When addiction or problem use is present, most spousal
relationships will eventually become strained. When both partners are
experiencing challenges with substances there will be varying levels of functioning
between the partners. These levels of functional behavior may surge positively
and spiral down negatively seemingly out of the blue. However, there is almost
always an enabling pattern present.
wife is my rock and takes care of daily living when I am hung over.
husband provides the foundation when I am on a binge.
Habitual leveling off is common for those who are at a stage where
maintenance of home and employment is still evident. These leveling off periods
are what keep two addicted spouses engaged. However, when only one individual
has acknowledged addiction or problems with use, the movement between lower
functioning and upswings causes a higher level of emotional strain then does
the functional rhythm in coupled addicts.
Historical relationships often play a role in partner selection
and in communication patterns. The historical relationships of significance are
early childhood (caregivers) and pre-teen/adolescent relationships.
A common theme is for partners to use substances together early in relationships. Over time, however, one may develop patterns of substance abuse while the other partner gravitates toward the role of caregiver (maintaining the home, finances and childcare.)