Does Your Spouse’s Addiction Have to Lead to Divorce?

Addiction and Divorce
Written by Christina Moore

Let’s be honest: divorce is the fate of about half the people who attempt marriage. Second and third marriages fair even worse. Church affiliation and faith in a higher power do not change the equation…

Let’s be honest: divorce is the fate of about half the people who attempt marriage. Second and third marriages fair even worse. Church affiliation and faith in a higher power do not change the equation. There are many things that lead to divorce. Some of them are very definitive like finances. Others are harder to nail down like irreconcilable differences. But the one people seem to be most confused about, and that carries the most risk, is alcohol or drug addiction.

It is confusing because addiction is a disease. We normally wouldn’t consider one spouse suffering from a disease to be grounds for divorce. We want to help that person get better. We have likely made a vow to stay with them through sickness and in health. If addiction is sickness, then we are honor bound to stay.

It is risky because a person addicted to a mind-altering chemical can become suddenly and extremely violent without warning or provocation. They lose their faculties for good judgement, and cannot be fully trusted in that condition.

Treatment is the key to unlocking the confusion. You don’t have to abandon the person you love if you can get them the help they need. There are many treatment types and facilities available. Crestview Recovery states that approximately 23,000,000 people currently suffer from addiction. They offer treatment for:

Prescription drug abuse
Co-occurring disease
Getting your loved one into a successful treatment program is the key to saving your marriage. If treatment is not an option, divorce becomes the wisest course of action. Here’s why:


Financial stress is already one of the top reasons for divorce. Psychology Today offers this observation and advice:

If you have problems managing your money, you and your partner probably argue frequently about money. Added to this, a struggling economy only makes things worse. If you know that money management is a true problem, you must confront the issue head on immediately.

Unfortunately, bad financial habits and ideologies are not learned in a day. Like language patterns, they are learned from childhood, and over the course of a lifetime. If a couple is financially incompatible before marriage, there is a good chance that the situation will only get worse after marriage, not better.

Add some expensive addiction into the mix, and things go from bad to worst to disastrous. Among other things, drugs are expensive. You probably can’t afford the habit. Unchecked, an addiction leads not only to a divorce lawyer but the poorhouse.


An inebriated parent is a bad parent. Part of what makes this so is the unpredictability of a person under the influence. In that condition, a correction can turn into a shout, can turn into a violent act. The normal filters that keep this kind of thing from happening are no longer in place.

There is also the matter of trust and responsibility. An inebriated person cannot be trusted with any responsibility. They can’t drive the kids to school. They can’t be expected to feed the kids, or provide needed medication. You can never trust an inebriated person with the care of your children, even if that person is the parent of those children.


Once a person is addicted to something that alters their perception of the world, their perceptions of the world can no longer be trusted. We make judgements based on our understanding of the world. Altered perceptions necessarily lead to poor judgements.

A person whose judgement you cannot trust is unfit for any duty involving responsibility and good judgement. This is why getting treatment is so important. A person with a disease such as cancer is not actively sabotaging your life. They just need your help. A person addicted to drugs may well be engaging in active sabotage. They also need your help. But they additionally need professional, medical help.

Refusing that help means that your spouse will make the financial situation much worse, make raising your children much more difficult, and cause you to question all of their judgements. No marriage can be expected to survive under all that weight, not even yours.

Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life — Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.TM Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.

1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?

That we have to all appreciate the little things and to not take anything for granted.

2. What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?

I’m blessed to have loving family and friends in my life.

3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?

Graduating from Arizona State University in 2013

4. We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth–we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are–your Identity?

Nobody’s perfect and it’s been hard to accept it. I’ve learned to embrace my curly hair, my curves and my quirky personality.

5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”

I love my unwavering intensity. Everything I do is 100 percent.

About the author

Christina Moore

Christina Moore is a part time blogger and full time adventurer! Originally from the east coast, she now resides in San Diego. If she's not writing you can find her on the beach soaking up the sun.