When both members of a couple are struggling with substance abuse and addiction, it can be difficult to get help. Couples that use together tend to enable one another, and if only one partner decides to reach out for help, it is very likely that the other partner will drag them back down into the throws of addiction. That being said, letting the problem fester and worsen is not a solution either, as it can lead to a number of emotional and financial relationship challenges.
If both partners decide to seek treatment at the same time, it can be extremely beneficial for them to utilize a couples addiction treatment program. Treatment programs give addicts the tools they need to manage their own addictions, and when a couple undergoes treatment together, it can strengthen both their relationship and their recovery.
Relationships where both partners struggle with substance abuse are very common. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse states that approximately 40 million Americans aged 12 and over are struggling with addiction. The frequency of substance abuse habits suggests that millions of addicts are currently in a relationship with someone struggling with addiction as well.
Romantic relationships depend on honesty, consistency, and compromise, so it should not come as a surprise that addiction can be extremely damaging to the longevity of a couple’s relationship. The longer addiction is allowed to corrupt the morals and priorities of each partner, the more likely it becomes that the damage will be impossible to overcome. Here are some signs that your relationship may be suffering due to addiction:
These are just a few examples of the negative effects that addiction can have on a relationship. Each individual will experience their own side effects, and if they become increasingly difficult to manage, one partner may decide to seek treatment without the other. This can put a lot of strain on the couple, as the partner seeking help will inevitably realize that they cannot risk their own sobriety for their loved one.
Motivation plays a large role in pushing the recovery process forward. According to SAMHSA, a person’s motivation to overcome addiction is a vital element of treatment. It can make a person more likely to not only complete their program successfully but to maintain their sobriety long after they leave the addiction treatment center.
When a program allows couples to attend treatment together, they are hoping that both partners will help reinforce the other’s motivation to reach their recovery goals. This reaffirmation of the couple’s sobriety can create an incredibly powerful commitment to getting clean, as it adds a layer of accountability that other recovering addicts may not have.
Depending on your situation, attending the same treatment program may not be the best option. In specific cases, it may be more beneficial for each partner to deal with their addiction separate from one another early on. In these cases, the couple may be placed into separate living arrangements during the early stages of treatment. This is especially true for couples that have a history of domestic abuse, codependency, or some form of psychological issues.
If the couple is still committed to continuing their romantic relationship after treatment, then they can still undergo couples therapy and supervised communication while attending separate treatment programs. A regularly scheduled therapy session can be setup as a part of the couples treatment programs.
Addiction affects relationships in ways that make it hard to go back to the way things were before the substance abuse began. Couples can develop habits and behaviors during their substance abuse that can persist long after treatment finishes. This is where couples therapy comes into play. The Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment states that the benefits of therapy during couples addiction treatment extend far beyond their recovery goals. Therapy can improve the health of the relationship overall.
The goal of couple addiction treatment and therapy is to aid both members in creating a new standard for their relationship. That means changing behavioral patterns and teaching them how to better support one another’s goals. These new behaviors and changes may take time to learn, but they can create a powerful bond.