Recovery and Relationships
Relationships are a necessary component of living one’s best life. They are needed to create deep bonds, for companionship, and to provide the needed emotional support needed to thrive post-rehab. Relationships are effective in helping people in recovery stay healthy and increase their wellbeing. Healthy relationships bring out the best in both parties, and are a safe space for their fears.
Healthy relationships can help individuals struggling with addiction to avoid negative attachments to people who bring out the worst in them. Engaging in toxic relationships can create feelings of frustration, unnecessary stress, and conflict. These feelings can lead of increased use of alcohol and substance abuse.
The Value of Healthy Relationships
Healthy relationships are the ideal type of relationships most people strive for. They bring joy and connection, encouraging the other’s growth. Healthy relationships contain equality and comfort, ensuring each partners’ hopes, dreams, and fears are respected. Communication and commitment are key in creating deep emotional bonds. Healthy relationships are based on compatibility and common values, along with:
- Mutual trust
- Mutual support
- Mutual thoughtfulness
- Mutual honesty
- Mutual tenderness
- Mutual compassion
- Maintain healthy boundaries
Healthy relationships allow for people to establish boundaries, so everyone feels safe. Trust establishes respectful vulnerability allowing for the relationship to progress in a healthy manner. If someone recovering from addiction does not trust their partner, they may hide progress of sobriety from their partner, or feel they cannot be vulnerable about their sobriety.
Healthy relationships involving honesty, for example, can encourage partners to support or inspire individuals to communicate about substance abuse. Partners can include boundaries to discourage post-relapses if this applies to their partner. Positive partnerships can thrive as the individual in recovery can develop healthy social circles, thus creating healthy connections.
12-Step Support Groups and Healthy Relationships
Individuals in 12-Step programs can cultivate new relationships full of hope and positivity. 12-step groups, offered in inpatient and outpatient rehab facilities, build community for individuals getting treatment for substance abuse disorders. These groups can be safe spaces to connect with a like-minded peer group. Some facilities have aftercare programs, which provide social connections and social activities for patients in facilities.
Identifying Unhealthy Relationships
Unhealthy relationships are toxic, consisting of various damaging or draining dynamics. Unhealthy relationship put pressure on someone, using overly forceful means of attaining goals, or subtle coercive means. Examples of ways selfish and toxic behaviors in relationships can manifest include:
- Mental abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Physical abuse
- Verbal abuse
- Financial abuse
- Lack of respect
- Invasion of privacy/boundaries
- Controlling partners
- Dominant/dictator partners
- Disrespectful of emotions
- A lack of time for a partner
- A lack of fairness/equality
Relationships with these types of qualities can make someone feel anxious, depressed, or frustrated. An individual battling relationship stress can have secrets, use substances as an outlet for stress, hit each other, and dramatically threaten each other’s wellbeing.
If an individual already has pre-existing conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety, unhealthy relationships can worsen the symptoms. Once the symptoms become worse, individuals may self-medicate and turn to substance abuse for support.
Codependency and Unhealthy Relationships
There are different types of unhealthy relationships directly related to addiction, like codependent/enabling relationships. Codependent relationships have positive intention to help loved ones in need; however, they may not have boundaries that allow individuals sufficient independence to grow. It is dysfunctional as it encourages individuals with substance abuse disorders, careless life decisions, and habits.
Codependents are often empathic and caring people who wish to support their partners; however, codependents helping alcoholics and addicts may experience distress over their partners condition. In some instances, the codependent may begin to drink or abuse to enable their partner’s habit. Codependents may suffer underlying conditions like depression or anxiety, losing their identity in their partner’s life.
Getting Help Today
Unhealthy relationships can begin to take a toll one’s life, whether they struggle with addiction or live a life of sobriety. If unhealthy relationships are causing you distress and to abuse harmful substances, contact a treatment professional today to discover your therapy options. Substance abuse is often fueled by stressors of life and love. Treatment experts are available to these to help and guide you to the facility that will heal you from the inside out.
Melody. (2017). 12 Signs You’re In A Codependent Relationship. Retrieved on July 13, 2018 at https://melodywilding.com/12-signs-youre-in-a-codependent-relationship/
Whall Health Center. (2017). Healthy Versus Unhealthy Relationships. (2017). Retrieved on July 13, 2018 at http://depts.washington.edu/hhpccweb/health-resource/healthy-vs-unhealthy-relationships/
VeryWellMind.com. (2017). Developing Healthy Relationships in Recovery. Retrieved on July 13, 2018 at https://www.verywellmind.com/developing-healthy-relationships-to-maintain-abstinence-69450