When we think of addiction what often comes to mind is how our compulsive behavior affects us. This includes issues such as health and mental well-being.
What we forget is that addiction has a tremendous impact on our relationships and the important people in our lives.
Consider a few ways addiction can be damaging to these relationships.
The Extent of the Consequences of Addiction on Your Relationships
#1: Loss of Trust
One way that addiction and compulsive behaviors affect your relationships is the loss of trust. Whether it is a close friend, your family members, or your partner, no relationship can be successful without trust.
For example, some of the things that can undermine trust are:
- Lying to others about where you have been or what you were doing
- Stealing money to buy drugs/alcohol
- Selling possessions that are not yours to get money
- Saying that you are getting help when you are not
Unfortunately, when your brain is affected by drug use, the ability to make good choices diminishes. Even if you want to make the right choice, the addiction will always come first. Over time, those close to you will separate from you because they can’t trust you.
#2: Seeking Drugs Any Way You Can
Another way addiction destroys relationships is the constant search for drugs. This means that when your resources are expended to obtain drugs, you begin asking others for money.
You may say that you need cash to buy food or pay the rent. Yet, the reality is that you end up using the money to buy drugs. Over time people will catch on and will not want to be with you because they know you will keep asking them for money.
#3: Addiction-Driven Anger
If you are unable to get what you want from others to obtain drugs, you will get angry at them. You may even yell or scream at them in hopes that they will cave in to your demands. The anger could be for show as a way to manipulate them, or you could feel genuinely angry that they are not helping you.
On the other hand, if you have not used drugs recently, then you may be feeling the effects of withdrawal, which includes irritability. Either way, no one likes to be around somebody who is always angry.
#4: Physical Violence Becomes Uncontrollable
A compulsive behavior that has serious consequences for relationships is physical violence. If you have an addiction, your brain will be less capable of making positive choices and more prone to anger. This combination means you are more likely to lash out at others, even those whom you genuinely love and care for.
Of course, nobody should tolerate having to experience violence, even if it is a loved one. Also, the emotional damage done by lashing out at others can last for years and, in many cases, destroys relationships.
#5: Developing Codependent Relationships
Finally, one other way your addiction can impact those close to you is by creating a codependent relationship. This is an unhealthy relationship where one person provides support and even enables the other person’s addiction.
They may have the misguided notion that they are helping, or that without them their addicted loved one would be worse off. However, these kinds of situations only create an imbalanced relationship that cannot last.
It’s no surprise that the 9th Step in the 12-Step recovery process is to “make amends.” This is because the compulsive behavior of those who are struggling with addiction creates a lot of damage to relationships. Those who love you will need time and, in many cases, need to go through their own therapeutic process in order to recover and be willing to have you in their lives once again.