It’s sometimes the case that when a person is addicted to substances, they are also addicted to love, sex, and relationships. This may not be true for everyone, but it happens often enough that it’s worth covering in an article. In fact, for those who do experience this combination, you might see some connections between the challenges in relationships and the challenges with addiction.

Like drugs and alcohol, relationships bring their own highs. It’s so enjoyable to be wrapped in another person’s arms, and the pleasure of sex is a high that can itself become a diagnosable addiction. Furthermore, there are issues of powerlessness, enabling, and codependency that exist in relationships which are not that different than the reasons why someone might use substances.

For instance, a person might turn to alcohol because they feel as though they can’t handle the stress they are facing. They slowly develop a relationship between the alcohol and feeling better. They learn that when things get tough, drink. What this does is it undermines a person’s belief in themselves. It takes away from the inner strength a person has to cope with the challenge or experience themselves. Of course, a person doesn’t have to have all the answers themselves. But believing in their own power and abilities can prevent the need to turn to substances to cope with life. It is this sense of powerlessness that contributes to addiction.

At the same time, powerlessness frequently also shows up in relationships. It is why a person who is struggling with addiction might also end up in a codependent relationship. Codependency is an experience in a relationship where one or both people believe that they need the other to survive (just like a person might believe that they need alcohol or drugs to survive). This loss of power contributes to powerlessness and an unhealthy dependence upon a person in a relationship, or a substance in addiction.

If you are already coping with your addiction with treatment, 12-step meetings, and other forms of support, then you might already be familiar with the term powerlessness. You might already be managing the addiction and staying sober. However, how do you cope with the powerlessness that might exist in a relationship?

One of the best ways to begin to cope is to learn about codependency and enabling. Learning these relationship dynamics can help you make better choices about the ways that you relate to your partner. At the same time, if you feel that there is an addictive quality to your relationship, sex, and love,  you may want to see a mental health professional for support in that area of your life.

Relationships can be challenging for many people. They tend to bring up the most challenging wounds there are inside. However, relationships can also be a great source of love that they can be used to help heal those deep wounds, including powerlessness. If you’re interested in taking the codependency and feelings of powerlessness out of your relationship, educate yourself. And don’t be shy to call a mental health provider for additional support.

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