When someone in a marriage goes through addiction and the recovery process, it may feel like divorce is inevitable. Addiction can cause excessive strain on a marriage, but it doesn’t have to mean an end. Understanding what options are available to you, regardless of which way your relationship goes, can allow you both to control the outcome.
The Negative Effects of Addiction
The NIDA defines addiction as a chronic disease where individuals are controlled by compulsive and harmful behaviors and habits. The effects of addiction can be long lasting and far reaching. The disease is prone to relapses, even after years of recovery.
All of these factors can weigh heavily on a person, and can cause adverse strain on their partner if they are married.
Addiction can make a person do things that they normally wouldn’t. It has almost absolute control, forcing them to possibly lie, cheat, and steal to fuel their addiction. While they are under the influence of their addiction, it is often the partner who is sitting at home worrying about their spouse’s safety.
You are legally bound to them, and their behaviors affect you more so than anybody. The addict’s health can be heavily impacted by their addiction, which may force you to make some tough decisions. Legally and financially, you may be the one who is forced to pay for any damage they cause while under the influence of their addiction.
The Difficulty of Treatment
According to the NIDA, addiction is highly complex and the recovery process can be just as complicated. Recovery can bring a lot of changes to a marriage in an already difficult time. If your relationship survived the addiction, there is a possibility that it may survive treatment.
However, you need to understand that there is no guarantee that your marriage will last through recovery. The strain placed on both persons in a marriage by addiction can zap away all of your strength.
When entering into treatment, there are a couple things that both parties need to keep in mind, not only to ensure its success, but to ensure the survival of the marriage. Like in any relationship, everyone needs to make an effort in order for things to work.
Communicate with one another, be honest, and take some time for each other. Understand that recovering from addiction isn’t going to be instantaneous and might take some time. Having realistic expectations about the recovery process, and the impact that the addiction has had on your marriage can greatly help you both.
Contributing to Each Other’s Recovery
There are different ways that you can be a part of the recovery process, and choosing to be involved can be a great way to show support and help your spouse get through recovery. Addiction affects more than just the person who has it, and many treatment programs accommodate spouses and families.
Most professionals will recommend counseling for partners of addicts and their children, as well as suggesting support groups and workshops to better help them cope. These sessions may also allow you to sort through your marriage’s chances for survival during addiction.
Know, however, that you may realize through counseling and the treatment process that your marriage might not survive. Understand that that is okay, and while it may be heartbreaking, it may be the best choice for yourself and the rest of your family.