For those who are in the outside looking in, it may be hard to understand the dynamics of addiction. Is addiction more important than the relationship?
Those who have not been addicted or haven’t had a relationship with someone who is, will find it hard to understand the situation. As if relationships in themselves are not hard enough, addiction adds a whole another level of complication.
If you are in a relationship with someone struggling with addiction, such as those with alcohol or drugs, it can be chaotic and unpredictable. You may feel that the addiction more important than your relationship and this may feel so painful. You may discover that the person you have met and fell in love with have been changed by the substances they consumed. Or, you perhaps think that you didn’t know them at all. You will see a person whose main day-to-day preoccupation is to get high or drunk. They may seem to merely survive until the next moment they can succumb to their addiction once more.
It can be very difficult. You may feel like your partner is not capable of considering your feelings, keeping their promises, making you a priority, or making an effort for the relationship to work. It may feel like they don’t really love you. And it can hurt.
Approaching Addiction in Relationships
One way to approach this is to help those in active addiction to work on their behaviors and habits, as well as to help rebuild their relationships. At Bridges of Hope, we help our residents learn (or re-learn) essential life skills so that they can flourish in their lives and deal with adversities. They will be taught to do these without having to fall back into their old addictive patterns. They will also be taught to communicate better and to heal their relationships with loved ones.
Is Addiction More Important than Love?
Here’s the thing. No matter how many promises your addicted loved one makes, and no matter how many times they have reassured you that they have changed, addiction is a disease. In fact, it’s a chronic, compulsive, relapsing disease. This is why you can expect that the same problems will keep happening again and again. That is, if they don’t seek help.
Addiction is a disease and that is just how the addiction has transformed their brains.
Continuous substance use (or repetitive behaviors in the case of behavioral addictions), alters the reward system of the brain. The addiction tells the brain that the only way it would feel pleasure is if the compulsion to use more of the drugs. And because of this altered state, quitting by sheer willpower alone will not do the trick. Even if it does, it may not be sustainable.
My Loved One Chose Drugs Over Me
Throughout all these, you may be wondering, why your partner chose that kind of life instead of the life you are working so hard to provide them? Why would they choose drugs over you and your relationship?
This can be extremely difficult. Addiction can cause damage not just on the addict but on every aspect of their life, and yours too. And you may settle into enabling behaviors as a co-dependent.
You may see how the addiction is changing your loved one and your life. The best thing to do is to avoid enabling and instead help them seek professional help. Here are some ways you can cope in this difficult process:
- Stage an intervention at a date, time, and place that loved one feels safe in
- Talk to them calmly about their concerns
- Make sure these conversations happen when they are sober and preferably well-rested or in the right frame of mind
- Set boundaries. Remember that you can only control yourself. Take care of yourself.
- Don’t enable. Don’t shield them from the effects of their addiction. You may tell them that you will not provide them with money, shelter, or protect them from their addiction if they don’t seek treatment.
- It may be hard, but it’s best to remember your boundaries and stand by them.
- Find a trusted support system for yourself. You can’t do it alone. Talk to trusted friends or family members.
- Stay calm and practice self-care for yourself.
Reach Out to Bridges of Hope Today
Every relationship is different. Every relationship has its own ups and downs. While addiction definitely makes relationships more complicated and often difficult, don’t lose hope. It’s possible to still have a healthy, thriving, and worthwhile relationship with someone who has an addiction, or someone in recovery.
At Bridges of Hope, we have personalized and holistic addiction treatment programs to help your loved ones. We also work closely with our resident’s partners and family members in order to help them rebuild relationships and develop their primary support system throughout their recovery.
Reach out to Bridges of Hope today to find out more: 09175098826.