Addiction is a very devastating disease that can destroy lives of many people. If you have an addicted partner, you may feel conflicted. It is only natural to want to help your partner if he or she is struggling with an addiction. Don’t know for sure? First, look at the signs. Some common signs that your partner may be addicted to something include:
- Withdrawal symptoms like vomiting, nausea, sleep problems, mood swings, and irritability
- Inability to control the use of something like drugs, alcohol etc.
- Relationship problems like lying, lashing out and difficulties in communication
- Neglecting some important parts of life like hobbies, school, work among other professional and personal commitments
- Weight loss
- Changes in appetite
- Neglecting appearance and hygiene
- Secretive behavior
What You Can Do to Help Your Addicted Partner
Although the choice of wanting to recover from an addiction solely lies with your partner, you can still do some things that will encourage him or her to get sober. But your first step should be learning all you can about addictions, effects, and treatments. Remember the more knowledgeable you are about your partner’s addiction, the greater chance you have in helping.
If you both want things to work out, you must be honest to one another about the behavior or addiction. Sit down together and evaluate how the addiction is impacting your lives. Mostly, you are the one trying to communicate your worries to your partner who may not even be aware of the problems he or she is causing.
While talking, ensure you use a calm tone and respectable language to make sure your partner doesn’t feel cornered. Always be supportive and compassionate as possible, while also truthfully communicating your feelings. Instead of placing blame or guilt on your partner, express love, and concern.
What You Shouldn’t Do
There are several things you should avoid if you are willing to help your addicted partner:
Don’t use negative emotions like shame, blame, or guilt. This will only make your partner become less responsive and more defensive to any suggestions that you make.
Don’t support your partner’s behavior. If you show support for his or her behavior, you will be making things easier for your partner to continue giving in to the addiction.
Avoid giving ultimatums. Giving ultimatums doesn’t work at all. In fact, it may even fuel the addiction further. How? Ultimatums that you give are likely to increase stress which in turn makes it impossible for him or her to quell an addiction.
Don’t set healthy boundaries you won’t stick with. Only set healthy boundaries that you will be okay with for a lengthy period. Always be the one who makes the rules. If you do that, you will be the one on the driver’s seat controlling things and setting boundaries. But be concise, specific, and clear in a loving way.
Avoid attempting to reason with your partner when they under influence. One mistake that you can make when trying to help your partner is attempting to have a healthy conversion with the person under influence of some sort. Why? Your partner may not even remember what you discussed the following day. So, only discuss addiction issues when your partner is sober.
Don’t join them. This can be the worst thing you can do as no one will be helping the other. Ensure that you maintain your sobriety and ground regardless of the temptations that may come your way.
Treatment Options to Consider
Medically-aided detox- Depending on your partner’s addiction severity, they may choose to get clean under medical supervision. Detox involves weaning them off of the drugs instead of abruptly halting everything at once. Note that this may cause life-threatening, painful, and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. The treatment can be done in a hospital, treatment center, or professional detox facility It can also be done on an outpatient basis.
Medical-assisted treatments- Some addictions involve medical-assisted treatments that can be used to help addicts fully recover from severe addictions. That means your partner may be required to take prescription drugs on a long or short term basis depending on the severity of the addiction. Taking medication during treatment helps manage cravings, moderate withdrawal symptoms, and reduce risks of relapse.
Outpatient treatment- This type of treatment is usually on a part-time basis. If your partner enrolls for this treatment, he or she can continue doing normal tasks as usual. Only a small amount of time is set apart for social and doctor-patient interactions. Thus, your partner can still stay at home during treatment but periodically continue visiting the physician for treatments.
Inpatient treatment- Inpatient treatment occurs on a full-time basis. In most cases, patients spend 1 to 3 months in a residential facility before they can fully recover. But this type of treatment is recommended if your partner has a severe addiction or is having an addiction relapse.
Group or individual counseling/therapy- Therapy and counseling help discuss the underlying psychological issues behind your partner’s addiction. In addition, it helps your partner to learn new ways of coping with cravings and stress, among others. These support groups encourage patients who are still recovering from addictions as everyone in the group has one thing in common: addiction.
Support for You and Your Partner
You should always give support to your addicted partner as it may be the key to helping him or her overcome the addiction. But if you are unable to do that calmly, you can ask your family members or friends for support. Usually, if your partner is willing to try to beat their addiction, they will be more willing to discuss the treatments options available.
It’s not easy being the partner to an addict. Drug addiction has the power to destroy any kind of relationship. Romantic relationships can suffer because of broken trust and a lack of communication that comes with addiction. You also want to avoid enabling them. While you want the best for your partner, remember that your health and well-being is just as important. Perhaps consider a support group or counseling. Learn how to live better despite the addiction.