How An Addict’s Behavior Changes Your Relationship

Being in a close relationship with an addict—be it a spouse, parent, child, or sibling—can be difficult. Emotional struggles and domestic issues are common in relationships with addicts. Consequently, sometimes living with addicts and their unhealthy behavior can make you feel uncomfortable or even unsafe. Typical addict behavior in relationships can be confusing and frustrating.

Behaviors and Indicators

You should be aware of certain signs your loved one is hiding an addiction. There may be issues and behaviors you do not understand. At the same time, you may be willing to try to excuse this behavior out of love. But not only is it important to learn to recognize this behavior, but it is also important to know why it cannot always be excused.

A number of different behaviors can warrant suspicion of drug addiction. You may notice these traits later on, but perhaps it is something you have dealt with your entire relationship. Regardless, a majority of these can impair or harm your relationship.

These typical addict behaviors in relationships consist of, but are not limited to:

  • Frequently spending money or having finances disappear
  • Being sick often—especially in the morning with symptoms of hangover or withdrawal
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Changes in diet
  • Overeating or not eating enough
  • Disappearing for extended periods, with vague excuses such as “quick errands” or “meeting up with a friend”
  • Acting noticeably different after seeing certain friends
  • Track marks along the body—usually the forearm
  • Finding tinfoil, small bags, or syringe tips in the garbage frequently

It is crucial not to make assumptions if you see a couple of these traits, especially if they are rare. Repetition is key and makes for a stronger indication your family member is abusing drugs.

You should seek help when you are sure they are struggling with a drug problem. Most importantly, be open and willing to discuss your concerns with your loved one. Approaching them in an aggressive manner with accusations and criticisms will only make them less likely to work with you.

addict and his partner talk about problematic behaviors

History With Drugs

Does your family have a history of drug use? Does your spouse’s family have a history of using drugs? Maybe you are not aware, but it is important information to learn. Exposure to drugs in childhood can make you more vulnerable to drugs. Additionally, people can inherit traits that make them more susceptible to addiction.

Physical and emotional abuse is also common for children with parents that have struggled with substance abuse. Because of this, these children may grow up struggling to care for themselves or maintain strong, healthy relationships. These issues as well as prioritizing drugs make closeness and intimacy difficult between partners.

At the same time, however, you cannot tell an addict to simply quit using drugs or alcohol and prioritize their relationship with you. With the dependence on drugs that comes with addiction, addicts can physically become sick from withdrawal. Hence, it helps to guide and assist your partner through recovery together rather than expecting them to stop independently.

Truth and Trust

One typical addict behavior in relationships is dishonesty. As a result, the lack of trust lingers between partners. Getting the truth out of an addicted partner can feel like pulling out teeth. Moreover, these relationships tend to be filled with deception. Addicts often hesitate to tell the truth out of shame or fear of judgment or rejection.

Unfortunately, the lies that occur in these relationships are not just simple “yes” or “no” answers. Addicts will often craft elaborate stories or continuously bend the truth in hopes of hiding it away. Though they may have good intentions to protect a partner with lies, communication and honesty are far more important in any relationship.

addict in couples therapy to work on communication in relationships

How to Deal With an Addicted Partner

When approaching your addicted partner, understand perhaps they simply want to avoid hurting you with the truth. They may be feeling a lot of guilt and shame for letting you down. Be gentle, yet firm in your approach. Also, express your own personal feelings and how you wish to continue a healthy relationship together.

When trying to help a partner there are some easy mistakes to make. Understandably, you are likely feeling a lot of emotions. Not only is there typical addict behavior in relationships but also common behaviors of loved ones.

Some of these may include:

  • Blaming yourself
  • Blaming and judging your partner
  • Avoiding the issue
  • Lying for your partner
  • Covering up the addiction
  • Making excuses
  • Using drugs or alcohol with them
  • Turning away from your partner unless unsafe or as a last resort

You can start the path to recovery beside your partner. A huge part of recovery is support and healing. Loved ones also need equal support and healing. Finding a treatment center involving partners and other family members in the recovery process is critical. For this reason, Discovery Place provides family member support by offering family programming.

What to do if Your Partner Refuses Addiction Treatment

A relationship with an addict can be very complex, whether it’s a spouse, partner, or other loved one. The addict may be someone you fell in love with but now can barely recognize. It is vital to understand the disease of addiction before approaching someone about treatment. Learning about addiction helps you understand and know how to help.

While you may not be able to force someone into treatment, there are still things you can do. First, remember to take care of yourself and your needs. Additionally, build a support system, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You are not alone. Professional help and support groups can help you find the inner strength you need.

Do not enable them by allowing behaviors and protecting them from experiencing the consequences of their addiction. Create boundaries for things you will not tolerate. This involves setting realistic consequences and enforcing them. Once your loved one can feel the negative effects of their addiction, they may decide it is time to seek treatment.

recovering addict with partner meet therapist in family programming

Free Yourself from Addiction at Discovery Place

If your partner or loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, contact Discovery Place in the Nashville area to find out about our treatment options. Our addiction specialists can help determine the right treatment plan for each person’s unique situation. Our knowledgeable and caring staff understands the impact of addiction and how to best serve you and your family.

We offer a wide range of programs that may include our 30-Day rehab or our long-term recovery program. Contact us for more information.

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