Addiction and Relationships

By April 16, 2024May 2nd, 2024Addiction and Relationships

Addiction has a big impact on relationships. Family, friends, and co-workers are all affected when the woman they once knew becomes consumed with addiction.

Intimate relationships, such as marriages and partnerships, are deeply, heartbreakingly altered when addiction takes hold in one or both parties. Everything degrades, and the possibility of emotional intimacy is destroyed.

The miracles of recovery and the restoration of a woman’s freedom back into her own best Self’s arms may have the most meaning of all for their husbands and partners.

Why does addiction affect relationships and marriages?

a-woman-holding-up-a-heart-during-the-sunriseHealthy relationships require many things to work, but one of the keys is that both people have to be willing and able to relate not only as mentally-identified egos or even animal bodies but also heart-to-heart.

We must have a functioning emotional core, a basic capacity for bonding. Through heart connection, we are able to give and receive love.

Love is the most important ingredient of human life. Everyone who behaves destructively is showing us what it’s like to not have enough love circulating in them. Everyone who behaves harmoniously is showing us what it’s like when there is enough love. Love is everything.

Even though relationships are hard for all of us, we are usually willing and able to lower the drawbridges of our defenses enough to form heart-based romantic connections, because of the power of love and our native need for it. When we marry someone, it is often because this is someone with whom we feel we can mutually open the doors of our hearts.

We can have a lot of flaws and still be lovable and still love. Mistakes can be made and forgiven. As long as there is still a softhearted human intelligence in the eyes of the person we love, we have a shot at a human relationship.

Addiction destroys the possibility of love. It closes the heart. It replaces the human being who once abided in that body with a hungry ghost, a fiendish entity that has only one goal, to be fed and to grow and to destroy.

Addiction hollows us out and fills us with something else. Something not-us. And this entity, we can call it the Addict, is not capable of love.

All the love we give to this entity means nothing to it. And it has no love to give back, either.

The Addict is supremely untrustworthy. It lies. It manipulates. It uses. It is sneaky and conniving. It is pathetic. We feel sorry for it, but our empathy, like our love, has no impact at all. The Addict is dead to the heart.

What are the costs of addiction for women?

When a woman has an addiction, she is on the road to ruin her love relationships. If she does not find her way back to her human heart, firmly casting out the Addict and all of its false promises, she will lose the privilege of connecting with others through her birthright human capacity to give and receive love.

Because addiction is progressive, it gets worse and worse (until recovery). Like all illnesses, it’s not always present, and there will be phases where it seems like it has gone away. Most likely it has not, but is hiding in wait.

The costs to a relationship as long as addiction is present are high. There can be financial costs – money gone to alcohol or drugs, healthcare costs, addiction treatment, property damages (crashed cars, etc), bad financial decisions, court and legal fees, and lost jobs.

Addiction costs time and energy, too. Wasted effort, as unity and cooperation are unraveled by astonishing selfishness. Conflict grows omnipresent, as couples are divided and conquered by “the Problem”.

The biggest cost is the loss of trust. Loss of trust closes hearts, and walls us off from the possibility of love.

What to do when drinking or drug use is harming the relationship or marriage?

We may suspect that alcohol or drugs are harming our relationship for a while before we know for sure. It can be helpful to know certain markers that are generally considered to be indicative of the presence of addiction.

Signs that drinking or drugs are hurting your marriage:

-One partner is codependent, covering for the other. One partner is lying to friends and family, making up excuses, or in some other way actively participating in cleaning up after the addicted person’s wreckage.

-The topic of drinking or drugs, or the consequences of behavior that took place while under the influence (infidelity, staying out late, missed appointments, broken promises), is a source of conflict in the marriage.

-The couple or family has become isolated out of shame and secrecy, to protect addiction-related secrets, lies, infidelities, employment problems, physical and emotional abuse, or other issues that arise from the addiction.

-One or both partners can only talk or be intimate when drugs or alcohol are involved.

-Early-stage signs of domestic violence, such as touching another person angrily or throwing things.

If you recognize that there may be an addiction wrecking your marriage, it is highly advised to get help right away. It is a good idea to get professional counseling or enter treatment, and/or to attend AA (if you are the person who is dependent on substances) or Al-Anon (if it is your loved one).

12-step groups are free (small donations are collected in a pass-the-hat style to cover room rental fees and so on, but 12-step is always self-organized and there are no employees). There are many in-person meetings all over the world, often several in a day if you live in a city. If you live in a rural area with few meetings, online meetings are effective too.

Please note that even though the language of these programs is geared towards healing alcoholism, the cure offered by AA works equally well for any addictive substance, including prescriptions. The underlying problem of an Addict taking over where you used to reside is the same, no matter the substance.

That said, there are also specific programs for narcotics addiction and for prescription drug addiction:

Narcotics Anonymous

Pills Anonymous

Can addiction treatment help a woman’s relationship?

Yes, absolutely. In fact, it is very hard to heal a relationship until the addiction itself is addressed. If the substance-using partner is willing to get help, it is a window of opportunity, an opening into a positive future.

Commonly, one person in the relationship wants to get help but the addicted person does not. That’s ok. It is still very beneficial to get help for the codependent partner, upon whose cooperation the addicted person relies for protection from consequences.

The codependent person can be supported and taught how not to cooperate with the Addict, but still love the human. This will help make it uncomfortable for the addicted partner to stay addicted, and more likely to be willing to get help. This is the best thing the non-addicted partner can do to help herself and her partner.

Villa Kali Ma helps women and their partners heal from addiction

Villa Kali Maa-couple-holding-up-a-heart-sign-in-the-sunset specializes in healing women from addiction. Part of our treatment includes addressing relationships, and the ways that addiction has hurt or eroded the trust of our loved ones.

We love seeing women in recovery bravely repairing with their partners and families, doing the work of restoring what was broken down by addiction. If you’re looking for support for your addiction or your spouse’s addiction, we can help you.

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