When you think about marriage, what do you think of? Things like loyalty, love, trust, and companionship might come to mind. The truth is that these are all pretty fundamental things to have within a marriage or relationship. If one partner is battling with substance abuse, one or all of these things can be jeopardized. Substances might be affecting your marriage more than you you think.
Identifying a Problem
How can you tell if substances have become a problem for you? It is important to first understand the gravity of the situation in order to determine how it might be impacting your marriage.
Do you seek substances in secret? Are you having issues at work or at home as a result of your substance use? Here are a few indicators that you might have a substance use disorder (SUD):
- You prioritize seeking and using substances
- You have lost interest in hobbies or activities you used to enjoy
- You are lying or hiding things from loved ones
- You have encountered financial trouble as a result of purchasing substances
- You are putting yourself or others at risk
If any of these scenarios seem familiar, it may indicate that you are in need of help.
Addiction and Relationships
Addiction has a way of ruining positive relationships and fostering negative ones. The more dependent and focused you become on getting and using drugs or alcohol, the more you will begin to distance yourself from those who do not approve of or support that lifestyle. Usually, this includes those who love and care about you most.
Substance users tend to hang out with other substance users. They find less judgment, feel less guilt, and have an easier time accessing what they are looking for. If this is you, you might consider your social circle and how it has evolved.
Do you spend time with the people who you care about most, or do you spend more time with the people who support your habit? The company you keep can be a huge influence, and can even delay seeking treatment.
If you are struggling with substance abuse, you may see your relationships change. Your friend group may shift and you might feel a tension between yourself and close friends and family. Whether they are aware of your addiction or not, those who know you well can probably sense that something is not quite right.
This tension often leads to conflict. Conflict can develop into strained or even broken relationships. When you are in a marriage, tension can lead to separation or divorce if it is not addressed. Working through addiction with your spouse is possible. It is important to create understanding and support, and ensure both parties are caring for their individual needs as well as their needs as a couple.
Helping Your Spouse
Your spouse has a SUD, now what? Or, you have a SUD and your spouse has agreed to help you work through it, what is next?
As the spouse of someone who is striving to overcome addiction, it is important to be supportive of their efforts to get clean. This can include encouraging treatment, learning more about addiction through education groups or other resources, or attending therapy and meetings with your spouse.
Learning more about addiction can create understanding and common ground. It is important for both individuals in a relationship to feel understood by the other, and recognize how the situation impacts one another.
As a person who is experiencing addiction, it is critical for you to aim to be as open and honest about your struggles as possible. Likely, there has been a fair amount of lying and deceit as a result of your substance use. This can create doubt and distrust within a marriage. Overcoming these obstacles and rebuilding is possible with work and a lot of honesty.
Addiction has been known to strain and even end marriages. It can create conflicts that can feel too big and complicated to work through. Seeking treatment can help ease the hardship in the marriage and for each spouse individually.
Treatment offers an opportunity for specialized, professional help in overcoming addiction and supporting the individual who is receiving treatment. Education groups provide support for loved ones and allow them to find fellowship and connect with other family members who are also supporting loved ones in treatment.
Seeking help is the first step toward rebuilding a marriage impacted by addiction. You and your spouse can benefit from guidance and support as you aim to work through the difficulties that substances can create within your relationship. Things like therapy, support and education groups, and a sense of community will help you rebuild your marriage in recovery.
Addiction affects more than just the person using drugs or alcohol. Substance abuse can impact entire families, friendships, and marriages. It often brings about conflict resulting from mistrust or other uncharacteristic behavior. Supporting a spouse as they work through and strive to overcome addiction is not easy. Renaissance Ranch offers programs and resources to support both parties in working through the situation. Our staff will encourage both individual and group therapy to help with navigating communication and moving forward with the relationship. If you or someone you care about needs help with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, we would love to connect with you. To get started on your journey to recovery, call Renaissance Ranch at (801) 308-8898.