Have you heard of addiction described as a “family disease”?
Healing from addiction is a process that works best when everyone affected heals together. One thing that makes successful recovery harder is when you don’t address and heal the ways in which your relationships are affected by addiction.
However, your relationships also hold tremendous power to help in successful recovery. In fact, according to the Gottman Institute, couples counseling can actually be more effective than individual therapy in identifying addiction and moving the person into a supportive, effective recovery plan.
Is couples addiction counseling an important component or even necessary ingredient in your recovery? Ask yourself:
Now that you’re in recovery, do you want to repair your relationship? Are you not sure how to talk to your partner about your recovery or addiction? Do you find tension in your relationship affects your journey to recovery?
Are you a partner of someone in recovery? Are you struggling with how to talk to them about how to offer support? Are you unsure of the role you & your relationship should be playing in their recovery? Do you feel that you are having the same fight over and over with your partner about an addictive behavior?
Addiction in Relationships
Couples can get caught and need extra support in Addiction Recovery when these common struggles arise:
- When your recovery process hits bumps, snags, relapse, or things get temporarily messy as you begin to feel your feelings that may have been avoided while using
- When addiction causes damage in your relationship that needs to be healed
- When problems in your relationship trigger addictive behaviors as a faulty coping strategy
These three struggles often feed off of one another, so if you don’t have the tools to address them or better strategies to help you cope, you can end up in an unhealthy cycle. Problems arise in recovery, which in turn affects your health and behavior, which causes problems in your relationship, which can make you feel out of control, distressed, in need of comfort, etc., which can lead you right back to those addictive behaviors.
Recovering from an addiction is a process that can feel difficult at times.
Though you may experience setbacks, we want to support you to work through those with your partner and to use each other as a resource and source of hope and strength.
Couples also need to talk about those setbacks in a way that makes space for each partner’s experience. We would love to support you in having those conversations in ways that build understanding, heal hurts, and get you back on the same team again.
Addiction or Problem Usage Causing Problems in Relationships
Addictions can wreak havoc on relationships. However, you can start talking about how the substance use is affecting you and the relationship! Our goal is to help you talk in ways that feel safe, and build motivation to change and stick to those changes. A couples counselor trained in both relationships and addiction can help you begin to heal, together.
Here’s what happens to relationships when an addiction starts to compete for the attention of the user:
Addictive behaviors may temporarily soothe and distract you or your partner from the pain and isolation you feel. However, addictions or problematic use of drugs or alcohol will likely leave you unhappy and ultimately damage your relationships.
If you are the one using, you may start to do things to break trust, hide your feelings or struggles out of shame, or spend time and attention away from your partner and toward the substance.
If you are the partner that is not using, you may feel hurt, angry, or even scared. You may also feel the pressure of responsibility to maintain the relationship as your partner’s attention and priorities shift to the substance. It’s no surprise that this starts to build resentment.
Take heart. We will help you begin to heal together.
Problems Relationships Worsening Addictive Behaviors
In relationships, it hurts when you can’t seem to feel close, ask for comfort, and feel understood.
When these needs are not met, you may not always react in healthy ways. Perhaps one of you gets defensive and the other withdraws. Communication breaks down because partners don’t hear or understand what the other is trying to communicate. Maybe, you or your partner start forming damaging patterns by turning to substances or an addictive behavior like pornography in reaction to this conflict.
A vicious cycle begins as the tension resulting from the addiction creates a dynamic that is continuously triggering for both partners, and making it more difficult for the substance-abusing partner to stop, while the other feels more and more hurt and neglected.
Substance use or other addictions are a band aid and a way to self-medicate when your most important needs for connection are neglected.
We want to help you get your needs met in your relationship. We want to help you learn to communicate in ways that feel loving, secure and soothing.
Building Healthy Relationships is Building a Support System
While of course, being in a relationship is not a “cure” for addiction, healthy relationships are necessary for you to recover and thrive! Supportive relationships can look like anything: partners, friends, neighbors, relatives, etc. We are focusing on couples here because that is often the closest or most intimate relationship–which makes it incredibly valuable as a supportive space.
Having a partner you feel comfortable being open, honest, and vulnerable with gives you the opportunity to open that communication and ask for what you need from them. It gives you a space to seek help without shame, as well as gives you someone to celebrate your accomplishments with. In couples addiction counseling, our couples counselors will help you and your partner open those lines of communication. We’ll help address the needs of both people in the relationship, and help you make a plan for how to support your recovery within your relationship.
Our Greenwood Village Couples Counselors Can Help You Heal from an Addiction
Therapy can help couples learn to engage on a level that fosters connection and security rather than hostility, escalation and detachment.
A new positive cycle can be created in couples counseling to bring closeness, support sobriety, and heal.
Our relationships greatly facilitate the recovery process. An addicted person is often better able to sustain recovery when there is a sense of connection, love and trust in their most important relationships.
Why wait? Get started today on the road to recovery together.
Putting off therapy can end in you losing hope. Call 303-513-8975, X1 to schedule an appointment or consult and take the first step toward recovery and healing your relationship today! You can also schedule online now, using our easy & secure scheduler:
Individual Counseling for Addiction
We also offer individual counseling for addiction.
If you are new in recovery or need some support getting sober, call 303-513-8975, X1 today to set up your free 20-minute phone consult. We’ll talk about your situation and craft a support plan to best support you. This may include a combination of Individual Addiction Counseling, Couple or Family Counseling, and Support Groups.