Addiction and relationships are like oil and water, don’t mix well. Or they mix well while it’s shaking but the moment it isn’t, the mixture starts to separate. Same thing with relationships and addiction, while there is something or someone shaking it up, the relationship meshes together. Stop shaking and the relationship starts to separate. So whether the relationship is water and addiction is the oil, the two no matter what is not going to work.
Relationships take a special kind of TLC to keep the relationship alive and going. It takes works from both parties involved in the relationship. If one person starts to not participate in the relationship as much as he/she had prior, the relationship can start to fall apart. Add something else to the relationship, and there is a good chance it won’t mix well. Add addiction to the relationship and it won’t mix well.
Addiction alone is something that is hard to deal with on a day-to-day basis. But what is it like to be an addict and be in a relationship? Does the addiction come first or does the relationship? And what happens when the addiction becomes more important than the two in the relationship?
A relationship, no matter if it between a man and women, a man and a man, women, and women, or any combination there can be, takes a lot of work to keep the relationship new and fresh. A relationship, no matter what form it comes it, takes a lot of work for the two involved. There is always the need to keep it fresh and alive. And there is the need to keep the relationship secure with trust and faith in each other. Those are the two biggest parts of having a solid relationship. Being able to trust and have faith in each other can take a lot of work on both parts of the relationship. Showing that there is trust and faith show the depth of that relationship and how important the relationship is to both parties.
Being an addict means that you have become physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance, and unable to stop taking it without incurring adverse effects. This can be a drug, alcohol, the opposite sex, or just about anything now a day. When someone is an addict, their life revolves around the item or thing that they are addicted too. An addict’s whole life is about the thing that they need. They become obsessed with it and need the drug, drink or anything else that it is all the time.
When someone is an addict, they eat, sleep, and dream about what they are addicted too. My drug of choice was pain medications, not one in particular, but anything that would make the physical and mental pain go away. When I was in the throes of my addiction, nothing in my life mattered to me except that medications. I would do almost anything to get enough of it so I wouldn’t run out of it. I remember that feeling I would have when I was close to running out, and it’s a feeling that is hard to explain. I would start to sweat at the thought of running out of the medication. I would think about that medication constantly, praying that I would never run out. Being that focused on the medication didn’t leave much more time for anything else.
Being that focused on the medication didn’t leave much more time for anything else. Including a relationship is put on the back burner, while addiction is number 1. The relationship can suffer and even fall apart with the lack of attention it has on it. A relationship is like a plant that needs to be watered and feed. It needs to have the right amount of water and the right amount of food for the relationship to grow. If it doesn’t have the right amount, the relationship can wither up and die. The same goes for the lack of attention. If the attention is on the addiction and not the relationship, then that relationship could die as well.
Maintaining both an addiction and a serious relationship can be very difficult to do. Most relationships and addictions need two very different things, oil, and water. Hence the lack of the two mixing. the person with the addiction needs to decide what is more important in his/her life and then taking on one of the hardest journeys they will ever take part in. But once that person starts down the road of recovery, life takes on a new meaning and purpose. That is what the person needs to focus on then, being helped. Then the rest of the important aspects of their life will fall into place.
The other person in the relationship needs to remember patience and understanding through this hard time. Being there for the addict is one of the important roles a person can be in. Letting the addict going through the steps to the road to recovery is important to the growth and possibly healing in the relationship. Any relationship, no matter how strong it is in the beginning when the addiction is new to the relationship, can take a hit. Some relationships can withstand the pressure and hurt from the addiction but some relationships can’t. The best thing is to work on one then the other. The addiction is the most important thing that would need the most attention. Once that is in better shape, the relationship can be worked on.
Taking time to heal both the addiction and the relationship is very important. Missing that oil and water will never fully mix correctly so heal one, the oil before you fix the water. Maybe later in the healing process, you will realize that you both aren’t one or the other, but instead, you are both oil or both water. And then you find out you both mix well. Work on yourself, as best as you can, and get the help you need for the addiction. The rest will all fall into place later when and if the time is right. A strong relationship can withstand the difficulties and pressures from the addiction. But that’s only if you are willing to heal yourself. Fix the addiction, then fix the rest of you.
There will be two more posts in this series. Look for them the following Sundays. They revolve around self-esteem and what its like to be sober. Hope to have you back to read them. Please feel free to leave me any comments or questions. Lisa