Jordan Zipkin, LMFT
The Most Essential Steps to Coping with an Addicted Partner
When you come home to your partner, you feel scared. You don’t know which version you’re going to encounter: the calm, sweet, and thoughtful person with whom you chose to be with or the chaotic, mean, and unpredictable individual with whom you’ve seen develop an increasingly closer bond to drugs, alcohol, or both.
We all deserve to feel safe, trust, and stability in our intimate relationships. When a third party (whether its drugs or alcohol, for example) enter into our once incredible relationship, we feel angry, worried, fearful, and resentful. It’s very challenging to know what to do with all of these intense feelings, as well as how to cope with our partner, attempt to help him/her, and try to resurrect our relationship. I’m here to begin showing you the path to that deserved future for both you and your loved one.
The Most Important Fact to First Recognize: You Cannot Get Your Partner Sober. Your Role is Very Different and Critical.
For someone to curb and eliminate addiction, s/he must be personally motivated to do so.
As much as you want your partner to recognize s/he is addicted and then immediately change, your partner can only do this if s/he is in the right frame of mind to acknowledge the addiction, agree with the devastation it has caused him/her and you both, and then take the steps to change.
Your role, then, is:
Not to push s/he into sobriety, but rather, to encourage him/her to want to achieve sobriety on his/her own.
Learn about addiction, as this will help you to much better understand and empathize with how your partner got to this place and how s/he can work to get out of it.
Share with your partner, in a clear, compassionate, and gentle way your feelings about his/her addiction. For instance, you could say, “When you drink, I feel worried.” It’s crucial that you avoid blaming, criticism, and put-downs when you communicate with your afflicted partner, as this will only lead to s/he becoming defensive, shutting down, and/or becoming angry. The goal is for you to feel heard and to increase the likelihood that your partner responds in a respectful and kind way; the more you communicate in this kind of manner, the more likely you are to get your goal met.
Engage in therapy and support with your partner. There is a lot of great research on addiction that demonstrates that when therapy focuses on working with both members of the couple, there is a much higher success rate for the afflicted partner achieving and maintaining long-term sobriety.
I can help you effectively cope with your partner with whom struggles with addiction and reclaim that loving, close, and passionate relationship you both want and deserve.
I provide options for telehealth sessions through a secure, HIPAA compliant video or phone session. Give me a call and we'll discuss how I can help. Jordan Zipkin, LMFT at 954-391-5305.