It’s easy for a couple to be addicted to alcohol or substances together. Take the case of the late Whitney Houston and Bobbi Brown, who both got embroiled in a cocaine frenzy. There’s also the late Amy Winehouse, who took drugs together with her ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil.
More often than not, the dynamics of intimate relationships can lead to a downward spiral for both parties. Although this is the case, there is still hope for these people to recover together.
Addiction and Relationships
Abuse of substances or alcohol is bad enough as it is. So when both parties get involved, the consequences are further magnified. More often than not, having 2 addicts in a relationship can lead to the following problems:
Addicts often lie. They try to mislead other people by being dishonest with their feelings, actions, and intentions. This is often done to protect their ways, but unfortunately, such lies can easily go out of control. Unfortunately, this streak of lying often results in false promises of recovery. More often than not, they continue to abuse alcohol and/or drugs secretly.
Addicts tend to blame other people for their shortcomings. They end up accusing family and friends to manipulate them into doing what they want.
Manipulation is bad enough with one addict, and having two of them can skew the dynamics even more.
It is a known fact that substances make people aggressive. A good example is an alcohol, which can make drinkers aggressive. As for gender, this is more pronounced in men than in women. In terms of personality, individuals who have poor anger control, low levels of empathy, and higher levels of irritability are more likely to be aggressive after drinking.
Apart from alcohol, several drugs can cause aggression as well. These include cocaine, amphetamines, opiates, hallucinogens, and sedatives. According to a study, these substances can change the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, making the addict more likely to be hostile.
The Consequences of Being in a Relationship with a Fellow Addict
It is often said that two is better than one, but this is not the case with an addicted couple. With two parties lying, manipulating, and being aggressive with one another, several consequences are sure to take place.
Smoke and Mirrors
With two addicts in a relationship, no side can clearly address the various issues. Although they may be deeply in love with one another, their addictions are sure to get in the way of their harmonious relationship.
For one, intoxication or addiction can make the person ‘different’. He or she can have distorted emotions, unclear thinking, and personality changes. That being said, the couple may be in love with the ‘addicted’ persona of the other – and not his/her real self.
When two addicts get with each other, it just means one thing: the bad aspects are doubled. That means there’s an even higher risk of lying, manipulation, and violence. That being said, one party can end up blaming the other for his/her addiction. In the end, this can lead to a relationship dynamic that proves to be destructive in the long run.
Apprehension to Treatment and Possible Relapse
While two addicts can recover together, it is often a difficult journey. After all, many substance abusers enter treatment programs because of their loved ones. However, if you have a partner that is addicted just like you, this supposed driving force can end up as a deterrent.
Another scenario comes into play when only one party wants to get sober. While the addicted partner may want to support the other, he/she might not be that strong to sustain so. As such, this may lead to the relapse of the individual who opted to undergo treatment. In some cases, this could lead to separation.
Is it Possible for Two Addicts to Recover Together?
Yes. While there are sure to be obstacles along the way, mutual recovery and treatment are possible. Some facilities offer a couple’s treatment program, which may involve any or most of the following:
1. Inpatient Therapy
For partners who are way down the addiction rabbit hole, couples’ inpatient therapy is recommended. While they enroll as individual patients, they are treated in the same facility. In essence, the couple remains together as they battle their addiction evils.
As the name suggests, this requires the couple to stay in the facility for the entirety of the program. It could be done in specialized hospitals, nursing facilities, or treatment centers. This stint could last for a couple of days – to several months – depending on the severity of the situation.
The inpatient program is made possible with the help of a physician, together with a team of trained professionals. The rehab staff usually includes nurses, physical & occupational therapists, among many others, who provide 24-hour care to the admitted patients.
At the minimum, inpatient couples need to attend a minimum of 3 hours of therapy daily. This may be done individually, together, or with a group, depending on the physician’s discretion. Apart from managing the psychological brunt of addiction, inpatient center staff can also perform pain management and wound care, among many other things.
2. Behavioral Couples Therapy
This involves a daily sobriety pact, where both parties commit to their intention of not using drugs or alcohol. More than just promoting communication, it provides couple activities that do not involve the use of substances.
According to a guidebook published by the Office of the Surgeon General, behavioral couples therapy can help promote abstinence and better-functioning relationships. At the same time, it can help reduce the social costs associated with treatment.
3. Relationship Counseling
Addiction can take a toll on relationships, no matter how long it has been established. As such, affected couples may also benefit from relationship counseling. This professionally-guided therapy explores the issues encountered by both parties. At the same time, it helps provide extensive support. That way, each individual can recognize the value of his/her partner.
Recovering from addiction is hard, especially for couples who are embroiled in alcohol, drugs, or both. Despite this, treatment can be done with the help of inpatient rehab, behavioral couples therapy, and relationship counseling.
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