7 Ways Drugs & Alcohol Destroy Relationships
- Secrets & Lies
- Mental & Emotional Abuse
- Physical & Domestic Abuse
- Income & Stability
- Loss Of Trust
- Emotional Distance
Maintaining a good relationship, whether it’s romantic or between family and friends, requires time and attention in addition to compassion and love.
An unexamined relationship could have underlying problems that won’t become apparent until stress occurs, such as from financial difficulties or the emergence of drug or alcohol abuse.
To help you avoid problems in your own life, or to recognize the signs of a fracturing bond, here are seven ways substance abuse can ruin relationships.
1. Secrets & Lies
In some cases, a person abusing alcohol or drugs will keep usage secret out of feelings of guilt and shame as well as not wanting to be judged. There is motivation to keep things under wraps, allowing secrets in the relationship to fester.
This problem may unfortunately increase over time. Someone with addiction winds up doing things like hiding illicit substances in the house, periodically leaving for inexplicable trips, and lying to the people they love most.
2. Mental & Emotional Abuse
Under the influence of drugs and alcohol, your loved one may insult the people around them and increase verbal attacks to the point where it becomes mental abuse.
Such ongoing abuse leads to mental health problems and feelings of low self esteem, whether directed at a parent, child, sibling, or close friend. Healthy relationships are not sustainable under conditions of ongoing emotional abuse.
3. Physical & Domestic Abuse
Injuring another person physically while abusing alcohol or drugs is an unfortunate reality.
Someone who is out of control and not entirely aware of their physical capabilities can do some real damage. This is especially the case in parent-child relationships.
Aside from the physical harm from fighting, the relationship will be effectively ended if someone is arrested or put in jail for domestic abuse.
4. Loss Of Income & Stability
Losing your job is a distinct possibility when drug or alcohol abuse interferes with your ability to meet work obligations. If a pattern of absenteeism or tardiness emerges, the employer may have to take steps to put a stop to the pattern.
But when your judgment is clouded because of alcohol or drugs, you may not be able easily comply with your boss’ instructions to fall in line.
In a perfect world, you manage to take a leave of absence from work and enroll in a drug rehab facility. In reality, a chronically absent individual winds up being fired.
The resulting loss of income, as well as feelings of shame and embarrassment, puts additional strain on relationships and threatens stability within the household.
5. Loss Of Trust
Without a basic level of underlying trust, a relationship can quickly go sour, whether between friends, romance partners, or family. A person caught in the grips of drug abuse may continuously lie about their whereabouts, activities, or the people they’re spending time with.
Sometimes trust dissolves in the presence of alcohol or drug addiction because of a pattern of broken promises, letdowns, and disappointments.
For example, a father is coping with severe addiction and proclaims he will attend his child’s next music performance or little league baseball game, only to not show up once again. This causes a rift of mistrust to grow between parent and child.
6. Emotional Distance
When one half of a romantic couple loses control over alcohol or drug use, fights may happen more frequently. The strain of fighting can itself motivate the person to use even more drugs or alcohol, further complicating the dilemma.
At a certain point, this increased fighting can turn into a vicious circle. Without some intervention, including acknowledging that addiction is the disease, the relationship is more likely going to deteriorate further.
Although it can be difficult, loved ones have the power to speak openly about their feelings and help motivate the person to seek therapy and treatment.
In a codependent relationship, there is a power imbalance and a lack of harmony. A codependent person will tend to focus on their partner’s needs, ignoring their own.
The problem here is that the partner with a drug or alcohol problem is being enabled. This could look like bailing your loved one out of jail or making excuses for their absences at work or school that were caused by intoxication.
It’s easy to see, for example, how a codependent person would lie to a boss about her husband being sick when it’s actually the case that he has passed out or has gone missing while out on a bender with friends.
Although we mention several extreme hypotheticals, being in a relationship with someone with addiction is difficult. The good news is that there is hope in recovery for the whole family.
If you have any questions about the drug and alcohol rehab programs available at Ark Behavioral Health, please connect with one of our treatment specialists today.
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy - Substance Abuse and Intimate Relationships
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