Most people know about the negative legal, financial, and health outcomes of addiction. Also, it is common knowledge that addiction can cause major changes to a person’s behavior and actions. What most people don’t realize, however, is how devastating addiction can be to relationships. Knowing more about how addiction impacts relationships can be extremely helpful when married to or dating an addicted individual.
One of the most important strategies that can help preserve a relationship with an addicted partner is to attend a family therapy program. Additionally, there are some strategies to learn and dangers to avoid that can give partners the best shot at supporting each other and maintaining their relationship. Find out more by calling us at 833.991.2955 today.
Enabling: What It Means and How to Avoid Doing It
The term “enabling” is frequently used when discussing interpersonal relationships where one or more people are in active addiction. Enabling means protecting someone from experiencing the full consequences of their addiction, thereby contributing to the continuation of addiction. One of the impacts of addiction on a relationship is that the sober partner is in danger of becoming an enabler. Here are some examples of enabling behavior:
- Covering for an addicted loved one
- Bailing them out financially or legally
- Keeping secrets or helping your addicted loved one lie
- Helping them to avoid consequences of their behavior
- Self-deception about the true reasons for your addicted loved one’s actions
- Changing the subject or refusing to talk about your loved one’s addiction
It is important to set and maintain healthy boundaries when you love someone who is in active addiction. Not enabling them doesn’t mean not caring, rather it means loving your addicted partner enough to be honest with them about what is happening. Here are some ways that you can model healthy behavior and keep yourself safe while in a relationship with someone in active addiction:
- If you say that there will be consequences for an action, follow up every time
- Go to counseling for yourself, even if your partner won’t participate
- Take responsibility for your own health, behavior and emotions, and encourage other family members to do the same
- Be clear about what is and is not acceptable and remain consistent
How the Person in Active Addiction Impacts Relationships
When someone is experiencing active addiction, their relationships can be badly damaged because of the symptoms and effects of addiction. Trust can be lost, which is extremely harmful to relationships. Also, the person in active addiction tends to focus entirely on their addiction. As a result, they neglect their familial and relationship obligations.
Some people who have never experienced addiction might not understand that the person is not able to control their behavior without help. Consequently, this causes them to distance themselves from the relationship. Addiction changes a person’s perceptions of the world around them, so someone in active addiction may interpret a partner’s attempts to set boundaries as rejection. Isolation and a feeling of lost connection to loved ones can fuel addiction and make the person less likely to seek help.
Preserve and Repair Relationships With Help and Hard Work
Everyone knows what it feels like to lose trust in someone, but that doesn’t mean the relationship is forever destroyed. Part of pursuing recovery from addiction is looking back on past behavior and learning to recognize how it might have impacted partners and family members. Often, it takes some professional help and counseling to address these issues. This is one of the many reasons that drug and alcohol addiction treatment is a good idea.
Fostering and maintaining a relationship with a partner who is grappling with addiction can be an exceptionally daunting and emotionally charged journey. In the midst of this challenging ordeal, one of the most vital and transformative strategies that can provide a lifeline of hope is actively engaging in a family therapy program.
The significance of family therapy in this context cannot be overstated, and here’s why it stands as a cornerstone of preserving and repairing these vital relationships:
- Communication and Connection: Addiction often erects formidable barriers to healthy communication and emotional connection within a relationship. Family therapy offers a structured, supportive setting where open and empathetic dialogue can flourish. It provides a safe space for each participant to express their feelings, fears, and hopes, fostering a deeper and more genuine understanding of the complexities that addiction brings.
- Education and Awareness: Family therapy typically involves education about addiction, its intricacies, and its far-reaching impact. This knowledge empowers family members with insights into the nature of addiction, dispelling misconceptions, reducing stigma, and dispelling blame. It is a critical step toward empathy and support.
- Boundaries and Empowerment: Enabling behaviors, often born from love and concern, can inadvertently sustain an addicted individual’s destructive habits. Family therapy facilitates the recognition of these enabling patterns and guides family members in setting and maintaining healthy boundaries. This empowerment is not only for the individual in recovery but also for the family as a whole.
- Coping Strategies and Emotional Resilience: Addiction exacts a heavy emotional toll on everyone involved, leading to stress, anxiety, and emotional upheaval. Family therapy equips family members with coping strategies to manage their own emotional well-being. It also offers a platform for the sharing of experiences and mutual support.
- Rebuilding Trust and Healing: Addiction often shatters trust within a relationship. Family therapy becomes a pivotal space for rebuilding trust by addressing past wounds, acknowledging accountability, and collaboratively working towards a healthier and more secure future.
- Unified Recovery: In many instances, addiction recovery is most successful when it involves the entire family unit. Family therapy encourages a united approach to recovery, where everyone participates in understanding, supporting, and reinforcing the addicted individual’s journey toward sobriety.
- Long-Term Relationship Resilience: The valuable skills, insights, and connections forged in family therapy extend far beyond the immediate challenges of addiction. They serve as a resilient foundation for navigating future obstacles and maintaining healthier, more fulfilling relationships.
Recovery Bay Can Help You Reconnect With Your Relationships
Our treatment center in Panama City, Florida serves men ages 18 and over who are struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol. If you or a loved one is ready to reach out for help, contact us today at 833.991.2955.