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What Addiction Taught Me About Relationships

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My drug and alcohol addiction put me through the worst of times, especially when it came to personal relationships. My addiction, however, taught me a lot about enabling, codependent relationships, and toxic relationships. What I once thought of as fairytale romances were really just a rollercoaster ride of emotional manipulation and enabling. I realized that no matter how much a romantic partner hurt me once the relationship was over, it was honestly for the better. I was not solely to blame for these failed relationships.

I was a drug addict and alcoholic. My partners were well aware that these substances did not get along well with me, yet they were always right by my side drinking and using drugs with me. I would then be told I was the one who had the problem. It seemed the blame would be placed solely on me. Every relationship seemed to be set up for failure, either on my end or theirs. It was not love, it was madness. I dealt with a lot of guilt, anger, shame and grief – only to realize I was only half the problem.

Enabling A Loved One

I was not able to control my drinking or drug use. I would get unpredictable, irritable and belligerent when I drank. When it comes to loving an addict and alcoholic, it is important to intervene sooner rather than later and to know the difference between enabling and helping a loved one. Do not sit back and allow your partner to drink or use if you know the outcome will be the same. Do not agree to participate either.

If you believe your partner has a problem, speak up and encourage him or her to seek help. Even if you do not think the other person will listen, at least try. Your partner might be more open and willing than you think. The worst you can do is give up, especially if you love or care about the person. After all, he or she is still human.

I Am Toxic… But So Were They

My dating experiences in active addiction made me realize I was not the only one who was toxic. It takes two to make a relationship work. For the longest time, I thought everything was my fault. I was tired of getting hurt and having my heart broken. I seemed to love drugs and alcohol more than anyone or anything.

The irony here is that my partners would agree to go out drinking or pick up drugs knowing it probably was not a good idea. I had an epiphany one day and realized that if any of  my partners really loved or cared about me, they would have encouraged me to get help. Instead, we would be drinking and using drugs together. Eventually, they would give up and abandon me as if I never mattered. I would be told I had a problem, that I was the one to blame. It took me a long time to realize they were simply a part of the problem themselves, not the solution. I was toxic but they enabled my addictive patterns, which made them toxic to me.

A Better Understanding

My addiction helped me realize that love should be unconditional. Someone who truly loves you will stick with you through the best and worst of times. He or she will accept your flaws and encourage you to be your best self. Loved ones should not enable your addiction. Addiction and alcoholism are complicated matters where relationships are concerned. Getting out of a toxic relationship, no matter how much it may hurt, is always for the best. Patience, communication and encouragement can defeat addiction. Just remember it takes two who are willing to do the work.

Getting Help For A Loved One

There are many factors to consider when it comes to getting help for someone you care about. Addicts and alcoholics are stubborn and often have large egos. That alone can intimidate and prevent some people from speaking up about the problem. Mental health issues are also something to consider. A co-occurring disorder can create a vicious cycle that seems nearly impossible to break. It’s not.

If you feel your spouse or partner has a drinking or drug problem, it is best to take a calm and cool approach. Refrain from passing judgment. Try to sympathize, be understanding and keep an open mind. Consider the reasons why your partner resorts to substances. You will find there are always hidden, underlying factors.

Chemical dependency is often used to mask insecurities, trauma, anxiety, depression or stress. Be sure to let your loved one know you are there to give support. Explore all options for getting help. The most common types of treatment are short-term residential, long-term residential, medically assisted, integrated care, and outpatient. Consider an intervention with family and friends if your loved one does not seem to wish to get help. Sober living is something else to consider.

It is best to put an end to the cycle of addiction as early as possible. A successful recovery is more likely to occur in the early stages of addiction. The chance of relapse is also significantly lower. Addiction and alcoholism can truly be a matter of life or death.



Author Bio: Kyle Swanson is a freelance writer recovering from drug addiction and alcoholism. He has found purpose in writing and sharing about his experiences. In his free time, he works with his local recovery community in hopes of guiding others to a life of sobriety.

Image by Tú Anh from Pixabay

The opinions and views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in this article or linked to herein.

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