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Addiction and Relationships: Couples Therapy for Addiction

Home » Blog » Addiction and Relationships: Couples Therapy for Addiction

Addiction affects more than just the addict. It also impacts their family and friends. It can even impact their coworkers. But, most importantly, it impacts their spouses. If one or both partners in a couple have a substance abuse disorder (SUD), this can have devastating effects on both.

It isn’t easy to maintain a healthy partnership. Even if a partner has sought treatment for their SUD and maintains sobriety, it will not remove the maladaptive communication patterns, broken trust, and emotional pain that the relationship may have. Both partners must realize their weaknesses and work together to overcome them.

It can be challenging to do this without professional guidance. Couples therapy provides a safe environment for both partners to discuss their experiences with each other and how those experiences affected them. This can help to rebuild a healthy and loving relationship.

What is Couples Therapy?

Couples therapy is an example of psychotherapy that seeks to identify and resolve relationship conflict. Couples therapy for substance use disorder is also known as marriage counseling. However, couples do not have to be married to benefit from this type of therapy.

Marriage and family therapists are licensed professionals who help couples better understand each other and improve communication. They also work on resolving problems within the relationship.

Some couples choose to seek therapy for a limited time. Pre-marital counseling, or simply to iron out minor issues. Resolving more serious relationship issues, such as substance abuse or infidelity, may take longer. This depends on the couple and the type of therapy.

One partner may also choose to receive additional counseling before, during, or after the relationship.

Working with a licensed psychotherapist can create a space where you and your partner can express their frustrations and emotions in a non-judgmental and safe environment. The therapist will de-escalate if the conversation usually turns into a loud argument so that each party can express their feelings and thoughts.

Couples therapy can provide homework such as communication exercises and tools for developing healthy communication skills. These can be long-term benefits. Remember that both partners need to be open and honest to make the relationship work.

Couples therapy can help two people decide that the end of the relationship is best. They will then work together to find the best possible way to separate. This is especially true if there are children and finances involved.

Even the strongest of couples can find it difficult to navigate a relationship in which addiction is present. Couples therapy can be beneficial for those who are struggling with an alcohol or drug use disorder.

The National Institutes of Health published multiple studies that found people who participated in behavioral couples therapy had a greater reduction in substance abuse than those who received only individual counseling. The BCT also improved intimate partner violence and the psychosocial adjustment of children.

Couples who received BCT reported greater satisfaction in their relationship as well as improvements in family and relationship functioning.

Research on behavioral couples therapy shows that it can improve relationship functioning and abstinence. 

What is the impact of addiction on intimate relationships?

When one or both partners abuse drugs or alcohol, this can lead to serious problems and have harmful consequences. Couples can experience financial issues, housing problems, job losses, health-related concerns, lack of communication, lack of trust, and codependency patterns.

Verbal, emotional, and physical abuse are also at an increased risk. In 40% to 60% of cases of violence between intimate partners, substance abuse is also present. A parent who has a substance abuse problem is three times more likely than a parent without a substance abuse problem to abuse their child. Addiction can affect sexual functioning as well, leading to one or both partners feeling unsatisfied or unloved.

Addiction and Sex Life

Alcohol and drug abuse can negatively impact physical and mental health. They may also have an adverse effect on intimacy, sexual performance, and functioning. How addiction ruins relationships?

Alcohol-dependent men are 60%-70% more likely to suffer from sexual problems such as loss of sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, and premature ejaculation. Even short-term alcohol abuse can lead to temporary erectile problems. Researchers found that alcohol abuse can permanently affect a man’s health, even if he abstains for a long time.

Cocaine can increase sexual desire for some Cocaine drug users, but it has also been shown to reduce sexual pleasure over time. The University of Granada, Spain, conducted a study that found all drugs impaired the sexual function of men who abused Cocaine. The two areas most affected were pleasure and orgasm.

Substance abuse affects not only sexual function but also the emotional bond that couples share, leading to a feeling of desire and closeness. Resentment can interfere with the attraction one partner felt before for the other. Couples therapy for drug addiction can help resolve negative feelings and can help couples regain intimacy in their relationship.

Addiction and Infidelity

Abusing alcohol or drugs does not mean a partner will be unfaithful, but it can put them in a vulnerable situation and make them more likely to make poor decisions. Alcohol can impair judgment and lower inhibitions. This could lead someone to have relations outside their marriage or relationship that they wouldn’t do sober.

Infidelity is often the result of a deeper issue. Someone with an alcohol or drug problem might use their addiction to justify cheating. Infidelity can cause serious damage to relationships, and it will take time and effort to rebuild trust. Couples therapy can help couples start the journey toward a fulfilling, honest relationship.

What Should I do if my partner has an addiction?

While it can be hard to distinguish between being supportive of your partner and being an enabler when they are actively addicted to alcohol or drugs.

While you may want to help someone, enabling them by protecting them from the negative consequences of their drug or alcohol abuse is not acceptable. This includes taking on their responsibilities, making an excuse for them, or saving them from legal penalties.

Limits and boundaries can be hard to establish. Hathaway Recovery provides support to partners who may be addicted to the behaviors of their loved ones but don’t use substances. Family therapy is a great way to help people regain a healthy sense of love, understanding, support, and trust during and after treatment.

Family Addiction Treatment in California

Hathaway Recovery provides comprehensive, individualized treatment for family addiction treatment. Throughout the client’s treatment, clients are involved in family-focused educational groups. The client and primary therapist can decide whether to offer individual family therapy sessions.

These sessions may involve participation from anyone important in the client’s life, such as their spouse, significant other, or parent. Individual family work helps to identify the values and norms that families adhere to and any areas of concern. The program also addresses family issues such as trauma and communication.

Hathaway Recovery is a leader in addiction treatments. It helps restore healing to the family unit and create lasting change.

Hathaway Recovery offers a tailored treatment program incorporating evidence-based treatments like experiential and behavioral therapies. Our holistic healing program can help you grow as a person and make a fresh start in your life.

We are committed to your privacy and comfort. You will feel completely relaxed in our state-of-the-art luxury facilities. The professional and compassionate staff at the Hathaway Recovery Center are always available to assist you.

The center provides private rooms, personalized attention, and treatment plans. Our staff includes the best specialists. Our mission is to Renew and Rebuild Lives.

For any questions, call the Admissions Department at (909) 971-3333.

It is entirely confidential.

Don’t miss the chance to make a positive difference in your life.

  • Individual counseling
  • Group counseling
  • Family Drug Education
  • Relapse Prevention Therapy
  • Counseling for grieving


  • Excellent treatment center. Hathaway put on the road to recovery, I been sober 2 years today! Thank you Dena and staff members!

    Mike M.
  • Hathaway has saved my family. Before we found Hathaway my daughter was suffering with addiction however once we came to this facility the staff took her in and she felt comfortable and by a couple months she was ready to come back home fully recovered. Thank you Hathaway Recovery for saving her and thank you for the wonderful staff.

    Gabby H.
  • First I’ll start by saying that, this facility is absolutely beautiful! A couple years ago my husband Tony attended Hathaway Recovery in Claremont Ca. While Tony was in residential he received every care needed for a successful recovery. Also, he was able to enjoy the home gym at the beautiful Hathaway home, it’s basketball court, pool and etc. which made his stay even more pleasant. I am forever grateful for the man Tony has become ever since his completion. He has two years clean under his belt and many more to come because of the amazing facility. Thanks again Hathaway Recovery and Staff, Keep Continuing Changing Lives, God Bless Diane and Tony

    Diane K.
  • I came to Hathaway Recovery on court orders stemming from charges due to not taking medications for my mental health. I was fearful of what my future held and what that would look like. I have never been to a dual diagnosis treatment program before, and I didn’t know what to expect. I really didn’t think I had a substance abuse problem but after about 3-4 weeks of group therapy and the counselors here at this facility, I finally realized substance abuse influenced me to not be able to take care of my mental health. With the help of Hathaway Recovery’s team, I was able to build a strong foundation for my recovery that is vital to me and my family. The clinical staff, therapist, case managers, and counselors included, were honest, caring, and really helped me gain the knowledge I needed to build this recovery program and lifestyle. I am forever grateful for the treatment at Hathaway Recovery.

    Transition A.
  • My brother has been addicted for years. All our family gave up on him. Recently, he completed an inpatient residential program at Hathaway Recovery. This place is blessed and so helpful. It’s very luxurious, you feel like you are on vacation at a beautiful resort. Hathaway Recovery staff is very helpful, understanding and supportive. They all helped him to recover and to become a human again and enjoy his life. This place also supports family members and teaches them how to deal with aftercare to prevent relapse. Hathaway Recovery is the place for those who are struggling with addiction. Thank you for everything!

    Beauty D.
  • As a Trauma Informed Therapist I was contracted by Dina , the Owner to provide additional Trauma Informed Counseling. She indicated that she was seeking additional clinical services because her client population were enthusiastic about their recovery and she wanted to provide quality care. Working with Hathaway has been magical. This program does not separate addiction and mental health trauma into separate treatments, This program blends together the understanding that addicts have childhood trauma and have habitually used drugs or alcohol to dull their inner pain., Hathaway Recovery provides highly individual services for each client, including bilingual counseling. This is a program that I am proud to be a part of. Susan Pennington, LCSW – Trauma Informed Counseling Services.

    Susan P.
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    Jimmie R.
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    Justin J.
  • After running into some trouble with the law, a substance abuse counselor suggested that I check myself into Hathaway Recovery. Hathaway Recovery helped me get my life back together one step at a time. Through discipline, routine, and structure, I can honestly say that this treatment center has helped me tremendously! The staff are very helpful and caring to each person’s needs, and helped me to realize the beauty of living a sober life.

    Josh M.
  • Hathaway Recovery stuff saw potential In me when I couldn’t. They showed me a new way of life, a better life. Coming to Hathaway recovery is the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m beyond grateful for everything the program has done for me!

    Gilberto F.
  • Finally, Hathaway is a Treatment Center that offers a holistic approach to addiction. This center offers a safe place, community and a network to grow with throughout your recovery process. They make you feel that you are NOT alone. The leadership has been in your shoes!!! Hathaway Recovery is more than just a temporary fix, it is a foundation, a movement, a family to be a part of.

    Anthony P.
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    Ashley A.
  • Hathaway Recovery and their staff have been nothing but supportive and understanding throughout our family member’s journey. I truly appreciate all the staff and their hard work. The communication has been great and has provided us a really positive experience. I would highly recommend this facility to anyone looking for a rehabilitation center for themselves or a loved one. Thank you Hathaway Recovery!

    Lilit H.
  • Hathaway Recovery is a very solid, very friendly place. My boyfriend decided to go here and has spent a significant amount of time at the recovery house. They are very good at bringing clients to meetings and on fun outings occasionally! Hathaway is committed to their clients’ recovery and their sobriety and to helping them in any way possible. They go above and beyond for the clients and I definitely would recommend considering Hathaway for your sobriety/recovery.

  • Hathaway is a warm caring treatment oriented environment to receive help from various addictions and behavioral problematic issues. The location itself is serene and safe.. I enjoyed the both staff/professional’s and patient’s… It has many services available, a very unique place… I recommend anyone to come and receive long-term treatment here at Hathaway…

  • Hathaway Recovery is a very solid, very friendly place. My boyfriend decided to go here and has spent a significant amount of time at the recovery house. They are very good at bringing clients to meetings and on fun outings occasionally! Hathaway is committed to their clients’ recovery and their sobriety and to helping them in any way possible. They go above and beyond for the clients and I definitely would recommend considering Hathaway for your sobriety/recovery.

  • “There was no longer any doubt in my mind that I was in the right place for my drug abuse treatment, “Of all the rehabs I could have chosen, I am glad I picked The Hathaway Recovery Support hope respect and care is what i was offered thanks for everything Hathaway recovery you are the best

  • Hathaway Recovery is an awesome place the whole staff has been so helpful they are very professional and very nice Hathaway recovery is a great place to get your addiction treated my brother is doing very well there and we are so glad they were very understanding and willing to help him.

  • A very welcoming environment and kind hearted staff that really took care of my relative and cleaned him up. Thanks Hathaway recovery.

  • When your loved one is sick and needs help you look for the best and I found the best for my son thank you for everything you did for him.


    Hathaway Recovery is an exclusive addiction rehab treatment center in California offering healing recovery from all substances. We’re proud to provide a great combination for drug, alcohol, psychiatric and psychological recovery treatment backed by experts in the addiction treatment field. Our drug and alcohol rehab is built on the cornerstone of care and compassion and accommodates clients and their families from all backgrounds to educate, inform, and create change around substance use disorder. In a secluded mountain hill luxury resort, our facility offers a therapeutic environment and array of clinical modalities to help individuals and their families. Our staff are also multilingual to address the needs of clients from anywhere in the world.

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