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Helping a Partner With Their Addiction

What is National Recovery Month? - The Bergand Group

Helping a partner with their addiction is a confusing task. How much should you help? When should you seek outside help? It is important to remember that, while you can be there for a partner who is struggling with addiction, you can only do so much. When helping a partner with their addiction remember that you can not “fix” or “change” them. Thinking you can “fix” a person leads to contention within a relationship and is of no help to the person suffering from an addiction. No matter how strong your love is for your partner, you can not change them without the help of an addiction specialist.

Addictions usually begin as a self-soothing behavior. Mental illnesses and addiction tend to be co-occuring disorders. Addicts usually turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to escape their feelings. For example, when someone is depressed they may use alcohol to feel more outgoing and “like their old self.” Due to the positive outcome drinking may bring, this person may choose to drink often to escape their feelings of depression. This is where an addiction starts.

Helping a Partner With Their Addiction

“Although it’s understandable that your love and concern gets harnessed in an effort to “help” your partner, it actually can set you up for feelings of resentment, frustration, anger, and helplessness when all of your attempts inevitably don’t work. These efforts are always well meaning, but they are often fueled by desperation and anxiety. If your loved one is entrenched in their self-destructive act, they may misinterpret your passion about wanting them to be healthy as judgmental, critical, or motivated by anger. They may accuse you of not being supportive or not understanding their needs and their pain. They might try to rationalize their behaviors as they look for ways to make excuses for or justify what they do.”

The Do’s of Helping a Partner With Their Addiction

  • Show you care. Letting your partner know that you care about their well-being helps them see they are not alone. Organizing relaxing activities, offering to attend family counseling sessions with them, and believing in them are all great ways to show you care.
  • Remind them that they are worth it. Remind your partner that they deserve care and support. Addicts often feel shame and regret when they are struggling with an addiction, reminding them that they deserve help shows them that they haven’t lost their support system.
  • Support, but don’t nag. Supporting someone is different than nagging them to get help. Showing someone that you believe in their strength to seek help is a positive way to show support. Getting angry that they relapsed, or are going through a rough time, will only push your partner away.
  • Seek help for yourself. Helping a partner with their addiction could leave you feeling worn out, resentful, and run down. Seeking help for yourself will ensure that you are in a good mental state.

If you are helping a partner with their addiction, The Bergand Group can help. We are Baltimore and Harford County’s addiction treatment specialists and are here to support you during all stages of your road to recovery. Visit our website for more information on our services, or get in touch today!

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About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehabilitation and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today. [/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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