Getting Help for a Loved One Struggling With Addiction
Table of Contents
- Getting Help for a Loved One Struggling With Addiction
- Understanding the Nature of Addiction
- Enabling vs Helping: Knowing the Difference
- The Toll of Substance Abuse on Relationships
- The Signs of Addiction: How to Recognize if Your Partner is Struggling with Substance Abuse
- Setting Boundaries: Protecting Yourself and Your Loved One
- The Rollercoaster of Emotions: Coping with the Ups and Downs of Loving an Addict
- The Importance of Self-Care in a Relationship With an Addict
- Helping Your Partner: Resources to Overcome Addiction Together
- Reach Out for Support and Get Proven Treatment Options Now
- Medically Reviewed By
How do you go from enabler to empowerment? If you’ve ever been with someone struggling with an addiction, you know exactly what this means. It’s all too easy to fall into the web of enabling a significant other when they’re dealing with substance abuse challenges.
An addicted person will throw constant guilt trips – gas-lighting you into seeing things from their point of view – until you finally cave into their pleas. Sometimes it’s a loan – and sometimes it’s simply asking you to turn a blind eye to their addictive behaviors. In lots of cases – it’s asking for a second, third, fourth, fifth – and never-ending amount of chances after their behavior has damaged family members or your own mental health. In the worst cases, it can manifest as physical abuse.
Regardless of the situation, enabling behaviors are a huge dynamic when you’re loving an addict or in a romantic relationship with an addicted person.
In this article, we’ll demonstrate some of the best practices and most pertinent information on being in a relationship with someone who has a substance abuse issue. We’ll also look at how to get your loved one programs of support at accredited rehabs nationwide with the help of Find Addiction Rehabs and the reasons to reach out for support today!
Understanding the Nature of Addiction
When you love an alcoholic or an addicted person, understanding the nature of addiction is your first stepping stone. It’s not merely a ‘bad habit’, nor a conscious choice to continue the harmful behavior. It’s a complex disease that alters the brain, allowing it to fall victim to addictive behaviors, and influencing the person’s ability to resist the urge to use drugs.
It’s one of the most difficult scenarios to find yourself in because in some cases it means sacrificing the relationship to save your own life – or vice versa, in the worst-case scenarios. Fortunately, with healthy boundaries and education on drug abuse, you don’t have to sacrifice your own life or the long-term health of the relationship.
What Causes an Alcohol or Substance Use Disorder?
What exactly leads to drug and alcohol abuse? The life of a drug addict is made up of an extremely complicated relationship between behavioral, environmental, psychological, and even genetic influences. Environmental influences can be anything between exposure to another drug addict or a failure to establish healthy boundaries with someone you know who is using.
Elements like a lack of emotional support, dysfunction between family members, and other psychological trauma can have negative consequences in the life of a drug addict.
After some time of being in a relationship with someone who has a drug addiction, the lines between helping them and enabling them begin to blur. Addicts are the best manipulators, and it’s important that you know the difference between these two actions.
Enabling vs Helping: Knowing the Difference
When your significant other struggles with substance abuse, instinctively, you want to shield them from their pain. However, it can be challenging to differentiate between helping and enabling. Being aware of this difference is crucial in supporting an addict without fostering their addiction.
Helping entails actions that promote recovery and encourage healthy behaviors. This could include:
Encouraging them to attend therapy or rehabilitation programs.
- Supporting them through withdrawal symptoms.
- Participating in their recovery process, such as attending therapy sessions with them.
On the contrary, enabling is any behavior that directly or indirectly supports their addiction. Examples of enabling may include:
- Ignoring the issue, pretending it doesn’t exist.
- Providing money that could potentially be used to purchase drugs.
- Covering up for their mistakes or indiscretions caused by their addiction.
Blurring the lines between helping and enabling can take some of the most significant tolls on a relationship with a drug addict.
The Toll of Substance Abuse on Relationships
Multiple dynamics are impacted when you’re dealing with a rocky relationship with a drug addict. You’ll struggle with the emotional, physical, and financial burden of their addictive behavior.
The Emotional Impact
When you love someone with a substance abuse problem, you’re likely to experience a rollercoaster of emotions and even a degree of emotional trauma. This can range from worry and stress to frustration, anger, and deep sadness and can lead to the codependent person becoming deeply affected by an addict’s behavior, even if deep down they know both parties are acting irrationally.
The Physical Effects
Substance abuse doesn’t just affect the addict’s health; it can also take a toll on their partner’s physical well-being. This can manifest through sleep disturbances, anxiety-related issues, and even neglect of personal health.
When a loved one is battling addiction, it’s common for partners to place the addict’s needs above their own, often at the expense of their health.
The Financial Strain
Chronic substance abuse can lead to financial instability, with money often diverted to fuel the addiction. This can lead to arguments, tension, and even financial ruin.
- The cost of drugs or alcohol
- The loss of employment due to addiction
- The expenses related to treatment and recovery
Let’s take a look at some of the signs that might alert you to the presence of an addiction problem.
The Signs of Addiction: How to Recognize if Your Partner is Struggling with Substance Abuse
Understanding addiction can be a difficult task, especially when you’re emotionally involved. It’s essential to know the signs, as early detection can lead to early intervention. Here are some common symptoms to look out for:
- Behavioral Changes: Your partner may start to behave differently, showing signs of secrecy, depression, or even becoming aggressive.
- Physical Changes: Noticeable signs could include weight loss, lack of hygiene, or frequent nosebleeds.
- Financial Issues: You may notice unexplained expenses or a sudden lack of funds.
These signs can point to a problem, but remember, they don’t always indicate drug abuse. It’s essential to have open and honest communication with your partner.
Once you’ve identified these signs, you may be wondering what to do next. Here are some tips:
- Don’t Ignore The Issue: Acknowledging that there is a problem is the first step towards recovery.
- Seek Professional Help: Addiction is a disease that requires professional medical care.
- Offer Support: It’s essential to let your loved one know that they’re not alone in this journey.
Dealing with a partner’s addiction can be challenging and stressful. However, hope and help are available. The most important action you can learn during this time is how to set boundaries.
Setting Boundaries: Protecting Yourself and Your Loved One
When you love someone in the throes of addiction, it can feel like you’re caught in a storm. It’s easy to feel lost, overwhelmed, and unsure of the right course of action when loving an addict is your daily reality. But one of the most important things you can do is set clear boundaries for yourself and your loved one.
Why are boundaries important?
Boundaries draw a clear line in the sand that identifies a set of parameters, allowing you to hold strong when differentiating between helping and enabling. Identify your limits first. You can’t help your loved one if you’re constantly drained. Identify what behaviors you can and can’t tolerate.
Your communication should be clear. Let your loved one know what behavior you find acceptable and what crosses the line. However, all of these rules should have a consistency to them. Be sure you actually enforce them. If boundaries are not consistently enforced, they will lose their effectiveness.
In the storm of addiction, setting boundaries is like building a shelter. It can provide some protection from the chaos, and create a space where healing can begin.
The Rollercoaster of Emotions: Coping with the Ups and Downs of Loving an Addict
Living with and loving an addict is akin to being on an emotional rollercoaster: it is filled with peaks of hope and valleys of despair, and it can leave you feeling helpless and confused.
The journey can be both physically and emotionally draining, and it often feels like a constant battle between your love for the person and the destructive force of addiction.
Understanding Your Emotional Turmoil
As the partner of an addict, you are likely to experience a wide range of emotions. These may include fear, anger, guilt, shame, and sadness.
It’s important to acknowledge these feelings and understand that they are a natural response to a very difficult situation. Your emotions are valid, and it’s crucial not to suppress them.
Managing Your Emotions
While it’s essential to acknowledge your emotions, it’s equally important to learn how to manage them effectively. Here are some strategies that might help:
- Seek professional help – Therapists and counselors can provide invaluable guidance and support. They can help you navigate your feelings and develop coping strategies.
- Join a support group – Connecting with others who are in the same situation can provide comfort, reduce feelings of isolation, and offer practical advice. Family therapy sessions can pay huge dividends if your loved one is in treatment.
- Practice self-care – Eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and taking time for yourself can help maintain your physical and emotional well-being.
The Importance of Self-Care in a Relationship With an Addict
When you are in a relationship with someone struggling with substance abuse, it’s crucial to understand that their addiction does not diminish your inherent rights to self-care and peace. You, as an individual, should be able to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle while supporting your partner’s journey to recovery.
You are Not Responsible for their Addiction
First and foremost, it’s essential to comprehend that you are not responsible for your significant other’s addiction.
Maintaining Your Own Physical and Mental Health
The immensity of your partner’s struggles should not overshadow the importance of your own well-being. You cannot pour from an empty cup; you must fill your own cup first. The following are some ways to maintain your own health:
- Regular Exercise: Regular physical activity can reduce stress, improve mood, and contribute to overall well-being.
- Healthy Eating: A balanced diet can boost your immune system and keep you energized.
- Therapy or Counseling: Speaking to a mental health professional can provide valuable perspective and coping strategies.
You can’t realistically be expected to care for anyone else if you’re not dialed in mentally and physically.
Helping Your Partner: Resources to Overcome Addiction Together
With the right treatment team and plan laid out, finding help to correct enabling behaviors is easier than you think. Find Addiction Rehabs is dedicated to accomplishing just that.
Be open-minded about treatment options. Expand your options by considering out-of-state facilities.
How to Find the Right Resources
Knowing the value of professional help is one thing, but finding the right resources can be a challenge in itself. Here are a few steps you can take to find the best support for your partner:
- Research local resources: Start by looking into what’s available in your local community. This could be outpatient treatment centers, counselors specializing in addiction, or local support groups.
- Consult a healthcare provider: Your partner’s doctor can provide valuable insight and may be able to recommend specific treatment options or professionals in your area.
- Take advantage of online resources: Numerous websites and online platforms provide valuable information about substance abuse treatment options though in our opinions the single most valuable resource is Find Addiction Rehabs and the nationwide network of reputable facilities we refer tp.
Supporting Your Partner Through the Recovery Process
Standing by your partner through their recovery is just as important as helping them find the right resources. Here are a few ways you can offer your support:
- Encourage their efforts: Acknowledge the courage it takes for your partner to seek help and make positive changes. Show them that you believe in their ability to recover.
- Practice patience: Understand that recovery is a process and it takes time. There will be setbacks, but your consistent support can make a significant difference.
- Maintain open communication: Let your partner know that they can talk to you about their struggles without judgment. This openness can be a powerful tool in their recovery journey.
Remember, loving an addict can be difficult and emotionally taxing. It’s important that you take care of your own mental and emotional well-being throughout this process too. Constant care for yourself allows you to be there for your partner in their most trying times.
Reach Out for Support and Get Proven Treatment Options Now
If you need assistance finding the right location for your partner or loved one’s substance abuse issues, Find Addiction Rehabs has a network of partners nationwide. From trauma-based to dual diagnosis, we’ll help you find the right treatment program that suits your needs best.
Make the confidential call now, and get proven options of support for your loved one now!
Deborah Tayloe is a freelance writer specializing in health and sciences. Deborah earned a B.S.Ed. in Secondary Education/English, accompanied by a Spanish minor. Her writing expertise allows her to craft engaging, impactful articles to help people be well.
In addition, she holds a fully accredited Certificate of Natural Medicine and is a certified Herbalist. Through her understanding of complementary medicine, Deborah helps medical professionals give people the information they need to embrace natural approaches to wellness.
When she’s not working, Deborah trains for 5K races and advocates for animal rights.