If you suspect that your romantic partner struggles with addiction, you may feel hesitant to say something to them. You may worry that they’ll laugh it off, get angry with you for doubting their self-control or even retreat further into isolation and substance dependency. The last thing you want is to make things worse. Unfortunately, holding off doesn’t help your partner in the long run. In fact, procrastination will only make the situation more difficult for both of you. Addiction is a deep-rooted disease, and leaving your partner to ‘work through things’ on their own very rarely leads to a positive outcome.
Don’t Hesitate to Be the One to Bring it Up
Denial doesn’t help either of you – not on your part, and not on his part. It may be that he’s already struggling internally with facing his problems. Even if you think the subject will be met with dismissal, scorn, or even hostility, putting the issue out in the open is necessary. Discussion is the first step towards getting help for anyone suffering from addiction.
It’s also possible that he has yet to consider that he’s struggling at all. Our minds are capable of wondrous levels of denial and rationalization. It’s not uncommon for a person’s first brush with understanding that they have a problem to come from someone close to them. Don’t downplay your instincts when it comes to how you perceive your partner. Just because he hasn’t noticed anything amiss in his own behavior doesn’t mean you’re jumping to conclusions or seeing things that aren’t there.
How Addiction Affects Your Relationship
A struggle with addiction means that your partner isn’t 100% there, mentally or physically. Even in your most intimate moments, he’s fighting an internal battle with a desire to use drugs or alcohol that grows stronger every day, little by little. As your partner’s addiction worsens, he’ll be driven to start using more and more, and like most people who suffer from addiction, he’ll have to go to greater lengths to hide it. He may begin staying out later to get his hands on the substance of his addiction. An addicted person may use it without your noticing, lying about how he spends his time and who he’s with. You may also notice them skipping out on activities and avoiding you in order to satisfy his cravings. When he is around, he may become distant and withdrawn, depressed, anxious, quicker to anger, and physically detached. Your sex life and emotional bond are sure to suffer.
If you’re both in denial about his addiction, you might think that you’re the problem – that something you’re doing is driving him away – when in truth, your partner has a disease. Even your best efforts to make him happy or connect with him on a deeper level won’t address the root of the issue. Letting it go untreated for fear of making things worse is only hurting you both in the long run.
Recovery Helps Both of You
Once you and your partner are on the same page about treating his addiction as a real problem, you’ll be able to work together to get him the help he needs. Having it out in the open will take the pressure off of him to lie and conceal his urges, and will help you not to feel alone in wondering about what’s going on inside him. It’ll unite you as a common front against his disorder, and it’ll give you a clear path towards a better, healthier future together. If you can successfully walk the hard road of recovery with him, you may find your relationship revitalized and strengthened by the knowledge that you’ve come together to handle one of the hardest curveballs life can throw.
If your partner’s addiction is severe, or if he’s firmly in denial, it may be appropriate for you to consider the ramifications of staying in the relationship. This is a delicate and deeply personal situation. While no two relationships will handle addiction the same, it can be helpful to seek professional guidance in taking your next steps. It won’t save your relationship if all you can do is stand by, unable to make a difference, as your partner sinks deeper into addiction and destructive behavior.
How to Help Your Partner
It may seem intimidating to broach the subject of professional help with your partner. Remember that the sooner they get help, the sooner the two of you can enjoy a relationship built on honesty and mutual support. Encouraging your partner to get help and being there for him as he embarks on his recovery journey is one of the most selfless and helpful things you can ever do for him.
If you think your partner may be suffering from addiction, getting professional help is the best thing you can do for them and for the future of your relationship. At Valiant Living, we help men overcome addiction and address relationship issues, all in one program. We provide an enhanced living environment designed to help those who see the genuine need to change their lives on physical, mental, emotional, and social levels. Addiction is often intertwined with mental instability, emotional problems, or past trauma. Our expert staff work in a personal, comfortable setting to help men work through the roots of their disorders. We also offer a second-step recovery living center for those who can benefit from a stable environment while they rebuild their lives. It’s never too early to get help for addiction. Call us at (303) 952-5035 to learn more about how we can help.