Many people are eager to support a partner or loved one who is experiencing addition. In fact, some individuals may view helping their partner to overcome addiction as their number one priority. Those desires are both natural and commendable. But it is also important to remember that there are certain behaviors that should be avoided so as not to derail the journey to recovery.
If you have a spouse or partner who is struggling with addiction, you may be determined to do whatever it takes to get your loved one clean, healthy, and happy again. For example, you may urge him to open up about the challenges he is facing, listen attentively and patiently to his concerns, and encourage him to go to addiction rehab. While loving support is needed, ensure the things you do and say do not indirectly enable maladaptive behaviors or negatively impact the healing process. Here are three things you need to avoid:
Not talking about all the major issues
Although you may be aware that your partner has a problem with substance addiction, there may be other concerns that are harder to spot. A number of clinical studies have proven that many people with addiction also have co-occurring mental health or emotional issues. If your partner had an abusive childhood or is experiencing a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety, he may be drinking alcohol or taking drugs as a way to cope. If you can help him to talk about all the major issues he is facing, his healthcare providers will be in a better position to treat the addiction as well as the underlying issues.
Lying for your partner
If your partner is addicted to illicit drugs or alcohol, there will be times when he lets you or other people down. This may include not showing up for work or missing important social events because he is intoxicated, high, or sick. Your love for your partner may make you feel compelled to lie to other people or make up flimsy excuses to explain his absence. However, lying is never a good thing in a relationship, whether it be to your partner or about your partner. While it is important to respect your partner’s privacy and protect his reputation, shielding him completely from the consequences of his actions may hinder how quickly he seeks treatment and rob him of additional social support.
Using drugs or alcohol in your partner’s presence
Some people choose to use drugs or have a drink with their partner as a way to spend time together. However, this behavior is extremely dangerous as it enables their partner’s addiction and may eventually lead to addiction issues for them as well. If your partner has already sought professional care and is receiving addiction treatment, be careful not to drink, smoke, or use illicit drugs where he can see you. Although you may not have a problem with addiction, your partner may be tempted to take a particular substance he is addicted to if he sees you drinking or smoking.