When Someone You Love Has a Substance Abuse Problem

Substance abuse, including alcoholism and opioid addiction, just does not mix well with intimate relationships. The drug use creates ripples like the waves on the ocean that crash to shore and affect anyone within striking distance. The effects are felt by friends, associates and co-workers, but the most devastating trauma often befalls spouses and children. 

How to Know if Your Partner Has a Substance Abuse Problem

There are telltale signs that indicate your partner is having a substance abuse crisis. Common danger signals can include anything from being unusually argumentative to self isolation to outright violence. 

Argumentative Nature 

Anyone who has witnessed a person controlled by drugs or alcohol will tell you that, that person is highly volatile. Couples often fight about the act of drinking or drugging itself, but those arguments can expand to include things like staying out too late, money, and lack of responsibility. 

Cover-Ups and Excuses 

If you find yourself having to lie for your partner who has been out drinking all night or has passed out from using drugs, he or she may indeed have a substance abuse problem. By covering up such behavior, you become an enabler. This is true even when doing something as innocuous as calling the boss to let them know that the person will not be into work that day, when they weren’t actually sick but instead incapacitated. 

Domestic Violence 

Fights and arguments can quickly escalate to domestic violence, and if your partner has been using drugs or drinking, anger and rage can snowball out of proportion. The World Health Organization states that a number of relationship factors can exacerbate the link between violence and alcohol use, and defines domestic violence as anything that causes physical, sexual, or psychological harm to participants in the relationship. 

Unfortunately domestic violence is a common outcome of substance abuse. If you find yourself in such a situation, a lawyer for domestic violence dispute can be your lifeline. 

When Partying Is All You Do

Many people look forward to having a beer or two after work, but actual substance abuse is different. If using drugs or drinking alcohol is the only thing that you enjoy doing with your partner, you may both have a problem. 

If intoxication is necessary in order to be able to show affection to one another or be intimate, you may need couples therapy and substance abuse counseling instead of a lawyer. There have been situations when couples hide the problem from the rest of the family and wind up alienated from everyone, so don’t wait until you’re isolated from loved ones to talk about the problem. 

But Does Treatment Really Work? 

Odds are we all know somebody who has been admitted to a treatment center or has gone through a program like Alcoholics Anonymous. It is nothing to be ashamed of, and recovering can be a group effort. Research shows that involving both partners in treatment can result in more successful outcomes and even help the marriage survive in the long-term. 

Problems don’t go away because you are high. Fists hurt. Filing charges against a violent partner means loving them, and helping them to recognize their problem rather than bury it until it surfaces as a more serious mental illness later. 

Every problem will not cease to exist once recovery is achieved, but getting control of your impulse to use goes a long way in preventing further unpleasantness. There are a lot of people who are intimidated about asking for help, but taking that first step toward resolving the issue may save your relationship.