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Couples and Marital Counseling in Addiction Treatment

Addiction to drugs and alcohol can impact every aspect of your life, including your most important relationships. During substance use treatment, marital and couples therapy can help people work together to understand and overcome addiction’s effects and move forward together. 

Reach out to the Mandala Healing Center specialists to learn about our holistic substance abuse treatment programs or with any questions.

How Does Addiction Affect a Relationship?

Addiction can be destructive to a relationship in many ways. If one or both partners abuse drugs or alcohol, having a healthy, loving relationship will be almost impossible. Addiction can erode trust, cause partners to do or say things they wouldn’t if they were sober, and often becomes the center of a person’s focus. When addiction is in the relationship, there’s often not enough time and energy for anything else.

Here are some of the most significant ways addiction may impact a relationship.


Drug and alcohol use can impair a person’s judgment, lower their inhibitions, and put them in risky situations. While addiction doesn’t always lead partners to be unfaithful, it can increase the likelihood of it happening. 

In some cases, drug or alcohol abuse may reduce a person’s inhibitions, making it more likely they’ll act on deeply-rooted impulses. Some mental health experts believe that infidelity and substance use may both be used to cover up emotional pain or discomfort.


Trust is essential to a healthy relationship. When one partner is using drugs or alcohol, they may behave in ways that erode the trust within the relationship. They may lie to their partner about their substance use, steal to fund their addiction, or act in uncaring or abusive ways while intoxicated. 


Healthy intimacy and sex are fundamental to a relationship. Drug and alcohol use can cause a loss of sexual desire and pleasure or affect sexual performance. This can lead to problems within the relationship over time. 

Intimacy of all kinds also requires trust between partners, and addiction can profoundly damage communication and trust. Instead of a loving relationship where partners feel safe and supported, the relationship breaks down and becomes unhealthy for both people involved. 

What Happens in Couples Therapy?

When one person in a relationship struggles with substance abuse, both partners are affected. Substance abuse and addiction can change how a person’s brain and body functions. Over time, getting and using drugs or alcohol becomes the center of a person’s life, leaving no time and energy for their loved ones. 

Marital counseling is a kind of therapy that helps partners recognize conflicts and learn tools to resolve them. During a couples therapy session, partners work with a licensed professional to understand the unhealthy dynamics within their relationship and to understand each other better. People learn to set healthy boundaries within a relationship and communicate needs effectively.

Couples therapy allows people in a relationship to identify and repair the damage caused by substance abuse. Both partners learn to recognize their challenges and faults and learn how to work through them. Marital counseling and couples therapy offer a safe, supportive place where people can process emotions, improve communication, and build new ways of relating to each other that support a happier, healthier relationship.

Marital Counseling During Rehab

Addiction changes the dynamic of a relationship. Instead of being supportive equals, one partner may adopt the caretaker role, assuming responsibility for their partner’s shortcomings. The addicted person becomes the center of the relationship, despite them focusing solely on their substance use. Trust and communication break down. Needs are unmet. Neglect, abuse, and isolation may occur.

People with drug and alcohol addiction have better outcomes when they have plenty of support from partners, friends, and family. Improving relationships creates healthier, more supportive environments for people in recovery. 

Marital counseling and couples therapy may be integrated into a person’s substance abuse treatment plan, including individual and group therapy, to repair marriage and relationship issues. Couples therapy can help improve outcomes and increase a person’s chances of long-term recovery from addiction when combined with medications, holistic therapies, education, and other evidence-based treatments.

Recognizing the Need For Treatment

Recognizing substance abuse and addiction is the first step toward getting the help you need to recover. Here are some of the signs that you or a loved one may be living with drug or alcohol addiction:

  • You need more of the substance to get the desired effects
  • You want to stop using the substance but feel like you can’t
  • You continue to use drugs or alcohol despite the negative consequences to your health, relationships, or well-being
  • Getting, using, and recovering from using the substance takes a lot of your time and energy
  • If you stop using the substance, you experience withdrawal symptoms
  • You engage in risky behaviors, such as having unsafe sex or driving while intoxicated
  • You experience legal, social, or financial trouble because of your substance use

If you or your partner has signs of substance abuse or addiction, seek treatment, including couples therapy, as soon as possible. 

Find Help Now

Addiction doesn’t have to be the center of your life–or your relationship. Reach out to the Mandala Healing Center specialists to learn about our holistic approach to substance abuse treatment. Call today to get started toward a healthier relationship and future.