Addiction Can Damage a Marriage

February 26th, 2014 in Marriage Counselling
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All marriages have their difficulties, but nothing can harm a relationship quite as addiction can. Addiction is about so much more than substance abuse. It changes the dynamic of the relationship.

Lying and addiction often go hand in hand. An addict tries to hide the addiction, and that results in lying. It might be an extra credit card that the addict uses to buy liquor, or the fibs he tells when he is out getting high instead of at work. Or maybe they gamble away money meant to pay household bills. These kinds of lies can destroy a marriage unless the couple seeks help.

Addiction also causes the couple to take on very distinct roles, and those roles can damage their psyches. One person takes on the role of the addict, and the other person becomes the enabler. This creates a vicious cycle.

Finally, addiction causes people to be absent from the important things in life. The absence can be physical or emotional. For instance, an addict may not attend a son's baseball game. That is an example of physical absence. An addict also may avoid helping his partner through a trying emotional time. That is an example of emotional absence.

Fortunately, addicts and enablers do not have to continue on this path.

How Counselling Helps

Counselling can do two things. First, it can help the couple to deal with their roles. For the addict, the counsellor will help him learn to handle the addiction. The counsellor will also teach the enabler how to identify enabling habits and activities and stop them. In addition, the enabler might need some help with codependency issues.

Second, counselling can help the couple deal with the fallout that occurred because of the addiction. Counsellors can help the couple rebuild the trust in the marriage.

Addiction does not have to ruin a marriage. Couples who seek help improve their chances of sticking together for the long-term.