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Divorce and Addiction: Challenges & Solutions

Divorce and Addiction: Challenges & Solutions
Written by Seth Fletcher on August 4, 2022
Last update: May 15, 2024

Addiction not only affects you as an individual, but it distresses your whole family. It won’t come as a surprise that divorce constitutes a common outcome of substance abuse in married couples. This legal separation is also one of the biggest changes in life, just like attaining sobriety in your recovery process. Read along as we navigate the realities, challenges and solutions of divorce and addiction!

Table of contents

1. What Is the Relationship Between Divorce and Addiction?
2. Effects of Divorce on Addiction
3. Strategies for Dealing With Divorce and Addiction

What Is the Relationship Between Divorce and Addiction?

The stress of a divorce would bring out underlying emotions in anyone. Drug and alcohol abuse impacts marriages, but did you know that addiction is actually higher among divorcees? Studies show a link between breakups and the beginning of drug or alcohol habits, as it seems to be a predictor of addiction.

If you struggle with recovery, substance abuse can become a coping mechanism during these troubling times in your relationship. If you are divorcing with a person that has an addiction, you must be aware of the potential difficulties the divorce will generate to learn how to handle the situation.

Effects of Divorce on Addiction

Going through a divorce constitutes a form of grief for what is lost, whether it be companionship, lifestyle, status, past shared experiences… This affects your brain with hormones, and you may begin to feel various side effects such as fatigue, insomnia, and anxiety. 

Obviously, if you experience this life-altering adjustment, your vision of the world changes, as do your coping mechanisms. This therefore places you in a position of vulnerability to drug and alcohol consumption and opens you up to a greater risk of addiction. Stress and emotional upheaval can lead to a relapse for an addicted person.

Facing loss and combatting addiction all at once can sometimes seem like everything is falling apart. Emotional strain, financial preoccupations, changes in the relationship with your children are all immense triggers which can easily derail your recovery during the divorce process. 

Strategies for Dealing With Divorce and Addiction

Getting through this difficult period in your life may be hard, but it’s most definitely possible with the right tools and support. The main element in dealing with divorce and addiction is just that, support.

Counselling from professionals will enable you to foresee the warning signs of relapse and aid in preventing it as well as provide a helping hand in maintaining your mental health. Relying on loves ones, family and friends has also shown to offer better outcomes for addiction. Did you know that after they file for divorce men are 9 times more likely to have suicidal thoughts? Hence the importance of focusing on your mental health if you are of that gender!

In learning strategies for coping with divorce, it is also crucial to acknowledge feelings. They are normal; emotions run high at every stage of the divorce process. Attempting to shy away from what you’re feeling isn’t productive. Instead, work on finding healthy distractions and keeping up with productive lifestyle choices, while embracing what’s going on inside.

Keeping a clear head during trying legal, financial, emotional, and administrative times remains quintessential to make sure you optimize the results of your common decisions.

Remember, even if you don’t always feel up to seeing people and family members, avoid isolation that can lead to loneliness. Foster self-care through meditation, hobbies, and self-reinvention. Try transforming change into a positive light, creating opportunities to improve your life rather than focusing on what’s lost.

CCFA Is Here to Support You

Need help constructing an idea of what your future can be like post-divorce and post-addiction? Let our team at the Canadian Centre for Addictions help you pilot your way through this trying period thanks to various treatment programs. Contact us now to discuss treatment options at 1-855-499-9446!

Certified Addiction Counsellor

Seth brings many years of professional experience working the front lines of addiction in both the government and privatized sectors.

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