4 Essential Steps to Help Your Partner Quit Cocaine
Cocaine abuse takes a profound toll on relationships and family, with partners often on the frontline in the battle against addiction. Here we look at four essential first steps to help your partner quit cocaine.
In the battle against addictions of all kinds, the role of the sufferer’s partner is often overlooked. Cocaine abuse will put a strain on any relationship, and it is often wives, husbands, boyfriends and girlfriends who bear the brunt. Partners are usually the first to face the consequences of the erratic and sometimes dangerous behaviour associated with drug abuse, and are forced to look on in anguish as they watch their loved ones’ wellbeing deteriorate.
Of all drugs, cocaine has been found to put the most strain on families due to factors like regular arguments and difficulty getting along with other family members. However, the first thing to remember as a partner is that you can play a crucial role in helping your partner fight cocaine addiction. The relationship between cocaine user and partner is notoriously complex and recovery requires concerted and genuine commitment from both parties. It has, however, been proven time and again that support from a partner can significantly aid in successful recovery from dependency on drugs or alcohol.
While many couples learn to live with addiction for their entire lives, this is unhealthy for everyone involved. Breaking free from drug dependency is always the best option. Here are some steps you can take to escape the downward spiral and help your partner overcome their cocaine addiction:
1. Learn to Spot the Signs of Cocaine Abuse in Your Loved One
Accepting a spouse’s cocaine problem requires courage and a willingness to face some painful truths. It is especially difficult for people to recognize addiction in their partners, particularly since addicts are unlikely to own up to their problem and will actively cover their tracks.
If you suspect your partner may have a cocaine problem, some of the signs to look out for include:
- Sudden mood swings or lack of motivation
- Poor performance at work and/or absenteeism
- Secretive behaviour and lying
- An increase in spending and/or disappearing money and valuables
- Sudden weight loss or gain
- A lack of interest in old hobbies and pastimes
- New and unexplained social groups, friends or hangouts
- Unusual sleeping patterns or schedules
2. Accept the Whole Problem of Cocaine Addiction
If you find that your partner has a cocaine problem, it’s vital to remember that the recovery process is not just about helping them, it’s also about helping yourself and the relationship between the two of you. Many people enable their partner’s drug abuse without even realising it. While it may be difficult, tough love is often an important first step toward helping a partner gain a foothold on the path to recovery. Try to set clear boundaries and guidelines for their behaviour around you and other family members.
Saying ‘no’ often isn’t easy, especially to someone you love who has developed a dependence on cocaine. In addition to suggesting treatment for your partner, consider seeking therapy for yourself. Addicts’ partners have a number of complex issues to work through. Seeing a professional therapist or attending a support group can help you prepare for your partner’s recovery and equip you with the resolve and tools you will need to make it work.
3. Review Addiction Treatment Options
Once you and your partner accept the problem and commit to fixing it, you will need to review possible treatment options. These can vary significantly depending on the severity of the addiction. Medically assisted detox, pharmaceutical treatments and outpatient or inpatient treatment are all viable options.
It is also important to seek the services of a certified addiction counsellor, not just for your partner, but for both of you together. Couples therapy helps you and your partner repair your relationship and fosters positive behavior and communication that will promote abstinence and help both of you in the recovery process.
4. Show Your Support
Supporting a partner’s recovery will require patience and a positive outlook. While it could take just a few weeks, it is more likely to be months before your partner is truly free of their dependence. This will often be challenging, but remember that this is a time of positive change for you and your spouse, and the relationship between you.
Work on forgiving your spouse for past transgressions, praise their progress where possible and try to communicate freely and openly. It is also important to remember that addiction is not a weakness or a lack of willpower on the part of your partner. Evidence shows that drugs actually change the brain’s functioning, making it more difficult for addicts to stop.
Bear in mind that your relationship is likely to change as your partner makes progress in their recovery. They may begin to hang out with new people, take up new hobbies and activities or spend more time at work. Allow them the freedom to explore new possibilities presented by their life without cocaine. The changes may seem strange at first, but ultimately they will be for the better.