If your partner is coping with an addiction, they certainly aren’t alone. Nearly 20 million American adults battle a substance abuse disorder every year. However, just because addiction is common doesn’t mean it’s easy to deal with.
When someone becomes dependent on drugs or alcohol, it can put an immense strain on their relationships. They can become angry, distant, and even aggressive. So it’s only natural that you’d feel upset, angry, or depressed about your partner’s addiction.
However, there are some things you can do to help them cope with their addiction and support them during the recovery process.
1. Help Them Get Help
If your significant other is unaware that they have an addiction, you may have to have a one-on-one conversation to express your concern. Communicate from a place of compassion and offer to help them seek help. If they respond well, begin looking for a professional rehab facility or addiction counselor.
Once your partner realizes that they have a problem with substance abuse, identify situations that may tempt them to give in to cravings and relapse. Make a plan to avoid these triggers as your partner commits to abstinence.
In some cases, this plan might involve cutting off certain friends, moving to a new area, or simply avoiding parties or events.
3. Enjoy Substance-Free Activities
Depending on your social situation, avoiding triggering activities might leave you with plenty of free time — and time to obsess over everything you’re missing out on.
Luckily, you can distract your partner by finding new places to go and people to hang out with. Use this time to go to the zoo, visit the theater, and rediscover your love for one another.
4. Be Honest and Vulnerable
One of the best ways to help your partner cope with and overcome addiction is to be honest with one another. Be willing to talk about the tough stuff and never discredit each others’ struggles.
Building a foundation of honesty and trust will help you both be more vulnerable with your personal battles so you can hold each other accountable and thrive as individuals and as a couple.
As much as you want to be there for your partner during this challenging time, you must establish boundaries to maintain your personal well-being. Be clear about what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior in regards to their addiction and your relationship and communicate your expectations.
Most importantly, enforce your boundaries and remove yourself from the situation if they can’t respect them. While giving your partner space may be difficult, it might be a necessary part of their healing and recovery process.