Written by The Recovery Village Editorial Team
December 19, 2018

Healthy relationships and a substance use disorder do not mix. It is simply not possible for two people to have a successful, healthy relationship when one or both of the partners are abusing drugs or alcohol. When there is a substance use disorder present, it has a way of causing harm to the entire family, not just the person who is abusing the substances.

Just as addiction impacts everyone, addiction recovery has a significant impact on everyone as well. So, a loved one that enters an addiction treatment program might get therapy, but what about the partner left at home? In this situation, couples therapy in addiction treatment can provide added benefits to both partners.

A Relationship That Includes Substance Abuse

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that over 26 million Americans aged 12 and over meet the criteria for having a substance use disorder. Many are married or are in long-term relationships, and substance abuse can have a significant impact on the health of these relationships. Some of the ways that addiction can affect a relationship include:

  • The disagreements, anger, and feelings of despair can lead the partner of someone with a SUD to become anxious or depressed.
  • Some of the enabling behaviors that partners exhibit might lead them to become socially isolated rather than constantly to make excuses for a partner that cannot or will not fulfill obligations.
  • The constant worry can impact physical health, and there are also sometimes cases of physical abuse tied to the abuse of substances.
  • Particularly in cases involving marriage and addiction, one spouse can destroy the family’s finances by diverting money that is designated for household expenses toward harmful substances. There may also be job losses and costly legal or medical expenses incurred.

How Couples Therapy in an Addiction Treatment Program Can Help

Couples who are struggling with addiction are also often dealing with many other issues simultaneously. When you participate in couples therapy in an addiction treatment program, there are several benefits.

  • Gives the Partner Much-Needed Support. Couples therapy helps to acknowledge that the partner in the relationship also needs support and recovery. Even though support groups such as Al-Anon can help, counseling for relationship problems is also necessary in most cases.
  • Addresses the Issue of Enabling. One of the things that can prolong addiction is enabling by a partner, and couples counseling can help both identify and address these behaviors so that destructive patterns can be broken.
  • Helps Couples Identify and Address Issues. As outlined above, there are a host of other issues that can materialize in a relationship because of the presence of a substance use disorder. When a couple attends counseling together, they have the opportunity to work on these problems to form a stronger bond and a more healthy relationship.

At The Recovery Village, we provide customized addiction treatment solutions for our clients that can include couples therapy as part of a comprehensive program designed to give you and your family the tools for success. Contact us now to learn more about your admissions options.

Why Is Couples Therapy Part of Some Addiction Treatment Programs
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