How Addiction Is Hurting Your Marriage (And What You Can Do About It)

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Addiction can be an extremely corrosive force in a marriage, and in many cases, it causes this type of partnership to end in divorce. However, there are ways you can recognize how addiction is harming your marriage as well as things you can do to make a change.

If you or your spouse is suffering from a severe addiction to dangerous substances, now is the time to seek help.

How Addiction Is Damaging Your Marriage

The truth of the matter is this: there are a million things that make marriage difficult to maintain, but addiction can harm a marriage more than almost anything. It causes one individual in the relationship to become selfish and place their substance abuse above anything else. In many cases, this can cause a marriage to end.

Marriages can be affected by one spouse’s addiction in many ways.

  • The addicted individual will often neglect their responsibilities, including work, school, and family, according to the National Library of Medicine. This can put an unfair burden on the other individual, something they may come to resent.
  • Individuals who become addicted to a drug or another substance will always put that first, even before their own needs and the needs of others. This, as stated above, will cause the individual to act selfishly, which can harm their spouse and their marriage in general.
  • The trust two people build together when they enter into a marriage is often shattered as the result of substance abuse and addiction. A person who becomes addicted to a drug will often lie in order to get what they want and to use more. This will make it harder and harder for the other individual to trust them.
  • The problems addiction can cause in a marriage don’t only come from the addict, though. As stated by the University of Pennsylvania Health System, the people living with an addict often participate in enabling behaviors or “behaviors that support [an] addicted loved one’s chemical use.”

In addition, sometimes both individuals in a marriage are suffering from an addiction. This does not make the situation any better or easier, and in many cases, can only lead to more serious consequences. In order to protect your marriage––and the other aspects of your life––it is time to recognize the issues your or your spouse’s substance abuse is causing and the ways in which you can solve the issue.

How You Can Make a Change

One of the first actions you can take if your spouse is using drugs and threatening the state of your marriage is to stage an intervention. Invite some of your significant other’s closest friends and family members to tell them why they need seek help. This way, you are not alone in doing so, and your spouse can finally see how their addiction is affecting everyone in their life, including you.

Once your spouse accepts the need to seek treatment, you can take more steps to ensure that your loved one––and your marriage––can get better.

  • Go to couples therapy with your spouse. Having a professional help you work through you problems can be extremely beneficial. Not only will they be able to help your spouse understand your needs and feelings, they will also be able to help you recognize and stop your own enabling behaviors.
  • Visit or call your spouse while they are in treatment in order to let them know they have your continued support.
  • Seek your own form of therapy or treatment. You can go to a counselor on your own to talk about your issues with your spouse’s substance abuse. You can also attend Al-Anon or Nar-Anon meetings, which are strictly for the loved ones of addicts.

If your spouse refuses to seek treatment, it is important to let them know this action will have consequences. And, if you are both suffering from an addiction, it may be necessary for each of you to seek your own treatment paths while also helping one another through recovery.