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Addicts: How Addiction Ruins Relationships?

Addiction affects every aspect of life, but it has a profound impact on relationships. Keep reading to find out how addiction ruins relationships. 

The Components of a Successful Relationship

Relationships that work in the long-term tend to have these components:
  • They utilize honest, assertive, respect-based communication.
  • They are rewarding and fun.
  • Members of these relationships can feel good about themselves.
  • They prioritize understanding, trust, and compromise.
  • They work in times of both togetherness and individuality. 
  • Abuse, violence, and aggression are not present.
Relationships take work to maintain, even without the complications that addiction can bring. Relationships are one of the first things destroyed by addiction, and it is clear to see why.  An addict’s addiction will take priority over everything else in their lives, and unfortunately, even their relationships. As we will discuss, addiction can compromise or remove some of these successful relationship components entirely, making maintaining healthy relationships more difficult or even impossible. 

Addiction Promotes Secrecy

Addiction can change a person’s values, personality, and priorities so entirely that they can become almost unrecognizable. Honesty is vital for any healthy relationship, but unfortunately, addiction can block the line of clear and open communication. Because of its profound impact on the brain, addiction can cause people to do things they wouldn’t normally do, such as lie, cheat, and steal. It can be challenging for those addicted to be honest about what they do, where they are, and who they are with due to feelings of shame, guilt, inadequacy, and fear of judgment. This secrecy can lead to trust issues between partners, ultimately leading to the relationship’s decline or end.  

Anger and Abuse 

Certain substances can create violent reactions in their users, even if they have never exhibited violent or aggressive behavior before. This change in personality can lead to both emotional and physical abuse. Some of these substances include:
  • Alcohol
  • MDMA
  • Cocaine
  • Steroids 
  • Ritalin
Those living with someone who abuses one of these substances have an increased risk of becoming victims of abuse. Additionally, there is the possibility that those living with addicts could become frustrated with their addictive behavior and act out violently or aggressively. 


In relationships where one party is an addict, the other party can function as an enabler. An enabler attempts to help an addict through various means, including: Making excuses and accepting blame for their loved one. Minimizing negative consequences their addicted loved one may experience. Taking responsibility for their loved one’s feelings and behaviors. Enablers often provide money to the addict, even though they might suspect that the money is being used to purchase drugs or alcohol. The line between helping and enabling can be very blurry to an enabler.  Enablers often feel as though if they provide the addict with enough love, care, and resources, they will be able to “fix” their addiction. However, the truth is that the only way an addict will want to get sober is if they decide to do so on their terms. Enabling an addict with money and food and mitigating the negative consequences they should be experiencing will likely only prolong their addiction as they have no motivation to change. 

The Potential for Codependency

Codependency is defined as the excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner or a way to categorize imbalanced relationships where one partner enables the self-destructive behavior of another. Codependency can leave individuals feeling inadequate, a lack of trust in themselves and others, and without communication skills or a strong sense of self.  Studies have shown that women married to addicted men have a much higher chance of becoming codependent than those with husbands who are not addicted. Additionally, this same study showed that these women also had a higher chance of developing neuroticism, which is a tendency toward anxiety, depression, self-doubt, and other negative feelings, in conjunction with their codependency.  Ultimately, addiction can draw you and your partner, family members, or friends into an unhealthy codependent relationship that can have catastrophic emotional consequences. 

Taking a Break from Relationships

The truth is, it is very unlikely and almost impossible for an addict to have healthy relationships. If you are an addict, you need to take care of yourself first to be a good partner, sibling, friend, or son or daughter, and if that means you need to take time away from your relationships to get sober, then so be it. Nothing is more important than your health and wellbeing, and those who love you should be able to understand that. The hope is that you can eventually return to those relationships and be more present in them. 

Irreparable Relationships

It is clear that addiction ruins relationships, and although some relationships may be repairable, others can and should not be saved. If your relationship falls into one of the following categories, you may want to think critically about whether or not you should bring it into recovery with you:
  • Relationships founded on a shared addiction – Continuing these relationships while in recovery could increase your chance of relapse.
  • Relationships with friends or family members who do not support your recovery or your attempts to better your life.
  • Relationships with partners who intimidate you or who are violent or aggressive toward you emotionally or physically. 
  • Relationships with those who have enabled your addiction in the past. 
  • Codependent relationships where you depend entirely on one another for emotional and psychological support.  
If your relationship has become toxic and is holding you back from recovery, it may be time to let it go for the sake of your health and sobriety.   

Contact Ardu Recovery Center

Now that you have learned more about how addiction ruins relationships, make the first step toward healthier relationships and a healthier you by contacting Ardu Recovery Center today. We utilize compassionate, state-of-the-art methods to help you detox, get sober, and stay that way. Reach out to us to see if our programs could be a good fit for you; our beautiful facility is located in Provo, Utah.