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  • Paula Thompson
    Paula Thompson

    How do you deal with a partner who is struggling with addiction?

    Nobody ever plans that addiction will become part of their relationship. Many feel ashamed and embarrassed to share their feelings with family and friends, leaving them alone as they try to cope with the overwhelming emotions that come with dealing with a partner who is struggling with addiction. Taking on the responsibility of taking care of a loved one with an addiction can be a lot to manage while also maintaining a healthy and productive lifestyle.

    Addiction problems can impact all aspects of the relationship including physical and mental health, trust, communication and even finances. Difficult conversations need to be had in order to move forward in a positive manner. It's important to remember that it's not your responsibility to “fix” your partner or for you to take on all of the burden by yourself.

    The first step towards helping your partner is understanding and learning about addiction. Get informed and figure out how it has affected your partner specifically. It's essential that both partners are aware of what effects addiction has on the relationship so they can discuss and agree on goals and strategies. It's important to learn how to support your partner while giving them the freedom and respect they need to work on themselves.

    When it comes to communication, it’s critical to have an open and honest conversation with your partner. Establish boundaries without attacking your partner and be willing to listen and accept the truth. This means being able to express your own feelings and emotions without being defensive or blaming them for their problem.

    It's also important to be mindful of your reactions and responses during difficult conversations. Don't forget to show empathy and provide gentle reminders that you're supportive and there to help. Even small gestures like giving a hug or listening without judgment go a long way. Ignoring the problem won't make it go away, so staying open and honest will only help the situation.

    When it comes to taking care of yourself, allow yourself to take breaks and give yourself some space if needed. It can be tempting to try to "control" the situation, but it's essential to remember that addiction is a complex issue and it's not possible to “fix” your partner. Take time to practice self-care and do things that bring you joy. Participating in activities outside of the relationship will help you keep perspective and maintain your own well-being.

    If your partner is serious about recovery, it's important to look into treatment options and support networks that can help. Encourage your partner to seek out counseling and therapy to assist them in finding healthy coping mechanisms and living a more fulfilling life. In addition, joining support groups and recovery programs can be invaluable in providing emotional and physical support.

    Dealing with a partner struggling with addiction can be incredibly difficult and isolating. Remember to communicate openly, set boundaries and practice self-care to get through it. Showing patience and understanding during this difficult time is essential to helping your partner and ultimately to strengthen the relationship.

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