Substance use can be devastating to a relationship. If you are getting ready to enter rehab for a drug or alcohol use issue, you need to know that entering a rehab program alone is not going to fix your relationship or your substance use. It may take awhile to put the pain and suffering that your substance use caused to your spouse or partner and your loved ones. Unfortunately sometimes relationships will end because the two people have grown apart, and the newly sober person has different needs.

Couples that are faced with having to deal with drugs and alcohol use in many cases do not survive the drama of addiction and dissolve before the partner ends their substance use. You should be prepared for the possibility that not everyone in your life will be willing to forgive and forget. However, if you are in a relationship that makes it through these hard times; you will have to learn how to deal with your relationship after drug or alcohol addiction.

Relationships in general, whether they are with a spouse, parents, children, extended relatives, friends and co-workers are impacted by excessive drug and alcohol use. Even once a person becomes sobers again they will have to try to rebuild the relationships, to reestablish trust and to regain the connections you had before you began substance use. It will be the option of the loved one to forgive them or not. Sometimes relationships cannot be repaired and both people will have to move on.

Substance use in a relationship is not one sided. If a partner has a drug or alcohol issue, the behavior affects the spouse or partner and in reality affects everyone else as well. However for the most part, it is the spouse or the person closest to the substance user that bears the brunt of everything which can be emotionally draining.

 The non user in the relationship ultimately invests their time, emotions and energy trying to convince their partner to stop the substance use and to get help. This investment includes the negative fallout of the substance user’s behavior including lying, cheating, stealing, job loss because the user cannot function at work, financial devastation, legal problems, sometimes violent behavior, possible self injury, among other disturbing behaviors. At a certain point the person is dating or married to a substance user will have to decide if staying in the relationship with that person is best for their future happiness.

Repairing your relationship after drug and alcohol addiction takes time and patience. There will be some groundwork laid toward rebuilding the relationship while your significant other is getting help. Reestablishing honesty, trust and healthy communication will take time, but it is possible to recover your relationship if that is what you both want that and make a choice to work hard at it.

Programs such as A.A. and N.A. as well as other 12 Steps programs incorporate making amends for the substance user’s treatment of others as part of the rehab treatment. Sometimes they will even label the nonuser as an enabler by proving financial or emotional support. These programs can be counterproductive to your relationship and should be avoided. There is no reason for the non user to feel any guilt for helping their partner. If you truly love someone, you want the best for them, even if it’s hard for you. Ultimately people can work through a drug or alcohol addiction, it may take time but it may be worth the wait.  If you need a program that will help you change your life call St Jude’s.