For Release: September 20, 2021

Does Marriage Counseling Work for a Spouse With Addiction

Supporting a spouse through addiction recovery can be difficult and difficult yet critical work if you both want to make healthy changes in your marriage. Although you care for your spouse enough to help them try to get sober, caring for an addict can test anyone’s patience. It requires making significant changes in yourself as a spouse.

If you are experiencing difficult feelings due to your spouse’s addiction, it is very important that you find a therapist who is trained, experienced and seasoned in helping you with this specific issue. Focus on this issue as you interview and meet with a therapist before making a decision to do this work.

A marriage counselor may be able to help you keep your relationship afloat while you deal with the trials and tribulations of your spouse’s addiction. When you’re supporting your spouse, you may need someone else to support you. The role you may be playing in your relationship most probably stems from some of your own family of origin issues that may not have ever been resolved for you. This does not mean it’s your fault, it only means, it is really important to look at yourself and how you relate or function being in a relationship with an addict in marriage.

Keep reading, and we’ll tell you all about marriage counseling and how it can help you work through your spouse’s addiction.

Is There Help for Addiction?

Addiction is a treatable disease. No matter how far gone your spouse may seem, there is always hope that the right kind of addiction help can set them back on track.

A person’s ability to recover from addiction depends on a few factors. Some people may be more genetically predisposed to addiction than others, which can make recovery more complicated. One’s trauma from the past (any trauma) plays a significant role in addiction. This is why it’s imperative again that as an addict you get the right treatment whether it’s outpatient (psychotherapy) or inpatient. 

The most important factor in someone’s addiction recovery is their environment. In order for anyone to make meaningful change in their lives, they need the right support of staff – safe people, sponsors, support groups, possibly psychiatrists, and certainly a therapist.

Most addicts find hope in some type of structured help; whether it be a sobriety group like Alcoholics Anonymous, group therapy, or individual therapy. 

Addiction rewires the parts of your brain that help you prioritize and make smart decisions. Because those parts of the brain may not be working properly, most addicts need outside help to overcome their addictions.

Supporting a Spouse with an Addiction

As the spouse of an addict, you may be their main source of support. Your life may be significantly disrupted by your spouse’s battle with addiction

Your relationship with your spouse may change when you start trying to help them get sober. It’s important to point out – that you don’t take responsibility for them or their addiction. You are the one to make changes in yourself and take responsibility for your part by finding out more about this in your own individual therapy. At times, you may feel more like their supervisor than their partner. You must become really good at setting limits, having a firm and consistent boundaries with them.

This can be especially difficult to manage when you are your spouse’s only major source of support. Despite the fact that you may be closest to your spouse, you should still encourage them to reach out to others for support.

If your spouse has a healthy relationship with their friends and family, it is important that those people also be involved in your spouse’s recovery. 

How Does Addiction Affect Spouses?

When you are supporting a spouse with an addiction, it is important to know where your boundaries lie. You have to find the right balance between helping the person you love and maintaining control of your life, which isn’t easy. 

While supporting your spouse, you may brush up against feelings of anger and resentment toward them. These feelings are not easy to deal with, and they are complicated by the fact that you are probably afraid of burdening your spouse during their recovery.

Some sacrifices are unavoidable, but you should also be wary of overextending yourself. If your spouse’s addiction is putting a strain on your marriage, you should consider going to counseling with your spouse to work things out.

Does Marriage Counseling Work?

As long as you are committed to marriage counseling, it will most likely work for you and your spouse. Counseling is an investment that you and your partner make together; an investment in the future of your marriage. The key here is that you are each serious about making changes first in yourself and then learn how to do it in your relationship through good marital therapy.

Although marriage counseling is statistically effective, many couples wait too long to seek help. The sooner you and your spouse address a problem in your marriage, the more likely it is to be resolved easily. 

There is a lot of stigma surrounding marriage counseling. Many people think that going to counseling is a sign that your marriage is soon to end. 

Fortunately, we know that is not the case. Marriage counseling signifies, not the end of a relationship, but a renewal of your commitment to it.

Going to counseling with your spouse simply means that you are not ready to give up on them; or on your marriage.

Marriage Counseling and Addiction

Marriage counseling can be uniquely helpful to couples that are struggling with an addiction. A counselor can provide help with addiction that an untrained spouse cannot.

A marriage counselor is totally unbiased and has no stake in your marriage. Their only concern is helping your marriage succeed. 

Giving your partner advice and helping them through addiction can cause things to get messy between the two of you. Your marriage counselor may be able to give your spouse more honest advice than you can. 

Marriage counseling also gives you and your spouse an honest, judgment-free environment in which you can express how you feel about your addiction. 

Being the primary supporter of an addict is not easy, and you may not have gotten a good opportunity to share your feelings about it.

Your marriage counselor can also give you and your spouse new strategies to try together. They can provide the two of you with the much-needed structure that helps addicts recover.

Find Addiction Help for Your Spouse

Now that you know more about the benefits of marriage counseling for addiction, you can talk to your spouse about finding a marriage counselor. Strengthening your marriage is an important part of helping your spouse recover.

If you and your spouse feel ready to start therapy, contact a marriage counselor and begin your healing journey. Contact Jousline Savra today, as a licensed marriage and family therapist in Burbank, CA, she is an expert in marriage counseling, relationships, and family therapy. She is highly experienced in helping couples improve their communication and work through addiction together.