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Seeking Treatment When Addiction Leads You to Commit Domestic Violence

pexels-shvets-production-7176317-300x200Addiction and domestic violence are two complex issues that, unfortunately, often intersect–and more often than you might think. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that as many as 55 percent of all domestic abuse incidents occur after the perpetrator was drinking–and surveys of domestic violence victims suggest that number is as high as 67 percent. 

Suffice it to say that if you’re facing accusations of domestic violence and are grappling with drug or alcohol addiction, you’re not alone. It’s not uncommon for someone struggling with substance abuse to act out of character while under the influence. Some may even “black out” and not even remember the incident–which makes it quite unnerving for them to find themselves facing criminal charges and protective orders after the fact. If this describes you, it’s crucial to approach this moment with honesty and a desire for change. Let’s explore the impact of drug and alcohol addiction on domestic violence to help unravel how you got here–and, more importantly, what you can do to remedy the situation.

The Link Between Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence

To be crystal clear, substance abuse does not in any way excuse domestic violence…but it can be a significant contributing factor. Research has unearthed a consistent correlation between addiction and domestic violence, and while not every person addicted becomes violent, studies reveal that there is indeed a higher incidence of domestic violence among individuals struggling with substance abuse. One study presents a model in which domestic violence mirrors the key characteristics of chemical dependency, highlighting how addiction can distort perceptions and aggravate impulsive behaviors, leading to aggressive conduct. 

In short, addiction can distort thinking, increase impulsivity, and heighten emotional responses, sometimes leading to aggressive behavior. Understanding this link is the first step in acknowledging the impact of your actions and the need for support.

Exploring Options for Treatment and Moving Forward

Now that we have a better understanding of how drug and alcohol abuse can open the gates for or play a role in domestic violence let’s talk about practical steps you can take to address this issue and reduce the risk of recurring incidents.

Acknowledge the Problem

The journey to recovery and making amends begins with acknowledging the issue. This step is about accepting responsibility for your actions and recognizing the role that addiction may have played in them. It’s not about finding excuses but understanding the underlying causes to address them effectively.

Seek Professional Help

Professional guidance is vital in tackling both addiction and its behavioral consequences. If you are convicted of a crime, the courts will likely require you to attend a Batterer’s Intervention Program. Still, even if you avoid conviction, you likely won’t beat the addiction or the abusive patterns on your own–so it’s wise to take the initiative for your own sake. Consider reaching out to:

  • Substance Abuse Counselors: Specialized in addiction treatment, they can help you understand the roots of your addiction and develop strategies to overcome it.
  • Domestic Violence Intervention Programs: These programs focus on addressing behaviors and attitudes related to domestic violence, aiming to prevent future incidents.
  • Mental Health Professionals: Therapists or psychologists can offer support for underlying mental health issues, which are often intertwined with addiction and violent behavior. Furthermore, cognitive-behavioral therapy has shown promise in decreasing addiction and partner violence, suggesting an integrated substance abuse-domestic violence treatment could be beneficial.


Embrace Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation programs offer structured treatment environments focused on recovery from substance abuse. These programs provide medical, psychological, and peer support to help you navigate the challenges of addiction and its impact on your behavior and relationships.

Attend Support Groups

Support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), offer a community of individuals facing similar challenges. These groups provide a platform for sharing experiences and strategies for coping with addiction and its consequences, fostering a sense of understanding and solidarity.

Engage in Restorative Practices

Restorative justice practices can be a powerful way to address the harm caused by domestic violence, focusing on healing for both the offender and the victim (when appropriate and safe). This approach emphasizes accountability, making amends, and rebuilding trust, which can be crucial steps in your journey toward recovery and reconciliation.

Develop Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Learning healthy coping mechanisms is essential in managing stress and emotions without resorting to substance abuse or violence. Activities such as mindfulness, exercise, anger management practices, and engaging in hobbies can provide positive outlets for dealing with difficult emotions.

Commit to Long-term Change

Recovery and change are long-term commitments. They involve ongoing efforts to manage addiction, improve emotional regulation, and build healthier relationships. Setting realistic goals, celebrating progress, and remaining open to ongoing support are crucial aspects of this journey.

Remember, seeking help and committing to change is a sign of strength, not weakness. It’s about taking responsibility for your actions and sincerely trying to improve yourself and make amends where possible. This path is not easy, but it’s a crucial step toward healing and building a future free from the cycle of addiction and violence.

Navigating Legal Consequences with Compassion and Accountability

Facing the legal consequences of domestic violence can be a daunting aspect of this journey. It’s essential to navigate this process with accountability, seeking legal representation that understands the complexities of your situation. An experienced criminal defense attorney can guide legal strategies while considering the role of addiction in the incident. Not only can we ensure your rights are protected and that you’re fairly defended, we can also help you explore options such as diversion programs or treatment as part of sentencing, which can be instrumental in your rehabilitation process. Contact our offices to schedule a consultation.

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