Relationships and Addiction

Addiction is a disease that affects every aspect of one’s life, including and especially personal relationships. When your loved one develops a dependency on drinking or using drugs, it can be jarring and frightening. Changes to their behavior, financial problems, and the appearance of other signs and symptoms can emerge within mere months of someone’s substance use.

 

Changes in Behavior

One of the key signs that someone is abusing drugs or alcohol is a noticeable shift in their behavior on a day-to-day basis. You may feel like your loved one has completely changed. Indeed, addiction can transform individuals into seeming irritable, easily upset, or agitated at a moment’s notice.

The Three C’s of addiction are loss of control over one’s substance use, craving and compulsively using, and continued use in the face of negative consequences. In addition to the Three C’s, signs of addiction may include:

  • Unkempt appearance
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Seeming agitated, violent, irritable, or argumentative
  • Defensiveness
  • Isolation
  • Acting obnoxious or silly
  • Mood swings
  • Erratic, unpredictable behavior
  • Disappearing for hours at a time
  • Problems in relationships
  • Stealing or borrowing large sums of money
  • Loss of interest in beloved activities or hobbies
  • Failing to meet commitments
  • Missing work or school
  • Poor work or school performance
  • Becoming overactive or underactive
  • Repetitive speech
  • Dilated or pinned pupils
  • Excessive sniffing
  • Significant weight loss
  • Changes to eating and sleeping habits
  • Becoming unreliable
  • Legal troubles
  • Money problems

 

Financial Strain

Addiction can cause an incredible amount of financial hardship for the addict and their family. Unfortunately, it is not rare for a person addicted to drugs to “borrow” or steal money to maintain their substance use.

Drugs and alcohol are expensive habits to maintain, and the financial burden only increases with time. The longer that someone uses a substance, the more of that substance they will take to experience the same effects. This phenomenon is referred to as tolerance.

Next, ongoing substance use can jeopardize one’s career prospects. Addiction leads to mistakes and interpersonal issues at work; over time, this may result in pay cuts or job loss. Many people lose their jobs after months of worsening performance which are attributable to drinking or drugging. It’s even possible to incur ancillary costs like medical bills, insurance costs, and legal fees. People who are addicted to drugs are more likely to experience car accidents and problems with the law.

Finally, addiction rearranges one’s priorities in a way that can be financially devastating. Maintaining their substance use becomes a person’s top objective each day, replacing normal goals like financial stability, paying bills, finding gainful employment, or saving for large purchases. If left unaddressed, the financial consequences of addiction can be overwhelming.

 

Helping vs. Enabling

Spouses and family members face a difficult challenge. They must identify the line between helping their loved one and enabling their substance use. While both of these behaviors are well-intentioned, it is important that this difference is clearly understood.

Helping includes behaviors such as getting the person professional help, talking to them about their struggles, or checking in to ensure that they are staying sober. Enabling, on the other hand, is comprised of more toxic behaviors. If you find yourself making excuses for the addict, funding their substance use, lying for them, bailing them out of legal or professional trouble, or taking over their responsibilities, you may be an enabler.

At Beach House, we provide comprehensive family programming to help each client’s loved ones to become helpers rather than enablers.

 

Addiction Impacts Relationships

Ongoing substance use can have a devastating impact on one’s most cherished relationships. To begin healing, all members of the family should receive support and addiction education. At Beach House Center for Recovery, our programming is tailored to the needs of our clients and their family members. To learn more about our individualized addiction treatment, contact us today.

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