Being in a close relationship with an addict—be it a spouse, parent, child, or sibling—can be difficult. There comes a rise in emotional struggles and domestic issues can be commonplace. Perhaps living with addicts and their unhealthy behavior even begins to make you feel unsafe and uncomfortable.
This can make sustaining a relationship all the more difficult and even cause permanent damage to you and your relationship. At the same time, you may be willing to try to excuse this behavior out of love. But not only is it important to understand this behavior, but it is also important to understand why it cannot always be excused.
There may issues you do not know or understand, and it is important to be aware of them. Additionally, you should also be aware of certain signals if your loved one is hiding an addiction of some kind. There are several characteristics to notice and understand and consider the following.
Behaviors and Indicators
A number of different behaviors that 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 traits consist of but are not limited to:
- Frequently spending money or having finances disappear
- Being sick frequently—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 stronger indicators that your family member is abusing drugs.
You should seek help only when you are sure if they are struggling with a drug problem. Be open and willing to talk with and discuss your concerns with the addict in question. Approaching them in an aggressive manner with accusations and criticisms will only make them less keen on work with you.
History with Drugs
Does your family have a history with drugs? Does your spouse’s family have a history with 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 are also common for children with parents that have struggled abuse. Because of this, these children may grow up struggling to care for themselves or maintaining strong, healthy relationships. These issues as well as prioritizing drugs makes closeness and intimacy difficult between partners.
At the same time, however, you cannot tell an addict to simply quit drugs and prioritize their relationship with you. With the dependence on drugs that comes with addiction, addicts can physically become sick from withdrawal. You must guide and assist your partner through recovery together than expect them to stop independently.
Truth and Trust
The greatest impairment that drug addiction triggers in a relationship is the lack of trust that lingers between partners. Getting the truth out of an addicted partner can feel like pulling out teeth, and 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 permeate these relationships are not just simple “yes” or “no” answers. Addicts will often craft elaborate stories or continuously bend the truth in hopes to hide it away. Though they may have good intentions to protect a partner with lies, communication and honesty are far more important in any relationship.
When approaching your addicted partner, understand that perhaps they simply want to avoid hurting you with the truth. Be gentle yet firm in approach, but also express your own personal feelings and how you wish to continue a healthy relationship together.
If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, contact a local Treatment & Rehab alternative in Tennessee. You might be interested in Discovery Place’s own treatment center alternatives, such as our 30 Day Residential Addiction Alternative Recovery Program or our Long Term Alternative Recovery Program in Burns, Tennessee. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-725-0922.