Addiction in our Relationships

Addiction in our Relationships

Living with addiction means our addiction impacts every single area of our lives. We can see the drastic effects of our addiction everywhere in our lives, and very visibly on the health of our relationships. When we’re addicted, we often attract other addicts, and our relationships are built on a foundation of unhealthiness and instability.

Addiction presents itself in our relationships in various ways. Codependence is one of them. We are not only dependent on our addictive substances and behaviors, we also become dependent upon each other. Our unhealthy relationships can be based on toxicity, attachment and lack of independence. Our relationships become codependent in nature, and we struggle to function independently, to hold onto our own identities and to feel whole within ourselves. We feel like we need the other person to survive. We feel like we can’t live without them. Our relationships are not comprised of two healthy people coming together to share of themselves. Instead, they are two broken people full of insecurity and pain bringing their issues into the mix and bringing each other down. Healthy unions are practically impossible in this kind of climate. Our relationships are so full of our fears and unresolved issues that there is little room for growth and healing. We subconsciously hope that we’ll get better, that the other person will change, that somehow our love will conquer all and cure us. For many of us, though, our relationships only exacerbate our existing problems. We fall deeper into our depressions. We become unhappier and more afraid.

When our relationships grow from a foundation of addiction, they often have nowhere to go but down. We have a tendency to enable each other’s destructive habits and addictive behaviors. We perpetuate each other’s patterns. We make excuses for each other, we lie for each other, we cover up each other’s problems. Our relationship can become a safe haven for our addiction to fester undisturbed. We retreat into the comfort and distraction of the relationship rather than face ourselves. Any willpower we might have had can go right out the window when the people we love are urging us to drink or use with them. We trust the people we’re with, and subconsciously we want to believe that they have our best interest at heart. When they themselves are addicts, though, they don’t have the clarity or peace of mind to act in your best interest, let alone their own. Our self-destructiveness becomes a joint effort, and we self-destruct together. We cause ourselves and each other increased pain, adding a growing list of issues to heal from onto our already existing unresolved issues.

Recovery requires that we take inventory of everything in our lives that is detracting from our capacity for healing, and this often includes our relationships.

Call Enlightened Solutions today to get the support you need to focus on your recovery: (833) 801-LIVE.


Ways to Help Our Loved Ones Who Are Struggling

Ways to Help Our Loved Ones Who Are Struggling

Seeing our loved ones suffering with addictions and mental health issues can be difficult and painful. One of the hardest parts is not knowing how to help them. Here are a few suggestions.

Listen

Sometimes what people need most is simply to feel heard. They don’t necessarily need advice, just a listening ear. It can be therapeutic to get things off our chest. Keeping things bottled up inside of us can contribute to our depression and anxiety. Providing the safe space for your loved ones to process their emotions is a real gift. Allowing our emotions to flow and expressing ourselves is important for our mental health.

Check on Them

Call, text, email, stop by. However you can get them to respond to you so you know they’re ok, do it. They might not be able to express their appreciation if they’re in a very depressed place, but know that you are helping them by checking on them. You might be helping them through a panic attack. You might be giving them much needed relief from their anxiety or diverting them from their suicidal thoughts. Just knowing someone cares means a lot to us when we are struggling.

Understand

Release judgment. We might not be able to understand why our friend can’t get out of bed, or go to work, or why they’ve given up on their passions- but we can try. We may not have experienced addiction in the ways our friend does, but we can try to put ourselves in their shoes and imagine what kind of sadness and fear they might be feeling. Have compassion and empathy. Be patient with their struggles.

Commit to Boundaries

Addiction and mental health issues can contribute to our having codependent and/or toxic relationships. Sometimes when a loved one is actively using or struggling emotionally, there can be extra conflict and turmoil. You may feel disrespected, controlled or manipulated. You might feel hurt or uncomfortable. Create boundaries for yourself and commit to them. Don’t allow yourself to sacrifice your own peace of mind.

Learn About Enabling

Think about whether anything you’re doing might be enabling your friend’s addictive or toxic behaviors. Are you making excuses for their behavior? Are you allowing yourself to be manipulated in any way? Are they taking advantage of your kindness and help, being dishonest, or using you? When we allow our loved ones to involve us in these patterns, we are enabling them, even when that is not our intention.

At Enlightened Solutions we offer intervention services and recovery planning. Call (833) 801-LIVE for more information.