8 Empowering Tips to Surviving a Relationship with an Addict

Tips to Surviving Addiction, Dating and Relationship Advice, Dating Coach MN8 Tips to Surviving a Relationship With an Addict

It is nearly impossible to enter the checkout lines these days without seeing a member of the Kardashian clan on at least one or two magazine covers.  The latest we get to bare witness to is the unraveling of the marriage of Khloe Kardashian Odom and Lamar Odom.  Whether you love or hate the gossip that surrounds the stars there is one truth and that is they too face tough relationship decisions and struggles just like the rest of us.

Growing up in a household with an alcoholic stepmother I saw and was impacted by the relationships strains an addict puts on their loved ones. No matter if you are dubbed as a celebrity like Khloe Kardashian Odom or an amazing dad like mine a couple things are clear… it is not an easy road to travel and you need to stay strong and not settle for less then you deserve.

8 Tips to Staying Healthy When in a Relationship or Marriage With an Addict

Be Honest With Yourself – Addiction Is Addition

Addiction is addiction whether your partner is a drug addict, an alcoholic, a gambler, sex addict or                    (fill in the blank). I see far to often partners make just as many excuses for their loved one’s addiction as their loves one does. The first step for you is to be honest with yourself by recognizing your partners addiction and the powerful impact it is having on your relationship. It is a big glass to swallow but the sooner you face the truth, the sooner you can start healing and moving forward.

Put Down Your Tool Belt

It is common to see the sober partner invest a lot of time, energy and emotion trying to fix or solve their partners addiction. No matter how hard you try to fix it for them it will never work. No one can combat your loved ones addiction but them – they have to face it head on.

Learn The Difference Between Being Supportive and Enabling

There is a very fine line between being a supportive partner and one that is an enabler. Some of the best intentions are the most damaging to both of you. Your loved one will need a strong support group surrounding them that knows the difference between being supportive and enabling. One of the most common enabling behavior seen is treating an addict like they are not one. A few examples of enabling an addict are; making excuses for them, not holding them accountable and accepting their responsibilities.

Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries in relationships whether you are dating, in a long term relationship or married can be one of the hardest things for people to do in general let alone when your in a relationship with an addict. Boundaries are imperative because they will help you heal and grow stronger. They will allow you to convey your needs and expectations to your partner. Be sure your boundaries are clear and they consistent.

It’s Not Ok

It is natural and healthy to want to reward your love one for their recovery efforts and success. Ironically many supporters and loved ones of addicts seem to think that one of the greatest rewards they can give their loved one is letting them indulge in their addition… ‘just this once’. This is NOT OK! Your loved one is an addict and they need your help in keeping them on the right path. Sobriety is a life long journey. Engaging in ‘just this once’ type behavior can quickly spiral out of control so don’t encourage it.

Build a Support Network

It is just as important for you to have a support group for you made up of qualify professionals, programs, groups and loved ones as it is for the addict. One big mistake made by a sober partner is thinking that the addict is the only one that needs support and help. One of your best allies will be local support groups and qualified professionals that are used to dealing with the specific addiction your loved one has. They will become one of your greatest resources and assets you have. They can assist you with starting the rehab conversation, setting boundaries, how to be healthy and much more. You can find great resources online by searching Google or by asking the rehab facility or professionals your loved one is working with.

Put Yourself First – Get Healthy for You

People with care giving type personalities are the most common personalities types that find themselves in a relationship with an addict. Care givers tend to put the needs of everyone else above their own and struggle to put their own needs first. For your health and those you love you must learn what it is you need and then how to express your needs and fulfill them. The healthier you are the stronger and healthier of a partner you become.

You ARE Strong Enough to Leave

Over the past week we have seen Khloe Kardashian build her strength by implementing most if not all of the tips I share here with you. The latest speculation is that Khloe will soon divorce her husband Lamar Odom. I know is one of the most difficult decision to make but there is a real possibility you too may have to make this decision. You may be in a dating relationship or a marriage with children but no matter what your relationship makeup is, you have a responsibility to yourself to live happily. It takes two to have a loving, happy, successful relationship and no one should sacrifice their happiness for another that is unwilling to love themselves and invest in overcoming their addiction.

I leave you with this advice:

There are many couples that have battled addictions together and have come out happier, healthier and closer. There are also many couples that do not survive. There is not magic pill or easy way to travel this journey – it will take some hardwork and dedication.

Remember it does take two for your relationship to succeed but you are only responsible for your efforts and your actions not theirs. Make a commitment to work on building your strength and your health (emotionally, physically, financial… and spiritually if it’s important to you) and do it with no apologies.

It’s a difficult journey but you got this!

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Dating CoachKK, Kimberly Koehler is the leading dating and relationship coach in Minneapolis, MN who helps men and women globally. As a renowned coach and professional speaker I bring you practical and applicable strategies and solutions to the most common dating and relationship struggles. Date smarter, have stronger relationship and join me as we navigate the dating and relationship maze.

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