addiction | couples therapy

Addiction | Couples Therapy

The stories of addiction are many, varied and happen every day:

  • A glass of wine has turned into drinking a bottle to take the edge off her day;
  • Picking up her kids from school, nobody suspects she is high on pain killers;
  • Using porn compulsively is making him feel isolated and afraid of being discovered;
  • Never happy in the current relationship she has an affair;
  • Facing financial ruin, he is on another shopping spree.

Do any of these stories sound familiar?  Do you know someone who fits these examples?  Is your relationship at a crossroads because you and/or your partner is no longer a priority as the addiction has become consuming?

The feeling of loneliness, isolation and fear you may feel as your happiness and sense of direction in life are being compromised by your own, or a loved ones, consumption or compulsive behavior can be overwhelming.

Substances, legal or illegal, can be addictive, but also behaviors, such as porn, gambling, internet surfing, eating, shopping, work, and even exercise can become problematic, as can any kind of consumption or behavior that has negative consequences in your life.  The cycle of addiction is characterized by desire or cravings, which leads to compulsive actions to satisfy the desire.  This will persist even in the face of serious and often devastating consequences.

Sex addiction has become popularized as a diagnosis, but we feel that there are many issues connected with labeling sex as an addiction.  We have clients who feel that their sexual behaviors are problematic, and/or their behavior has a compulsive component that is interfering with their lives.  However, much like food it not the issue in eating disorders, sex is not the issue when clients find their sexual behaviors problematic.  The underlying issues include stress, anxiety, relational problems, power dynamics, depression and shame, to mention a few.

You can get temporary relief by using, but you can’t get lasting satisfaction, or feel any deep, meaningful connection with yourself and others.  It is all a downward spiral where the longer you put off addressing the core issues, the more pain, and the more compulsion to use.  You seek meaning and intimacy the best way you know how, but just keep feeling empty and alone, while the negative consequences keep growing.

Confronting addiction can feel overwhelming, and feelings of guilt, shame and anger are common.  We have deep expertise helping clients with these issues, and engage you and your partner in the treatment process.  As appropriate we also work with treatment centers and consult with other specialists as needed.

We will support you as you face underlying feelings, modify attitudes and behaviors related to addiction, and increase healthy habits and skills.  You and your partner can work through these difficult issues with caring and competent support.

Questions for Thought

Below are a few questions that are intended to help you consider your personal situation more closely.  If you are ready to improve and live your life to the fullest, we encourage you to contact us to discuss how we can best help.

  • How many days in a week do you and/or your partner drink?
  • When you do drink, how many drinks do each of you normally have?
  • How often do either of you have more than 4 drinks in a night?
  • Can you or your partner get through the week without using alcohol?
  • How often do you both use illegal drugs?
  • Do you use more than one drug at a time?
  • Can you get through the week without using drugs?
  • Have you ever abused a prescription drug?
  • Does your partner know about your drug use?
  • Has your drug use interfered with your work?
  • Have you or your partner driven a car under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
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