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How to Be In a Relationship With a Drug Addict

In the face of addiction, it’s easy to feel powerless.

Yet, if you can find ways to stay in a healthy intimate relationship with a drug addict, you’ll discover that your life is full of opportunities and chances for personal growth.

Sometimes it means stepping back from the person who changed completely when exposed to drugs. Drug addicts often exhibit specific characteristics, including:

  • Intoxication
  • Sex addiction
  • Abusive behavior
  • Using drugs to feel normal
  • Making excuses

Behaviors of A Drug Addict

1. Intoxicated Tendencies

When a partner becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, they usually cannot function without it.

Drugs and alcohol create a form of false security within the addict’s mind and negatively impact their physical and mental health.

They feel as if their world will come crashing down without them taking those substances, so for the addict to keep that false sense of security and prevent their world from crashing down, they will take more of that substance at every opportunity they can afford.

Drug use can lead to the addict spending much of their money on those substances and, in turn, being unable to afford necessities like food and shelter.

2. Sex Addiction In a Partner

Sex addiction is a common co-occurring disorder in an addict’s life, affecting relationships negatively.

An intimate relationship with a partner who is an addict may experience physical, emotional, mental, and financial abuse from them.

A codependent person can turn intimate relationships into a cycle of addictive behaviors that include pursuing sex outside the primary relationship for sex or porn, compulsive masturbation, and sometimes other forms of sexual contact with people who are not their primary partners.

3. Abusive

When an addict does want to have sex with their partner, it can sometimes lead to self-destructive behavior.

Once someone becomes addicted to drugs, they might start abusing drugs and fighting for the things needed to maintain their addiction.

People with addiction have no regard for drug abuse’s impact on the people they hurt.

This causes them to abuse their relationships because they rarely factor in the consequences of their behavior. Drug addiction is a typical driving factor, whether domestic violence, toxic or abusive relationships.

Substance use changes brain chemistry and often causes anger, irritability, mood swings, and depression. These symptoms can lead to alcohol and drug-induced violence—either physical or emotional.

4. Using Drugs or Alcohol to “Feel Normal.”

When an addict or recovering drug addicts are involved in intimate relationships and cannot get their mental and own needs met, they might become involved in other groups of people using drugs and alcohol to cope with their problems.

This can lead to the addict’s partner drifting away from the relationship because their partner is associating with like-minded people by using those substances, making it more difficult for the addict’s partner to feel happy about themselves. After all, they will constantly be reminded of the type of person that their partner has been associating with.

5. Making Excuses

Drug addicts might feel they need to make excuses for their behavior when they cannot control it, so when a partner constantly asks the addict to change their behavior, they might resent that partner.

And at the same time, they will keep using drugs and alcohol because it allows them to cope with their insecurity.

Ideal Ways to Make an Intimate Relationship with A Drug Addicts Work

The following strategies are good alternatives to enabling an addiction if there is no outside help available or desired for those who may be new to the idea of not being with someone who’s addicted.

Don’t Pressure a Loved One to Quit

It doesn’t help someone you love to tell them to stop substance abuse. Yes, it is not easy to be in a relationship with a drug addict.

If you can’t handle it, find a way to separate the addiction from your loved one. It’s still possible for those addicted to have healthy intimate relationships and be responsible people.

If You Can Be Supportive and Empathetic

Don’t judge the person for their addiction or relationship with drugs but become part of their support system. Your partner may have been raised in an environment where they couldn’t stop themselves from resorting to drugs or alcohol to escape bad memories of the past.

If you have judgments, it’s best not to voice them aloud.

Promote Sobriety

Be mindful of people’s behavior and how they express their thoughts and feelings. If you see red flags, such as a person lacking self-control or relapsing into previous habits, be supportive of that individual and talk to them about it in a non-judgmental manner.

Let them know the important role you believe it’s up to them to play in their rehabilitation. Ironically, you support an addict’s recovery by showing support for sobriety through your actions, behavior, and words toward that individual.

Support Groups

Support groups are a great way to help an addicted partner stay on track with recovery. When seeking treatment to overcome addiction, it is common to experience many mixed emotions. It can be difficult and emotional to be around people in a support group who have the same or similar struggles as you. Though you may experience feelings of inadequacy, isolation, and loneliness, these feelings will only lead back into addiction after some time.

Engaging in more positive interactions with others benefits your mental health because it allows you to interact without pressure. Support groups offer precisely that; interaction without pressure due to the anonymity guaranteed by those who attend them regularly and strangers.

Find Alternatives

If necessary, help your partner find an alternative activity or hobby that doesn’t involve substance abuse. There are multiple addiction treatment programs that addicts can adopt. Activities such as drawing, painting, writing, working out at the gym, playing an instrument, and volunteering at the local animal shelter do not involve drugs or alcohol!

The key to a healthy relationship is finding other things to engage in besides drug use.

Don’t Use Drugs Around the Person

If you are an abuser’s partner, try keeping drugs away from your partner. It is also a surefire way to trigger relapse in someone trying their hardest to stop using drugs. If you use drugs, make sure it’s somewhere the individual trying to be sober won’t see you doing it, even if that means taking those drugs somewhere else or leaving the location altogether. If you want to try handling a relationship with a drug addict and make your partner quit, the right decision for them not to see a bad example.

Remove Yourself From Those Around Them

Set healthy boundaries if you’re attached to a drug addict and can’t be around them but want healthy relationships. Setting healthy boundaries means leaving parties when drugs are involved, avoiding phone calls or visits to their home, and shielding yourself from their addiction as much as possible.

You may think it would be impossible to save an intimate relationship with a drug addict. And you’re right – it isn’t easy. However, it is possible to maintain your dignity and self-respect while still being there for them in whatever small way you can. That’s the only thing that could help them eventually seek the help of their own accord.

Educate Yourself

There is an excellent selection of books for a greater understanding of a person with the addiction.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does drug use impact relationships?

Addiction is a huge problem, but it’s not just the addict who suffers. The whole family can be affected by addiction and its effects on a person’s life. Addicts often use lies, manipulation, and other tactics to keep people from discovering their addiction. Lying can lead to much distrust and cause partners to lose respect for each other. The relationship with a drug addict is never easy.

What does addiction mean in a relationship?

Over time, confusion increases within the relationship, especially as the drug abuser grows less tolerant of their addiction. Their drug-user spouse often believes that this will lead to a healing process — when in reality, it’s leading to emotional and physical abuse for both partners.

How do you deal with someone who has an addiction?

The best way to deal with someone who has an addiction is by learning enough about the addiction so that you can help them stop. If someone you care about is struggling with a drug abuse problem, it’s best for everyone involved if you learn more about addiction in general.

What are the signs of an addictive relationship?

There are multiple signs of an addictive relationship, including;

  • Struggling to prioritize anything else other than the relationship
  • Feeling hopeless and lonely when not in a relationship
  • Lack of interest in hobbies, socializing, and doing things you enjoy outside of the relationship.

You are the one who chooses to stay in the relationship or leave. Only you decide.

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Lana Smith

I am a relationship coach. My passion is helping couples make their relationships work. I earned my bachelor's degree and hold a Master of Science in Education. I take my inspiration from watching and listening to people every day. . I do extensive research and love to compare the opinions of experts to help form my own. I have spent years learning about the dynamics of relationships and what makes them work. My goal is to apply what I have learned in the classroom and through experience to help others.