Drug Addiction and Marriage

September 17, 2010

There are few things that can harm a marriage as thoroughly as a drug addiction. Certainly, many addicts manage to save their relationships and sometimes even grow stronger through their recovery. But many marriages do not survive the damage addiction inflicts. Take a closer look at the various ways a drug addiction cuts away at the very heart of a solid marriage.

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Trust Vanishes With Drug Addiction

When you constantly say one thing and do another, trust can disappear quickly. Trust is at the foundation of a marriage. Without it, a relationship will eventually fail. When a person can’t count on their spouse anymore, they start to close up and go into self-protection mode. Obviously, this doesn’t do good things for a marriage.

Drug addiction does a lot to sabotage trust in a relationship. Intoxication can lead to lots of poor decisions including extra-marital affairs, mismanagement of money, physically risky behaviors like driving under the influence, and poor communication. More damage occurs when an addict chooses drug-related activities over family obligations. Trust is much harder to keep once it’s been damaged like this.

Marriage Is Not Balanced Or Reciprocal

Addiction causes a person to become very self-focused and self-serving. Everything is about them getting their drug fix or drink while avoiding reality. Marriage is supposed to be about two people supporting and leaning on each other. When one gets down, the other lifts them up. They go through the ups and downs together with each other in mind.

This is not the case when someone has an active drug addiction. The non-addicted spouse often feels neglected in the marriage. If there are children in the family, the spouse may also feel like they are a single parent. Nothing is balanced as the addict continues their self-serving behavior. Unless something changes, all the promises to do better become lip-service. A spouse can really feel abandoned because of this.

Both People Can Really Get Hurt

As you might expect, someone with a drug addiction can really hurt their spouse’s feelings and sense of respect. Words can absolutely hurt, especially when they come from someone you’ve pledged your life to.

The other risk is real physical harm coming to one or both people in the marriage. A drug addict can get violent depending on the drug, their tendancies towards aggression, and their intoxication levels. If they black out and get aggressive, the addict could injure themselves or become abusive to their spouse. The risk of harm increases if children are in the home. The unpredictable nature of a drug addict puts everyone at risk.

Drug Rehab Can Help Marriages

Not every marriage with an addiction can realistically be saved. However, many relationships can improve when the addict goes through drug rehab and sticks with their sobriety. Even if a marriage ends, drug rehab can help both parents cooperate better for the sake of their children.

Drug rehab programs can connect spouses with support groups. Many rehab centers also encourage spouse participation during family treatment sessions. Marriage is a two-way street and addiction does a lot to block the whole road. With a good drug rehab program, recovery and marriage can move forward together.

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