When an individual
is hooked on addiction, the crave for alcohol and drugs never seems to die
down, and this intense need has the ability to trump the love which they have
for everything. It first starts with an innocent use for either drugs or
alcohol, and before they know it, using this substance becomes topmost priority,
and hence causing a strain on those they love.
Addiction has the
capacity to greatly change the personality of an individual, making them
different from who they used to be before they got addicted. They become more
withdrawn to themselves, and because of shame and guilt, they become more
There are three
major effects which substance addiction has on a relationship, and they are as
Trust fades off: When the addiction phase is in progress, trust begins to decline, and this is due to the fact that the addicted person begins to hide things from their partner, and begin to give all sorts of excuses for their uncalled-for behaviour. Trust is a necessary ingredient in a relationship, and once it is strained, it would be hard to fix because it induces feelings of jealousy and fear.
Unstable Emotional levels: When you are in a relationship with a
person who has an addiction, it can be likened to being in a vehicle, taking
down rough terrains and smooth ones alike. There are times when they would feel
good, and other times, they would feel otherwise. They are usually very
volatile, and their lives are contained with erratic lows and highs, which
could induce violence in a relationship. This is usually due to the fact that
they are unable to see beyond the choices which the substance gives them.
Affects those around them: Asides the fact that it affects both
parties in a relationship, addiction also has the capacity to affect people
around them. It would be difficult for them to maintain a good communication
level with people close to them.
If you are in a
relationship with an addict, it is best to assist them in seeking help, so that
they can break free from it, before it adversely affects your relationship.
Addicts that are undergoing therapy for recovery have taken time to actually work on themselves, and their relationship with other people. Hence, they are not new to keeping and sustaining relationships. They have studied, and are vast in good relationship skills which includes the ability to communicate how they feel about others, while respecting the limits set by them. Recovering addicts do not look for aptness and perfection in their partners because, they have come to understand that such things does not exist. They are ready to accept the flaws that their partners have and try to live in harmony with it. They also have a sense of commitment to stand for their values, and they strive for integrity and uprightness in all of their dealings especially relationship wise. In recovery, a lot of things are learnt by an addict and not just staying in a state of soberness and deep reflection, but also learn to lead a happy and fulfilling life. The concept of recovery is the one that lasts throughout the life of the addict and as such, there is always an attempt for self-improvement at each phase of their lives. Regardless of the fact that they might have not have experienced a smooth past, they still stand as people who you can live and partner with. There are some important steps a recovering addict must take to become ready relationship wise. First, the recovering addict must have undergone consistent and intentional act of sobriety and abstinence in other to have a clear mind void of distractions and temptations. Also, they should engage themselves in recovery activities like actively involving themselves in various programs or duties that can keep them busy. Volunteering to serve in events is also one way they can engage themselves. All these activities would prepare them for the people they want to go into a relationship with, and as well build the assurance level of their partners with the faith they are going into a relationship with people that are responsible. Similarly, it is important for anyone going into a relationship with a recovering addict, to have a clear conscience about it. Research has shown that people tend to have a negative disposition to addicts, and judge them starkly even more than those suffering from other issues like obesity, and other body and health disorders. Hence, if a person is of the view and opinion that addiction is a huge flaw for anyone experiencing it, it is better to abstain from addicts then.
Addiction is a condition that affects every area of a person’s life. There is no such thing as being addicted and not facing consequences. Every person who struggles with addiction or has been addicted at some point in their life knows what it is like to lose control of their life. It does not happen overnight, but is like a sweater with a loose thread that unravels gradually, which is why it can be so difficult to detect it or understand its severity. For those who are struggling with addiction, it is very important to understand that eradicating addiction should be your primary and singular objective. Until a person can manage their addiction tendencies in a healthy way, they should not pursue any type of romantic relationship. If a person is already married when their addiction is confronted, it is normal and healthy to work toward saving the marriage. But when a person knows they need help managing their addiction, that is not the time to date.
If a person dates before they have brought their addiction under control, it can only end badly for them. Ending addiction takes an incredible amount of energy and focus, as does a new romantic relationship. When a person is addicted, they cannot afford to divide their attention between recovery and other life changes. They need to refrain from dating so as to focus on their mental health progression. Besides that, they have the other person to think about as well. It is irresponsible to date during addiction because addiction makes it impossible to treat a new romantic interest well. The very nature of addiction is to be compulsive, self-absorbed, unpredictable and unavailable. No decent person wants to treat someone they like this way, but they are the universal staples of addiction. Anyone who thinks they can indulge in their addiction and be above the unhealthy thoughts and behaviors that addiction creates is deluded. For the good of yourself and the likable people you meet, do not date until your addiction is resolved.
There is no point in a relationship when addiction can do anything but cause hurt, however, the least hurt is caused in the dating phase. Dating is the initial point in a relationship when attachments have not become strong yet. Rational people date knowing that either party is free to sever the relationship at any point because no commitments or promises have been made. Dating is a preliminary trial period. This is why addiction does the least damage in this phase. Not only is the addict on their best behavior in order to make a good impression, but the person dating the addict is the least attached they will ever be to addict and is free to distance themselves from harmful behavior without a guilty conscience.
It is highly recommended that addicts do not date at all. As a general rule of thumb, addicts should cease most of their life activities to focus on recovering from their addiction. There should be no higher priority than addiction recovery to an addict and their support system. Dating is at the top of the list of activities that should cease during addiction. Dating while struggling with the mental disorder that is addiction is not fair to yourself or anyone who dates you. If you know that you are not mentally healthy, you should not be offering yourself to potential relationships. Mental health is vital to the success of a relationship, and mental disorders are toxic to a relationship. Seek help first, then resume the dating game.
If you are dating someone whom you fear is an addict, be watchful for the signs of addiction, which typically include secretive behavior, irritability or mood swings, weight and health fluctuation, a focus or a fascination on a particular something and a refusal to give that something up. If you are certain that the person is an addict, talk to people who are close to them so that they can discuss addiction treatment or counseling with the addicted person.
It is a well agreed upon fact that people should not date when they are struggling with addiction, yet it still happens every day. One person or two people who are addicted take a liking to one another and proceed into a dysfunctional dating relationship that ends in turmoil, destruction or sometimes even death. Dating while addicted is detrimental to both people, and should be avoided. Throughout Canada and the United States, people struggle with wanting to date despite not having conquered their addictions, such as addiction in Vancouver, Los Angeles and Montreal.
Receiving addiction treatment before entering the dating scene is not only recommended for a healthy relationship, it is essential to it. Addiction treatment does not just stop addictive behavior; it restores a person’s mental health and cognitive behavioral rationality to them. It discovers the core of the person’s underlying issues that spawned addiction in the first place and eradicates them. It gives the person the tools they need to function in the world with good physical and mental health. If someone chooses not to deal with these matters before dating, they are bringing all of that baggage, confusion and dysfunctional nature into a new relationship, which results in pain and frustration for both people over a long course of time. Who would willingly choose to do this to a relationship?
When someone commits to addiction treatment, they are also committing to protecting the hearts and minds of the people they will have close relationships with in the future. When someone chooses recovery over addiction, they are allowing their loved ones to heal as well as themselves. Addiction treatment detoxes a person of any substances they have been abusing, leads them through readings, assignments and exercises to discover what made them addicted in the first place and provides ongoing support to clients even after they have graduated the program. Inpatient rehabilitation has proven to be the most effective way to defeat addiction for yourself and for those in your life.
The importance of quitting your addiction before dating cannot be overemphasized. In addiction, you can only offer a romantic partner pain and devastation, but in recovery, you can offer a romantic partner all of your potential!
Many people attempt to date or become romantically involved while they are addicted to a substance or an activity, despite this decision having a long human history of failure. Dating while grappling with addiction is a recipe for disaster. The qualities that dating requires, such as sensitivity, affection and selflessness, are the exact qualities that addiction robs a person of. If you have any intention of relationship success and healthiness, ending your addiction before becoming involved romantically is the way to go.
Addicts commonly tell themselves that they are in control of their addiction instead of their addiction being in control of them. Denial is the universal hallmark of addiction. It is this false confidence that informs their decision to date when dating should be the last thing on their minds. Their false confidence also gives them the ability to initially convince those they date that they are not addicted by carefully concealing their habit.
However, it is only a matter of time before the other person becomes aware of their romantic interest’s addictive tendencies. As the two people spend more time together and the addict becomes less and less careful about their behavior, the other person will begin to catch on. At first they are concerned, then upset, then resentful. If the two people have become attached to one another, the other person may stick around and try to encourage the other to quit their addiction, which usually declines into hopelessness and frustration. Or it could be that both partners are addicts and stay together to create an extended dysfunctional relationship. Typically, what happens is the non-addicted partner walks away first, and is followed by a procession of non-addicted partners who choose to walk away. The hard reality is that most people do not choose to suffer through addiction with someone. Instead, they protect themselves and leave.
Ultimately, people want to please their romantic partners and have something valuable to offer them. This is why the most intelligent thing an addict can do for their romantic partner is to end their denial and receive treatment for the addiction that is interfering with their relationship. For healthy dating relationships, cease all dating activity until recovery from addiction is mature.
Everything about addiction works against healthy personal relationships. Where personal relationships call for reliability, addiction creates unpredictability. Where personal relationships require selflessness, addiction creates self-absorption. Where personal relationships require affection, addiction creates abusiveness. The sad but true reality is that it is the very nature of addiction to damage relationships. One cannot live with addiction and have healthy personal relationships. It is impossible for the two to go together.
There is nothing in your life that will remain unaffected by your addiction. However, your personal relationships are one of the things that will suffer the most damage due to addiction. This is not the addict’s fault, it is merely a fact. Living with or caring for an addict is incredibly taxing, emotionally, physically and psychologically. People who have close relationships with addicts often need as much counseling and mental healing as the addict does. There are times that a relationship with an addict will even go as far as to be traumatic.
The best thing an addict can do for those they care about is seek help for their addiction without hesitation. Addicts are generally good, caring people who have become lost down a dark road. They are often very pained when they realize the extent of the hurt they have caused their loved ones. If you are struggling with addiction, seek treatment and stop hurting yourself and those you care about.
Addiction makes a person unavailable to the people who depend on them at any level because addiction means being obsessed with one thing and neglectful of everything else. A spouse, significant other, children or family members may be in need of support, but the addict will not notice because their mind is solely on one thing: their addiction. Substance addictions put people far out of touch with reality, and make them extremely hostile when pulled back into it. A parent may snap at their child for needing them; something they would otherwise never do. Something like a sex addiction can lead to other traumatic experiences for those close to an addict. A sex addiction might drive the addict to objectify their partner and mistreat or abuse them.