Do Spouses Who Struggle Together Stay Together?
There are instances in a marriage where both spouses struggle with addiction. When individuals in a relationship are both experiencing substance use disorder (SUD), many negative consequences can occur. One spouse may be abusive while under the influence, causing the other’s struggle to worsen. Issues revolving around SUD require more than just marriage counseling.
While each partner’s most obvious next step is seeking individual treatment, couples can also seek treatment together. Seeking treatment for yourself is the first step on your path to recovery. Embarking on this path together can benefit both parties, but it is critical to understand the potential risks of seeking recovery together.
Behavioral Couples Therapy
Behavioral Couples Therapy (BCT), according to the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, is “designed for married or cohabiting individuals seeking help for alcoholism or drug abuse.” According to their article on BCT, the primary goal is to support abstinence from addictive substances and improve the relationship. Combined with attending self-help groups, individual counseling, and other recovery practices, BCT will allow you to improve your communication, accept each other’s faults, and develop a plan to improve the relationship while working towards recovery.
BCT may look different depending on each couple’s needs and how mental health professionals specifically practice it. You can expect to go through exercises during sessions where your therapist will supervise and occasionally function as a mediator or soundboard. You will most likely have some “homework” designed to help you put what you learn in therapy into practice.
There is no clear-cut study indicating BCT as more successful or effective in treating couples for SUD. Just as addiction treatment is dependent on each individual, different treatment methods will be more effective for different couples. At the very least, the hope is that when one partner seeks treatment, it motivates the other to follow suit.
Caution Against Seeking Treatment Together
The concept of dual treatment for couples does not negate the importance of seeking individual treatment. BCT is effective for creating abstinence support and improving the relationship. Still, individual therapy allows you to discover more about yourself, the root trauma of addiction, and what will foster recovery most effectively for you.
The reality is that recovery is such an individualized process that you will discover you and your partner are on different paths. Learning to support each other can strengthen your bond and help you find comfort. It remains imperative that you both have the tools needed to cope with triggers on your own, especially when you fall out of sync or if one of you, unfortunately, experiences a relapse.
There are, of course, scenarios where seeking treatment together will prove to be counterproductive and even toxic to each other. A prime example is when a relationship involves ongoing abuse. Staying in the relationship at that point can become too dangerous, especially if one is not open to treatment or, even worse, if treatment does not improve abusive tendencies. In this instance, the relationship itself acts as a threat to the other partner’s recovery.
Seeking treatment together also leads to issues of codependency. Supporting each other is essential, but you need to help yourselves too. The path to recovery is sometimes one of trial and error. So long as both of you genuinely choose to seek individual healing, there can still be hope for your future together.
How Can You Benefit From Supporting Each Other in Recovery?
Despite the importance of caution, you must find hope in the opportunity to help each other on your paths to recovery. As mentioned, treatment together will improve your communication skills, rebuild trust with each other, and even reignite the spark you once held before you and your relationship began suffering.
Relationships allow for you to be each other’s partners in everything. Being pillars of support for each other throughout recovery is the ultimate example of partnership. Communication, honesty, and trust are the foundation of a strong relationship, and ironically enough, they can also help maintain a solid and long-lasting recovery.
The Lakehouse Recovery Center encourages anyone suffering from SUD to seek treatment today. Couples therapy can be an excellent tool for focusing on your relationship in the future of your recovery. Still, perhaps you can educate yourselves initially through relapse prevention or family therapy programs at The Lakehouse. If you and your spouse are at the crossroad of wanting to recover while saving your relationship in the process, remember you are not alone. The Lakehouse can help you on your paths to recovery today as you learn the tools needed to ultimately help yourself and your relationship.
It is not uncommon to see relationships, marriages, and families damaged by SUD. Not only does it affect the individual suffering, but SUD affects all those in the lives of the sufferer as well. It is also not uncommon for both partners within a marriage or relationship to suffer from SUD. These relationships often experience unhealthy elements. It is also common for one partner to become abusive while under the influence creating an overall toxic environment and causing the abused to turn further to substance use. It is first essential that both partners decide to seek treatment individually, where they will learn the core of why trauma has led to addiction and create a recovery plan effective for them. Seeking treatment together, though, can improve recovery and the relationship altogether. If you and your partner seek treatment, reach out to the Lakehouse Recovery Center at (877) 762-3707. We can help you on your path to recovery.