Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

How Does Addiction Affect Marriage?

Marriage is a challenging, yet rewarding relationship. Traditional wedding vows ask people, “Will you take this person in sickness and in health?”. The people who wrote those vows probably did not think that the disease of addiction would fall under the category of sickness. Addiction is a family disease, and since spouses are one of the most immediate family members, they are at the eye of the storm.


The sad reality for most people is that they hurt the most when they get hit in the wallet. While many addicted individuals can maintain a job or even a career (e.g., law, medicine, business, etc.), many addicted individuals struggle to keep a job. Addiction is a progressive disease. Addicted individuals who are able to maintain employment in the beginning stages of their addiction may progress to the point that they cannot. The weight of the finances may fall entirely on the non-addicted spouse, who may not make enough money to support the entire household.

Addiction rehabilitation facilities and other treatment methods are expensive. Many people do not completely recover during their first stint in rehab. Multiple attempts at getting into recovery can accrue a lot of debt.

Sharing of Responsibilities

In the disease of addiction, the alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex/pornography, shopping, etc. take precedence over any other responsibility. The addicted individual will most likely not prioritize having to pick up the kids from school, cleaning the house, making dinner, doing laundry, etc. The non-addicted spouse will have to take on many -if not all- of the responsibilities, which will put a strain on the relationship.


Alcohol and drugs impair judgment. Excessive alcohol and drug use can make people emotionally or physically abusive, even if they are not typically disposed to such behavior.


Addiction has a significant effect on intimacy because it brews resentment in relationships. Sex and pornography addictions tend to damage sexual relationships because the monogamous partners are appalled by the idea that their addicted partner is cheating and fears contracting sexually-transmitted diseases. Addiction can cause the non-addicted spouse to dread the site of their addicted spouse.

Help for Marriages Affected by Addiction

Though addiction is a bear to overcome, recovery is possible. Since addiction is a family disease, the family members need to get help as well, even if the active user never successfully recovers. Al-Anon, Nar-Anon Codependent’s Anonymous (CODA), and other support groups are available for families. There are also many different inpatient and outpatient treatment options for those who are suffering from addiction. For example, one outpatient solution to help opioid addiction is suboxone, which has helped many opiate addicts to rebuild their lives by allowing them to have the physiological component of addiction addressed while they are taking care of the psychological component. Addiction does not have to be an end to a marriage and the destruction of a family; hope and recovery are within reach.

If your marriage is on the rocks, whether from a spouse’s addiction or any other cause, it may be a good idea to consider counseling before calling it quits. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.


Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.
Tim Esterdahl

Find Us on Social Media

Please be advised this week April 22-26 IFCS is unable to accept clothing donations as we are preparing for our Mother’s Day program. Clothing donations will be accepted again Monday, April 29 at 8:00am. As always, thank you for your support! ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

A shout out to Todd who is always willing & ready to help secure food for The Market. Thanks Man! That's a few pallets of milk, pork and vegetables you see there 🙂 ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

We are joining forces with Arapahoe Libraries to offer career services workshops. Our first event is May 7th 4pm-6pm at IFCS' Englewood location. Join us and make your cover letter and resume stand out from the rest! ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

IFCS On Twitter

Looking for a job? We are joining forces with Arapahoe Libraries to offer career services workshops. Our first event is May 7th 4pm-6pm at IFCS' Englewood location. Join us and make your cover letter and resume stand out from the rest!

Don't forget we are helping moms on #MothersDay. Click the link below to find out how you can be a part of making it a special day!

Please help us help others! We decided on donations to fill the shelves of the Food Market. Organizing a drive is a great way to see firsthand how community support is vital to reducing hunger. Learn more at
#charity #dogood #endhunger #colorado #littleton

Load More...

Key Sponsors

Our Affliations




Sign Up for our eNewsletter

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter
For Email Marketing you can trust

USDA Non-Discrimination Policy

IFCS follows the USDA non-discrimination policy. Learn more by clicking here to read the statement. (PDF)