Drug addiction negatively affects every aspect of life, including your physical health, your mental health, and your relationships. Addiction often involves lying, which makes it difficult to maintain trust, respect, and open communication.
In this article, we’re taking a closer look at how drug addiction affects relationships.
How Drug Addiction Affects Relationships
Our relationships with other people are centered around the bond of trust. The degree to which we entrust another person with our vulnerabilities, our thoughts, and our emotions form the basis of how close we can allow ourselves to get. There is no relationship more important to have established trust in than our intimate one. When our loved one develops a drug addiction, that trust can begin to deteriorate from the inside-out.
Here’s how drug addiction affects relationships.
Dealing with Lies
A person with a drug addiction doesn’t typically set out to become a liar. The lies merely become a symptom of how much the addiction has taken over the life of our loved ones. In the beginning, this person may rationalize that the lies are protecting you from uncomfortable information. As the addiction progresses, the lies will be justified as necessary to continue to engage in behaviors that you do not approve of. Eventually, a person deep into addiction may become so accustomed to lying that it becomes second nature to do so.
The experience of increasingly deteriorating trust levels between you and a loved one is incredibly stressful. You are likely to spend large amounts of time trying to find ways to believe what you have been told. You may devote large amounts of precious time and energy to sleuthing out the facts of your loved one’s behavior and claims. You may find yourself thinking that you are the one going crazy.
Impairment of Intimacy
It is little surprise that damaged trust leads to damaged intimacy. Intimacy, by nature, involves feeling safe enough to be vulnerable with a person. When this person whom you have thus far shared your life with begins to turn into a stranger, the entire foundation of intimacy is torn apart. You can’t confide your daily stresses to someone who is distracted and disconnected. You can’t open your heart to someone who is in the habit of lying to you.
This barrier to intimacy extends to the bedroom, as well. Depending on our personal perspectives when it comes to sex, we may no longer feel comfortable engaging in that sort of bonding activity while our partner is in active addiction. The attitude and approach of the addicted person toward sex are likely to be changing, as well. Some types of addiction contribute to a voracious sex drive, while other types will completely dissolve sexual interest. Either way, it goes, your sex life will be infringed upon by the specter of addiction.
While it can be argued that lies and denial of intimacy are their own form of abuse, it can get much more drastic. A person in addiction is most often only selfishly concerned, and this concern has to do with scoring the next high. To someone with an addiction problem, you can become nothing more than a barrier between the addict and the drug.
The degree of abuse that is inflicted by a person in addiction can vary according to several factors. The personality bend of your loved one prior to the addiction, the severity of the addiction, and the type of substance that is being used can all play a role in what type of abuse is experienced. In cases of physical abuse, there is usually a discernible cycle. In cases of emotional and psychological abuse, the signs can be much harder to recognize.
In all of your personal struggles with an addicted person, even more, heartbreaking is going through this experience with children involved. Attempting to co-parent with someone who is addicted is even worse than going it alone.
The sober parent can struggle with internal battles about how much to expose the children to the addicted parent, and how to explain what is going on in a way that a child is capable of processing. If all parties are still living in the same home, chances are good that the children are frequently exposed to the same type of treatment that you are. This can be too much for their developing minds to properly handle and can lead to mental health problems down the road.
The mental and emotional struggles with deciding whether to stay or to leave, deciding on how to explain the situation to the children, and deciding on the best way to protect them from the behaviors of an addict can sap every last drop of mental energy.
The difficulties of being in a relationship with an addict cross over into practical matters, as well.
The money for the drugs or alcohol has to come from somewhere, and, unless your addicted loved one is a so-called functioning addict, you will often find yourself to be the one footing that tab. A person who is deep into addiction will not only dip into savings for the high but can also end up with no qualms about using the milk and diaper money for it. An addicted person can not only end up losing a job but can make your attempts to maintain a 9-5 similarly difficult.
Codependency and Enabling
While reading about all of these very obvious factors which contribute to a dysfunctional relationship with an addict makes it sound simple, the reality is much more complex. Most of us don’t start out our loving relationship with these signs of addiction so evident. They are more likely to creep in, bit by bit, and slowly change our whole world. Like the analogy of the frog in a pot of boiling water, we can end up in over our heads before we know it.
Deciding what to do after already in the middle of a situation is extremely difficult. It is important to be aware of signs that we are enabling our addicted loved ones to continue the destructive behavior. Codependency is the term that is used to describe a situation where we think we are helping, but we are actually providing the addicted person with the means to sustain the behavior. If you notice that the signs of codependency are present in your relationship, seek some of your own therapy.
If you are stuck in the destructive cycle of drug addiction and worry it may be affecting your relationships, consider exploring the benefits of sustainable recovery here at Villa Kali Ma.