Loving Your Partner Who Struggles With Addiction

Last week I was a guest on a podcast called “The Couple’s Corner” hosted by Katie Lemieux and Susan Block. I was asked to speak about a topic that is very close to my heart – relationships in addiction. Working in the addiction field for over the past four years I got to work with many couples anD families struggling with addiction through the ones they love. This is such a delicate topic because you really have to work on figuring out how to love your partner, and when it is time to let go. One of the most important things that people do not understand is that they have to LOVE their partner if they stay in the relationship and not become their caretaker, supervisor, or criticizer. 

When loving someone who is struggling with their addiction you are committing to being somewhat of a “hostage” of their disease. You are fully dependent on them to make the right choice and get clean and that can take a long time. That is why my suggestion to partners is to start taking care of themselves right away and not let themselves becomes hostages of the situation. By taking care of yourself, I mean, start learning about this disease and what it means. Make sure to attend support groups, such as Al-Anon or Nar-Anon. Attend a minimum of 6 DIFFERENT groups before you decide if you like it or not. It is important to join a group that you’ll  feel comfortable sharing and opening up to the people attending the meeting. Come a little earlier, and stay a bit after the meeting to interact with people individually. Of course one other things you can do is go to counseling, with or without your partner or even both if possible. 

I remembered to write about this topic today because a client of mine is actually struggling today with losing her ex-boyfriend to an overdose due to the disease of addiction. This disease takes away lives on a daily base and it is very sad. This is even more of a reason to become stronger on your own and self-care. It is important to let go when you have given your partner multiple chances and they keep on coming back with excuses. Do not let the manipulation of “I thought you loved me” full you too many times.  Living with an addict is not easy, but if you decide to stay by their side be loving, compassionate, caring and learn to forgive and trust again if you want it to ever work again. Read more about the life with an addict here. Tough love tends to work much better. Not letting go has many consequences, here is a list of few. You can read a little more about how to deal with the loss of your partner here. I can also help you deal with this types of situations, as a master certified addiction specialist and a mental health counselor. You can find me on facebook or on my website

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