What To Do When Your Partner Is Suffering From Addiction
Addiction is not an easy thing to deal with, especially if someone you love is going through it. Have you ever found yourself in this type of situation? You are married to or dating someone who is actively struggling with addiction and substance abuse. Though the person may have some self-destructive habits, you still love them for who they are outside of their additions. This is a tricky situation, but we are here to tell you there are ways of helping your partner. So how exactly does one handle this? Let’s discuss it!
First things first, let’s identify the tell-tale signs of whether or not someone is suffering from addiction:
- The individual seems to heavily rely on a substance and can’t seem to stop regular use.
- The individual uses a substance in order to help fight things like stress, depression, anxiety, or physical pain. Uses substances as a means of “escaping”.
- The individual seems almost compulsive in their abuse of a particular substance.
- The individual starts to experience symptoms of withdrawal if they go a day or two without a particular substance in their system. They may be irritable, irrational, physically uncomfortable, etc.
- The individual centers their life plans/decisions around themselves or their habits with addiction.
- The individual hides their bad habits from you or their friends. They may even deny the fact that they may be suffering from addiction or have a secret stache hidden away.
- The individual seems to have a difficult time-saving money for important things and tends to spend their savings on their addiction.
- The individual may regularly show up late to work or events in general due to their lack of care for anything but their addiction.
- The individual may start to develop health problems.
- The individual may start to appear as though they have a lack of concern for most things around them (job, relationships, money, general hygiene/appearance, etc.)
If a person exhibits these signs or signs like these, it may be time to have a discussion about their addictive habits. When it comes to having this conversation with your boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband, it isn’t easy. We’re here to help you understand the best ways to handle this situation and how you can help your partner beat addiction and save your relationship.
How To Save Your Partner From Addiction:
- Set An Example: Think about your habits in life, could they be contributing to your partner’s addictive habits? Maybe you have a glass of wine or two every night; your partner could easily see that and not feel discouraged when it comes to their addictive habits. Do some self-reflection and maybe see if you are intentionally or unintentionally enabling them to continually abuse substances. Maybe your decision to live a sober life will help encourage your partner to do the same for themselves.
- Set Boundaries: If setting an example doesn’t seem to work, set boundaries in your relationship. We suggest boundaries like “No Alcohol/Drugs in the House”, “Partner is not allowed in the House when intoxicated”, “No Substance Abuse Enabling Friends are allowed over”, “No Borrowing Money”, and “No Personal Communication while intoxicated”. When boundaries are set, true love will be tested and you’ll be able to see if your partner is willing to change for the sake of your relationship.
- Don’t Forget About Yourself: One thing we as humans can struggle with is putting others before ourselves. Though this can be a good practice, it can quickly turn into a bad one. If you are neglecting your own self-care, that’s when putting others before yourself becomes unhealthy. If your partner sees that you are still thriving in life while they are being self-destructive, they may be able to see just how unhealthy their lifestyle is.
- Educate Your Partner & Yourself: One of the key aspects of a healthy relationship is open communication and honesty. In this case, educating you and your partner on addiction can be beneficial to the relationship. This established a sense of openness and honesty which would hopefully help the addicted partner realize what the effect their behaviors are having on the relationship. Education can help you and your partner better understand what addiction is and how it can be fought against. Many people see addiction as a shameful choice, but it’s not a choice, it’s a disease. When people are able to realize this, they may be more inclined to ask for help.
- Seek Counselling: Getting outside input can be extremely beneficial to a relationship, especially when it comes from a professional. Having a therapist act as a mediator can help counsel the relationship and help each person better understand each person’s quarrels. This can help disagreements turn into something more productive rather than negative.
- Patience: This may be one of the hardest things to do, but patience is essential for the partner and the addict. Patience is key in recovery because addiction is not something that is defeated overnight. Recovery is a life-long process in some cases so patience is a virtue that addicts and an addict’s loved ones should adopt. This can help the addicted partner with feelings of guilt. Negative feelings such as guilt are major reasons for addicts relapsing, but if people show patience towards the addict’s recovery process, they may be less inclined to relapse from those negative feelings.
Having a partner that is addicted to substances is not an easy thing to deal with, but it is equally difficult for the addicted partner. Substance abuse is no joke, it’s an incredibly hard thing to beat. But when you are in a relationship with someone who is actively struggling with addiction, it’s important to show love and patience so they can see you truly want them to get clean. Consider the advice we’ve laid out here today. If your loved one is struggling with addiction, use these tips to help better your relationship and save your partner from substance abuse. It is also important to note that if your partner shows no drive to change, the relationship is probably not meant to be. Know when to work together and when things need to end.