Substance use affects every area of a person’s life. The amount of sleep you get, your appetite, the money in your bank account, the security of your job and the people you hang around. Whether we intend for it or not, addiction seeps into every corner of our life.
One of the most difficult parts of addiction is the impact it has on our romantic relationships. Struggling with drugs can break apart marriages, put long-term relationships into question and even make causal dating harder than it needs to be.
In this article, we’ll break down the effects of substance use on romantic relationships, as well as the ways recovery reverses these negative effects.
The toll substance use takes
There are various forms of relationships that involve substance you. You may use and your significant other may be sober, your significant other may use occasionally or your significant other may also be caught in addiction. Each relationship encounters unique challenges. Here are a few you might face.
One of the most common side effects of substance dependence is changes in mood and behavior. While drugs offer a temporary high or relaxed attitude, the symptoms of withdrawal are much longer-lived, making for distressing interactions. Irritability, anger or discomfort can make for contentious relationships.
One of the most common reasons for divorce and breakups is financial problems. Drug use is an expensive habit to sustain, often leading individuals to hide drug use habits, steal or borrow money or skip out on other necessities like rent or food.
Any of these behaviors can become problematic in a relationship and may be devastating to an entire family.
A hallmark of addiction is when the urge to use substances interferes with other life responsibilities. For example, you may have made a commitment to dinner plans, but searching for your next fix could cause you to cancel last minute. Missing families’ parties, birthdays, holidays, performances or daily tasks like picking up the kids from school are sometimes skipped when a person is obtaining or using drugs.
There’s much to be said about addiction’s effect on the body. Numerous physical changes occur, such as sallow skin color, bloodshot eyes, extreme weight loss and a decline in personal hygiene. Moreover, many drugs impact libido and decrease the sexual drive.
While these changes may seem like surface-level concerns to some, physical attraction is important to maintain in relationships and may be affected by drug use.
Relationships and recovery
The good news is that recovery can heal past mistakes and relationship problems. In cases where the partner also struggles with addiction, you may find that you’re able to succeed in recovery together. You may also realize that it’s time to break free from a co-dependent and drug-dependent relationship.
In the journey of recovery, while most people will have a similar baseline experience (detox, treatment and then sobriety), each person’s lived reality is fraught with unique circumstances and struggles. You may find that your romantic relationships prove an asset in your recovery, or they may be a barrier to success.
The emotional attachment of relationships can sometimes skew our perspective, too. It’s important to consider whether you may be in denial regarding the negative impact between your relationship and recovery.
Sobriety & recovery effects on relationships
When you do start to find success in recovery and you have a partner who is committed to sobriety, too, you’re well on your way to the life you want to live. There are numerous positive recovery effects on relationships that you can start to soak up.
More time to spend together
Addiction is a serious drain on your time. Between obtaining drugs, finding a place to use the drugs, thinking about your next high, timing withdrawal symptoms with your next fix and so on, addiction can feel like a full-time job to maintain.
Sobriety offers true freedom in the sense that your actions aren’t dictated by drugs. Your free time is truly your own, and you’ll be able to spend a higher quantity of time with your loved one, and the time will be of higher quality.
Drug use affects a person’s brain and causes serious emotional changes. Those who have substance use habits often report feeling overly reactive, impulsive and defensive. When you break an addiction, recovery and relationships feel more at ease. You’ll be able to think more clearly, and base decisions on logic instead of drug-induced negative emotions.
Easier time dating
Dating when you’re stuck in a cycle of problematic substance use poses some huge challenges to dating. Drug abuse is a huge red flag to those who are looking for a serious relationship, and deciding to share about your addiction may break off a relationship before it’s begun. Hiding the addiction may be even worse, as you’ll have to share the truth at some point or have broken trust.
You may also find in dating that you’ll match with a person who likewise uses drugs. They could introduce you to new, harmful substances or encourage more frequent use. This can devolve into a co-dependent relationship.
Sbriety offers you a much easier time in dating life and it will demonstrate personal resilience.
Find help with relationships and recovery
As social creatures, recovery comes with many nuances in relationships. Substance use can damage romantic partnerships, but the effects of recovery on relationships can prove to be motivation for treatment.
Regardless of the status of your relationship, you can get help for your addiction that will impact your whole life. Call Silvermist Recovery today to access the help you need.