Willa was married to an alcoholic for over 25 years. They married young and had three children together…He drank every day and had problems controlling the amount he drank. Their marriage ended in divorce, with alcohol being a large contributing factor, along with other behaviors, which became out of control. To read more of Willa’s story, go to HeroesInRecovery.com

When you struggle with substance abuse, the problem touches every area of your life. It touches the lives of your loved ones. Addiction disrupts home and family life. It hurts relationships with parents, children, spouses and friends.Even though you still love your family, you will prioritize your drug use. Drugs become your focus. People can no longer trust or rely on you. You may become unpredictable and moody, or you may simple be either emotionally or physically absent. Because of your addiction, you may face divorce or loss of custody. You put your and your family’s health at risk. Learn more about how substance abuse creates family and marital problems. Use this knowledge as motivation for getting help and ending addiction today.

Substance Abuse Puts Your Partner at Risk

Young black couple arguingIt’s easy to convince yourself that substance abuse only hurts you. Your drug or alcohol abuse does strain your physical and mental health. However it also puts your partner at risk. The National Institute on Drug Abuse shares, “Drug use increases risk for getting or passing on viral infections. People can get or pass on a viral infection when they inject drugs and share needles or other drug equipment. Drugs also impair judgment and can cause people to make unwise, unprotected choices related to intimate contact with an infected partner.”1 You are at increased risk for diseases like HIV and hepatitis. These diseases can then be passed on to loved ones.

Your substance use harms your loved one emotionally as well. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration explains that in partners of addicts, “Psychological consequences may include denial or protection of the person with the substance abuse problem, chronic anger, stress, anxiety, hopelessness, inappropriate sexual behavior, neglected health, shame, stigma, and isolation.”2 These are serious health concerns. When you struggle with addiction, your partner also suffers. Your partner may turn to substance use or other unhealthy behaviors in an attempt to cope.

Physical and mental health problems can overlap when substance abuse is involved. The likelihood of domestic abuse increases in home where substance abuse is present. Even if you think you would never intentionally harm a loved one, consider how much your substance use has already changed what you say and do. The American Society of Addiction Medicine reports: “Many episodes of intimate partner violence (IPV) involve alcohol and/or illicit drug consumption. Research has found that on days of heavy drug and/or alcohol use, physical violence was 11 times more likely among IPV batterers and victims.”3 Substance use twists healthy relationships. Both partners become trapped by drugs and the problems they cause. Violence also spreads to children and impacts how they view the world. Growing up in an abusive and addicted home puts them at risk for more of both in the future.

Healing the Family

Your family does not have to fall apart because of substance abuse. You can get help for yourself or your loved one. You can use treatment as an opportunity to rebuild relationships. You can find emotional, physical and mental health for everyone involved. Call Black Bear Lodge to learn more about including family in your treatment program. You can overcome the problems caused by substance abuse. We can help.


1 National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Drug Use and Viral Infections.” Mar. 2017. Accessed 10 Sep. 2017.

2 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Impact of Substance Abuse on Families.” Treatment Improvement Protocol Series, No. 39. 2004. Accessed 10 Sep. 2017.

3 Soper, Richard. “Intimate Partner Violence and Co-Occurring Substance Abuse/Addiction.” American Society of Addiction Medicine. 6 Oct. 2014. Accessed 10 Sep. 2017.