(press release: summitbehavioralhealth) // New Jersey // Maria Ulmer MA, LMFT, CAADC | Chief Clinical Officer
If you struggle with addiction or substance abuse, you already know that drug addiction has a way of creeping into every corner of your life. From performance at work to your relationships with your children, addiction can influence your emotions and the way you react to everyday stressors. It’s no surprise, then, that addiction can also take a serious toll on a marriage.
Addiction also comes in many forms. Whether you have difficulties with alcohol, prescription drugs, cigarettes, or some other substance, dependency can wreak havoc on relationships. In many cases, former spouses of addicts say they left the relationship because they grew tired of shouldering responsibility for their ex’s behavior. After years or even decades of helping their spouse conceal their addiction from employers, kids, and family members, they experience a version of “caregiver fatigue,” in which the constant demands of looking after another person results in depression, burnout, and even physiological symptoms.
Although it’s difficult to pinpoint just how many marriages fail due to addiction, substance abuse is a leading factor in divorce cases across the country.
If you are an addict, you may worry that your addiction will ultimately spell doom for your marriage. If you are committed to overcoming your addiction, however, there is no reason why your marriage can’t recover, as well.
Find the Good in Your Marriage
Chances are, you married your spouse because you fell in love. Likewise, he or she says “I do” because there was something special about you, too. You began a life together because you didn’t want to be apart. It’s true that people change over time, and that challenges can pose hurdles in any marriage, but you entered into a partnership because you cared deeply about each other.
If your addiction has driven a wedge between you, start by focusing on what is still good in your marriage. Maybe you have young children who bring you joy. Perhaps you built your dream home together. If you enjoyed traveling earlier in your relationship, make an attempt to start visiting new places together again. Whatever binds you together in your marriage, spend more time dwelling on the positives and less time and energy focusing on what has gone wrong.
Getting Help Is the First Step
At the same time, you can’t simply sweep your troubles under a rug. Getting professional help is a crucial part of salvaging your marriage and reclaiming your physical and mental health. Your substance abuse treatment plan should incorporate your spouse, as well as counseling and assistance for your spouse and your marriage.
Don’t Use Divorce as a Threat
In some cases, individuals with addiction fear that their spouses will leave them because of their addiction. In these situations, it can be tempting to threaten to leave first, or to file for divorce as a way of leveraging custody of children or control of property. Likewise, spouses of addicts sometimes use divorce as a threat to coerce their partner into behaving a certain way or stopping specific behaviors. Over time, these threats can erode trust in a marriage.
Are You Struggling with Addiction? Call to Get Help Today
Addiction doesn’t have to dominate your life or your marriage. Help is available. Call Summit Behavioral Health today to start on a path toward a lasting recovery.