Ask Erin: I Think Sobriety Is Killing My Marriage

In some ways, re-establishing a marriage in the wake of addiction is like dating and getting to know someone new, so it can be helpful to connect on specific date nights. It is vital for couples to have outside support during this time. Couples counseling can create a safe space to air out feelings and emotions and set concrete relationship goals to move forward. Each spouse should also be attending 12-step support groups. Hopefully, the partner has also been in a 12-Step program, such as Nar-Anon or Al-Anon. New sobriety leaves a void, which formerly was filled with all the mental and physical activity of trying to control and manipulate the addiction and substance abuser. Being a codependent caretaker hid their inner emptiness. Feelings of anxiety, anger, loss, boredom, and depression may arise. The spouse is now “out of a job” of watching, enabling, and checking up on the addict and taking over his or her responsibilities.

Together, agree on boundaries and how to communicate with an addicted person. You discuss the problem with the dependent person. Talk to him about situations where his drinking has affected you and caused problems. This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional. No, I don’t know all the specifics of your relationship.

Why I don’t like hugs and what it says about me

Codependency is similar to enabling, but codependent individuals often get involved in relationships that are one-sided. They may feel overwhelmed by their partner’s needs but have an overwhelming sense to take care of that person. If your partner is lying about abusing drugs, it’s understandable to form trust issues due to the perceived lack of respect, honesty, and dedication from your partner. If a man married a woman because she’s shy, timid and submissive, he unconsciously chose a wife who would satisfy his need to dominate. If she turns out to be an alcoholic, he will have the complete dependent he wants, no matter how desperately he thinks he wants her sober. He, too, will cover up her drinking, protect her from public disgrace, and assume all the responsibilities which should be hers.

Many couples are both surprised and disappointed that they continue to have many fights and arguments after the substance abuse has stopped. It may be difficult to get through a day without using, drinking, or fighting the urge to do so. In addition to worrying about a slip, a recovering addict has anxiety that substance abuse has masked. That is likely to mean that drinking and drug use will need to stop and marriage changes after sobriety the problems in the relationship will need to be identified and addressed. If you or your partner are showing signs of having a problem with drugs or alcohol and there are problems in the relationship, it is common to hope these things will take care of themselves over time. The better thing to do is to get treatment as soon as possible, or at least call and ask about treatments that may be available to you.

The Right Treatment Facility

Typically, addiction recovery works best when both the person with the addiction and the partner work on caring for themselves as a top priority. Only when that happens can a relationship be reconstructed with two healthy partners. Sober Home Working through the trauma of addiction will most likely require help from a professional. Seek couples counseling to learn communication strategies, address underlying issues in the relationship, and begin to heal your marriage.
Eco Sober House
Every day, I would wake up with a hangover, hit the snooze button for 30 or 40 minutes, dreaming of ways to get out of work. My commute was always the beginning of my stress. Sharing the highway with drivers from a bazillion different countries all over the world during rush hour will test even the most zen individuals. But he’s not the type to talk about those things. And the longer I stayed, the more I lost my grip on everything.

Anger and Violence

I don’t know of a single relationship problem that was solved by drinking. But recovery means you have to take responsibility for your life. And because I’d been drinking heavily for so long, it meant I, too, had a lot of growing up to do. Even though he drank with me, my husband wasn’t (and isn’t) an alcoholic. I ate when I had to, sometimes drinking until 11 or 12 at night. My husband would hang in there for a few hours, but would opt to give his lungs and liver a break, and go inside to watch TV on the couch – like a normal person. He didn’t have a job and was struggling to find one because the country where we live is a bit tricky for job-seeking male spouses.

  • Partners eventually need to heal deeper issues of shame and learn to be autonomous and communicate assertively.
  • I don’t want to think about the small mortgage we pissed away on alcohol and cigarettes.
  • It turns out that alcohol and drug abuse treatment programs have help for concerned family members and work with this very issue.
  • We offer treatment for chemical dependencies such as cocaine addiction, drug addiction and alcoholism.

You came to a point where you had enough and told your spouse to seek treatment, or else the marriage could not continue. Now, your main worry is how your marriage will survive after treatment. You are afraid the dynamics will change due to their recovery and inevitably change your partner. Addicts usually have guilt and shame about their past behavior, while their mates harbor resentment, often for things about which the addict has no recollection.

The hope is that being in treatment will allow your significant other the opportunity to get and stay sober. With any marriage, there is a commitment to be upheld every single day to keep the relationship joyful and healthy. When long-awaited sobriety finally arrives, partners expect their past relationship problems will disappear. Often, there is a “honeymoon” period when they’re on their best behavior and reaffirm their love and commitment. After all that they’ve been through together, they have high hopes for a rosy future and easier times ahead. Yet, sobriety destabilizes the status quo, offering opportunities for positive change. It’s a rocky transition in the relationship presenting many challenges. As an industry professional 12 Keys has become one of my most trusted resources. Patient care and engagement are always top notch, and I know that I can always trust that the patient and their families will be in the best position to recover.

The rough, as well as the smooth, are all normal parts of recovery. If you’re committed to living with an addicted spouse, you can take the following steps to help them get help. Of course, studies have also shown that substance abuse and marital unhappiness can feed off one another, causing a cycle that will continue unless someone makes hard choices. Alcoholism is one of the more common substance abuse disorders. All statistics are taken from the National Institute on Drug and Alcohol Abuse. Numbers reported are as of 2013, the most recent year figures are available. Headlands is an inpatient rehab center that provides comprehensive services including detox, addiction, medicine, various therapies, and outpatient follow-up. Headlands will customize a plan suited to your needs. We provide a full spectrum of addiction services and can recommend relationship counseling for you and your spouse. When a spouse is struggling with addiction, it is common for their partner to want to be supportive.

So while I taught local girls during the day, he stayed home and tried to figure out what to do with himself. When we landed in marriage counseling, we’d been together for around six years (with that whole nine-month break in the middle) and I’d only been sober a third of that time. In the middle of my alcoholism, I couldn’t see either of these points. I could see that I had changed, and I could see that I wanted things to work with my husband, but I couldn’t figure out how to bridge the gap. Getting sober was indeed necessary to address the problems in my relationship but it wasn’t a cure-all. I’d done too much damage in those four years that we were together before I stopped drinking. I was, quite honestly, devastated that I didn’t know how to fix my relationship even as a sober woman.

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