Addiction and Significant Others: How to Salvage Damaged Trust

Addiction and Significant Others: MAT Care Clinics is here for those struggling with substance use AND the significant others concerned about addiction because no one understands the challenge like those closest to someone suffering. Addiction impacts every part of a person’s life, including how they behave in their relationships. If you are living with someone struggling with an addiction, married to an addict, or have an addicted child, this blog is for you. It’s an opportunity to explore addiction and relationships, defining one and offering ways to improve the other. Additionally, we will provide tips that can help you remain stable when faced with the complicated challenges substance abuse disorder may bring.

Whether you are trying to overcome addiction or love someone who is, you do not have to confront these challenging experiences alone. Supporting your significant other through the arduous journey to sobriety can be bolstered with a greater understanding of addiction and relationships.

Defining Addiction and How Significant Others Are Impacted

Firstly, it’s crucial to acknowledge that addiction is a disease affecting the mind and body, including how addicts behave within their relationships. Substance users rely on drugs or alcohol to cope with such various emotions as loneliness, shame, fear, or guilt.

Addiction can manifest itself as escapism without involving any substances. Such activities include high-risk tendencies like excessive shopping, stealing, reckless sexual encounters, or compulsive gambling. These behaviors contribute to addictive tendencies and can lead a relationship dynamic to distrust, hurt feelings, and arguments.

Redefining addiction as a disease rather than a character flaw improves how you can relate to a significant other struggling with substance abuse. Demonstrating understanding and compassion for any person facing addiction can help them recover. When you offer encouragement, support, and resources, you become part of the treatment solution they need to embrace a sober life fully.

Recognizing Addiction in a Significant Other (or Yourself)

The following are consistent flags to look for if you suspect a loved one of fighting an addiction:

  • Avoidance of activities they once enjoyed
  • Neglecting responsibilities (uncharacteristically)
  • Sudden changes in behaviors or mood
  • Increased tolerance levels (needing more of the drug of choice to achieve the same effect)
  • Increased use of substances to cope with or escape life situations or emotions
  • Withdrawal symptoms when they reduce consumption or attempt to avoid using

Can You Rebuild Relationships After an Addiction Inflicts Damage?

Addiction invites chaos, and rebuilding a relationship afterward can be complicated. A crucial step toward healing is taking responsibility for the damage a relationship suffers because of substance abuse. Accountability is among the most important components of the recovery process, as is the forgiveness of self and the commitment to move forward with a positive outlook.

It is also imperative to seek help from family, friends, and medical providers when needed. An addict can conquer the negative emotions and gain insight into how addiction has badly impacted them and their relationships, but it takes considerable work. Distancing themselves from external stressors to recharge is an important part of self-care, but that by itself can have a detrimental impact on relationships.

Setting boundaries when rebuilding damaged relationships is helpful so long as everyone understands that engaging in unhealthy patterns or behaviors hinders progress rather than improves the odds of success. An open dialogue regarding expectations, and honest communication in general, should always be the goal.

The ultimate key while working on addictions and relationships, even when things get tough, is not to lose hope. Rather than the mistakes of the past, try to focus on growth and progress, and accept that it will take time to work through unresolved feelings and remain mindful of the moment. Healing and repairing damaged relationships is not impossible; just not easy.

What Do You Risk by Enabling Addictive Behavior in a Significant Other?

The outcomes of enabling addictive behavior, such as substance abuse within a relationship, are often detrimental. Intentional or not, enabling reinforces the belief that engaging in harmful behavior is acceptable and reduces accountability (leading to more destructive behaviors).

Enabled addicts can become reliant on their enablers, leading to increased entitlement, an aversion to responsibility, and further inability to cope without substances. The enabler can also be harmed by perpetuating unhealthy attachment patterns, preventing both participants from living meaningful lives.

How can you avoid enabling addictive behavior? By practicing a healthy detachment from the situation. It is possible to offer support without reinforcing the worst patterns. Healthy detachment can mean saying no when asked for money or rides to procure substances.

Lying, making excuses, or otherwise covering up for an addict’s behavior only succeeds in helping them avoid the support they need.

Finally, setting boundaries is a must. The journey to recovery is ultimately up to the person struggling with addiction. While encouragement is essential, your significant other must be open to accepting your support; force is not an option.

The Role of Codependency in Addiction and Significant Others

It’s important to understand the role of codependency in addiction and relationships. Codependency between an addict and a non-addicted partner usually involves one person taking on the caretaker role to manage or control their addict partner. Once recognizing the signs, it’s vital to redirect the energy of the non-addict to offering support and encouragement rather than control as they try to “make things better.”

As codependency is not always easy to recognize, relaying your experiences to a professional dedicated to addiction and relationship dynamics can greatly help. Defining addiction and relationship-related issues such as codependency can help identify triggers and attachment issues, benefiting everyone involved. A new appreciation of relationship expectations can help keep your significant other sober.

Strength in Numbers: Why a Community is Better Than Going It Alone

Rather than tackling the challenges of substance abuse alone, find a supportive community ready to offer understanding and guidance. Many organizations exist to help those affected by addiction, including friends and families. Programs include Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Al-anon, Smart Recovery, and Refuge Recovery, to name a few. Test the water with online support groups and forums, connecting with those with similar experiences, which can make a profound difference.

When Should You or Your Significant Other Seek Help?

If your significant other is struggling with addiction (or YOU are), it is essential to seek professional help as soon as possible. Historically, addiction becomes more severe and difficult to treat over time. And when substance abuse worsens, addicts become more desperate, which can lead to outcomes as serious as criminal activities, homelessness, or worse.

Professional addiction treatment options provide invaluable resources, including personalized care plans, education on substance use, and relapse prevention, not to mention Medication-assisted Treatment (or MAT). MAT is a viable option for those unable to break from their day-to-day lives while undergoing rehabilitation at their own pace, but it’s entirely case-by-case. Some patients in recovery require inpatient, outpatient, or partial hospitalization programs. Although receiving treatment at a facility seems extreme to some, attending can help someone in recovery avoid years of additional chronic drug use.

Professional treatment centers also help connect with other resources, like support groups and mental health professionals in the area. In terms of addictions and significant others, there are benefits to family counseling or couples therapy to address any underlying issues that may fuel more substance use. Research all available treatment options, explore different support systems and understand that sometimes conventional treatment isn’t a good fit.

You can begin healing yourself by addressing the severity of substance abuse and taking proactive steps to address your significant others’ addiction. Reach out to local rehabilitation programs or treatment centers, like MAT Care Clinics, for resources on recovery. Anyone can regain control of their lives and make better choices for safer outcomes, provided they have access to the right resources.

The Key to Caring for Addiction and Significant Others

Understand that addiction doesn’t define you or your loved one. With the proper support, you and your significant other can find hope and a future free from addiction, which is only one part of your mutual story.

Recognize that addiction is treatable (and that recovery is possible) no matter the severity. Offer your loved one encouragement and direction toward professional help with support, understanding, and no judgment.

MAT Care Clinics Understands the Relationships Between Addiction and Significant Others

There are many challenges to face when addiction creeps into the life of significant others. However, addiction is not a death sentence for your partner or your relationship. Users can learn how to cope without substances with treatment and support. MAT Care Clinics can positively impact addiction and the personal lives of everyone struggling by providing that support.

If you need help, MAT Care Clinics addiction experts can guide you and offer options for the sobriety you deserve. Together, we change the addiction narrative and make genuine recovery a reality.

Reach out to us if you need help. Call (833) 622-0628 or contact us here.

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