About 20 million American adults struggle with some kind of addiction. Of that number, almost three-quarters of them are battling an alcohol use disorder. Therefore, it’s not unlikely to imagine having a partner with an addiction. Unfortunately, this situation is all too common, but the doesn’t mean it’s obvious.
Your partner’s addiction might not be apparent. It could be there before you meet or develop months or even decades later. Your partner could actively hide it from you—and everyone else). But once the addiction is clear, both of you must take action to address it.
How Addiction Impacts Your Relationship
- Your partner’s pursuit of alcohol, drugs, gambling, or another source, will slowly become the number one priority in their life.
- You may have trouble recognizing them as the person you originally met
- Jobs, family, health, etc. — nothing will be chosen over the addiction
- As a result, your family will endure issues related to career, finances, trust, intimacy, and more
With this in mind, there are steps you must take as their partner. Also, as a couple, it’s essential to seek out counseling.
What to do if Your Partner Has an Addiction
Avoid denial. You’ll be scared, freaked out, betrayed, confused, and embarrassed. None of this should lead you to pretend that a major problem does not exist.
Addiction is a disease. There are countless resources available to you to learn what you need to learn. This includes you developing a strong understanding of codependency. A lot of this information will be dealt with during couples therapy (see below).
It’s not easy to give your loved one an ultimatum but they must seek treatment. You can’t subject yourself to the abuse, financial ruin, and chronic stresses that often come with addiction. Set firm boundaries and enforce them.
You’ll be under relentless pressure and addiction is not a problem that is solved quickly. Thus, it’s imperative that you take daily steps to safeguard your mental and physical wellbeing.
How Couples Therapy Can Help
Makes it Clear That Partners Also Need Support
Every relationship has issues. When addiction emerges, those problems don’t magically vanish. If anything, they get worse. Committing to therapy demonstrates an awareness that both partners need help.
Addresses the Concept of Enabling
You love your addicted partner. Hence, you may do things that feel like love but are actually enabling their behavior. For example, you cover up for them, clean up their messes, and make excuses. A counselor will shine a light on this and help you make more productive choices.
Works on Related Emotional Issues
The presence of addiction almost always results in both partners struggling with other mental health problems. So while addiction is the top priority, a skilled couples therapist will also keep you focused on related issues and their impact on your relationship.
Works on Related Practical Issues
These may include problems in areas like:
- Legal concerns
- Job and career
- Physical health concerns
Repairs Your Relationship
You may get the addiction under control. You may also get a handle on the collateral damage. But at the root, there is a relationship that has been damaged. Couples counseling is specifically designed to find a resolution for the lingering mistrust, shame, anger, and resentment.
Take the BIG First Step
It takes more than a concerned partner to address the myriad problems created by addiction. So reach out today to learn more about what couples (or individual) therapy can offer you. You’re in a tough place, but things can feel easier when you have the help of an experienced guide.