When Addiction Gets in the Way of Your Relationship or Marriage

The Purpose Behind Addiction

Altering your state of consciousness is a common act- and we all do it. Whether it’s morning coffee to wake up, an afternoon diet coke to re-energize, or a glass of wine to relax before bed-time, most of us use substances for attitude adjustments. Marriage Counseling, couples counseling, premarital counseling, relationship counseling, We also use food for reasons other than nourishment.

It’s one thing to use substances within a healthy framework, but another to cross the line into addiction – and it can be very difficult to see the difference.

When we are in physical or emotional pain, we want relief immediately. When the nervous system is out of balance, we try to regulate ourselves in the best ways we know how. We turn to many substances and activities: alcohol, drugs, sex, shopping, the Internet, porn, gambling and gaming.  What happens after a while is that we build up tolerance and after time you much consume more to get the same effect.

The Problem with addiction.

When you are in an altered state, you become very self-centered. Frequently, the addictive habit becomes your primary relationship. Now your partner becomes a competitor to the addiction for time and attention.

Transforming Addiction

Consider these questions:

  • Have you experienced an irresistible urge to use against your conscious wishes?
  • Do you anticipate and dwell on the use beforehand?
  • Have you made promises or plans to cut back or quit but eventually go back to old patterns?
  • Have you lied to yourself or others about your use?
  • Do you feel guilt, shame, or embarrassment about your use?

Answering “yes” to even a few of these can be cause for alarm and a signal to seek help.

Remember, addiction is the addict’s responsibility. It is not your partners fault or responsibility to fix. It is not your fault either, but it is your problem to get corrected. Therapy, a 12-step program, or a support group are 3 steps in the right direction.

It is always the right time to get control of your life. And it is always possible to heal and go forward. You are worth it and so is your relationship.


Some material paraphrased from “You’re Tearing Us Apart” by Pat love, Eva Berlander, and Kathleen McFadden