Marriage survival following substance use and recovery is not only possible, but the result may be an even stronger marriage. The impact substance use can have on the family of a couple can be profound. The risks include a lack of trust and a shift in the dynamics of the relationship, especially if the couple used together, even if one was able to do so socially. The most important thing to know is that both parties must get support and treatment. Oftentimes, the addict is seen as “the problem” and there is also a false belief that “if my partner gets sober, our lives will be perfect.” This is not the case. The dynamics in the relationship shift with the absence of the substance, and everyone needs to redefine their roles and responsibilities in the marriage. This comes with a challenge, and hard work is necessary from both sides to make improvements. Couples counseling is often a critical part of this redefining. With counseling, an opportunity to rediscover not only missing pieces from the previous relationship but also new discoveries and possibilities of what the couple wants to become is a reality. The recovery journey can allow a greater depth of connection for the couple and a stronger marriage.
Andrea Hendel is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at The Recovery Clinic specializing in individual and family-related mental health and trauma-related symptoms impacting the family system. Andrea is an experienced addiction professional with a specific interest in the areas of substance use disorders, co-occurring disorders, and eating disorders. She is trained in treating trauma and PTSD through the use of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) as well as Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT).