Married To An Addict: 8 Triggers, Types and Treatments

Addiction 16th Sep, 2021

Being married to an addict is no walk in the park. Identifying the addiction, working through the effects with your partner, and coming up with some form of solution that the two of you can manage is not easy, but it is doable.

Drug addiction has become a world epidemic. Just in the United States, research shows that more than 23 million Americans have had drug problems in the past years. Unfortunately, it is well known that addiction and drug abuse can cause severe problems in any person’s life. Some of these problems include financial stress, emotional instability, poor social skills, and marital issues. 

married to an addict

Drug addiction can be particularly harmful to a person’s marriage regardless of the severity of the habit. Married couples affected by drug addiction often feel that things will never get better, therefore, people often wonder whether a marriage can survive drug addiction. Like any marriage, the survival of this relationship depends on the dedication of both spouses.

Unfortunately, many marriages affected by drug addiction end in separation or divorce. Married couples receiving drug addiction treatment can recover though, individually and as a team. Read on to learn more about how the marriage survived drug addiction. 

Quick List:

How To Have a Relationship With An Addict:

Heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual, having a relationship with an addict is not easy, by any stretch of the imagination. It takes patience, understanding, and a whole lot of love. One of the natural tendencies is to join the addicted partner in their addiction. This will be counterproductive and ultimately relationship destroying.

Regardless of what type of relationship you may be in, the nuances are many and varied and the situation is almost never black and white. Fortunately however, there are many avenues you and your partner are able to access to give you real unbiased advice and assistance.

married to an addict

Married To An Addict: 

No one wants to see their spouse addicted to drugs. Unfortunately, addictive diseases are heartbreaking and can change lives forever. Drug use can prevent you from functioning as a couple and taking care of each other. Watching your spouse fight against drug addiction can put significant pressure on the marriage.

Unfortunately, due to drug addiction in their relationships, many of these couples eventually divorce or separate. People who marry addicts face various obstacles every day. Some critical aspects of a healthy marriage include trust, respect, and communication.

When it comes to drug addiction, these key aspects are often overlooked. There is a constant mistrust and lack of communication that leads to anger, sadness, loneliness, and resentment. All of these feelings can erode the marriage over time due to ineffective or aggressive communication. This form of chaos in marriage can make healthy operations extremely difficult or impossible.

Without professional drug addiction treatment, the marriage cannot survive drug addiction. The good news is that participating in personal therapy and couples’ therapy can restore marriages affected by drug addiction. 

married to an addict

Addiction In A ‘Gay’ Marriage:

Drug use and abuse in the LGBTQ+ communities is nothing new. Gay men particularly often use drugs to enhance sexual intercourse. This specific behaviour may come from a traumatic event from their past or for pure and simple reasons of pleasure.

Drugs of choice range from the easily accessible amyl or poppers to weed and the more expensive crystal meth and cocaine. It is important to understand that although recreational, the majority of these drugs also add a level of pleasure unable to be achieved without them.

Amyl Nitrate, for example, deadens nerve endings and increase the heart rate to achieve a euphoric feeling that, although for only a minute or two, is improbable without the ‘drug’.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse: “people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) often face social stigma, discrimination, and other challenges not encountered by people who identify as heterosexual. They also face a greater risk of harassment and violence. As a result of these and other stressors, sexual minorities are at increased risk for various behavioural health issues.”

The National Institute continues to say that “data from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), suggests that substance use patterns reported by sexual minority adults (in this survey, sexual minority adults includes individuals who describe themselves as lesbian, gay, or bisexual) are higher compared to those reported by heterosexual adults.”

“More than a third (37.6 percent) of sexual minority adults 18 and older reported past year marijuana use, compared to 16.2% reported by the overall adult population. Past year opioid use (including misuse of prescription opioids or heroin use) was also higher with 9% of sexual minority adults aged 18 or older reporting use compared to 3.8% among the overall adult population.”

Although addiction would no doubt be present, due to the plethora of settings that may be present in a ‘marriage’, it would be highly difficult to ascertain whether this was causing an issue or serving a purpose. The general signs of addiction listed below however, would be identical.

married to an addict

Signs Of Drug Abuse By a Partner: 

In general, partners who suspect that their spouse is abusing should notice changes in behaviour. Drug addiction often leads to changes in the behaviour, mood, and body of the addict. If you suspect that your partner is addicted to drugs, lookout for the following signs of addiction: 

  • Secretive behaviour
  • Isolating from others 
  • Ignoring household responsibilities, such as washing dishes, caring for children, etc. 
  • Neglecting personal hygiene habits, such as brushing teeth, bathing, and wearing clean clothes 
  • Spending money from saving accounts in secret  
  • Experiencing changes in temperament, sleeping patterns, and eating behaviours 
  • Falling behind or receiving disciplinary action at work, or getting fired
  • Symptoms of mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety

The behaviours mentioned above are the primary symptoms of drug addiction, however, other symptoms of drug addiction can vary depending on the individual and the form of drug they use. For example, if your spouse is addicted to stimulants they may experience symptoms such as increased energy, excessive talkativeness, insomnia, and decreased appetite.

On the other hand, people who abuse opioids and other sedatives may experience symptoms such as isolation from their environment, external sedation, and an increased need for sleep.

married to an addict

If you are married to an addict, you need to begin therapy right away. This will ensure that your marriage does not become a victim to the addiction. It will also teach you how to strengthen the support system for your spouse, which is fundamental to overcoming addiction.

Can a Marriage Survive Drug Addiction?

Whether or not a marriage can survive drug addiction is down to the people involved. Drug addiciton will take a heavy toll on a relationship and cause feelings such as dependancy, secrecy, guilt, shame and often resentment.

There are of course redemption stories where the addicted partner was able to seek help and ultimately go into recovery but there are also plenty of others who never were able to shake their need for whatever substance they took.

The important part is not to take it personally as the spouse of an addict. Though this can feel almost impossible, your partner is not doing it to punish you but instead because of their own pain and troubles. Asking someone to quit for you might seem like a good idea but can instead simply be a foundation for more secrecy, lies and eventual heart ache.

If you are married to an addict it is best that you encourage them to seek help but unfortunately they will never recover until it is something they feel they must do. Sometimes it is better to leave than to stay whether or not you should is up to you.

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