Detaching with Love from an Addict

By The Fix staff 11/06/18

One of the biggest factors in a relationship with someone who has addiction issues is codependency.

A couple sits on a therapist's couch. They appear to be in distress.

Relationships take work. Even the healthiest and happiest of marriages and partnerships require a great deal of communication, sacrifices on both sides and, most importantly, a willingness to compromise. But for someone in a relationship with a partner who is struggling with addiction or unhealthy behaviors, often the communication and compromise go out the window, and one-sided sacrifice takes a front seat.

The Cycle of Codependency

One of the biggest factors in a relationship with someone who has addiction issues is codependency. Often loved ones of the addicted party don’t realize that they have become codependent until it has gone so far they don’t know how to turn back.

Even if this isn’t necessarily ringing true for you or anyone in your life, it’s not hard to imagine how quickly things can go awry in an otherwise happy relationship, and how the codependency can grow. It starts small—maybe a few bucks missing here or there that can’t be explained. Then the excuses begin for the sudden loss of jobs, forgetting to pick up the kids from school, or missing important appointments. Soon the spouse of a person dealing with an addiction may find themselves taking their loved one to pick up drugs or buy alcohol, because “they are just so stressed” or “to make sure they are safe.”

As an outside observer to this kind of behavior, it seems crazy to participate in the cycle of abuse. The sober spouse juggles everything, trying to keep things as “normal” as possible, while their partner is spinning out of control.

Then there are the partners who decide that this “issue” that their spouse is dealing with is simply their problem. Let them handle it, while they stay out of it altogether. While this may seem like a healthier way of approaching the situation, the truth is, unless their partner is able to identify their issues on their own, the addiction or unhealthy behavior just grows. Ultimately, the tension and resentment become so heavy, the only solution may be breaking up the family.

Getting Professional Help

Facing an addiction or unhealthy behavior is never easy. However, there are places that can help not only the addicted party but their families as well. Places like Lighthouse Treatment Center, a rehab in Orange County CA, offer men, women and their loved ones practical guidance and solutions in the face of substance abuse, addictive behavior or chemical dependency. Lighthouse Treatment Center can facilitate, if necessary, making the initial transition a little easier.

During detox and treatment, clients learn about their addiction while participating in therapeutic experiences and activities. Throughout programming, clients’ loved ones are offered a comprehensive family program full of support, education and insight. Partners learn how to establish healthy boundaries and how to, eventually, begin to rebuild their relationships and gain trust. Even if during this process it becomes clear that repairing the relationship would just be too hard, they offer guidance and advice when it comes to the healthiest way to detach with love along with practical suggestions for making a start.

In addition to the family program and services that facilities such as Lighthouse Treatment Center provide, there are also outside resources that spouses and families have access to during this extremely difficult time. Resources like Al-Anon and Nar-Anon are readily available in most areas. These communities operate using the foundation of the 12 steps and a network of people that have experienced similar situations and are able to offer their support.

Healing the Family Disease

The truth is: living with and loving an addict is one of the most challenging obstacles a family can experience. Addiction doesn't just affect the person with the problem, but everyone around them. That’s why addiction is often referred to as a “family disease,” and why places like Lighthouse Treatment Center exist—to provide treatment services for the whole family, and bring them back to place where they can all heal from the wounds that addiction inflicts together.

Learn more about Lighthouse Treatment Center on their website or reach them by phone at (877) 959-5909. Find Lighthouse Treatment Center on Facebook and Instagram.

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