The Connection Between Addiction and Domestic Abuse

Written by Will Long

Domestic abuse and addiction are two complex issues that often go hand in hand, creating a destructive cycle that can be challenging to overcome. At JourneyPure At The River, we specialize in addressing the unique needs of individuals who have experienced both trauma and substance abuse. Our goal is to provide a safe, nurturing environment where clients can heal, grow, and build the foundation for a healthier future.

Understanding Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse, or intimate partner violence (IPV), is a pattern of behavior used by one partner to exert power and control over the other. This abuse can manifest in various forms, including:

  • Physical abuse: Any intentional use of physical force to cause harm, such as hitting, pushing, or choking.
  • Emotional abuse: Non-physical behaviors designed to undermine the victim’s self-worth, such as constant criticism, humiliation, or manipulation.
  • Sexual abuse: Forcing or coercing a partner into sexual activities without their consent.
  • Economic abuse: Controlling the victim’s access to financial resources, preventing them from working, or exploiting their assets.
  • Psychological abuse: Intimidation, threats, and other tactics used to instill fear and maintain control.

Victims of domestic abuse often feel trapped and powerless, believing that they have no way out of their situation.

Domestic abuse, or intimate partner violence (IPV), is a pattern of behavior used by one partner to exert power and control over the other
Domestic abuse, or intimate partner violence (IPV), is a pattern of behavior used by one partner to exert power and control over the other

The Cycle of Abuse

Domestic abuse typically follows a predictable pattern known as the cycle of abuse, which consists of three distinct phases:

  • Tension building: During this phase, the abuser becomes increasingly agitated and irritable, often criticizing and blaming their partner for minor issues. The victim may feel like they are walking on eggshells, trying to avoid triggering an outburst.
  • Incident of abuse: The tension culminates in an explosive episode of abuse, which can be physical, emotional, sexual, or a combination of these. This is the most dangerous phase of the cycle.
  • Reconciliation or “honeymoon” phase: Following the abusive incident, the abuser often expresses remorse, apologizes profusely, and promises to change. They may shower the victim with affection and gifts, leading the victim to believe that the abuse was an isolated incident and that their partner truly loves them.

Without intervention, the cycle of abuse will continue to repeat itself, with the abusive incidents often escalating in frequency and severity over time.

The Role of Substance Abuse

Substance abuse and domestic violence often co-occur, with each issue exacerbating the other. Some ways in which addiction and domestic abuse are interconnected include:

  • Substance abuse as a trigger for violence: Abusers may use alcohol or drugs as an excuse for their violent behavior, claiming that they were not in control of their actions while under the influence.
  • Increased aggression: Substance abuse can lower inhibitions and increase aggression, making abusive incidents more likely to occur and potentially more severe.
  • Coping mechanism for victims: Victims of domestic abuse may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to numb the pain and cope with the trauma of their situation. This self-medication can quickly lead to addiction, compounding the challenges they face.
  • Financial strain: Substance abuse can lead to financial difficulties, which can further trap victims in abusive relationships by making it harder for them to leave and support themselves independently.

Barriers to Seeking Help

Despite the severe consequences of domestic abuse and addiction, many victims face significant barriers to seeking help, such as:

  • Fear of retaliation: Victims may worry that their abuser will become even more violent if they attempt to leave or seek assistance.
  • Financial dependence: Abusers often control the household finances, making it difficult for victims to access the resources they need to escape.
  • Lack of support systems: Victims may feel isolated and alone, particularly if their abuser has systematically cut them off from friends and family.
  • Shame and stigma: The shame and stigma surrounding both domestic abuse and addiction can prevent individuals from reaching out for help, as they may feel that they are to blame for their situation.
  • Hope for change: During the reconciliation phase of the abuse cycle, victims may genuinely believe that their abuser will change, leading them to stay in the relationship despite the ongoing harm.

The Importance of Integrated Treatment

At JourneyPure At The River, we understand that addressing domestic abuse and addiction requires a comprehensive, integrated approach. Our trauma-informed care model recognizes the deep wounds that survivors carry and seeks to create a safe, supportive space for healing.

Some key components of our integrated treatment program include:

  • Evidence-based therapies: We utilize a range of research-backed therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), to help clients process trauma and develop healthy coping skills.
  • Individual and group counseling: Our experienced clinical team provides one-on-one support to address each client’s unique needs, while group therapy sessions offer a platform for peer support and shared growth.
  • Safety planning: We work with clients to develop personalized safety plans, helping them identify resources and strategies for maintaining their well-being both during and after treatment.
  • Aftercare planning: We recognize that recovery is an ongoing journey, and we work closely with clients to develop robust aftercare plans that include continued therapy, support groups, and other resources to maintain their progress.

Breaking the Cycle: How JourneyPure At The River Can Help

At JourneyPure At The River, we are committed to helping individuals break free from the devastating cycle of domestic abuse and addiction. Our compassionate, knowledgeable staff is dedicated to providing the highest quality care in a judgment-free environment, where clients can feel safe, supported, and empowered to heal.

If you or someone you love is struggling with domestic violence and substance abuse, know that you are not alone, and help is available. Contact JourneyPure At The River today at 615-410-9260 to learn more about our comprehensive treatment programs and take the first step toward a brighter, healthier future. Your journey to healing starts here.