Finding help for a spouse with an addiction problem

“I, Bride/Groom, take you (Groom/Bride), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse…”. These are just some of the traditional vows that are spoken when getting married. Other couples are together and not married but what they have in common with married couples is the love they share for each other.

It has been known that relationships or marriage with a combination of the abuse of substances does not go well. When you are in a relationship with a spouse or partner that uses or is addicted to substances it’s like dropping a stone into a puddle, it causes a number of ripple effects which affect that of which is near. It is not only the person that is abusing the substance(s) that feels the effect of their action. The children, family, friends, colleagues and spouse or partner are also affected by this.

Timothy J. O’Farrel and William Fals-Stewart of Guilford Press-psychology (2006) have found that couples that have problems that are not substance related but look for help to fix their marriages are happier then couples that are struggling with substance abuse problems. As the alcohol or drug abuse gets worse it starts to take a toll on the marriage where the drug abuser takes more time to entertain his/her substance use than to attend to his/her spouse. This leads to arguments and fights. The fights can be physical. The continued fighting often fuels further drug/substance abuse resulting in further fighting. Couples get trapped in a vicious circle of destruction where the substance user abuses more substances and their loved ones try to control or fix their partners.

Finding Help in treatment

There are a number of treatments including rehabilitation treatments that are available to help individuals or partners that are struggling with addiction. These will involve:

Individual counselling

Group counselling

Self-help meetings

Support groups

When you are struggling and have a problem with drinking or using drugs it’s worth it to enter treatment not only for yourself but for your children, spouse and other people that your habit is negatively affecting.

In some situations some partners have substance abuse problems but do not want to look for help or even go for treatment because they do not see any problem or they have built up a stigma behind going to rehabilitation clinic or support groups. Alcohol and drug treatment programs have help for concerned family members and work with this very issue. They can provide information on motivating your partner to consider getting help.

 You might be asking yourself: “What about our Relationship?” “Will it be fixed?”. Treatment for individuals that are struggling with addiction include partners. It is very important that problems in relationships are treated. This treatment will include Couples counselling and Family re-integration.