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Guide to Ending a Relationship with a Drug Addict and Moving On

an upset woman sits breaking up with an addict as he sits across from her and holds his hand to his face

In films, the narrative often portrays love as a linear journey: two individuals fall in love, leading to marriage, children, and a picturesque home with a white picket fence. However, reality is far more intricate, and not every relationship concludes with a fairy tale ending. Relationships are complex, especially when you add addiction into the mix.

Woodland Recovery Center understands the ebb and flow of relationships, the pain of addiction, and the desire for a better tomorrow. We specialize in various drug addiction treatments, providing evidence-based approaches to help individuals with addiction. We aim to help you and your loved one heal, even if that means going separate ways. Call us today at 662.222.2989 to learn more about how we support individuals with addiction and their loved ones.

Understanding What It Means to Be Dating an Addict

Those who have loved ones with substance use know that addiction has far-reaching consequences beyond the individual using substances. Loved ones often get dragged along for the ride and end up hurt. Romantic partners, in particular, can go through a tumultuous experience when their loved one refuses to seek addiction treatment. Being married to or dating an individual with a substance use disorder can be problematic.

Addiction may lead you and your partner to:

  • Lie to each other
  • Cover up harmful behaviors
  • Make excuses
  • Lose trust in the relationship

This type of relationship dynamic can be unhealthy for both of you. Sometimes, walking away and breaking up with your partner is the best option.

The Dos and Don’ts of Breaking Up with an Alcoholic

In general, breakups are complex, but when ending a relationship with an individual with an addiction, the situation may be even more complicated. If you weren’t aware of the extent of your partner’s substance misuse before entering the relationship, you may feel in over your head now.
Additionally, if you were together before they started misusing substances, your partner may be almost unrecognizable now. If your loved one’s substance use got worse after getting married, you may be worried about your family’s future. Ending a relationship with a person with addiction isn’t easy, but sometimes it needs to be done. These breakup tips may help you both move forward.

Do Wait Until They Are Sober

Ending a relationship with an individual with addiction while they are still under the influence of drugs or alcohol could have devastating consequences. If someone is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, their ability to think clearly may be impaired, leading to potential erratic behavior and even possible memory loss of the breakup the following day. Instead, try to wait until they are sober so you can have a more rational conversation.

Don’t Hold a Grudge

It is natural to want to point fingers or place the blame entirely on your partner’s addiction, but holding onto these feelings isn’t healthy. Remember that addiction is a mental health condition, and your partner needs help. If you continue to dwell on the past and hold a grudge against them, you will never be able to move forward.

Do Put Your Safety First

Substances can sometimes cause people to act in ways they regret. If you are breaking up with an addict who sometimes gets violent or has been aggressive with you in the past, make sure you put your safety first. End the relationship in a public place like a park so others are around, just in case. You could also have a friend nearby who could intervene if necessary. If your partner threatens you or your loved ones, take it seriously and report it.

Don’t Let Your Emotions Get the Best of You

Breakups are emotional, but when you let your emotions control you, they could make the situation worse. Losing your temper is easy, but shouting back will only escalate the situation. Do your best to stay calm throughout the breakup. Walking away to collect yourself is okay if you think you might lose control of your emotions. You can indulge or analyze these emotions once you are away from your ex-partner.

Do Practice Self-Care

Even if you are the one ending the relationship, you still need time to heal. Especially if you are breaking up with an addict you love, you may be feeling emotionally drained and depressed. Don’t be afraid to get professional mental health care if you need to, as a therapist could guide you through this challenging time.

Do Stay Strong and Persevere

When your ex-partner pleads with you to take them back or says they will change, you may be tempted to give in but stand your ground. You are breaking up with them for a reason. The only way for both of you to move forward is to cut off all unnecessary communication.

Do What Is Best for You

While you may feel guilty for leaving a partner, you need to do what is best for you. Staying in a relationship with a person with an addiction can be toxic and do serious harm to your mental and sometimes even physical health.

It’s essential to understand the distinction between being supportive and enabling addiction. Although ending a relationship with someone struggling with addiction may not be permanent, it’s crucial to prioritize their treatment and recovery.

Consider reconnecting after they have received proper treatment. However, remember that it’s generally recommended to avoid dating during early recovery. Be a supportive friend during this time, and after at least a year, you can discuss the possibility of reconciling the relationship if both parties are interested.

How to Break Up with an Alcoholic

Breaking up with an alcoholic requires a delicate balance of compassion and firmness. Here are some steps you may find beneficial:

  • Prepare for the conversation – Plan what you want to say beforehand and consider possible reactions. Understand that your partner might react defensively or with denial, and be ready to stick to your points.
  • Choose the right time and place – It’s best to have this conversation when your partner is sober. Choose a neutral location where both of you can speak openly yet safely.
  • Communicate clearly and honestly – Be honest about your reasons for the breakup. Make it clear that the relationship is causing harm to you both and that you believe a separation is the best course of action.
  • Avoid blaming language – Use “I” statements instead of “you” statements to express your feelings.
    Set boundaries – After the breakup, it’s crucial to establish clear boundaries. This might mean limiting contact or blocking phone numbers and social media connections, at least for some time.
  • Seek support – There are support groups and therapists who specialize in helping people who are in relationships with those struggling with addiction. Utilizing these resources can significantly aid your healing process.

Remember, you are not responsible for your partner’s addiction or recovery, and it’s essential to prioritize your well-being.

Call Woodland Recovery Center for Help with Supporting a Loved One with an Addiction

Breakups are never easy. Breaking up with an individual who is struggling with addiction brings a unique set of challenges. At Woodland Recovery Center, we understand the complexity of these situations and offer support to both individuals with addiction and their loved ones. Our compassionate and evidence-based approach to alcohol or drug addiction treatment can help your loved one achieve lasting recovery, allowing both of you to move forward with a brighter future.

Don’t hesitate to call us at 662.222.2989 or contact us online for more information on how we can help you and your loved one through this challenging time.