Addiction and relationships can be difficult thing to navigate. You may find yourself feeling stuck, unsure of how to help, or even if you should stay. It’s important to remember that addiction is a disease, one that doesn’t discriminate.
If you’re in a relationship with someone who is struggling with addiction, know that you are not alone. Loving an addict can be confusing, frustrating, and heartbreaking, but it is also possible. Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re in a relationship with an addict.
Addiction doesn’t mean that a person is a bad person. Addiction is a disease, one that changes the way the brain functions. It’s important to remember that addiction is not a choice and that people who are struggling with addiction need help, not judgment.
Just because someone is struggling with addiction, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to get better. Many people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol want to quit, but find themselves unable to do so without help. If your partner is struggling with addiction, know that they are likely dealing with a lot of shame and guilt. Show them support and let them know that you’re there for them, no matter what.
Addiction can take a toll on relationships. It’s important to be patient and understand that addiction is a disease.
Things to Keep In Mind if You’re in a Relationship With an Addict
If you’re in a relationship with an addict, it’s important to get support for yourself. There are many resources available to help you deal with the challenges of addiction. Also, keep these points in mind:
- Individuals who suffer from addiction may become dishonest and keep secrets. This can be very difficult for partners who value honesty.
- People with addiction may be unreliable. This can make it hard to depend on them or trust them.
- Addiction can lead to financial problems. This can put a strain on the relationship.
- People who struggle with substance abuse may be moody and unpredictable. This can make it hard to have a healthy relationship.
There are many things about addiction that are difficult to understand, especially if you love someone struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Sometimes, it can feel like the person you love isn’t the person they used to be. It can also feel like your partner isn’t always capable of keeping promises, making you a priority in their life, or doing the other things that are necessary for a relationship to work.
One approach to treatment that can be helpful for those who want to work on their relationship while in recovery is life skills therapy. In this therapy program, participants work on the skills they need to flourish in daily life. At Westwind Recovery®, we offer a life skills training program as part of our holistic approach to treatment.
The truth is there are ways to have lasting relationships with addicted individuals, but also, you need to make the choice that best suits your life.
How Addiction Affects the Ability to Love
No matter how many promises your loved one makes to quit using, no matter how many times it seems like they’ve gotten their drug abuse under control, no matter how often you pick up the pieces of their life, you might wonder why these same problems keep occurring over and over. The answer is simpler than you may realize: addiction is an illness and it actually changes the way the brain works.
Continuous drug use alters the pleasure pathways in the brain, telling the brain that it must compulsively seek out more of the drug. Over time, the brain’s ability to feel pleasure from other sources minimizes, and its only outlet is the use of drugs. The person cannot fight this with simple willpower alone when the brain has been effectively rewired to tell the individual that only one thing will satisfy them.
If you’re wondering why your partner chooses drug abuse over being with you or over a healthy, happy relationship, this is why. Remember: drug addiction is a chronically relapsing and compulsive disease. This means that the individual can struggle to have control over their actions.
Common Warning Signs Seen in Relationships With an Addict
- Disrespectful behavior
- Lying and secrecy
- Financial problems
- Moodiness and irritability
- Neglecting responsibilities
- Isolating from friends and family
If you’re seeing any of these warning signs in your relationship, it’s important to get help. Addiction can be a very difficult thing to deal with, but there are resources available to help you. Remember, you are not alone.
Relationships with a Partner Who Struggles With Addiction
Being in a relationship with an addict can be difficult. It can cause serious problems for your children, your finances, and every other aspect of your life. This is one reason why many people have to leave their loved ones who struggle with addiction. Others will stay but often settle into enabling behaviors, like denial, justifying the actions of their loved one, protecting their loved one from consequences, and more.
If you are in a relationship with an addict and you have seen the ways both of your lives are being negatively affected by their addiction, the best thing you can do is help them seek professional treatment in the form of rehab. Many individuals put off seeking treatment. Here are some tips to help you through this difficult process.
- Stage an intervention with family, friends, and a professional interventionist or therapist.
- Talk with your loved one about your concerns only when they are sober.
- Set boundaries. Let your partner know that if they refuse to seek treatment, you will not be able to provide them with money, a place to stay, or something else they require from your relationship.
- Stick to your boundaries no matter what.
- Above all, stay calm. If you do so, it’ll be harder for your loved one to make the exchange into a confrontation.
Can Treatment Help Your Relationship When You’re Loving an Addict?
Yes, addiction treatment can absolutely help your relationship. Addiction often causes a lot of pain and conflict in relationships. But, with treatment, you and your partner can learn how to communicate better, resolve conflict, and build a stronger, healthier relationship.
Addiction treatment can also help your partner deal with the underlying issues that may be contributing to their addiction, which can make it easier for them to stay sober in the long term.
If you’re struggling in your relationship because of addiction, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. There are resources available to you.
How to Have a Relationship with a Partner in Recovery
If your loved one has chosen to begin treatment, that’s a good sign they are on the road to a life without substance abuse. However, you will need to remember that addiction is a chronic disease, even if they have not used in months or even years. They will always have the potential to return to substance abuse and they will require lots of help to avoid this possibility.
The best thing you can do for your loved one in recovery is to provide them with support. Remind them that you are available to them and are sending them your love and encouragement every day. Tell them you are proud of them.
Reach Out to Westwind Recovery® Today
All in all, every relationship is different. While addiction can certainly cause conflict, it can be possible to have a healthy relationship with someone who is willing to take the steps of going through treatment and healing.
At Westwind Recovery®, we offer a number of addiction treatment programs in our Los Angeles recovery center. Our luxury treatment center is a safe, supportive environment where your loved one can focus on the journey to recovery. Connect with a member of our team by calling us or reaching out online today.
Dr. Deena is the Chief Clinical Officer of Westwind Recovery®, an award-winning outpatient treatment center in Los Angeles where she oversees the clinical and administrative program and treatment methods. Dr. Deena is a doctor of psychology and licensed clinical social worker since 1993. LCSW #20628. Originally from the East Coast, Dr. Deena has worked running treatment centers, worked as a therapist in psychiatric hospitals as well as school settings and currently has a thriving private practice in the LA area. Dr. Deena has appeared regularly on the Dr. Phil Show as an expert since 2003. She has also been featured on many other TV shows, podcasts and has contributed to written publications as well as podcasts.