What to Do When Your Friends and Family Don’t Support Your Decision to Stay With an Addict

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If your experience is anything like my own, you would quickly grasp how strong the stigma of those suffering with drug addiction still is. And as someone’s who’s intimately affiliated with a drug addict, you may be subjected to the same stigma, rejection, or shaming from others. Use this experience to empathize with your lover! This is the kind of shit they have to put up with daily and have more than likely already internalized into their own self-loathing stream of thoughts.

Things my friends and family tried telling me while I was reaching out for help regarding my meth-addicted partner were things like:

“You deserve so much better.”

“Why are you with him?”

“Ew, meth? Are you serious? Why do you stay? Do you not feel that good about yourself? You know you can find someone better, right?”

“He’s gonna suck you dry of all the money and energy you have. You should get out ASAP.”

Other people’s uninformed, insensitive comments make getting the support you need in your relationship difficult. Although these comments made by your close friends may come from a good place, they do absolutely nothing to help your current situation, because chances are, you’ve already had waves of these thoughts yourself. And despite having transient thoughts like this, your decision is still to ultimately stay with your partner….so what good is it to dwell in the negative?

Ideally, it should be clear that since you are still choosing to be in a relationship with this person, you have accepted the drug abuse situation and are now looking for support. This is very hard to find, and can undermine your ability to stay sane, supported, and strong for your partner.

This is where the role of outside resources, such as Al Anon meetings or articles like this can assist you. Being with an addict is oftentimes a lifelong journey of recovery, and since you’re in this bubble with them, you’re also going to benefit from recovery as well, as you dig deeper into yourself and understand your own blind spots and places in your psyche that need growth.

Don’t let outsider’s negative comments get to you. You are your own person and you are completely responsible for your own decisions and happiness.

But do take this into consideration:
Our closest friends and family members want to see us happy. They usually want us to thrive, succeed, and find love. However, this kind of love to them is unconventional and that makes them uncomfortable. And they don’t understand why sometimes you choose a life that can be unstable and lead to some pretty intense “downs” (if your partner relapses, gets arrested, has to go back to treatment, leaving you at home alone), etc.

It’s not other people’s business unless you make it their business. Choose to disclose your situation to people you think would understand and that don’t stigmatize addicts or different lifestyles.

*The only circumstances in which you should really tune in to what your more traditional-thinking support system has said is when they comment that you haven’t seemed happy or at peace for several months on end or when your own personal commitments to work and your own well-being have been faltering. Other than that, you’re going to have to develop thick skin while dating an addict until the stigmatization goes away.

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