Couples Rehab – Starting the Path to Recovery Together

Last Updated: June 3, 2020

Authored by Sharon Levy, MD, MPH

Drug and alcohol addiction affects 23.5 million Americans today, which is why some facilities have started to offer rehab for couples. The decision to enter rehab is a scary and overwhelming one for many, and going through it with a partner can be very comforting. Couples rehab may also provide that extra motivation to people who don’t want to be separated from their partner during treatment.

Signs Rehab for Couples Might Be a Good Idea

couple speaking to a doctorPartnerships where both individuals are struggling with addiction are more common than one can imagine. According to data of the National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center, women who abuse drugs or alcohol are more than twice as likely as men to be with someone who also does. If drug use or drinking is the only fun thing in the relationship, substance use leads to domestic violence, or the partners need to be high or drunk to talk to each other or show affection, this may mean rehab for couples is a good idea. These are far from the only signs of addiction in a relationship, but they are the clearest. Some problems outlined below develop on top of the negative addiction effects, making use more complicated and frequently leading to increased abuse. When it becomes overwhelming, one or both partners might decide to get help from a professional.

Repercussions of Shared Addiction

Shared addiction can have very damaging effects on a relationship, even if the partners make an effort to get it to work. According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, frequent effects of shared addiction include neglecting common responsibilities, such as chores or childcare, spending less and less quality time together, and giving up recreational and leisure activities that the partners used to enjoy because of embarrassing situations caused by substance abuse. It comes to a point where rehab for couples on drugs seems like the only viable option not only for the relationship, but also for each separate partner to survive.

What Is to Be Expected at Couples Rehab Centers?

Most rehab programs for couples are based on BCT, short for behavioral couples therapy. A study published in Addiction Science & Clinical Practice showed that drug abuse and marital problems can “cause a destructive cycle, in which each induces the other.” This form of therapy focuses on “restructuring the interactions of the dysfunctional couple” to promote sobriety. This includes a better understanding of what each other’s triggers are and making efforts to avoid them. Usually, therapy programs begin with the partners going through detox separately, after which they start counseling together. Some forms of inpatient couples drug rehab allow a couple to sleep in the same room, while others require separate rooms. Therapy can also take place in an outpatient setting or with one partner as an outpatient and the other as a resident.
Couple holding hands during therapy

Treatment Length at Drug Rehab Centers for Couples

Treatment can continue from one to nine months, depending on the couple and the program. Partners can expect to attend an average of 15 outpatient sessions over a period of up to six months. Making a “recovery contract” is an important part of BCT. This is where the partners promise each other not to take drugs or drink alcohol and to support his or her sobriety. According to data of the medical journal Science & Practice Perspectives, BCT has resulted in limited substance abuse, increased levels of relationship satisfaction, and reduced instances of domestic violence. The journal also reports that couples rehab produces more effective results than individual counseling. Many studies confirm these findings.

The Outcome of Drug Rehab for Couples

Partners who have a strong relationship and are equally committed to eliminating drugs from their lives can expect excellent outcomes. The most important element of having couples in therapy together is motivation. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that an individual’s motivation to recover from drug abuse is a vital element in therapy, making him or her more likely to complete treatment. This motivation is strengthened in couples rehab if they constantly reaffirm their mutual engagement with therapy and their commitment to one another. Couples therapy has advantages for both partners, such as limiting the risk of relapse, even if only one of them is abusing drugs or alcohol.

When is Couples Drug Rehab Not Recommended?

Behavioral Couples Therapy should not be attempted in relationships with a history of domestic abuse. Moreover, codependent couples may find it challenging to seek treatment together because the more passive partner might find it difficult to speak her mind out of fear of the other person’s reaction, or become more focused on her partner’s recovery than on her own. In some cases, a relapse by one partner might lead the other partner to relapse as well. It is of paramount importance that the patient be in a drug-free environment, because the risk of relapse is most severe during the stabilization period. Both people in couples rehab must be equally committed to a life without drugs. In cases where the individuals have issues that must be dealt with separately, separate living quarters may be arranged. This includes, above all, serious medical or psychological issues.

Different Rates of Recovery

Gay couple during therapyIn rehab for couples, the individuals often recover at different rates, and can end up out of sync. A partner who is moving faster may begin to resent his or her significant other, or one who is recovering more slowly may start suffering from a sense of failure. In these cases, rehab experts recommend individual courses of treatment for partners setting out on the road to recovery. The situation can involve therapy and communication with them together if they are committed to making the relationship work. A regular schedule could include several joint therapy sessions a week and the option to visit one another. Otherwise, the partners would remain in separate parts of the facility in the case of couples’ inpatient rehab or even separate buildings for the main components of the program.

Couples Drug Rehab Facilities

An individual recovery program is a prerequisite for successful addiction treatment of couples. Drug and alcohol addiction treatment facilities that offer couples rehab must have specialized programs. The clinician who operates a couples treatment program must have extensive training in marriage counseling and sexual issues. Below are some details about receiving treatment at two facilities offering rehab for couples.

Stepping Sober

Stepping Sober Recovery Center offers rehab for married couples and partners and coed housing. Treatment starts with inpatient care or detox, usually in a hospital-type setting, and continues for a month. The next step is “day and night” treatment, which is like residential treatment, except the housing and clinical office are in different locations. Stepping Sober offer this treatment in a less strict environment, giving clients more independence. The third stage is intensive outpatient treatment, which is four days a week on average, for three hours each day. At this stage, clients start looking for work, buy their own food and other necessities, and go to 12 step meetings. The fourth stage of treatment is outpatient care, which takes place in a group setting two days a week. The clients have weekly meetings with their individual therapist. Therapy concludes with this stage, which is aimed at reintroducing the individuals into society with the tools and mechanisms of coping they need to live without using drugs.

The Treatment Center

The Treatment Center is a couples rehab facility, which recognizes that every couple, just like every individual, is unique. Their experienced medical staff work directly with couples to get a good grasp of the toxic elements of their relationship and develop a focused plan of treatment to make sure each couple receives personalized care. At this facility, couples can learn new methods of communication, develop accountability tools for maintaining long-term recovery, and practice strategies for adjusting unhealthy behaviors. Specific treatment strategies for partners include medically supervised detox, nutritional education, 24-hour patient monitoring, and addiction counseling. The program for drug rehab for married couples is aimed at rebuilding a relationship by instilling hope that it will work and grow.

The Aftermath of Drug Rehab for Couples

Drug abuse affects relationships in ways that make it hard to go back to the way things were before it started. The risk of relapse is always there even after undergoing rehab, and some emotional injuries cannot be taken back. In addition, the partners might have developed relationship habits that need to be reversed, such as facilitating substance use or becoming codependent on the other person’s substance abuse. If this isn’t achieved, it will be less likely for the partners to recover. This is why one of the main goals of joint therapy in rehab is to help people develop a new relationship standard, including new ways of communicating, and spending time together doing new things that support abstinence. These new behaviors take time to learn, but they can improve a relationship and give the partners ways to maintain a strong bond by supporting each other to maintain sobriety.

A Relationship without Addiction

Happy healthy recovered coupleAlcohol and drug addiction can cause relationships to spiral into depths that neither partner could have imagined were possible. Sometimes people with substance use disorder recognize the visible manifestations of the way dependence has taken a toll on their lives, and these are supplemented by the ever-lingering realization that the desire for drugs is killing them on the inside too. After the initial high is gone, a person feels physically deteriorated and emotionally and mentally drained. Despite the almost insurmountable urge, one always feels the need for change, and the little voice telling them they need professional help cannot be silenced. It is never too late to climb out of the abyss the relationship has fallen in. What people in this situation most often ask themselves is: Will my partner support me?

Life without Drugs

There’s no denying the complexity of addiction. A large number of factors contribute to the drive to abuse a drug or to drink too much. Understanding one’s thoughts about the rehab process is key to successful addiction treatment and recovery. What stops most people from pursuing this option is the doubt in their ability to overcome addiction and being unable to imagine life without one’s substance of choice. After the detox stage, people find they have a lot of free time on their hands. The sheer boredom of this can be crushing. Having a supportive partner can go a long way toward coping in this stage of recovery. If both partners are suffering from addiction, they need to motivate each other to do things that promote sobriety in this period of time instead of dwelling on the negative aspects of the situation. The strength and love partners can offer one another in the process of recovery can be essential. This is a source of motivation, which helps couples recover fully and enjoy life without drugs.

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Published on: May 3rd, 2018

Updated on: June 3rd, 2020

About Author

Sharon Levy, MD, MPH

After successful graduation from Boston University, MA, Sharon gained a Master’s degree in Public Health. Since then, Sharon devoted herself entirely to the medical niche. Sharon Levy is also a certified addiction recovery coach.


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  • Shirlisa Cooper
    Hi, I was looking for rehab for me and my boyfriend of 5 years. We want to kick our dug problems together in rehab. In an in bed couples program. I have medical insurance and he has no Insurance. We both are no working. Can someone please help us get clean together? Thanks so much! Shirlisa and Gabriel
    • Amanda&dakota
      Following this Is the same with my hubby but he is in a detox and I’m not and I really want to but… I tried and I know that I won’t do any good for them until i get done with the withdrawls
  • Kay
    What about rehabs close to savannahs TN for pregnant women on meth
  • jessica beltran
    Me and my have been using meth for a year and in that year we have fallen apart this drug has stole our lives we lost our kids house and everything in it we both agree we are ready to stop and live a better life i dont work and he does odd jobs just to get by and pay our rent. plz help us…
  • Kenneth allen
    Me and my girlfriend wasn’t too hey s fresh start in the new life we want to begin please help us in
  • Crispin Hernandez
    My wife and I both have a drug problem that we are trying to get rid of to better are life’s not only for are self but most importantly for are children but we can’t accomplish it alone we’ve been through withdrawals already and now we are ready to move forward is there any facilities that offer free impatient rehabilitation services?
    • Anne
      My son and his wife are looking for a program such as yours.
    • poor as fu k.
      there is literally no such thing as “free rehab”
  • Sarah Slayton
    When trying to do rehab separately I was on a complete different page than my partner.Then the unspeakable happened the counselor at his rehab started a sexual relationship with him and told him it would be better to not see me. I think that we could of benefited from couples rehab instead.Now we would like to try . Is that possible?
    • Brit
      No you need to leave him he broke your trust and disrespected you as did the counselor she should have her license revoked
  • Melissa Allen
    My husband and I have been together for 11 years, we have used drugs together the whole time. Lately it’s getting harder and harder for me and he feels the same way we have talked about quiting many times but we spend 24 hours a day together and the thought of being apart for 30 to 45 days is terrifying which wpykd not be good for working on our own rehab I just found out there is coupled rehab. Can someone send me some more information on inpatient same room couples rehab. We live in las vegas if that even matters we would travel wherever needed to get clean.
  • Melissa Allen
    Do they have couples rehab where u can bring your dog he’s a rescue and would not do well without me in turn I would not do well wording about him.
    • Cynthia Walsh
      Ms. Allen, I am researching same rehab options for myself & Husband; & to us this is SUCH a valid question! We also have a pet we adopted through rescue. We’re in MA & I am looking into trusted family members & if that’s not an option; I am going to reach out to local MSPCA’s, Pet ‘Fostering’ organizations in the area, etc. ? If you have access to a phone, internet or even trusted others that can help you do the research in your area-I would try it, Honey. Be honest with those you reach out to, Melissa. You may even find a whole new circle of wonderful people when you & your partner accomplish your goals…? I can check back if you like & keep you updated on what I find for our pet. I so Hope this info helps? I only know it’s essential for myself to look into it before any commitment for us. Outstanding question which brings light to all the issues of getting well ❤️ -Cindy & Mike
  • Moses
    Hi I’m inlove with someone who has let our situation get the best of him we both have a drug addiction and no money to help us to kick the sickness. We really need to be togher and help each other to get better please help us when we married I took a vow to love him unconditionally and thats what I’m going to do I believe in him more than he does his self please help us to a road of recovery
  • Christal
    I am looking for a treatment center for me and my boyfriend of 12 years. I have jnsuranice he does not and not working we live in Seattle wa and am sick of this life
  • Angel Trumann
    I am looking for a couple’s rehab in Illinois. My husband and I both struggle w an addiction to meth and we both have separation anxiety. We are both ready to be done w the drug but can’t stand the part of having to do it alone. So please if anyone has any suggestions or knows where we can receive help together, your input would be most welcomed. Desperate in Illinois
  • Jen & Zane B
    My husband and I met clean and sober, we were in love, not even a year after the wedding he relapsed and 3 months later I went down with him. We lost our kids, we were both unfaithful, husband suffered a TBI and we were separated for 4 months after a domestic dispute. I been on and off again clean for 1 year 18 months as soon as he goes back and uses I follow his lead. I love him dearly and I think this program would benefit us. We also have mental health issues we see pysch for meds rapid cycling bipolar and he’s add
  • Krista
    Is there a couple rehab in Arkansas, Missouri. We live near southwest city
  • Michelle Townsend
    My boyfriend and I are looking for an in bed couples rehab in Texas. I have insurance but he doesn’t. I don’t want to go without him. And he says he’s not going without me. If there is any information you could give me on where and how we could both go I’m desperate to know.
  • Jaylette
    Me and my boyfriend of 4yrs are looking to recovery from drinking and we both want to stop together and get some help but we both want a room together. Please some one help us. We have INDAIN HEALTH INSURINCE ACCS. JAYLETTE & RYAN
  • April
    My boyfriend and I of six years have been trying to look into couples rehab for our heroin/meth addiction going on three years. We both have OHP and live in Oregon. We want this desperately so we can get our beautiful life back but we know now we can’t do it alone!
  • Mandy
    I have a alcohol addiction that is shared with my husband. I’m ready to get sober. I dont know if he’s ready. I feel that if we do it together w we would have more luck.
  • Stephen Alexander
    Me my girlfriend and or dog which we consider our son want to get into a couple’s same bed rehab she is an addict addicted to Alcohol and meth , I’m addicted to meth we both been using a long time . Could someone please help we both have Ins
  • Melissa
    Is there any coupled rehad close to el Paso tx.. it’s in much need..
  • Erica Robinette
    Was wondering where the closest couples rehab is to where i live? In mason city iowa. Me and my boyfriend wanna beat this drug addiction n prove yo everyone were better then this!
  • Paige Parker
    Paige n Randy Parker married 13yrs an both have always done drugs before we were married. We have known each other our entire lives. We have loved each other since we was in middle school. He was married an had kids once before an I was also married an had kids once before. Our children are grown an moved out.i have a 19yr old son who still lives home cause he is autistic. Also Randy is a honorable discharged veterane. Mariane fought for 4yrs. We love each other we are so alike both our birthdays are may 16,1972 an both 47 I’m actually hourer or so older than him. We are each other’s other half. We also have a 6yr old grandson who we won’t to get clean an travel with him. Please contact us also I have medicaide he has Medicare. An gets VA disability an SS disability money. Please help us find a place in South Carolina that accepts married couples an our insurance. This is only hope if we can’t find something we are both just going to laydown an die together. Please contact us an help us. Thank you PAIGE AN RANDY PARKER
  • maureen buchanan
    my boyfriend and I are looking for a rehabe to we can go to together. we also have a dog. can you please help us?
  • Niki
    Any places near Longview Washington? Where we can stay together?
  • Iris gibson
    Looking for place for my son his wife that have 3 little girls that being cared for by family need place tthat can recanize what ill
  • Ryan Cantrell
    My wife and I are from Illinois and I was released from jail yesterday and she will be released in the morning. it was NOT a violent NOR a sexual offense. We been married 8 years and within past 8month got addicted and our 2 little girls taken. We are ready to change but hate the fact we have to be apart but want to work on this marriage while we recover. We Need your Help. Please Help Us
  • Jonathan Ulmer
    Do yall except medicade
  • Me and Her
    I’m looking for a couples rehab that is LGBTQ friendly and has shared sleeping arrangements. We’re in WV but could travel if state Medicaid is accepted. Please help.
  • Ken
    My ex wife and myself want to find a couples program preferably close to Arkansas . I have ambetter and she has nothing now but should be able to get ambetter. . We both do good in recovery together. We went to dr Paul’s in st Pete’s beach with good results . . Any suggestions or help appreciated
  • Rebecca Croft
    Trying to find a couples Rehab near me. I live in Van Buren Ar. Preferably a rehab where married couples share a room