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Toxic Relationships: My Partner is An Addict

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It’s so hard to care about somebody who is struggling with substance abuse. Your relationship may suffer, and it may even change how you feel about the person. You may find yourself realizing you’re in toxic relationships but not wanting to give up on them. 

If you find yourself constantly thinking, “How do I help my partner with addiction?” This article will offer some strategies to help your relationship survive. 

The simple realization of “my partner is an addict” is devastating. You might feel bad and even stop liking your partner, but you don’t stop loving them. If you’re waiting for your partner to stop using drugs or alcohol abruptly  – truth be told, it’s not going to happen.

If you are married to an addict, it will be a long and excruciating process before realizing that there is absolutely nothing you can do to help if they’re not ready. You may feel disappointed, exhausted, heartbroken, and even feel the pain of their self-destruction pressing against you. 


How to Find Out if Your Partner is an Addict?

Recognizing a toxic behavior in your partner can be more challenging than it seems, especially when your partner is not ready to admit that the problem exists. They’ll find ways to justify and continue the behavior. The first step to getting help recognizes the physical, mental, and emotional signs and symptoms of addiction and help you identify toxic relationships.


General signs of addiction include:

  1. Loss of control
  2. Extreme mood changes
  3. Aggression or violent outbursts/ domestic violence
  4. Nausea and vomiting
  5. Sudden weight loss or gain
  6. Inability to sleep
  7. Loss of appetite
  8. Depression and anxiety
  9. Frequent headaches and fever (withdrawal symptoms)
  10. Hallucinations


Recognizing Addictive Behaviors

All sorts of addictive behaviors can ruin a healthy relationship and turn it into a toxic relationship; it doesn’t have to be only drug and alcohol addiction. Addiction disorder can take many shapes or forms; your partner may experience gambling disorder, gaming addiction, controlling behaviors, sex addiction, and shopping addiction. These are only a few examples of addictive behaviors beyond substance abuse. 

Girl hugging a man

An unhealthy relationship will usually exhibit many signs of toxic relationships, like a lack of trust. If the toxic relationship results from an addiction, it’s important to know that there are support groups and addiction treatments for all of these disorders. 


How To Help an Addict

Beware, addiction changes people, and you’re dealing with someone different now. Family members and loved ones are often key players in getting someone into addiction treatment. Sometimes, you may have to make cruel decisions or show tough love, but it’s for the benefit of your partner in the long term. Here are a few guidelines to follow on how to cope with loving an addict:


Be Understanding and Empathetic

Do not expect your spouse always to make sense and be logical. Nagging, criticizing, and lecturing an addicted person can shatter their self-confidence; they may feel misunderstood and continue abusing substances to find relief. Understand that you can’t reason with a disease. When an addiction takes hold, the person’s reality and sense of thinking and perceiving become distorted. 


Communicate and Establish Trust 

You may only be looking to help, but your partner might think you are trying to control them in toxic relationships. It’s important to have open and honest communication with your loved ones and try to make them understand that you care for them. A person is much more likely to be open to thinking about change if you communicate honestly and without being intimidating. Winning their trust is the key to setting them on the path to recovery and maintaining sobriety. 


Identify Different Treatment Options Together

Once you have built a trust relationship with your partner on addiction matters, now it is the time to move one step further. Tell your loved one what their addiction has been like for you and the family, and be straightforward about what you want to happen next. 

Talk them through different treatment options and select the right facility. They might immediately brush off the option of going into rehab or therapy, but just stress the importance of getting professional help for the sake of your relationship. 


man looking at phone while partner sleeps with back turned to him


Set Clear Boundaries

If you love an addict, you need to have stronger and higher boundaries than other people in your life. Set your boundaries lovingly but pretending that your boundaries aren’t important will see the addict’s behavior worsen as your boundaries start fading. In the end, this will only hurt both of you.


Remove All, and Any Addiction Triggers From Your Life

It’s not always easy to decide to try to help your girlfriend/ boyfriend who has an addiction problem, but your loved one will have a greater chance of overcoming addiction with your support in toxic relationships. There may be times when you feel the urge to celebrate your promotion or a new car with a drink, but you’ll have to sacrifice the desire to keep your spouse from any enabling behavior. Avoid any parties and get-togethers involving binge drinking activities that may trigger any addictive behaviors in your partner.

Helping a drug addict spouse face their substance abuse problem takes a team effort of friends and family. 


Take the Next Step

Pacific Sands Recovery Center offers many different personalized treatment options, from detox to therapy. There is no “one size fits all” approach to addiction, so work with us to create a treatment plan that works for the needs of your loved one. Contact one of our care coordinators today for free to discuss options for treatment for toxic relationships in Orange County, CA. 


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