We get how hard navigating healthy relationships can be already without the additional issue of addiction. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it can be easy to dwell on past mistakes or get caught up in new ones. Once we understand how addiction impacts our romantic partners, we can begin to make peace with the past.
It can be hard to discuss how addiction and relationships influence each other. For those who have romantic partners struggling with substance abuse, it can be exhausting. When all you want is the very best for your partner, it’s devastating to watch them ruin their life.
Every relationship undergoes its own series of hardships and triumphs. Adding addiction to the already delicate balance of relationships often breaks the bond. It takes a special commitment and faith for those whose partners are struggling to weather the storm.
The Significant Stress of Addiction on Relationships
There are countless ways relationships can be ruined without the problem of substance abuse. When you add drugs or alcohol to the mix, there are countless ways that addiction can ruin a relationship.
Those struggling with substance use disorder (SUD) might have issues with aggression and making threats of violence. Maybe they’ve been unfaithful and dishonest while trying to score drugs. It’s possible that the person drugs has turned them into is unwilling to continue investing into your relationship.
Addiction can cause financial strain, intimacy issues, and plenty of other problems that can make relationships harder. It tests the very fabric of a relationship in ways that few situations can. Sometimes it can get to the point where addiction is a third wheel that takes over when things get worse.
Romantic partners of those suffering with SUD can feel as though they come second to drugs and alcohol. The unfortunate truth is that many partners eventually give up on trying to save a relationship they believe is lost.
Addressing Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery in Relationships
Unfortunately, while addiction has been widely characterized as a “family disease,” there aren’t many resources for romantic partners. Although the treatment landscape has become much more sensitive to the issues that families face, more must be done.
The sad truth is that there isn’t enough guidance for unmarried domestic partners. Instead, many are left to rely on outside couples counselors who may not be experienced in the behavioral pathology of addiction.
There are, however, more and more resources to help loved ones better understand the disease of substance abuse. SAMHSA and other organizations have come together to show how they can better aid in their loved one’s recovery. Even if not explicitly for romantic partners, any resource is better than no resources.
At Recovery Unplugged, our goal is to help clients mend their relationships with the ones they love but have hurt. With our family program and events like Family Weekend, we want to help bridge the gap. Addiction is a family disease, which is why we focus on rebuilding bridges that addiction might have burned down.
Staying Safe and Smart
The most important thing, however, is for romantic partners of addicts to preserve their own personal safety. The unfortunate reality of addiction is that drugs and alcohol quickly hijack the brain’s chemistry. While many don’t want to believe that their partner would harm them, the truth is that things can get violent.
For those living with addiction in their relationships, it’s critical to realize that no relationship is worth your safety. Sometimes the only thing you can do is extricate yourself from a dangerous situation.
On top of immediate safety risks, this situation can also cause victims to develop substance abuse issues of their own. Instead of helping your partner, you might fall victim to the very thing you were trying to save them from. According to data from the American Society of Addiction Medicine, this happens all too often.
Instead of trying to convince yourself that you can change your partner, sometimes it’s better to let the relationship go. As much as you might love an addict, love might not be enough to save them, or yourself.
Empowering Romantic Partners in Addiction-Plagued Relationships
As we prepare to observe another Valentine’s Day, the love conveyed by couples affected by addiction can feel heavy. It takes a special kind of love and commitment to weather this process with a romantic partner. For some, it only makes their relationship stronger in the grand scheme of things.
When the natural inclination is to cut losses, it’s rare when partners actually stick around. Sometimes love might just be enough to get through to them. Sometimes it isn’t.
If your partner is struggling with substance abuse and wants to stop, we’re here to help you help them. Everyone deserves the opportunity to achieve long-term sobriety.
With that being said, Recovery Unplugged wants to send out a special Valentine’s Day greeting to couples in recovery. You have earned your happiness.