With love in the air, now might be the perfect time to reflect on your relationship. If you are involved with someone who has struggled with addiction in the past and is currently in recovery, you might want to ask yourself how you can better understand their rehabilitation. Whether you are dating someone or are married to a significant other who has had previous habit-forming issues, it is crucial to know what they have been through to maintain a healthy connection. Communication is essential in any relationship, but a loved one in recovery must be extra vocal when expressing certain emotions involved in the everyday battle with staying sober.
When you are in a loving relationship with someone recovering from substance abuse, you must be supportive in every way possible to give them stability. Involving your partner in your treatment can be very advantageous to making the treatment succeed. Unfortunately, those who have never had to cope with addiction and viewed life from an addict’s perspective will never genuinely understand recovery to the fullest extent. However, someone in recovery can try to express to their loved one some aspects of coping and maintaining sobriety.
To comprehend your partner’s addiction, let’s look at some of the things they would like you to understand about being a recovering addict and the journey ahead.
1. Addiction Does Not Mean They Love You Less
It can be challenging for loved ones, especially significant others when they take their partners’ addictive tendencies to heart personally. You cannot blame yourself for something you did that might cause your partner to relapse into an alcohol or drug dependency. Their addiction is not about you, and feeling culpable won’t help the situation towards productive healing. You must evaluate addiction as the disease that it is and treat it appropriately. In a November 2016 report, former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, M.D., publicly confirmed what researchers have known for years; addiction is a chronic illness accompanied by significant changes within the brain. This addiction does not mean they love you any less, but the disease from which they suffer needs the proper treatment. Your strength and support are vital in helping them maintain the appropriate treatment and recovery.
2. They Want Help But Do Not Know How To Ask
All addicts are eventually responsible for their recovery. Still, sometimes they need a helping hand, and it can be a challenging journey to try and reach out to someone for the help they finally need. It can be a painful process to support someone on that exhaustive search for self-discovery, especially when that person does not see the danger in not treating the disease properly. By having a one-on-one conversation with your partner and asking about their addiction, you can alleviate your concerns privately without intimidating your loved one with a staged intervention. In a relaxed environment, keep your voice calm and free from blame to show that your intentions come from a place of sympathetic concern. When they hear how different behaviors and events associated with their addiction have affected you personally, it might open their eyes to find the help they so desperately want for their addiction.
3. They Would Quit If They Could
The sentiment, “Why can’t you just stop?” is often asked of those who struggle with addiction. The answer lies within the very definition of addiction, along with the details surrounding the affliction. If it was as simple as telling yourself, ok, I’m done, then everyone would be doing it. As mentioned earlier, addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that accounts for an internal drive to abuse drugs and alcohol with no fear of the consequences. The altered changes in the brain’s chemistry are a result of the constant absorption of these substances. The majority of people afflicted with addiction can not stop on their own accord and have a higher chance of relapse. However, those who struggle with addiction and have a supportive partner in a relationship have a better chance of maintaining a sober lifestyle. The love and loyalty you give your companion can be essential down the road.
4. No One Believes Strongly They Will Turn Into An Addict
It always begins with a choice. Whether you choose to have a sip of an alcoholic drink or use a narcotic, the option is yours. Many people can make that distinction without becoming physically and mentally dependent on a specific substance. Still, for those who are prone to addiction, many of them would not believe the consequences of trying an alcoholic beverage or drug would cause them to spiral out of control. What causes these issues in some people and not others? Researchers believe it can be a combination of several things such as childhood trauma, hereditary factors such as genes, and mental health issues like depression or anxiety. When someone becomes addicted, the development of their learned behaviors has already occurred, and the brain’s altered chemistry makes it very difficult to stop progress down this dangerous path.
5. You Can Not Be Their Crutch
Although it is imperative to give your partner in recovery assistance and encouragement, you must not have them rely on you as a psychological crutch. They can become dependent and lose a sense of faith in their ability to cope. It is gut-wrenching to watch a loved one hurt themselves and everyone around them. You will want to protect them from the unfavorable results of their behavior, but at times that can prolong the healing and enhance the pain you have endured. So you must help them want to help themselves. By speaking with them about finding the perfect fit in a particular treatment program and talking to professionals, you will strengthen your relationship and reduce stress levels. Let them know you won’t hesitate to assist in any way possible.
Being in a loving liaison with someone recovering from addiction can create unique relationship challenges, but it can be a long-lasting union by working together through communication and support. Through proper treatment from a mental health program, you will receive the best possible recovery support that suits your needs.