When a spouse develops substance addiction, even the strongest marriages can experience challenges. There can also be long-lasting damages, including distrust, loss of intimacy, financial troubles, and toxic relationship dynamics. Recovery is a second chance for you to work on your marriage following addiction.
Impacts of Addiction on Marriage
It takes commitment, support, honesty, and communication from both sides to maintain the health of a marriage. Managing a marriage is a sophisticated art that very few people are naturally good at, especially when substance use is involved. In this intimate relationship, bad habits or differences in decision-making processes can produce adverse outcomes.
A marriage can become extremely challenging when substance addiction is added to the picture. There can be negligence of responsibilities, conflicts, mutual blaming, and trauma. One or both spouses may lack the love, kindness, and support they hoped for. However, there is always hope for restoration.
Common tensions or conflicts in marriages brought by substance addiction include financial troubles, lies and deceptions, withdrawal of one spouse, non-communication, violence, and abuse. For example, domestic violence often happens because overuse of alcohol or drugs may lead to poor anger management.
However, because one or both spouses struggle with substance use disorder (SUD), the marriage is not doomed to fail. There are ways to heal the relationship following addiction and treatment.
How to Rebuild Trust in Marriage During Recovery
If you have decided to begin treatment, that is no small feat. You have overcome denial and are ready for a new beginning. However, your spouse may not be emotionally and mentally recovered enough yet to trust you again. Allow them time to understand this new phase in your life and your determination, so they learn to trust you again.
Actions such as complete honesty, ownership of past mistakes, openness to challenging conversations, and setting up a system of accountability at home will help both of you. It takes time to rebuild intimacy. You may need to treat your marriage at this stage as a new relationship that requires the investment of time and patience. Verbalize your desires for connection or write them down so that your partner can be warmed up or ready to welcome you back into the familiarity you once had.
Processing Emotions Together
Your journey of recovery from substance addiction may also provide a form of recovery for your spouse. There may have been many hidden or repressed emotions from the past that need processing and healing. Both of you should patiently peel back the layers of hurt in your marriage to bring restoration.
Processing emotions together is essential because untreated emotional trauma or pain in a marriage can resurface and haunt both of you. Of course, neither of you wants feelings of betrayal, abandonment, and disappointment to define this marital relationship, but unfortunately, that may be what happened. A full recovery from the emotional pain brought by addiction takes time, commitment, and patience.
Both partners must be ready to change their communication styles with each other. Try to be a better listener as you move through the healing process. Be bold and honest when explaining the “how” and “why” of your frustrations and disappointments. Allow space to mourn a loss of trust and intimacy, which can bring closure to the previous stage.
The next stage is acceptance and reconnection. Leave behind past versions of yourselves and your relationship and plan activities for you to reconnect with each other. For example, you might plan a second honeymoon in a location your spouse has always wanted to visit. Another option might be to find a new hobby in which both of you can participate. When you do these things intentionally, your spouse will notice your commitment and may be more open to putting their trust back in you.
Ways to Involve Your Partner in Your Recovery
After both of you regain a sense of a healthy, loving relationship, your spouse should want to support your ongoing recovery. One important step is for both of you to learn about co-dependency, which is not conducive to your long-term recovery. You may need to work with a professional therapist who can help both of you identify whether these patterns exist and build boundaries, so they don’t compromise your progress.
Working with a qualified couples counselor who is also a recovery expert can significantly enhance the success rate of your recovery as well as your new phase of marriage. This is because you and your partner have much to learn about addiction recovery and relationship dynamics. A trained professional can help shorten the learning curve while avoiding common obstacles.
Your spouse may get stressed when supporting your recovery. A professional therapist can provide tools to avoid letting the stress overcome either of you. When your marriage has progressed to a healthy state, you might involve more family members in family therapy sessions. Recovery can also be a golden opportunity for you to fix family relationship problems, and working with recovery professionals can help you achieve this goal.
Do you want to rebuild your marriage during recovery? This is an essential but challenging task. When addiction and marital tensions are intertwined, you need help from health professionals who can support you and your spouse. At Laguna Shores Recovery, our experienced mental health professionals and compassionate staff know the value of couples counseling. We will walk alongside you and your loved ones to offer support and guidance. Helping spouses and family members be supportive without becoming co-dependent is just as important as helping you get sober. Call us today to discover how you can get the help you need and be part of our community. For more information, call 866-934-5276.