Substance abuse disorders affect a great deal of the United States population. In some areas, addiction is even considered an epidemic. Addiction is a chronic illness with a high rate of relapse, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope. Rehabilitation centers use a comprehensive mix of medical treatment and mental health evaluation to give you the tools you need for recovery. There are some scenarios in which a couple might both be addicted to drugs, and both of them wish to enter a treatment program together. Whether this is the best option depends largely on the couple. These are some scenarios when a drug rehab for couples might be good and bad.
When a married or deeply committed couple are both addicts, the chances for relapse become much higher. Any individuals who struggle with addiction while being closely bonded will have a harder time with their recovery than they would alone. On the one hand, they have their partner to encourage them. On the other hand, their worry about their partner or unhealthy relationship dynamics might drive them to relapse.
The Pros and Cons of Drug Rehab for Couples
When a closely bonded couple are both addicts, the involved parties will have a much more difficult time giving up their addictions. You’ll see this in less extreme scenarios with couples attempting to give up smoking. If only one member of the household smokes, it’s easier to break the habit than if that household member is around smoke all the time.
If both parties in a committed couple have an addiction, and they want to stay in their relationship and foster a healthy dynamic, then both parties must receive addiction treatment at the same time. Both parties must also be committed to their own treatment plans and to providing a healthy environment for their partner.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that they must go to the same inpatient facility, however. There are some pros and cons to couples being treated at the same facility. Whether treatment at the facility is the best option will vary depending on the exact relationship circumstances.
The Positive of Couples’ Rehab
For many couples, especially married couples who have been together for a long time, each party’s spouse is their main form of emotional support. If both people are committed to their addiction treatment plan, and they want to help their partner be healthy, a couples’ rehab may be a good idea.
The main key here is that each member of the couple must provide emotional support to the other. With some couples, there will be uneven dynamics in which one partner asks for more than they’re willing to give. This can leave the other partner feeling tired, resentful, and unsupported. Such a dynamic is more likely to result in a relapse.
If a couple goes to a rehab facility together, their comprehensive treatment programs can include specialized forms of therapy. There’s an increased opportunity for each person to work together. This can be an exciting, encouraging, and joyful time. Many couples who struggle with addiction will find themselves looking forward to their sober relationship and environment more than they ever have before. They’ll make plans for the future, implement environmental changes that make them happy, and work on applying cognitive tools to their everyday lives.
Couples who go to treatment together won’t be with each other every step of the way, though. Each person will be given a treatment plan of their own. This will involve individual therapy sessions, group therapy sessions, and creative therapy. Couples’ counseling will be just one aspect of a much larger program. If the couple has children or relatives they need to reconcile with, family therapy can be conducted with everyone at once.
When each member of a couple goes to a different treatment facility, they lose the opportunity to work together on their recovery. However, this can sometimes be the best option for the health of the individual people.
The Negatives of Couples’ Rehab
Sometimes, unhealthy relationship dynamics will carry over into couples’ therapy. If both people are treated at the same center, the more vulnerable person’s treatment plan might be adversely affected. This is common in particularly codependent relationships, or relationships in which one individual relies much more heavily on the other, rather than the dynamic being balanced and equal.
For a couple to work together in treatment, they need to both have the same healthy mindset. They both need to say: “Okay, I want to get healthy, and I want my partner to get healthy, because I want what’s best for them. I will work together with my partner to learn how we can both be healthy.”
If both people don’t have this mindset, things can devolve quickly. This is especially true in relationships with uneven emotional dynamics. Sometimes, one partner is more likely to shut down when confronted by the other partner’s anger. In the context of a treatment facility, where it’s important that everyone feel safe and open with their emotions, the psychological consequences can be detrimental.
It’s a sad fact that in the majority of these cases, the couple will be better off splitting up. A couple that does not want to heal together is an unhealthy couple, and if they have no interest in becoming healthy, the relationship is unlikely to be sustainable. In most cases, when these kinds of couples stay together, one or both parties is much more vulnerable to relapse after they are discharged.
If you aren’t sure whether couples’ rehab would be best for you, see if you can get a mental health evaluation for you and your partner. Ask a substance abuse counselor to give you a recommendation regarding how you should proceed. Whatever choice you make, it should be the best choice for all involved people, not just one person.
If you’re ready to learn more about your treatment options, we have trained counselors available 24/7. Give us a call at 877-978-3148