There’s almost no feeling comparable to falling in love.
Whether it be two teenagers sharing “I love you’s” for the first time or a young adult finally finding that perfect match after being hurt by a reckless ex, relationships can birth security and unlock unconditional compassion for those who are willing to become vulnerable.
But as much happiness and joy love can bring, it can also mask unhealthy, abusive behaviors in codependent relationships.
Way too often, those in recovery dealing with an internal issue will try to bandage it with the acceptance of a loved one. In this circumstance, the girlfriend or boyfriend may not be aware that they are the source of denial.
But there’s also the instance when an enabling boyfriend or girlfriend will lead a recovering addict back into the spiraling world of addiction.
In the final part of our Youth in Recovery series, we will explore how certain types of relationships can be dangerous for recovering addicts and some warning signs to look for if you fear your boyfriend or girlfriend is on the verge of relapse.
No love lost: How to avoid toxic relationships
You’ve gone through treatment, got involved in a fellowship program on your college campus, and have even transformed those failing grades into A’s across the board.
Just like Kimye, or Bey and Jay, you envision a blossoming relationship envied by others or transformed into a hopeless romantic meme.
Despite physical attraction or how you’re perceived by your peers, the most important traits to observe in a significant other is their character and whether they are mature enough to be a good companion or helpmate as you journey further into recovery. As we know, recovery isn’t an easy-as-pie process that’s a guaranteed success. Instead, it takes time, commitment, and patience because relapse is always a possibility that sometimes occurs multiple times.
So, if you’re tired of being bound to people who have no interest in or consideration of your recovery, here are some things to question/observe before you commit:
· Does this person abuse substances, such as liquor, marijuana, or pills, on a daily basis?
· Are they stable and not easily swayed by others?
· Do they have any long-term goals and not just living from party to party?
· If they are in recovery, do they have any mentors or actively practice principles taught in therapy?
· Can they admit when they’re wrong and not place the blame on you?
· Are they co-dependent, volatile, or insecure?
· Can you learn from their strengths?
· Ask yourself, “Can we grow together to become better individuals?”
Millennials battle high chances of relapse
Just because you have a past with abusive relationships and/or addictive behaviors, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the dating scene like every other young adult. But you still have to be realistic with yourself and come to terms with, when or if you are ready to begin dating again, your inability to cope with your past could affect your partner.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, between 40 percent to 60 percent of addicts relapse within their first year. And adolescent recovery relapse statistics are slightly higher with 78 percent of relapses occurring with the first six months of recovery.
With chances of relapse increasing among young adults, it’s vital NOT to try to overcome the battle of an aggressive disease alone. But once you begin to gain more confidence as a young adult, it’s always healthy to know how to stand on your own and not always depend on loved ones to help you make tough decisions that could alter your destination throughout recovery.
Which brings us to the next point: how not to enable your significant other back into drug addiction.
Partner or pushover?
If you’re on the opposite end of the relationship and have a partner who is or has recently struggled with substance abuse, then you too have to be aware of troubling signs that the relationship is on a downward spiral.
It’s normal to try to help motivate our partners when they are in a weak or gloomy phase in life. Some people may even try to carry the burden of a spouse or significant other by justifying questionable habits or turning a blind eye to troubling habits, instead of confronting it.
Although every relationship is different, this can be a concern in any relationship because sympathy and naivety could birth manipulation and even abuse.
So if you’ve been guilty of being an enabler, unbeknownst to yourself or partner, here are some way to end it without ending the relationship:
· Come up with an ultimatum: If your significant other decides to divulge in previous addictive behaviors, create a boundary. This way, your partner is making a choice, and you aren’t making it for them.
· Don’t be afraid to hold them accountable: Speak up and confront them when you observe that they are acting unusual over a period of time. Don’t be cynical, but genuinely address them with concern and love so they can get the help they need.
· Think about what you’re depositing: Thinking about yourself may seem to go against the purpose of a relationship, but this is beneficial for positive and negative factors. By doing a self-inspection, you may identify some things that you can change or know if you’re being taken advantage of.
· Follow your heart: Leaving someone who you’ve been with for years or decades is a hard feat. But even if you do it gradually, you have to know when to pull back, so that you don’t grow weary or resentful. Therapy and counseling can also help your relationship if it gets to this point but you still have faith that you and your significant other can recover.
Do you or a loved one need treatment?
Here at Elevate, we are committed to helping you or your loved one achieve recovery and fight addiction. If you are looking for treatment, our 24-7 specialists are on standby to address any concerns or questions you may have about treatment. Call us today at (844) 318-0073 and start your journey to recovery today!
This article marks the end of our Youth in Recovery series. If you’re interested in reading Part 1 and Part 2 of the series, click on the links below: