Addiction is a terrible disease which is still often underestimated by so many people.
Not only does drug and alcohol addiction have a detrimental impact on the person’s own mental and physical health, but it can also devastate the health and well-being of those around them, particularly those who they’re in a relationship with.
As a partner to someone who is suffering from an addiction, you can often feel lost and helpless in the situation. Whilst you can see the pain they’re going through; you can never fully understand the trauma that they’re going through.
Addiction changes people’s behaviour and can create a draining environment to live in. Many people often wonder whether a relationship with an addict is sustainable when so much energy and focus is centred around negative behaviour.
Addiction is also known to be closely linked to distrust and abusive behaviour within relationships, as well as causing mental health problems and other health complications. It can completely change a person so that the partner doesn’t even recognise them anymore.
Common Problems Being in a Relationship with an Addict
The more addiction is spoken about openly and the more help and support that’s offered, the more we can remove the embarrassment, guilt, and grief that often stand in the way of an addict’s recovery. When you’re in a relationship with someone who is suffering from an alcohol or drug addiction, there are some common problems that you may encounter.
Firstly, it’s extremely difficult to come to terms with the fact that you’re now dealing with someone completely different. Sadly, when addiction takes over, the person you love disappears as their behaviour and attitude significantly change.
It can take a while to adjust to this new reality which is why so many people continue to treat their partner as they remember them how they were rather than how they are now, living with an addiction. This longing for the person you love is what makes it so easy to be manipulated and to be lied to.
The sooner you can accept that this person is completely different now, the sooner you can begin working to help this person, even when it might sometimes seem cruel. In this situation, you really do have to be cruel to be kind; this way, you can support the person that you love rather than fuel their addictive behaviours.
It’s important to remember that addicts can be irresponsible. As their main goal is to fuel their addiction, these cravings can lead to reckless, selfish, and dangerous behaviours, which can be even more devastating when there’s someone else involved.
You may notice that they’re out later, drinking more or consuming more drugs, their social circle has changed, or they’re blacking out more. This behaviour can lead to driving under the influence or consistently calling in sick to work because they’re hungover.
Many addicts depend on deception to fuel their addiction. You’ll likely notice them acting differently, in a deceitful way as they attempt to hide their addiction from you.
Many addicts struggle financially, so it’s common to see them taking money from you or spending more than what they have, potentially resulting in debt. They’ll often lie about their whereabouts or who they’re with, you may notice marks on their skin if they’re injecting drugs.
When confronted about these signs, it’s likely that they’ll lie to cover up their addiction because they’re ashamed or because they’re in denial. This understandably causes friction in a relationship as trust is lost.
Codependency in Relationships
Often when a partner tries to help an addict and make them aware that they’re behaviour is worsening, they react negatively which can often increase the tension.
It’s difficult to maintain boundaries when you’re in a relationship with someone who is suffering from an addiction. You will have to be much stronger with much higher boundaries than usual to get through this challenging time.
Although setting high boundaries may make you feel guilty, it’s the best way for you to see more clearly and avoid being blindsided by their behaviour. Be firm and be clear with them about what the consequences will be if they overstep your boundaries and make sure that you’re strict to avoid any confusion.
People who are suffering from an addiction can also be abusive, particularly to those closest to them. This abusive behaviour can be verbal, physical, or emotional as they try to make you feel guilty, blame you for something, or attempt to coerce you so that they can get what they want.
Often when addicts are confronted about their behaviour, it can result in them feeling attacked leading to aggression, defensiveness, or irrational outbursts. Another form of abuse which is sometimes overlooked is co-dependency which can fuel controlling behaviour.
How to Help Your Loved One
Being in a relationship with someone who is living with an addiction is a very difficult experience. As addiction is such a complex disease, it affects each person in different ways so one person’s addiction can look completely different to another’s. If you’re in this situation, you must assess the severity of the impact that this addiction is having on your life, particularly if there are children involved in the relationship.
If you’re experiencing abuse in the relationship, it’s crucial that you seek professional support and explore all treatment options to encourage and help your partner to overcome their addiction in the most effective way possible.
Some professionals believe that the best thing you can do for your loved one who is suffering from addiction is to let them hit rock bottom. This could mean that the addict loses their job, goes to prison, or becomes homeless which is an extremely difficult thing to watch happen to someone that you love.
However, many people who have recovered from addiction claim that hitting rock bottom was the catalyst for them to realise that they needed to make a dramatic change in their life. Consider admission to private rehab – there are family referral services available to help you through this situation.
Call us today on 0151 268 6992 for advice and guidance.