willing to put real work in, with the right professional help, the relationship can be repaired and the couple can embark on a new journey together.
Communication skills. Therapy empowers both partners to learn how to communicate their feelings and needs to each other. The therapist will coach each individual on offering supportive and effective communication to their partner. This allows each partner to learn how to listen well and understand their partner’s needs.
Rebuilding the bond. Couples therapy will re-emphasize that relationship is teamwork. The therapist will help them examine their relationship in a more objective manner and prevent finger-pointing. Allowing the couple to work through any negative feelings they harbor toward each other will help each move forward and create a more positive beginning.
Conflict resolution. Knowing how to appropriately handle conflicts and disagreements is key in a relationship that once involved substances. When drugs and alcohol are involved, one person may have used substances to cope when things got heated or would blow up after using or drinking. Learning how to effectively acknowledge conflicts and be assertive without offending is key to creating a space where neither partner feels like they must walk on eggshells.
Deciding if time apart is needed. Although separation is not the goal, in some cases both partners may need some time to cool off. As a couple engages in therapy, both partners will discuss the goals they have and what they hope to achieve. However, as therapy moves along it can become clear that time apart may be necessary if too much hurt has been caused. This is where it is best to have a therapist help decide if it is necessary before further damage is caused.
Addiction is such a complex illness because it finds a way to impact every aspect of a person’s life, including the most important relationships around us like our romantic connections. When a person in a relationship begins to deal with substance abuse, this can shift many areas of the relationship. Attending couples counseling allows both partners to voice their feelings in a safe space specifically designed to help the relationship go down a healthier path. While attending couples therapy, it is beneficial for the person recovering from substance abuse to seek care for their addiction to ensure progress in all areas. The services and staff at Mountain Peak Recovery offer addiction recovery treatment as well as couples counseling to rebuild a damaged relationship. If you or your partner are seeking treatment, call Mountain Peak Recovery at (801) 824-8829 to speak with us about starting treatment for your recovery process now.