In sickness and in good health; in pain and in happiness; till death do us part. Those are the vows couples make to each other on their big day. But in the face of addiction – alcohol or drug – those vows get tested.
If you’re a couple dealing with addictions, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. It could be the man, it could be the woman, and in some cases, it could be both parties struggling with an addiction.
Before going into the discussion of what couples can do to curb addiction together, let’s first examine a couple of risks involved when they don’t.
Note: if you and/or your partner are struggling with addiction, you can find support from a couples rehab center.
Dangers faced by couples living with addiction
Neglecting daily obligations: It becomes difficult to keep up with daily obligations when you and/or a loved one are struggling with addiction. If only one party is affected, the other might spend the better part of their time covering up for them. In the event there are kids in the family, this could mean an increased burden on the not-addicted party.
Poor upbringing of children: It is going to be hard raising kids in a home where the couples are addicts. On one hand, you have the heartbreaking reality of the parents not being able to cater to the kids’ needs. And on the other hand, you have the danger of the kids getting corrupted.
Domestic violence: Episodes of domestic violence are not so hard to come by in a home where the couples are addicts. This is because of the substance clouding the better part of their judgments.
Inability to show love: a relationship is all about love and care, but when you’re addicted, you notice it becomes difficult to show love to anyone, your partner included. More often than not, you find yourself incapable of displaying sexual or romantic affection towards your partner, except only for times when you’re using drugs.
And on and on, so goes the dangers.
The big question then is how can couples overcome addiction together?
First steps towards overcoming addiction as a couple
The first and the major step towards recovering from addiction is the burning desire to make a change. If one party in the relationship doesn’t have this desire, it may become difficult to overcome addiction.
Why would an addict not have a desire to want to change their habits and lead a better life? You wonder.
Isn’t it obvious enough? The reason is because the process of overcoming addiction is always an ugly one for them.
Firstly, you’re asking them to cut back on what’s giving them pleasure. Secondly, they probably have to cut off some friends, too. Thirdly, they have to put on a whole new sense of responsibility.
With a to-do list like this, you can understand why an addict may prefer to stay the way they are.
All in all, the key to breaking addiction in a relationship is a desire for change.
But how can you instigate this desire?
Both parties can decide to do better on their own. How? One party can talk the other into changing their habits. And in the event that only one party is affected, the other may put some measures in place to make the addicted see the error of their ways.
When both parties struggle with addiction
You must be wondering after that last paragraph that how can one party suddenly wake from their slumber to start preaching to the other party to change their ways.
Well, it’s fairly simple, that party just needs to remember how important their partner is and what life used to be before the gloomy days of addiction.
Luckily, this is something that will inevitably happen one day because, as humans, we love to reflect a lot. Provided a life of addiction is not the only memories both parties have of themselves; there will be a time when someone will miss the good old days.
When only one party struggles with addiction
When one party struggles with addiction, the onus is on both parties to work towards recovery.
For the struggling party, you must set goals, commit to attending recovery group meetings, and be willing to be honest and open about your addiction and recovery.
For the supporting party, you must be accepting and loving.
And together, you can both find healthy relationships and habits that can replace addiction, such as exercise, sports, new engagements, and new friends.