Couples Therapy or How Couples Can Recover from Addiction Together

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Treatment programs offered to those who have alcohol and drug use disorders can be more effective if the abuser’s romantic partner or spouse also take active part in the process. Indeed, if the couple doesn’t get educated on substance abuse and the ways it affects the dynamics of the relationships, it might hinder the addict’s recovery as they stick to the dysfunctional or enabling behaviors. This is why Couples Therapy is so important.

Why You Should Undergo Treatment Together

Addiction is often called a “family disease.” If we give a quick explanation of what that means, you will understand that it makes sense to involve the partner or family in treatment.

Addiction takes a toll on all close people who care about the person who abuses alcohol or drugs. A relationship starts changing. Among a variety of episodes that occur during this difficult time, some can ruin a couple or a family. These are

  • Lie and deception
  • Mistrust
  • Financial problems
  • Emotional distance and lack of intimacy
  • Domestic violence and abuse.

Сouples drug rehab offers various counseling methods that include your spouse or partner. It helps to fix damaged relationships as it is crucial for recovery.

There’s a common misconception that recovery means just not drinking or taking drugs anymore. Couples therapy focuses not only on abstinence. It addresses the issues left unsaid or unsolved during the active addiction, discussing the impact of recovery, and creating a plan for moving forward with a loved one and integrating recovery into family life.

What Should You Do If Your Partner Has an Addiction? 


When one partner abuses some substance, and another does not, the latter often doesn’t understand why he or she needs to participate in the treatment process. “I have no problems with alcohol/drugs”, they say. “What’s the point of drug rehab for families?”

When you begin to adapt to the dysfunction in the relationship, codependent or enabling behaviors may occur. Codependency is the state of being overly concerned with your loved one’s substance abuse and its consequences while neglecting your own needs. Codependent partners may be very controlling, behave extra flexible to avoid anger and rejection, react too sensitive to the problem, and have low self-esteem. 

It can be really difficult to support your partner while he or she struggles with a problem without being an enabler. It may seem that you try to protect and save the loved one. In reality, you only exacerbate the situation. 

Enabling generally includes:

  • taking over the responsibilities of the addicted partner;
  • minimizing negative effects for them;
  • covering up for the partner and making excuses for accidents and poor behavior
  • saving from legal consequences (bailing them out of jail and paying for legal fees).

Doing all that doesn’t seem bad. But this prevents a person from experiencing the true cost of their addiction. To unlearn codependent and enabling behaviors and help someone you love, look for “couples rehab near me”.

How Effective Is Couples Therapy?

couples therapy

Couples Therapy (CT) has been used in addiction treatment for three decades. And it already has strong scientific support for its effectiveness. Here are a few of the recent studies.

  • Researchers from The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, conducted substantial research on the issue analyzing 4,901 records. The results showed that the significant other involvement in treatment for substance use disorders increases the chances to beat addiction and solve substance-related problems. Moreover, it contributes to long-term sobriety, as the effect continues 12-18 months after the end of treatment.
  • Another study involved a comparison of individual therapy for substance use disorder treatment and CT used in couples rehab. It revealed that CT leads to better results in sobriety and increased relationship satisfaction.
  • According to a review published at NCBI, partners receiving CT report substantial declines in substance use, higher relationship satisfaction, and improved family functioning in comparison with those who received individual counseling.

What Are the Benefits of Couples Addiction Treatment?

couple holding hand

Therapy in a couples drug rehab is a productive process that brings positive outcomes for both participants. It uses the family's strengths and resources to reach the following improvements:

Getting back to a place of support, trust, and love

A licensed marriage and family therapist will help you understand each other and establish healthy, honest communication. The therapist will create a space where you will be able to express your emotions and thoughts freely. If a conversation turns into loud arguments, the therapist will act as a referee. 

Negative intimate partner behaviors and couple interactions can trigger drinking or taking drugs. Couples counseling can help to solve it.

Getting rid of codependent and enabling behaviors

The partner who enables the addiction learns to address their own needs instead of tolerating mistreatment or making fruitless attempts to help their partner. The therapist explains to the non-addicted partner how to strengthen the sobriety commitment of their partner in the right way.

Better chances for long-term abstinence

Family can be a powerful force and motivation for change in life. Partners can reward abstinence. Thus, the person is more likely to stay in therapy and complete a treatment program.

Equipping oneself with coping tools 

CT also teaches the addict to avoid triggers and overcome with urges on their own. In the sessions, the therapist helps to develop a plan of remaining sober.

Protecting children

Teenage children who regularly see their parents drink are twice as likely to binge on alcohol themselves. They are four times more likely to develop alcoholism in adulthood than individuals who were not raised by alcoholics. Adolescents who use drugs are more likely to have one or more parents who are drug addicts. Family therapy can help couples with children to keep substance abuse from moving to the younger generation. 

So, couple-based treatment for addictions is the best choice if your significant other’s substance abuse has already damaged your relations.   


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