Recovery from an addiction is one of the most challenging, strenuous, but ultimately rewarding and worthwhile things a person can achieve. However, when we talk about addiction and recovery, it is important to look past the surface at why some are more prone to it than others and how it affects nearly every aspect of their lives.
Addiction to drugs or alcohol can destroy lives. In many cases, it is just one facet of a much larger problem that, through recovery, must also be addressed to ensure lasting positive change. Understanding how addiction can affect all portions of addicts’ lives and those around them can help us gain deeper insight into how to ensure that they are on the path to recovery and healing.
Addiction Doesn’t Occur in a Vacuum
The behavior exhibited by someone experiencing addiction to drugs or alcohol does not begin and end with substance use. Folks who suffer from addiction can often see its presence in other compulsive behaviors, effectively experiencing a bleed-over effect into parts of life that many struggle so hard to keep separate from their addiction. Relationships with friends and family, intimacy with a partner, financial health, and the ability to parent are all affected when someone has an addictive personality.
Relationships with only hints of codependent tendencies can fall into toxic codependency when an addictive personality is involved. A loving partner can be a stable lifeline in a time of crisis. However, if that same loved one enables addictive behavior, the relationship can spiral into a recurring cycle of abuse and forgiveness. Eventually, this yoyoing in a relationship can hit a breaking point and result in loved ones cutting ties with no option for reconciliation.
Additionally, those prone to risk-taking activities due to an addictive personality can be drawn into relationships and situations that exacerbate and compound addictive behavior. Knowing how to spot the red flags in a toxic friend, partner, or family member can immensely help those on the road to recovery as they begin to address the many facets of their addiction without outside pressure to engage in risky behavior.
Relationships and Recovery
While addiction is an intensely personal journey, the fact is that it still affects every relationship a person has in one way or another. Those struggling with mental health issues stemming from addiction might find that it alters their ability to be physically and emotionally intimate with a partner. Inversely, someone with an addictive personality might throw away years of devotion for a one-night stand just because the opportunity presented itself.
Finding someone willing to stick around on the long road to recovery can be difficult. This difficulty, combined with desperation for affection, can cause some people to fall in with abusive partners simply because they are desperate for a helping hand. If there are little ones in the picture, child neglect can go overlooked or acknowledged but swept under the rug out of fear of abandonment during recovery.
Addicts might find themselves taking advantage of their family or slowly burning bridges due to repeated requests for financial assistance. Desperate parents may plunder trust funds set up by grandparents or take advantage of their children’s pristine credit rating to raise cash to feed their addiction. There is nothing wrong with relying on friends or family on the road to recovery, and a solid support system is necessary for success. However, recovering addicts must understand that their past behavior might have lasting implications for those relationships.
Setting Yourself Up For Success
Even if some people have addictive personalities, it does not mean that they are doomed to watch their relationships fail. People can identify and insulate themselves from harmful, toxic personal relationships, choosing instead to focus on positive relationships in their lives that offer healthy support.
If those suffering from addiction are already in enabling or abusive relationships, learning and understanding how their partners’ abuse feeds into their own addictive behavior can help spur real change. While the road to recovery doesn’t need to be lonely, people with addictive personalities need to be very conscientious about the relationships they form.
Addiction is fraught with paranoia and fear of the unknown, and it can be hard to identify the supportive relationships that provide a positive support system. Knowing how to identify and nurture these relationships not only aids recovery but can also help improve people’s lives in general by avoiding the toxic relationships and situations that spur on addictive, irrational, and impulsive behavior.
At the end of the day, dealing with addiction will be a difficult journey no matter who you are. However, the people you choose to surround yourself with and how you interact with them have a much greater impact on recovery than many people recognize.
About the Author: Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer who lives in the Northwest region of the United States. She has a particular interest in covering topics related to good health, balanced life, and better living through technology. When not writing, her free time is spent reading and researching to learn more about her cultural and environmental surroundings.
Mental Health Month 2021
Access for All
May is Mental Health Month, a time to spread public awareness and education about mental health disorders and reflect on the impact of mental illness on individuals and their families.
It is also a time to recognize and commit to changing the racial and economic inequities in our health care system, particularly with respect to mental health.
www.rtor.org and Laurel House are committed to the advancement of racial equity and social justice, and to making mental health services accessible to all.
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The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post 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 the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios only.
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