When you love someone, their actions and behaviors have a direct impact on your life. Loving someone with an addiction can take a toll on the partner of the addict. If you are the partner of someone suffering from addiction, you might find yourself struggling to know how to help. You might be feeling frustrated, confused, hurt, angry, and a range of other emotions. Loving someone who seems to love something else more than you could bring an end to most relationships.
There are two situations: loving someone who is open about their addiction and loving someone who you suspect is addicted but is not being honest. The latter can be more painful as you may suspect cheating and struggle with trust. It is important to understand that there is hope for you, your partner, and your relationship.
The fact that you are here, reading this, shows that you still love your partner and truly want to help, which is great! However, it is also important to understand when it is time to call it quits.
I Know about the Addiction but Feel Helpless
If you are in this situation, the silver lining is that he or she is still being honest with you, so the trust can still be there. If the person is great to you and open about their struggles but can’t seem to stop, perhaps a serious intervention with his or her family could be helpful. During this time, it is important for you to stand firm and deliver an ultimatum, either the drugs and drinking go, or I do. This can be a wake up call for many, and together the two of you can begin to look into treatment and drug rehabs.
After rehab is a different topic for a different day, priority number 1 should be helping your partner realize the severity of the problem and getting him or her into treatment. There are many support groups for partners who love an addict; you can look them up in your local community or join online communities to discuss your problems with people who are in the same situation as you.
Signs Your Partner is Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol
This situation can be much more difficult because the honesty and trust can be lost. You should know that someone in active addiction is basically being controlled by their obsession to use and takes priority over ANYTHING else. He or she will feel remorse and the trust can be built back once they get sober.
If you think that your partner has a problem, there are signs of addiction to look for that can help make that determination. If any of the following applies to your partner, it could be time to talk with them about their possible addiction and seek professional help.
- Eating and sleeping habits change
- Mood swings
- Depression that was never there before
- Acting suspicious like he or she is hiding something
- Guarding his or her cellphone and not letting you see messages
- Staying out later or going out more often
- New friends coming around or being mentioned that you never heard of
- Loss of interest in hobbies and passions
- Loss of interest in YOU
- Financial problems
- Physically ill more often than usual
- Marks on arms, red eyes, dilated pupils, constant sniffling
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Every relationship is different, so this is something that is very difficult to address in broad terms. However, you should always put yourself first; some people do not want to change, and it may even take your breakup before he or she truly realizes how bad things are. Putting yourself first means your safety, your future, and your mental health. Leaving someone who does not want to change, or leaving someone because the stress brought on by the addiction can be heartbreaking. If you are thinking about leaving your partner, consult with trusted friends and family members and take things one day at a time.
How to Cope
While it might be difficult to deal with the fact that your partner is addicted to drugs or alcohol, avoiding the issue will only cause further harm to both of you. Once you decide to address the addiction with your partner, you can start the healing process for both of you.
A step in the right direction is to seek professional help through drug rehabs for your partner. You can also seek out support groups for yourself that are for partners of addicts. Sometimes connecting with others who are dealing with the same things you are can help you cope and find encouragement to keep going. Support groups and professional help for yourself will also help you to understand addiction better so that you can help your partner.