How to Cope with Spouse Addiction

In relationships, we expect our spouse to help us grow and fulfill us. You commit to your partner because you love and care for them. But, coping with spouse addiction can put a strain on the marriage. And, you may find yourself asking, can a marriage survive drug addiction?

It can be difficult seeing signs of drug use in your spouse. When your spouse struggles with substance use disorder, it also directly affects you. It’s not easy coping with spouse addiction. But we are here to tell you that you don’t have to struggle alone. 

Although it is difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel, getting help is the first step to restoring your marriage. Each situation is unique. However, some techniques can help everyone. Keep reading to learn the signs of drug use in your spouse and how a marriage can survive drug addiction.

Physical Signs of Drug Use in Your Spouse

The physical signs may include:

The physical signs of drug use in your spouse may be the easiest to spot. Changes in the appearance and actions of a spouse can confirm your suspicions of substance use disorder.

Behavioral Signs of Drug Use in Your Spouse

Sometimes your spouse can maintain their physical appearance, but eventually, you will notice behavioral changes. After all, you know your spouse’s habits and behaviors. So, if you see the following signs, it may mean they have a substance use disorder.

Learn the signs of drug use in your spouse

Psychological Signs of Drug Use in Your Spouse

Watch for the following signs:

Substance use disorder can take a toll on your spouse’s mental health. Both short-term and long-term changes to the brain happen with chronic use of substances such as opiates and cocaine. Although psychological issues are typically the last sign you notice, they lead to various mental health disorders. 

How Substance Use Disorder Affects a Marriage

Addiction can leave you asking, can a marriage survive drug addiction. Besides causing irreparable damage to the relationship, it can turn your spouse into a stranger. However, this change doesn’t happen overnight and is often a result of various factors. 

Emotional Distance

One important way addiction affects marriage is by interfering with their emotional connection. It is common for someone struggling with substance use disorder to withdraw and isolate themselves from loved ones. Your spouse may even lie to you when trying to hide their addiction. These factors can cause a lack of intimacy and an emotional distance. And without treatment, the emotional distance may become too great to overcome. 

Physical, Mental, and Sexual Abuse

For some, the effects of substance use disorder may also include mental, physical, or sexual abuse. Although not everyone who struggles with substance use disorder is abusive, it does increase the risk of abuse in the marriage. If coping with spouse addiction includes abuse, seek help immediately. 

Financial Troubles

Feeding an addiction can be very expensive. Money is often the topic of most arguments. When your spouse spends money on drugs or alcohol, it can cause additional problems. 

The money spent to fuel their addiction can be used on other things such as bills or food for the family. A spouse who struggles with substance use disorder is also typically at risk of losing their job. As a result, the stress of not paying bills or having money for food can severely affect a marriage.

Supporting a Partner Without Enabling Them

Enabling is when one partner makes it possible for the other to use drugs or alcohol without the consequences. Enabling is often unintentional, and the enabler typically doesn’t realize they are doing it. For this reason, it’s important to know the signs and behaviors of enabling. 

Examples of enabling behaviors include:

Codependency and Coping with Spouse Addiction

Behavioral Signs of Drug Use in Your Spouse

Codependency is a relationship where one partner is physically or emotionally needy, while the other partner spends most of their time catering to these needs. Consequently, this has negative effects on their life, activities, and other relationships. 

When a codependent partner enables their partner, it leads to a toxic pattern. As a result, it is easier to continue destructive behaviors. 

Types of codependent behaviors include:

Can a Marriage Survive Drug Addiction

Yes, your marriage can survive a substance use disorder. However, the spouse struggling with addiction must admit they have a problem and seek help. While you can’t fix your spouse’s addiction, there are ways you can help them. 

Get Educated on Substance Use Disorder

Substance use disorder is a chronic disorder. Therefore, it’s essential to learn everything you can about addiction and its treatment. The more you know, the more you will understand your spouse’s behaviors and help them recover.

Set Boundaries

Although it is human nature to care for someone who’s sick, this can worsen your spouse’s addiction. You can love your spouse without enabling them. The best thing you can do for them and you is to set boundaries. Be strict and set clear consequences when boundaries are crossed. 

Plan an Intervention

An interventionist is professionally trained to help those struggling with substance use disorder accept treatment. If you’ve tried everything and your spouse still refuses help, you may need to stage an intervention. Coping with spouse addiction can be so overwhelming that without help, the marriage may end in divorce. The exp ectations and consequences outlined in an intervention may finally make your spouse realize they need help.

ow Substance Use Disorder Affects a Marriage

Help Yourself While Coping with Spouse Addiction

If you are struggling with signs of drug use in your spouse, there are things you can do to protect and heal yourself. It isn’t easy coping with spouse addiction. For this reason, it’s essential to practice self-care. 

Practice Healthy Habits 

Coping with spouse addiction can take its toll emotionally and physically. For this reason, self-awareness is critical during this time. The mind and body are connected. So be honest with how you are feeling and how often you are practicing self-care. 

Even though life is crazy enough without dealing with signs of drug use in your spouse, you should always find time to care for yourself. Making sure your marriage can survive drug addiction generally means you put your needs on hold. However, this unhealthy pattern of behavior can quickly become overwhelming. 

Simple self-care habits can include:

Set Boundaries and Do Not Budge

When coping with spouse addiction, it is crucial to set and enforce boundaries. One of the many signs of drug use in your spouse is to test limits. Additionally, substance use disorder rewires the brain, which leads to toxic behaviors. 

In the same way, supporting your spouse is important, so do not let your spouse take advantage of you. Be absolutely clear about what will and will not be acceptable behavior and the consequences. If a boundary is crossed, then enforce the consequence. 

Do Not Play the Blame Game

The blame game is typical when coping with spouse addiction. You blame them for their addiction, and they blame you for making them misuse drugs or alcohol. No one wins in the blame game. It only reinforces toxic and defensive behaviors.

It is crucial to learn healthy communication skills. This will allow for productive conversations that result in a solution. And then you can answer yes when asked can a marriage survive drug addiction.

Recovering after Coping with Spouse Addiction

Whether your spouse ends up in treatment for substance use disorder or you part ways, you need to heal from coping with spouse addiction. You may have dealt with verbal or physical abuse, manipulation, and daily blame. However, there are various ways to heal.

Support Groups

Support groups give you a safe space to express your fears and struggles of coping with spouse addiction. According to Project Know, the recovery for the spouse is similar to that of the spouse struggling with addiction. Both partners must admit there is a problem, learn about addiction’s role in the dysfunction, and adopt new coping skills. 


Al-Anon is a support group for friends and family of people struggling with substance use disorder. Here people share their experiences, their strengths and support others along their recovery journey. 

Couples Therapy

Couple therapy or marriage therapy is a form of psychotherapy that helps build healthy relationships. Addiction, for instance, creates negative behavior patterns, resentment, and unhealthy communication skills. Couples therapy can build healthy communication skills and build goals for the future.

Goals of couples therapy include:

Treatment programs often include couples therapy as part of their family therapy program. If you seek couples therapy outside of the treatment center, it’s crucial to inform each therapist of the other. 

Treating Both Addiction and the Marriage at Sana Lake BWC

At Sana Lake BWC, We understand the struggles of coping with spouse addiction. Our comprehensive treatment programs heal not only the one struggling with addiction but also their spouse. Contact us today and find out how we can help you and your marriage.