Divorcing Couples Say Substance Abuse Destroyed Their Marriage
Drugs, Alcohol Dependency and Romance Don’t Mix
Nothing ends a marriage faster than alcohol and or drug dependency.
Living with someone who is gradually destroying themselves with drug or alcohol addiction is not only toxic, but it puts a permanent strain on an intimate relationship as well as family life. While your spouse may still love you, the addiction has taken over both of your lives. There isn’t room for all three of you in the marriage. In some cases, both spouses struggle with substance abuse and codependency enables it to worsen over time. Please know that you are not alone and that this affects millions of Americans.
Unlike typical disagreements between couples, substance abuse has lasting negative effects. There are physical changes to a person’s body, brain and emotional stability. Recovery is possible, but marriages are not always salvageable. The sober spouse will often have feelings of guilt or they become ashamed of their spouse’s drinking problem.
Substance abuse is not the top reason a person files for divorce, but it often weakens the marriage and leads to infidelity and financial problems which are the biggest reason couples divorce. While couples may enjoy having a drink together now and then, a marriage where one spouse is alcohol dependent is not healthy for the relationship. Couples are more likely to divorce when one spouse drinks heavily and the other doesn’t.
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, addiction affects the entire family and it can be very difficult to repair these broken relationships. Oftentimes there is a lack of trust in a relationship involving addiction. Some commonly used drugs that lead to addiction include:
- prescription benzodiazepine medications (Ativan, Valium, Xanax)
- prescription stimulants (such as ADHD medications Adderall and Ritalin)
The cost of treating someone who is addicted may result in a huge financial strain on the entire family. Indeed, Americans spend $276 billion on legal and prescription drugs every year. Also, fights over money and finances are the second leading cause of divorce. A spouse may lose their job due to addiction and further place their family at risk of financial insecurity. Also, an addicted person may destroy their career due to drug addiction.
Domestic violence, Child Abuse
In some cases, a spouse may live in fear due to threats or actual violence from the addicted husband or wife. Roughly 23 percent of all divorces involves domestic violence. Spouses who consumer alcohol or take drugs are even more likely to engage in domestic violence. One spouse will blame or shame the other spouse for marital problems, intimacy is lost, trust is dissolved and conflicts erupt. Some of the typical acts of violence include: deprivation, intimidation, retaliation, physical injury, sexual assault, child abuse, progressive social isolation, psychological abuse, stalking and threats.
While marriages often end in separation or divorce when a spouse is an alcoholic, there may be help for some couples. Counseling or couples therapy can sometimes break the cycle of addiction and habits and possibly, mend relationships. Spouses who make it through therapy or rehabilitation are better equipped to support each other and may be able to save their marriage.
The End of a Marriage
Every couple will handle addition differently. Be honest with yourselves and determine if there is a path forward in your relationship. Some couples may benefit from the support of marriage counseling and drug rehabilitation, but for others the wounds may be too deep to heal. Intimacy is lost and the sober spouse may be tired of making excuses or covering up for the other spouse’s alcohol or drug addiction. Enabling a spouse who refuses to get help isn’t helping either one. So if your spouse’s addition is more important than providing for the family and spending time with them, it may be time to make a decision. Has your spouse repeatedly lied to you and the children? Are you concerned about supporting your family and your emotional well being?
Children do not typically thrive in an unstable home. The impact on children from parents who abuse drugs and or alcohol is immense. Parents may spend less time with their children, destroy friendships and family relationships, subject children to violence and put children at risk due to drunk or drugged driving. If living together as a family is no longer safe for the children, one spouse could lose custody or be required to have supervised visitation. Certainly divorce will also have a significant impact on children. However, if they live in a conflicted environment, a child’s ability to learn may be directly impacted.
Johnson Family Law Attorneys
There is no room for mistakes when it comes to a divorce case. Johnson Attorneys Group understands the importance of finding the best solutions that will enable both spouses to thrive while protecting your rights. We will help you find common ground with your former spouse and defend your rights in court to ensure the best outcome for you and your children.
Our Southern California family law firm has experience with all major family law issues. Whether it’s child custody, child support, property division, divorce or alimony, we’ve got your back.