Addiction Will Affect Your Relationship

EDITORS NOTE:

CITB focuses on chronic illness. I have personally experienced and live with the chronic illness of substance abuse. This is a guest post by Caleb Anderson of RecoveryHope.org. RecoveryHope.org was started by Caleb and Molly Anderson after Caleb received treatment for opiate addiction. Molly has made it her mission to learn how to help Caleb fight his battles and support him in his recovery. Together they now help others by providing research and resources about the many challenges of overcoming drug and alcohol addictions.

We thank Caleb and Molly for their contribution to  CITB. We know you will enjoy their insights. Please visit their website RecoveryHope.org for more information on substance  abuse and recovery.


There are plenty of ways relationships can become strained. It’s possible to have a strong, healthy relationship, but it’s not easy. It takes work.

When you add an addiction to the relationship, things get much harder. Substance abuse can challenge even the strongest relationship, and many couples break up over it. Thankfully, there are actions you can take to both help your partner and save your relationship. But before you can help, you need to know whether your partner has a problem.

Substance Abuse Leads To Unhealthy Relationships

How do you know if your partner is struggling with addiction? Medical News Today lists a number of signs and symptoms of addiction to watch for, including: bouts of moodiness, bad temper, poor focus, a feeling of being depressed and empty, frustration, anger, bitterness, obsession, denial, etc.

The Mayo Clinic has an exhaustive list of signs related to specific addictions, including marijuana, opiates, and cocaine.

Having a relationship with an addict can lead to pain and stress. It can also lead to heartbreak because addiction can lead to infidelity. Swift River explains this is due to several factors, including a higher chance of risky behavior such as sex with others. Some even use sex as payment for whatever they need.

How You Might Be Enabling

Whether it’s secrecy, anger, or infidelity, the addict is responsible for their own behavior. However, there are ways you might be enabling your partner’s addiction. Enabling is when you help your partner to continue abusing substances even if you don’t realize it. Here are a few ways you might be contributing to the addiction:

  • Ignoring evidence that they have a substance abuse problem.
  • Helping them avoid the consequences of addiction.
  • Buying or using the same drugs and alcohol along with them.
  • Failing to hold them responsible when you’ve set boundaries or rules that are not met.

Even if you mean well, you can enable addiction because your partner has no reason to change. Addicts often need to get treatment or hit “rock bottom” before they realize how bad things have become due to their addiction. Protecting your partner makes it harder for them to get help.

Helping Your Loved One

Then how can you help your partner get better? Many people think about staging an intervention, but as Psychology Today notes, these should be last-ditch efforts as there’s no evidence they help an addict in the long-run. Instead, you need to politely and gently convince your partner to go to a doctor or therapist. Focus on how it’s hurting the relationship and ask, not tell, if they would consider getting help.

Once they have entered addiction recovery treatment, you need to be loving and accepting of your partner. Work with your loved one to find healthy habits and activities. This can mean social activities with friends who don’t use as well as healthy ones like yoga, exercising, or just taking a nice walk. Not only will this help your partner get better, but it can heal the relationship as well.

Don’t Let Addiction Ruin Your Relationship

The worst thing you can do when facing your partner’s addiction is to ignore it. This actually enables substance abuse. Instead, understand how addiction impacts your relationship. Then you can focus on getting your loved one the help they need to get sober. By helping your partner, you are also helping your relationship.

 

Please visit RecoveryHope.org for more information on substance  abuse and recovery

Related posts

Intimacy With Chronic Illness

Intimacy
[in-tuh-muh-see] 

What is it according to you?

Have you ever REALLY been intimate with someone?

EDITORS NOTE:

Intimacy is scary shit.

It is being honestly connected in an emotional way. Like he/she can read your mind. Your soul is just so clear to that person. It is having faith in, and courage to, trust others by expressing your true thoughts and feelings without fear.

Doesn’t it scares you a bit? It does me!

TWB

Intimacy Is Largely Missing From Many Personal Relationships.

This is especially true in relationships living with chronic illness. According to the dictionary, Intimacy is “close acquaintance, association, or familiarity.” But, I believe Intimacy is best described as a state of “comfort, trust, and warmth,” It can be towards friends, partners, pets, and others.

There are 8 types of intimacy:

  • Physical (sexual): self-explanatory
  • Physical (non-sexual): hugs, petting animals, etc.
  • Proximal: being in the same place together, near each other
  • Recreational: having fun together
  • Occupational: talking about work or school, working together
  • Intellectual: discussing world issues, etc.
  • Emotional: coming to each other in times of crisis, sharing feelings and memories
  • Spiritual: talking about beliefs, the “big questions”

[Tweet “The intimacy of bodies is common. The intimacy of souls is something very rare.“]

Thinking About Emotional Intimacy

When I think of intimacy, I am mostly thinking about emotional intimacy, as opposed to sexual intimacy. This is the intimacy most people with chronic illness crave. Getting to know someone better, in depth, wanting to know what makes them tick, and wanting to know makes their heart pound. Giving them the ability to live vicariously through your experiences and expecting the same in return.

Maintaining Intimacy

Maintaining intimacy is particularly hard with chronic illness. The hardest to find and maintain is our inability to consistently engage with others. Those without chronic illnesses find it hard to understand why you can’t return a text message or why you can’t go visit with them and have coffee, or why you don’t want to go see a movie with them. People with Fibromyalgia, CFS, and the other chronic illnesses can’ adequately express to others the fatigue and pain they live with every day.

Express Your True Self

People go to workshops all over the world to experience just a single weekend of intimacy. But you don’t need a weekend retreat to be intimate. Just get in touch with your heart, embrace the reality of your circumstances, express your true self, and educate those with whom you are intimate as to your limitations.

Then follow where it leads you…

 

 

Related posts

Reclaiming Your Sexuality

Bringing Sexy Back

If you’ve been out of the dating scene for a while (perhaps due to divorce) and are thinking about entering a new relationship, or have found that your relationship has become sexless, the idea of having a sexual encounter can be very exciting, but also very nerve-racking. It’s easy to lose touch with your sexual self, and it’s important to give your body and mind permission to feel pleasure and reawaken your sexuality. Here are a few suggestions to help you feel more sexual and open to the possibility of experiencing renewed sexual pleasure:

Be open to the possibility that some of your concerns about sex might be quite overblown.

First, list the things that worry you most about reclaiming your sexuality or that you are fearing right now about sex. Once you’ve made your list, it’s important to see if your fears and anxieties are realistic. If not, make a commitment to yourself to replace unrealistic beliefs with ones that serve you. For example, if you write: “I worry my sexual partner might not find me attractive,” replace that with, “this person is expressing interest in being intimate with me, so where’s the evidence that he/she is not attracted to me?” Practice catching yourself every time you find yourself focusing on one of your worrisome beliefs and replace it with a thought that’s not fear based.

How you feel about your body often affects your ability to feel excited about sex. 

Make another list of the things that you’re not happy with about your body. Notice the things you’re ready, willing and able to alter and those which are beyond your control. Instead of concentrating on how your body could be different, see if you can shift your focus to changing your attitude about your body insecurities instead. Usually, no one else is noticing those “flaws” you see but you!

Feeling attractive is most of the battle.

Much of your sexuality comes from how you think of yourselfas a sexual being. So if you do things to feel sexier, you’re giving your mind the opportunity to catch up with you. Maybe this means putting on a sexy outfit, wearing lingerie underneath your clothing, or putting on a little extra makeup. Perhaps getting pampered in some way, sleeping with satin sheets, taking a bubble bath, or reading a steamy book can help you to hit the right chord. You know what makes you feel sexier, do it and notice whether this helps with your reawakening.

When you are involved in any activity, sexual or not, it can be very pleasant to focus on the sensory experiences around you. 

For example, if you are taking a walk, tune into the sounds of nature around you, become aware of the crunch of leaves under your feet, feel the breeze on your skin and take notice of the way your body feels as you take each step. Becoming more aware of experiencing sensuously pleasurable moments in your daily life can go a long way toward helping you to stay present and attuned to your sensory experience during sex.

Your sexuality is a part of you, even if it has felt dormant for a while.

With some effort to reconnect with your sexual desires and by refusing to let your fears and anxieties get in the way, you can very quickly open yourself to many new, exciting and pleasurable experiences!

Related posts

It’s Not About Sex

The other night, while was lying in bed, I suddenly realized that what I miss, more than anything, is spending the night tangled up with someone.

It’s not the sex I miss. I miss the trust and the intimacy.  The closeness.

It’s been too long.

Really too long.

I actually wish I could say that I don’t remember the last time.  But that would be a lie.  I do remember the last time.  And remembering it, really thinking about it, still makes me well up with tears.  For lots of reasons.

Anyway.  I miss that.  A lot.  A. LOT.

More than the daytime hours companionship. More than having someone to lean on. More than I should.

And ever since I started to think about it, I can’t seem to think about anything else.

Not good.

Related posts