Addiction’s Effects on Relationships & Why Your Partner Should Consider 12 Step Support Groups

While the addict may experience the brunt of a drug or alcohol addiction, those closest to him or her suffer as well, especially spouses and significant others. The effect of addiction essentially changes a person’s personality in ways that can’t help but impact relationship interactions.

As addicts become more and more entrenched in the addiction lifestyle, relationship partners may well develop their own set of destructive thinking and behavior patterns in an effort to cope with addiction’s effects in the home. These relationship patterns can persist long after the addict stops using drugs.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, more often than not, both partners in a relationship need help when addiction takes root within a home. For these reasons, encouraging a relationship partner to attend 12 Step support groups can go a long way towards his or her own well-being while at the same have a reinforcing effect on your efforts in recovery.

Addiction’s Effects in the Home

Addiction's Effects on Relationships

An addiction often leads to money problems and distrust in relationships.

Recovering addicts must not only contend with physical urges to use drugs, but also the thinking and emotional patterns that bring about compulsive drug using behaviors. In effect, the addiction mindset obsesses over getting and using drugs at the expense of other important life areas. Consequently, relationships can undergo considerable damage while the addict is using as well as after he or she enters the recovery process.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism, addiction breeds distrust between loved ones, an atmosphere that sets the stage for negative interactions to thrive. Issues commonly associated with addiction and relationships include:

  • Money problems
  • Jealousy
  • Emotional abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Infidelity

While the addict’s behaviors may well get the ball rolling, as the saying goes “it takes two to tango” in terms of a partner’s willingness to continue on within a dysfunctional relationship pattern.

Benefits of 12 Step Support Groups for Your Partner

Over the course of a developing addiction problem, relationship partners may fall into unhealthy and/or codependent coping behaviors in an effort to accommodate the addict’s behaviors. These coping strategies may well persist after the addict enters treatment, which doesn’t bode well for the recovering addict or the partner.

Much like 12 Step support groups help addicts develop healthy coping strategies for overcoming addiction, 12 Step support groups can also help a relationship partner identify and work through the damaging effects of addiction on his or her mindset and behaviors, according to the University of Washington.

Why Can’t My Spouse Come?

12 Step Support Groups for Spouses and Significant Others

The 12 Step support group model has taken on a range of different forms, each of which works to help individuals take back their lives from the effects of addiction. Adult Children of Alcoholics and Al Anon are two types of 12 Step support groups that specifically address the issues and challenges relationship partners face.

Adult Children of Alcoholics or ACOA caters to people who grew up in homes where one or both parents struggled with substance abuse issues. Al Anon groups specifically address the effects of addiction within the context of an intimate relationship. Ultimately, these groups help a person identify and work through the faulty belief systems that predispose relationship partners to taking on codependent roles in the home.

If you or someone you know is experiencing relationship problems in addiction recovery and have more questions about 12 Step support groups for your partner, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-653-7143 to speak with one of our addictions specialists.

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