Couples Therapy and Substance Use

Before Recovery:

If you feel the person you love is choosing alcohol or drugs over you, it is deeply painful. You may have no personal issues with such substances but now you resent them since you are losing out to them.

If you are considering entering my office as a couple before recovery and you wish to work on this together, I want to share my approach with you.

I feel that addiction prevents intimacy as you will be unable to be intimate with your partner while they are turning to the object of their addiction and not you.

Your partner may not believe they have an addiction and that is fine, they may not. We will devise a “drinking contract” to explore the issue. As a couple, I want you two to agree on what amount of use and when is acceptable if any. This contract can be helpful as the partner who is drinking may just need some structure.

In a later session if the contract is breached by the drinking partner, I will ask that they consider that they may have a problem and to seek additional help. If they agree to do so, let’s shake on that.

Once there has been some sobriety and the partner is receiving additional help, then it can be productive to work on bringing you two closer and creating more intimacy as a couple.

After Recovery

Congratulations if you have made it to recovery.

I have found that the recovery community does not put much of an emphasis on day-to-day relationship tools. In recovery, you discuss shortcomings and character defects with your sponsor, but it seems that such vulnerability can often be siloed to only that community and not your relationship.

An unintended consequence of that is we think we have to “be healed” before we are worthy of love at home. I feel that part of the healing is being vulnerable and open at home and sharing your recovery journey in your relationship.

It is also important for couples in recovery to:

  • Work on resentments and past hurts
  • Learn foundation relationship skills
  • Understand that there is personal recovery as well as relational recovery

To set up an initial phone consultation or schedule an appointment click below: 

Request Appointment

  • Check out Colorado Al-Anon if you need support around your loved one using.
  • Check out the CRAFT model for a more structured non-intervention approach.

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