Can Marriages Last After Addiction?
In the world of celebrities, a few couples stand out as examples of why recovering from addiction is wonderful. Hollywood actor Rob Lowe, a notorious playboy in his younger years, recently celebrated 32 years of marriage with Sheryl Berkoff, a jewelry designer whom Lowe adores for having returned to his life after his many years of alcoholism and substance abuse. Heavy metal legend Ozzy Osbourne has been extremely candid when describing how his wife, Sharon, supported him through addiction, recovery, and relapse at times when he thought his marriage couldn’t be saved.
These two couples are among the 55 percent who stay together through the recovery journey, so it’s correct to say that marriages can be saved after addiction. The passionate team from Casa Pacifica, the experts in coastal sober living Encinitas residents look to for sober companionship, coaching, and mentorship, discuss how relationships can be rebuilt in the aftermath of addiction.
More than Half of Marriages Survive Substance Use Disorder
In 1999, researchers from the Office of National Drug Control Policy under the Clinton administration began working on a longitudinal project to estimate divorce rates among couples with at least one addicted spouse. After a few years of crunching available data, a divorce rate between 35 and 43 percent was estimated. This rate is even higher than the American divorce rate in the wake of the sexual revolution in the 1970s. However, it’s safe to say more than half of marriages survive addiction.
Addiction Is a Family Disease
Despite the hope that can be gleaned from the aforementioned divorce rates, the reality of substance use disorder is that it can have negative effects on the entire family. When compulsion and dependence set in, spouses are the most affected because of their degree of closeness. Many husbands and wives of alcoholics and addicts end up suffering more than their partners. This is why it’s not unusual to see them walk away from their relationships during the worst periods of their spouses’ addictions. If they take minor children with them, it’s often for the best, even though it may seem harsh to do so. While this is a prudent measure for many families, it makes addicts feel as if they may not be able to save their marriages, but this isn’t written in stone.
Addiction Is a Test of True Love
Alcoholics whose recovery programs include staying at sober living facilities often wonder if their partners will be there for them when they get back home. For the most part, if the spouse has been supportive from the start of the recovery journey, chances are the marriage is built to last, but this doesn’t guarantee it will survive a relapse like Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne did. People who stand by their addicted spouses through the recovery journey are “keepers” who show the world what real love is about. Not all spouses will rise to the occasion, and addicts must understand this.
Getting Back Together May Require Treatment
Recovering alcoholics and addicts who wish to save their marriages should discuss their feelings, hopes, and plans with mental health professionals. There needs to be an objective assessment of the relationship and the role it will play in recovery. The reality for many addicts is that they’re better off not returning to relationships broken by substance use disorder. This is often the case with codependency or when partners are enablers, and this is particularly delicate when behavioral or emotional disorders are present. For example, people who turn to drinking as a coping mechanism may not realize they’re in abusive relationships.
Newly sober men who need help with avoiding relapse can call on the compassionate team at Casa Pacifica. Along with providing Encinitas sober living housing for men, we work with our residents to develop customized individual plans that combine treatment, aftercare, and recovery support. Our services include sober companionship, coaching, and mentorship for those who are recovering from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. To learn more about our sober living facilities, call us today at (760) 230-2996.