Advice for Couples Surviving Addiction

It’s no secret that substance abuse can destroy relationships, leaving families in turmoil and loved ones in pain. The person suffering from addiction often thinks they are only harming themselves, but the effects tend to trickle out all around them. So, what can you do to get your loved one the help they need? While the answers are not always simple, there are some strategies that can help when it comes to dealing with these situations.

Opioid Addiction

Opioid addiction continues to be a nationwide problem. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, in 2016 alone, there were more than 30,000 deaths in the U.S. related to prescription pain relievers and heroin. It usually begins with a prescription treatment for a surgery or accident that requires pain management. And studies show that addiction can begin in as little as a few days of use.

Signs of Addiction

If your significant other has a problem with substance abuse, there’s a good possibility you already know something is wrong, but to determine if there is an addiction, you will need to watch for certain signs. With any addiction comes some irregular behavior. For example, you might notice extreme mood swings, poor work performance, sudden weight loss, or unusual sleeping patterns. Chances are when you ask them about any of their behaviors, they will make flimsy excuses or express misplaced outrage.

Signs of Opioid Addiction

Though some signs are the same with any addiction, opioid addiction may be a little harder to detect because it is a substance their doctor probably prescribed and you are not looking for signs. But here are some things to watch for:

  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Constricted pupils
  • Extra pill bottles in the garbage
  • Taking more pills than prescribed

Healing as a Couple

According to Psychology Today, compassion is the key ingredient in getting a loved one to agree they need help and healing a relationship after one of you has suffered an addiction. Compassion lets them know that we recognize their pain, really hear them when they talk, care about them as an individual, and encourages them to get better. But that doesn’t mean you should stop caring about and for yourself. Be sure to express the same compassion to yourself as you do to your partner.

When It Is Time to Move On

There comes a time when you have suffered enough abuse, humiliation and turmoil to wreck a village, and it may be time to move on. No one can tell you exactly when that time is, but people often make the choice when they feel there is no other option. For example, they might choose to leave when they feel it is no longer safe for them or their children to be in the home. Or maybe their significant other refuses to get help or recognize that there is a problem. The bottom line is that no one has to live with that decision but you and any children involved, so seek out the help of a licensed therapist if you feel you need counseling to make your choice.

Living with someone with an addiction is one of the most difficult experiences you can face. There will be times when you want to throw in the towel, times when you want to give the relationship one last chance, and even times when you live in denial. It’s important to face the truth as soon as you can and to seek counseling regardless of whether your partner chooses to join you. Addiction does not have to be the end. With the proper treatment and relationship-building tools, life after addiction can be a wonderful new beginning.