All marriages, partnerships, and families have a degree of difficulty. Problems in relationships can be a stimulus for renewing drug or alcohol abuse. Using can provide a temporary false sense of increased self-esteem and a way to exert control in relationships. Using can be an unhealthy way to reduce anger or an escape from relationship unhappiness. Unhappiness and anger in relationships are cues for you to take action and seek specialized help or counseling for your relationship (Beck, Wright, Newman, & Liese, 1993).
During a cycle of drug and alcohol abuse, relationships are often damaged. You have come through withdrawal and are no longer feeling ill, irritable, and depressed. You are no longer using. As a result of reading, taking courses, and some counseling you are developing improved communication skills and rational thinking. You can now
talk calmly with your partner or family about how to improve your relationships and move past the addiction. It is time to make a formal plan with your partner or family. Refer to Chapter 9 and the section on mutual goal setting to get started.