One of the biggest threats to relationships is substance abuse. It changes the dynamics between lovers, bringing them into a roller coaster ride of emotions. It is definitely not easy to be in a relationship threatened by drug addiction. And while “not giving up” is the most common encouragement, it is almost always easier said than done.
Here are 5 of the many things you can do in the face of drug abuse by your partner:
Be Sensitive About The Signs
Physical symptoms of substance abuse include the change in pupil size, frequent nosebleeds, sudden weight fluctuations, unstable sleeping patterns, seizures despite no past experiences of epilepsy, odd smells on body, breath, or clothing, slurred speech, and poor movement coordination, including tremors or shakes, among others.
Behavioral signs include weak performance or troublesome attendance at school or work, losing interest in activities you once enjoyed, complaints from friends and family, unable to explain the need money, stealing, or mysterious disappearances of valuable, abrupt change of leisure activities and places, as well as aggressive behavior.
“Most people in a relationship with an addict have some level of codependency. As reported by Mental Health America, codependents are people that have the intention to help the addict, but who become compulsive in the caregiving role.” — Sherry Gaba LCSW
Seek Professional Help
Because you have the mindset that you know your partner the most, you may often try to solve medical and psychological problems, and even substance abuse for the matter, on your own. You would tend to avoid professional help for the longest time until it’s too late.
Professional intervention, a structured and solution-oriented process aimed at encouraging people under substance abuse to seek help, could go very far on a person’s way towards a changed life. A professional would help keep accusations and name-calling out of the healing equation and focus the intervention on constructive ways to heal.
Go Away With Enabling
Driven by the love for your partner, you may be tempted to cover up their actions for them. It is always the tendency for couples – to try to make their relationship appear stable and okay. But sometimes, doing things on their behalf may be doing more harm than good. Stop enabling your partner. When you fix problems for your partner, you create a pattern of unhealthy rescuing.
If need be, limit your partner’s control of money to hinder them from buying illegal drugs further. Sometimes, this tough love is what they need to learn responsibility.
“Many people in troubled marriages say, “We just don’t communicate anymore.” Most likely, they mean to say that they don’t communicate effectively anymore.” — Erika Krull, MSEd, LMHP
Stop The Blaming, Start The Healing
It is everyone’s go-to response when we run out of patience: blaming. You have to understand that your partner under substance abuse is also a victim. Accusing them becomes only a springboard for further substance abuse. In the end, it really benefits no one, except that it just brings in more negative emotions and breaks relationships.
Encourage positivity by turning conversations into good exchanges rather than dragging confrontations. Make them feel that they are not alone. Help bring back their self-esteem by reassuring them of their value and of the fact that they are loved, blessed, and accepted. Never forget to cultivate tons of patience and understanding along the way.
“When addiction strikes marriage, spouses need to face reality and be careful not to become an enabler.” — Jason Whiting Ph.D.
Know When To Draw The Line
There are cases of people under drug abuse who turn to violence and aggressive tendencies. It raises the red flag once the violent act involves you and your children. There are also cases when those experiencing substance abuse do it in front of the kids. At this point when your safety and the well-being of others become affected, then you seriously have to consider separation.
When all efforts have been given but to no avail, sometimes, you should also know when to draw the line between keeping up and leaving. While this is already the last resort, this tough love approach sometimes brings in better things than merely staying.
The journey towards healing is not easy, but nobody can say that it is impossible. There is always hope when there are people who are willing to help despite the odds. Keep believing in your love, and it will never be too late to mend broken hearts and start fresh, one step at a time.