Living with an addict is a challenging prospect for a partner. Your partner is consumed by the desire for the next high or next drink, and is not always fully available emotionally in the relationship. You might have a tendency to get caught up in your partner’s various addiction – induced crises, and ignore some of the issues you need to deal with in your own life. It is vital to take very good care of yourself when you are partnered with an addict. Here are 4 tips to help you cope with life as the partner of an addict:
1. Talk things out. A professional counselor who specializes in addiction issues is an excellent resource. This person is trained in the common issues surrounding addictions and can offer valuable insight and perspective.
2. Join a support group of people in a similar situation. Groups such as Al-Anon are excellent for finding others to relate to about your experiences. It is important to avoid isolation or a sense that no one else understands your struggles. You will gain support and insight in participating in such groups on a regular basis.
3. Stop rescuing and making excuses for your partner’s bad behavior. Bailing your partner out only reinforces a codependent dynamic that is not helpful to either the addict or the partner. If you help your partner avoid consequences, your partner will have no motivation to act differently. You will only make yourself frustrated, resentful, and more controlling of your partner’s behavior.
4. Begin focusing more strongly on your own life and what you dream of or aspire to. Think about your own goals and aspirations in life rather than focusing in all the destructive behaviors in your partner’s life. Following your own calling will help release you from the feeling of being trapped in “saving” your partner and increase your personal satisfaction. In addition, in what may seem a paradox, the detachment you display to your addicted partner will be more likely to make the negative effects of his or her using clear. This gives the addict an opportunity to make a choice on how to deal with the consequences he or she is facing as a result of using.