Help! My Significant Other Has Become Addicted to Drugs
One minute, you’re happily married to the love of your life and the next minute, your household is being destroyed from the inside out…That’s what it can feel like when you learn that your significant other is abusing drugs or alcohol. Maybe you didn’t view their usage as much of an issue in the past, but as time goes on you realize that they need help.
Knowing what to do in a situation like this can overbearing at times… Pushing too hard will only make things worse, while saying nothing is like enabling their poor decision.
You Must Take Care of You
Many relationships suffer as a direct result of drug and alcohol addiction. In an effort to help your significant other recover, you end up utilizing a great deal of time and energy.
Whether you’re trying to rescue them, cover up their negative behaviors, or even prevent them from losing their jobs, caring for a loved one that’s addicted to drugs or alcohol can be a full time job.
However, truth be told, draining all of your energy does not help your significant other, nor does it help you. Your partner’s recovery will depend a lot upon their willingness to get better. It is very important that you continue to concentrate on your own needs. When you remove your enabling and care giving qualities from the equation, you can greatly increase your partner’s chances of recovering.
Steps to Helping Yourself
If you neglect your own mental and physical well-being, it can be very difficult to help your partner as they begin their own road to recovery. Below are a few tips on how to continue caring for yourself as your household tries to recover from addiction:
- Education – There are a lot of misconceptions as it pertains to drug and alcohol abuse and addiction. Many assume that addiction is a choice, that it can be stopped at any time, etc. Not knowing exactly what abuse and addiction are and how they affect your loved one and your household can hinder the recovery process. It is ideal to at the very least get the basic fundamentals on what addiction is and how it affects both you and your loved one. The more informed you are, the better equipped you will be to handle the issue of addiction in your relationship.
- Get Support – Addiction is not something that can be overcome alone. Whether your significant other decides to get help for their condition or not, it is vital that you reach out to others for guidance and support. Support groups for family members of addicts are often very beneficial in this regard. They provide you with the platform to speak about your experiences and get advice from those who have traveled down the very same road. Support groups can be found in local community centers, churches, and even medical centers.
- Seek Counsel – Drug counselors are the best solution for helping you to deal with your loved one’s addiction. Learning what your loved one’s triggers are, and what enabling behaviors you have can better help them to recover. A therapist can help you sort through your own behaviors to better assess how you can help your loved one as they try to recover. If you can, get your partner to attend a few sessions with you as this can provide you both with necessary tools to communicate more effectively and work as a team.
Talking to Your Significant Other
As you continue to get the education and support you need to overcome addiction in your household, it is also important to reach out to your loved one.
While you can’t force a person to change, sometimes having a heart to heart about your concerns and offering your support can push them in the right direction. Below are a few suggestions as you have this conversation:
- Don’t Argue – one of the first rules to remember is not to argue. Pointing the finger or putting them down is not the best course of action if you want them to get help. Come from a place of love and simply state your concerns without trying to make them feel bad.
- Offer Assistance – After addressing your concerns to your loved one about their addiction, you can offer your assistance to them. Tell them about the support group or counselor you’ve been seeing, and even go over various options for recovery including residential and outpatient services. Make sure they know the benefits of each option and make them aware that you’ll be there to support them to the very end.
- Give it Time – It would be great if your loved one was receptive to the conversation and getting help for their addiction right away, but that’s not always the case. Therefore, after having the conversation, it is ideal not to put pressure on them right away. Give it time and understand that recovery will only work when you’re loved one is ready to get help. Continue to care for yourself, and hope that in time your loved one will come around.
Dealing with an addicted partner is difficult. It is vital that you not only take actions to help them get on the road to recovery, but that you take necessary actions to care for your own mental and physical well-being.
When your partner decides to reclaim their life and get help with their recovery efforts, you’re ability to be there for them will help improve their chances of making a full recovery in no time.