When you love someone with a substance use disorder, your own life can spiral dangerously out of control. You might attempt to manage your partner’s addiction, but this is an exercise in futility. It might annoy you both and drive you further apart, doing little to solve the underlying issue.

You might vent your frustrations to other family members or co-workers, but these probably are not people who are trained counselors or who know much about addiction. This can make for a lonely and frustrating existence.

Instead of becoming sad or angry in these circumstances, here are some resources that can help you maintain control of your life despite a partner’s addiction.

1. Community Support Groups

A person with a substance use disorder often seeks support and guidance from people who have similar issues. You can do the same. There are community support groups that offer both virtual and in-person meetings to connect you with others who may understand your situation. A few examples are Al-Anon and Families Anonymous.

2. Get Educated About Addiction

It is tough to deal with something you do not understand. The more you learn about addiction, the better equipped you will be to cope with an addicted spouse or another loved one. Seek out information from reputable sources such as the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

3. Seek Individual Therapy

You can also find a therapist that understands addiction and who will give you some insight into both the disease and your role as a loved one. Even if a loved one enters recovery, repairing damaged relationships takes work. A professional is someone who regularly deals with these situations and that can also direct you to other helpful resources. 

4. Read Relatable Literature

Different types of books about addiction can also provide both insight and solace during a difficult time. Reading a memoir about addiction or some other recommended literature can help you remember that you are not alone and even give you new ways to view your current situation.

5. Learn What Is Within Your Control 

When you have a partner with addiction, it can be tempting to focus on the person’s actions instead of his or her condition. While you should never enable a person with a substance use disorder, there is a delicate balance between having patience and establishing boundaries.

You might need to determine what your limits are and learn to express yourself clearly with your loved one. While the addiction may be beyond your control, your actions and attitudes about it are not.

There are plenty of opportunities to find support for families of those with a substance use disorder. Below are more resources:

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.