Skip to content

In a relationship with an addict.

When individuals lose themselves to addiction, people often focus on trying to help them in their recovery. They concentrate on things like accessing professional help, building up a support network, putting healthy coping mechanisms in place and overall helping the individual in their recovery. The aim is often to help the individual to find their way back to living a healthy and happy life again.

But in all this something gets lost. Or more importantly someone. What about the people that have close relationships with the person that is addicted?? What about the woman married to the alcoholic? Or the mother of the young man addicted to drugs? What about the best friend watching her friend lose herself to anorexia?

Isn’t it just as important to focus on the wellbeing of these individuals too?

The strain addiction puts on people is immense. But it isn’t only the person battling the addiction. It is also the person right beside them.

That individual is tired. Yet they can’t sleep. They can’t switch off and they consistently feel an overwhelming sense of anxiety. Never knowing what is coming next or which person they will come home too. The individual close to the addict loses their sense of self. They become overwhelmed, stressed, burnt out and areas of their life start to suffer. Perhaps they are struggling at work, or maybe they are finding it harder than usual to cope with their kids. Whatever the impact – it will be there. And it will be immense.

The hard part of being close to someone who is addicted, is the non-stop hope that they might change. The days when it feels like they are doing better, or things are getting easier. The moments in time when things look a little brighter or more manageable.

The tough moments come when the person who is addicted is more themselves for a day. Or perhaps they are lovely by day but abusive by night. The ongoing battle is that there is still love for the individual no matter how much pain they cause. The destruction is severe and sadly more and more damaging behavior starts to get tolerated.

Before they know it the person close to the addict starts to lose themselves. They don’t recognise who they are any more and they don’t see things the way they once did. Their values start to shift, their views start to get lost, and they find themselves tolerating things they never would. The way they are lied too, the way they are treated, the way they are bullied or ignored – it all becomes tolerable. It all starts to be seen as the norm. Yet it is so far from that.

The person close to an addict is also lost. They feel so alone. They start to shut down. They no longer tell their friends or family how bad things are. They start to detach. Maybe they even develop unhealthy coping mechanisms themselves. Fundamentally they forget who they are and gradually their self esteem starts to get less and less.

At your counselling service we offer therapy for those that are not only addicted but for those who are in a relationship with the person that is addicted. It is so important for individuals to take care of themselves. To look after themselves and to find their way back to being the best version of themselves. Remaining lost or in limbo is a very dark and painful place to be. We do everything at our service to help people to cope with the difficulty of this situation.

If you are or anyone you know is struggling because they are in a close relationship with someone who is addicted, then call us on 07590 663938 or e mail

In the meantime, these useful suggestions might help someone if they are in a relationship like this.

  • Make time for your own wellbeing and self-care.
  • Prioritise your basic needs – such as eating and sleeping.
  • Ensure that exercise is part of your week.
  • Speak to friends and family more.
  • Get out and see people even if it feels really hard.
  • Make time for the outdoors.
  • Keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings.
  • Try to remain grounded.
  • Keep a schedule and routine in place.
  • Remember who you are.
  • Remind yourself that it isn’t your fault.
  • Remember that you alone can’t change this – it doesn’t matter what you do.
  • Speak to a therapist.