Addiction and how it effects Relationships
When you are in a relationship with an addict you may realize they have a problem long before they do. The deceptive nature of addiction is that the person with the problem is often the last to see what's really going on. You can imagine that this might make for some rather strained discussions (arguments) in a relationship. Trying to convince someone to change or seek help when they don't believe they have a problem is often met with resistance and defensiveness. None of us really like to be told we are wrong or that we need outside help. Addiction plays tricks on the brain and can make that person willing to believe using friends, random strangers etc...before seriously considering they may need to change. People who are in relationships with addicts may find themselves one of the only people who really sees the problem. The addict may be able to hide it from friends and co-workers for quite a while and many people may tell you how lucky you are to have such a wonderful spouse/relationship. Of course they may be a wonderful person and the person who loves them knows that, but addiction will begin to cover all those wonderful qualities up as they may become more entrenched not only in their using and protecting their using but also defending their using. You can imagine that using and protecting and defending can take a lot of time and emotional energy. The person in the relationship may find themselves receiving less affection and attention and may question their worth. If you are in a relationship with an addict you may feel isolated. Reach out and attend Ala-Non or read about addiction. Join an online support group, or speak to someone who you believe is capable of truly listening without jumping in to tell you what to do. I add that caution about being careful who you choose to talk to because many well meaning people may believe they are helping when they tell you what to do. That's great when you want to learn a craft, but not so helpful when you are trying to make sense of your life. There is a lot of support out there. If your spouse/significant other does not believe they have an addiction then seek relationship counseling. Maybe in counseling you will be able to talk to each other about this issue in a way that allows them to hear your concerns. This just touches on the surface of a very complex issue. If you have questions or comments please do not hesitate to contact me.