Alcohol and drug addiction are defined as the inability to stop the use of dangerous substances due to both physical and psychological factors. It is recognized as a disease that negatively affects both the body and brain.
Some people are more susceptible to substance abuse than others, including those who have or are currently experiencing:
- Parents who are or were addicts
- Complicated personal histories of sexual or physical abuse, or abandonment/neglect in childhood
- Heightened stress levels
- Certain socioeconomic statuses
In the U.S., the most common addictions are those to tobacco (nicotine), alcohol, marijuana, painkillers, and cocaine. These, along with other less common substance addictions, have the potential to affect an addict’s decision-making, heart or lungs, sleep patterns, and other aspects of their physical and mental health.
How Addiction Affects Relationships
Addicts can negatively affect the people in their lives, especially romantic partners. If your partner is constantly abusing a substance and searching for ways to get a hold of it, your relationship can begin to suffer from:
- A lack of communication
- The role of caretaker that the non-addicted partner may come to assume
- Deception and lies
If you suspect your partner is suffering from addiction, consider following these guidelines to help eliminate their dependence on a dangerous substance, and, consequently, strengthen your relationship.
Recognize the Signs of Addiction in Your Partner
Addicts are typically difficult to spot. They often work hard to keep up their appearances and provide for the people who are dependent on them, but fall victim to irresistible urges when presented with the substance they are addicted to.
If your partner is exhibiting any or a combination of the following symptoms, they may be suffering from addiction:
- Making excuses: Justifying the consumption of dangerous substances with excuses like “Everybody does it” or “I deserve this after a hard day at work” are common patterns in addicts.
- Losing interest in things they used to enjoy: An addictive substance can overpower all aspects of someone’s life.
- Consuming more than intended: “Just one drink” can lead to unforeseen amounts because of an addict’s inability to control their consumption.
Don’t Enable Them
Once you recognize that your partner has an addiction, do not enable them to access and use the substance that they are addicted to. Don’t offer money to them for buying alcohol or drugs because they are suffering withdrawal symptoms.
Also, hold your partner accountable for the behavior they exhibit while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and don’t cover up their negative behavior in hopes of maintaining a calm and controlled front.
Set a Good Example
If your partner is experiencing addiction to alcohol, don’t consume any alcoholic beverages in their presence, and keep alcohol out of the house altogether. Use your judgment and limit toxic interactions between them and their substance-abusing peers.
Get Outside Help If Necessary
Sometimes, despite your best intentions, addiction is best dealt with by a neutral third party. Enrolling your partner in a sober living facility, like this one that offers the best sober living in CA, can help them overcome their addiction. In these types of facilities, staff will offer around-the-clock care for your partner. Distractions, like the use of social media and phones, are limited so your partner can focus on overcoming addiction.
Balance Their Needs with Yours
An intimate relationship between two people will only thrive if both people involved are happy and have their needs met. While an addict requires emotional support, your own needs must not be ignored. Be sure to communicate with your partner about what you are feeling and what they can do to emotionally support you.