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Will My Marriage Survive in Sobriety?

  • By: Alan E. Sohn
  • Published: December 21, 2021

That’s an unscientific 80 percent, and I think it’s probably a little on the low side. Former alcoholics are also not happy about their dependence on a spouse. Often, feelings are accompanied by a sense they are under someone else’s control. It might be a problem to shift the focus on themselves and their needs. To avoid it, the couple needs to be more emotionally independent. There should be more autonomy in the relationship — it helps save the marriage and increases intimacy. You try to discuss your problems with a therapist first, instead of having a conflict with a partner, and then talk to any person.

marriage changes after sobriety

He has served as a Consultant & Licensure Specialist to numerous facilities and has served as a Drug Court Panel member. He is also a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors , and the International Substance Abuse & Addiction Coalition . Lyle also continues to work in several areas of advocacy at the local, state, and national level. The clear lines of communication spouses established during those early years of sobriety have borne fruit. When conflict comes up, both partners are able to express themselves clearly and concisely and come to a resolution. Because drugs or alcohol aren’t an all-consuming addiction anymore, spouses can fully be present and enjoy each other’s company—and that can lead to a renewed appreciation of each other.

The Partner

Sometimes, couples are surprised to find that they’re still fighting after the substance abuse has stopped. It’s vital that problems in the relationship are addressed during recovery. Relationship issues don’t just go away when drinking or drug use stops. Former alcoholics often feel guilty and ashamed of how they behaved and treated their families during their addiction. Nevertheless, their partners might resent a sober partner for things he may not even remember in the same case. When a recovering alcoholic most needs support and forgiveness, the partner may want to start talking about these grievances, but be aware it leads to relapse, and the person might relapse. Partners often experience shame, anxiety, emptiness, and depression.

Instead, it’s best to treat the marriage as a new relationship. Get to know the “new” version of your spouse (or help your spouse become acquainted with the “new” you). Patiently work on rebuilding communication, trust, support, respect, and intimacy. First, attending a family education program offered by a center while my husband was attending its residential program. Those three days informed my understanding of what was happening to Bill and us as a family unit. It reinforced the notion that sobriety was only the first step. At the time, I knew nothing of his substance use disorder. I lived with this conflicted view of the man I loved. I perceived him as an accomplished executive with a relational leadership style appreciated by his colleagues.

There is no one cure, no magic bullet for addiction

However, one of the hardest trials a couple can experience is addiction and its consequences—and that trial doesn’t end when sobriety begins. Spouses will likely experience moments that will have them wondering how their marriage can survive sobriety. There are still challenges ahead, but Sober House understanding the potential pitfalls can help spouses work together to overcome them. Drunkenly talking shit on the patio whilst chain smoking cigarettes used to be my favourite thing to do. I really appreciate the way you mentioned that these were really fun times, but irresponsible.

marriage changes after sobriety

This mutual dependency makes couples highly reactive. They need to be more emotionally autonomous, which will lessen reactivity and facilitate better communication and intimacy. That may mean each spouse initially talking over things with their sponsor or therapist rather than confronting one other, except when it comes to abuse, which should be addressed. You and your spouse can begin the journey to recovery together at 12 Keys Rehab.

Even as an active drinker, I was mostly good about apologizing to my wife the morning after a painful argument or biting comments made while drinking. I wasn’t so blind and arrogant that I couldn’t admit fault. marriage changes after sobriety But I didn’t understand how meaningless those apologies were. Part of the process of forgiveness requires a belief by the offended that the offender won’t perpetrate the same offense again in the future.

You may think these issues will resolve themselves over time, but that’s rarely the case. The best thing to do is to get treatment for your loved one as soon as possible, or at least contact a recovery center to discuss how they may be able to help. When someone has promised to share their home, finances and emotional life with their partner, a preoccupation with getting inebriated seems unfair. However, the partner must understand that alcoholism is a disease, not a choice. We can’t simply tell someone to stop drinking and make it happen. As such, it’s best to seek professional help at the earliest opportunity. Otherwise, conflict, resentment, and health issues are likely to blight your partnership. If you are the partner who is in addiction recovery, you have to ask yourself the painful question of whether you and your partner are losing a major part of your bond by not drinking together. Relationships do form over the bond of drinking or substance use, and in some cases, it is the drinking or using together that is the main thing that holds the partners together.

We don’t believe in a cookie-cutter approach to recovery. We know certain things are a “must,” such as complete abstinence from substance abuse, but we offer many therapies to help people chart their own personal course of recovery. Many spouses say they feel like a single parent when their partner turns to drugs or alcohol. One of the hardest things to bear while your loved one is using is the undue burden it puts on you to run the household while your partner struggles with their disease. It doesn’t matter how your partner got where they are today. What matters instead is recognizing the problem, and understanding and implementing the do’s and don’ts of helping your addicted spouse. Keyna Lee serves as Counselor for Burning Tree Ranch. Colleen Quinn serves as a valuable member of the Burning Tree Ranch clinical team. Utilizing her multi-year training in the behavioral health field, Colleen incorporates practical experience with sound clinical interventions to help facilitate the therapeutic process. Through Colleen’s own recovery, she has learned that once dysfunction has been addressed, lives can drastically change.

Eco Sober House

Finding a recovery center that includes family members as part of the plan for recovery is also important. While those struggling with substance abuse are responsible for their own behavior, there can be family dynamics that increase the odds of addiction. Being in recovery together, even if you’re not actively addicted, can help you heal psychological wounds that may be holding you back, too. Business Development Representative for Burning Tree Programs. An avid aircraft enthusiast and aviator, Eric has been sober since 2005. The truth is, juggling addiction and relationships is a truth many loved ones must face. If you have cause to suspect a substance abuse problem, you should confront your partner without judgment or a tone of confrontation. This will give them an opportunity to come clean before submitting to professional treatment.

Couples need time to rebuild trust and confidence. The non-addict spouse may have high expectations for long been missed intimacy and disappointed when it doesn’t materialize. Know that while things won’t go back to the way they were, they can get better. Sometimes, they even get much better than they were before addiction became a problem. It’s a new lease on life that can be an unexpected bonus of recovery. Brook McKenzie serves as Chief Operating Officer for Burning Tree Programs. Based at the marriage changes after sobriety Ranch facility in Kaufman, TX, Brook plays an everyday part in the lives of our clients and families. His leadership style is informed by his own experience as a Burning Tree Ranch alumnus. With compassion, understanding, and a deep insight into the mind of the chronic relapser, Brook gets to engage in the healing experience of every family that Burning Tree serves. Happily married with two young boys, Brook enjoys fatherhood, sobriety, and all the wonders of living a full life in recovery.

marriage changes after sobriety

Alan E. Sohn

Alan E. Sohn received his Juris Doctorate from the College of Law of the
University of Illinois. Mr. Sohn has been a partner in both large and
smaller law firms and for the past 21 years has been in private practice.