Signs Of Substance Use Damage To A Relationship
The effects of drug and alcohol use can permeate every aspect of a relationship.
These are some signs of damage to a relationship due to substance use:
- The only way that a couple can communicate or be physically intimate with each other is when one or both partners are under the influence.
- Consuming drugs or alcohol becomes one of the main activities a couple does together.
- The relationship or family becomes isolated from other loved ones in an attempt to hide the addictive behavior.
- The majority of arguments and stress within the relationship revolve around drugs or alcohol.
- One or both partners claim they use drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with marital tension.
- One partner has begun to enable the other persons substance use.
- The non-addicted partner begins to feel like a caretaker instead of a partner of equal standing.
- One partner begins to be dishonest about their drug or alcohol consumption, sabotaging the trust they share with their partner.
- Using alcohol or drugs has become more important to a person than providing for their family or spending time with their loved ones.
- A persons career is on the rocks due to substance use, to the extent that it threatens the familys financial security.
- There is not enough money for food or bills due to how much money is spent on the used substance.
Faced with the stark reality of these issues, many couples may begin contemplating divorce.
Is Divorce The Only Option
Living with an addicted spouse can cause significant strains to a relationship. You may feel resentment towards your spouse, fear, or hopelessness about whether the relationship can be repaired. But not every relationship that has been hurt by addiction is beyond repair.
Drug and alcohol rehab programs for addiction often encourage participation from patients loved ones, including spouses. Seeking treatment for a loved one with addiction is the first step towards getting greater clarity about the future you may have together.
Through counseling, your spouse may learn to acknowledge the strain their addiction put on your relationship and take concrete steps to mend them. Through couples counseling or family therapy, you and your spouse may be able to work through some of the challenges you both faced as a result of your spouses addiction.
Other resources can help you if you feel your marriage can mend from the effects of addiction. Al-Anon, for example, helps family members of addicted individuals seek support during recovery, while groups like Codependents Anonymous could help you and your spouse work towards a healthier, happier marriage.
Divorce is an option, but its not the only option. Through improved communication and in time, you may be able to get a clearer idea of whether your relationship can be saved, and whether you want it to be. Temporary separation from your spouse may also be an option to explore.
This page does not provide medical advice.
What Does It Mean To Divorce An Addict In A No
Divorcing in a no-fault divorce state like Washington means you cant cite your spouses addiction as the reason for your divorce. That said, their addiction will almost certainly play a role in your divorce in other ways. For example, people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol often act in a way that can make them hard to deal with, unstable, and even dangerous to themselves or others. These are factors that a court will take into consideration during divorce proceedings.
For example, if your spouse has a history of time spent in rehab, a police record, or failed drug tests due to their addiction, a court will be much less likely to grant them the same privileges they would if this were not the case. Hiring a Seattle divorce and family law attorney whos experienced handling divorce cases where one spouse is an addict can make the process run smoother.
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Knowing When To Turn To The Court
Many people find that mediation and collaborative law are effective for their divorce cases. However, when divorcing an addict, you may run into issues such as dishonesty or manipulation. In this case, it may be useful to put your case in the hands of a judge to determine credibility and control any bad behavior under the threat of being held in contempt of court. Furthermore, some terms agreed upon solely through collaborative law or mediation may be more difficult to enforce without a court order.
Q: Whats The Status Of Your Relationship Today And Do You Have Any Regrets
A: Well, if this were a fairy tale, Id say that Tom and I got back together and lived happily ever afterbut this is real life and things didnt work out that way. In fact, they worked out much better. Tom and I divorced amicably I might add and we both moved on.
Today hes sober, healthy and happy. In fact, hes working as a guide and counselor for a youth wilderness therapy program.
As for me, Ive learned how to stand on my own and not put the well-being of others ahead of my own needs. Today, I am an active participant in building the life I want to live. Ive learned that its okay to detach myself from toxic situations and Ive set boundaries that define what I will and will not tolerate from others.
Most importantly, Ive found happiness and peace with my past and the decisions I made. Im a stronger person for all Ive experienced and I refuse to waste time lingering in the past. Ive got too much life to be living to do that!
No regrets no what ifs.
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How A Spouse’s Substance Abuse May Change Your Divorce Strategy
Posted by Aaron Thomas | Jun 12, 2019 | 0 Comments
Millions of Americans suffer from addiction, including to alcohol, illegal drugs, and prescription drugs. Oftentimes, those who are battling addiction can create serious problems within their own families, which may lead to divorce. If you’re divorcing a spouse with an addiction, you should understand how this issue may affect child custody and property division. This article explains how a spouse’s substance abuse may impact your strategy during a divorce.
Things To Know About Divorcing An Addict Or Alcoholic
Going through a divorce with an ex-spouse who is an alcoholic or addict of some kind can be very difficult. Regardless of whether your former spouses addiction was present during the marriage or appeared after separating, it will likely have an impact on how your divorce case proceeds.
If you are considering initiating a divorce with someone who is an alcoholic or an addict, there are three essential things to keep in mind.
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Be Ready To Follow Through
Dont threaten divorce unless you are ready to follow through with it.
The sad reality is that threat is unlikely to force the change your spouse needs. Their refusal/inability to seek help isnt so much an indication of their love for you, but rather of how deep their addiction runs.
It might seem as though you are abandoning your loved one in their time of greatest need, but there is only so much you can do before the impetus is on them to find the support needed to get their life back on track.
Presenting Evidence For Temporary Child Custody Orders
According to California Family Code Section 3011, the childs best interests are prioritized in child custody disputes. In doing so, courts consider a number of factors, including the history of abuse by one parent or another person seeking custody. Presenting evidence and documents such as those outlined above will help you and your attorney collaborate and strategize a parenting time plan and other details within a custody dispute.
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Divorce And Child Custody When Drug Addiction Is A Factor
If you are married to a drug or alcohol addicted spouse then the reasons you might want to opt for a divorce or separation are clear. According to statistics compiled by the University Of California and Chapman University, based on analysis of numerous studies on the subject, couples who struggle with alcohol abuse or drug addiction are considerably more likely to divorce than couples who do not. Marriage to an addict can be hard and heart breaking: you have to watch the person you love hurt themselves and become ill because of decisions that they have made and are continuing to make. When you can no longer face that daily struggle time comes to talk to your spouse and agree that you should divorce: a decision that is all the more heart breaking and difficult for couples that have children.
What To Do If Youre Divorcing An Addicted Spouse: Step
Divorce is one of the most difficult decisions a person can make. When addiction is involved, the decision can become even more complicated.
Drug and alcohol addiction can have effects on a persons mind, body, and behavior. Divorcing someone who is actively struggling with addiction can come with a unique set of challenges.
Here are the steps to prepare for potential complications that could arise in moving to divorce an addicted spouse:
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The Evaluation Report In Your Favor
Assume the drug evaluation and/or child custody evaluation is favorable to your position. Assume further that the report is admissible in evidence.
You now have a significant opportunity to obtain the orders you seek. You should move quickly to put the custody and drug testing issues in front of the court if your spouse does not agree to the recommendations. This avoids the report from becoming stale.
Ways To Get In Contact With Us
If you believe you or someone you love may be struggling with addiction, let us hear your story and help you determine a path to treatment.
There are a variety of confidential, free, and no obligation ways to get in contact with us to learn more about treatment.
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Begin The Divorce Process And Seek Support
Seeking divorce from an addicted spouse can be a complicated and emotional process. Dont be ashamed to ask for support from friends, family members, or other loved ones, regardless of whether theyre already aware of your situation.
You might find yourself struggling with a variety of emotions and second-guessing yourself. Having loved ones who are willing to listen and show compassion during this process can be incredibly beneficial.
You might also consider seeking professional help from a therapist. Processing through the effects of your spouses addiction on your marriage and your own well-being might provide you with greater strength as you begin the process of divorce.
Helping Clients When Addiction Leads To Divorce
Tips for working with experts when family issues interfere with finances
- May 3, 2018September 4, 2018
Addiction affects families in many ways: alcoholism, drug dependency, gambling and sex addiction are some that advisors may have encountered in their clients. If the addicted spouse does not seek treatment, or the treatment fails, divorce can be the result.
Spouses often reflexively seek out lawyers to battle their case in court. But the adversarial process only intensifies conflict and is likely to increase the emotional damage already inflicted by addiction. Meanwhile, the slow pace of a prolonged court case is agonizing, adding high legal expenses to the financial pressures of separation.
Fortunately, effective alternatives to the court system are available. Mediation and collaborative law are well-suited to family disputes arising from addiction. These methods reduce conflict and assist spouses in crafting solutions that meet their needs. Since mediation and collaborative law are more streamlined than the court process, the parties are able to reach a resolution in a timely and cost-effective way.
Impact of addiction on legal issues
Divorce cases where addiction is a factor require lawyers, mediators and the parties themselves to grapple with unique legal issues, especially around financial support and child custody. For example:
Safeguarding the children of addicts
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Alcoholism And Child Custody
Regardless of whether fault is specifically stated or not in the divorce petition, it is important to understand that alcoholism may be relevant to other issues, such as child custody and visitation.
Family court judges are governed by the best interests of the child when determining legal and physical custody of a child and when and how visitation should take place. Judges want to ensure that children are cared for and live in an environment that supports their health and safety. All states have statutes that govern what factors may be considered by a court when determining the best interests of the child.
Moderate drinking wont necessarily impact custody, but courts do look at drinking levels, including alcoholism, that negatively impacts a parents ability to care for their children properly.
If one parent is an alcoholic or suffers from a substance abuse problem and it can be proven, winning child custody becomes more difficult. They may be required to have only supervised visits or receive treatment for their addiction. Getting addiction treatment and achieving sobriety can also positively affect whether your children return or stay in a parents care.
The length of a persons sobriety is also relevant. A long duration of sobriety makes it more likely that a parent will continue to remain sober and be able to care for their children.
Alcoholism And Divorce Facts
There are strong correlations between heavy alcohol use and divorce rates in the United States. Couples with one heavy drinker are the most likely to divorce, while couples with either two heavy drinkers or two abstaining partners are much less likely to divorce.
Alcoholism can diminish relationships to the point where they can no longer be salvaged. It can turn someone from the spouse you once loved to a virtual stranger. Alcoholism impacts a marriage in so many ways: people with substance abuse problems tend to tell lies and be secretive to cover their drinking, and it can be difficult for alcoholics to focus their attention outside of themselves in many cases.
Its for all of these reasons that its not uncommon for people to wonder whether they should leave the relationship and if alcoholism constitutes legal grounds for divorce or annulment.
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Problems Associated When Divorcing An Addict
Sometimes addiction doesnt start until well into a marriage. Other times people didnt know they were marrying an addict. However, addiction, no matter what form it comes in, is destructive. When married, an addict doesnt suffer alone. No matter how in check or secretive they try to keep their behavior, it can destroy their life and the life of their spouse. Often, the only course of action for a couple when treatment doesnt work is divorce. However, for spouses divorcing addicts, there are two potential issues that they will need to keep in mind violence and theft.
Tips For Helping Children Cope With Divorce And Addiction
Acknowledge your childrens feelings about the problem and reassure them its okay to talk about it.Although its hard to see your children hurting, remember that supporting childrens feelings and being a good listener can go a long way with kids. When you seek to understand instead of solving your childs problem, you are reinforcing some very important concepts. First, youre sending a strong message that you view them as capable and competent at handling tough situations. Second, when they are facing a challenging or difficult time, talking about the problem lets them know its okay to seek support from others. Lastly, you are underscoring that you respect their feelings and theres no reason to feel embarrassed or ashamed about a parents addiction.
Provide children with age-appropriate information about addiction.While theres still a big gap in support for families dealing with these issues, there are a couple of resources worth checking out. Keep in mind not every resource will be a fit for your family or your situation. Be sure to review books and resources before sharing them with your children, even when they are recommended.
Resources For Children:
- Magination Press Hosted by the American Psychological Association, this site provides an online store that offers books for children addressing a wide range of specialized topics.
- Emmys Question by Jeannine Auth Powerful story about a school-age girls struggle to deal with her mothers alcoholism.
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Recovery Is A Family Project
Lastly, think about recovery as a family project. Youll find there are helpful programs for the partners of recovering addicts and your children, too. Al-Anon, for instance, helps families of alcoholics with a program thats similar to the 12 steps of AA. You may find other programs at your local church or through your therapists office.
Finding a recovery center that includes family members as part of the plan for recovery is also important. While those struggling with substance abuse are responsible for their own behavior, there can be family dynamics that increase the odds of addiction. Being in recovery together, even if youre not actively addicted, can help you heal psychological wounds that may be holding you back, too.
Whatever you do, if you plan to stay in the relationship, know its going to be hard work. But what marriage isnt hard work? Anything worth doing is worth doing well, and anything worthwhile takes effort. Marriage isnt any different. Even in the healthiest marriages, things can go wrong.
Thankfully, theres a lot of support out there for people living with an addicted spouse. One such place is 12 Keys Rehab.