Most people don’t set out to date someone who is an addict or alcoholic. It just happens. People usually end up in this situation in one of two ways. The first is when you’re already in a relationship with this person before they had an addiction. The second way is when you meet someone who is an addict but you’re not in a relationship with them yet.
Whether the addiction is new or you’re falling for someone who is in drug rehab in Phoenix, you might be wondering if it’s possible to have a healthy relationship with them. Obviously, if you’re already invested in this person and share a life together, it’s a lot harder to walk away. But because it’s possible to fall in love after just a few dates, your heart may already know what it wants.
To help you better understand your relationship, let’s explore the ways that addiction affects couples. You can also check out our previous article on tips for dating a recovering alcoholic, which recommends waiting at least one year to enter a relationship with a person in recovery.
How Does Addiction Affect Intimate Relationships?
When a person grows addicted to drugs or alcohol, there is no priority greater than the substances they use. No matter how much you love them, the addiction will almost always come first. This is not a choice but rather how addiction changes the brain. Don’t lose sight of this, otherwise, you might feel that you can change the person. You can’t.
Usually, addiction starts with recreational drug use. For some people, substance abuse grabs a hold of them and the body and brain become dependent on the drug. Over time, a partner who was once loving and committed can become selfish, distant, and focused on their next fix.
Because drug and alcohol use is an addict’s priority, they won’t hesitate to lie, steal, or manipulate others to continue their use. What you see is someone completely different from the person you started dating. And if you continue to stick around and enable the addiction, you could be the victim of emotional, physical, or mental abuse.
Do I Have to Let an Addict Go?
If you’ve only been dating someone for a few months, the decision to leave the relationship may be an easier one. But many people share their lives with their loved ones and can’t make this decision easily. So our answer to, “Do I have to let an addict go?” is a maybe.
You can motivate your significant other to get help, and if they’re willing, your support can be invaluable. But not everyone is willing to get help. Many people who are in relationships with addicts realize that they have to set boundaries, and if their loved one doesn’t respect them, they have to end the relationship. Of course, if your partner is harming you or others in the home, you may have no other choice but to leave.
Know that There are Other Ways to Love an Addict
For the context of this article, let’s say that you’re invested in a romantic relationship with someone you share a life with. You want to help them and believe that you can get through this addiction together. What should you do?
What we want you to know is that there are different ways to love an addict. Keeping quiet and letting your significant other live their life as normal is not the best way. All you’re doing is allowing the addiction to continue in order to keep your loved one close to you.
So, how can you love your partner without enabling the addiction?
- Stage an Intervention. If talking to your partner hasn’t helped, consider holding a family meeting. Be sure to work with a professional interventionist or mediator who can help you stage an effective intervention.
- Establish Boundaries. The boundaries you have set may have innocently helped the addiction along. Work with a professional therapist or addiction specialist who can help you set healthy boundaries and consequences. Many addicts won’t agree to holistic outpatient drug or alcohol rehab in Phoenix until their life becomes uncomfortable.
- Avoid Blaming. Even though your partner may deserve a lot of the blame, harboring these emotions will keep you angry and bitter. Also, if you put blame and shame on your loved one, this will fuel the fire and make it more difficult to get them help.
- Be Patient. Addiction and recovery are long processes that aren’t resolved overnight. Be patient with your significant other, as there will be steps forward and steps backward.
- Support the Person – Not the Addiction. When you do things to make the addiction easier, your partner won’t have a reason to change. Don’t minimize the addiction. You can love your partner but they need to experience the pain of addiction.
What if Two People in a Relationship Have Addictions?
Now, what happens if two people in a relationship have addictions? Can this be a healthy relationship since you’re both on par with each other? While it’s difficult to generalize, we can say with confidence that this type of relationship probably won’t be healthy.
When two addicts are in a relationship together, they are likely to enable one another without realizing it. For instance, your partner may pressure you to drink with them or you may both live in an unrealistic world driven by negative behaviors. To help your relationship (and your addiction), you’ll likely benefit from outpatient alcohol rehab in Phoenix.
Sometimes, the only way to show love for yourself and your partner is by stepping away from the relationship. This has nothing to do with your love for the person, but sometimes, love isn’t enough. And if you’re using drugs and alcohol, too, you must be able to focus on your own recovery while breaking the ties of codependency and enabling.
Seek Substance Abuse Treatment in Phoenix
Continuum Recovery Center works with individuals and couples who need support for a substance use disorder. As an outpatient drug rehab in Phoenix, your significant other can work on their recovery during the day and return home in the evenings. This is especially helpful for working individuals and families with children.
To learn more about how we can help your partner get clean and sober, contact us today for an assessment. If you need other questions answered, Contact Us here!