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How Our Relationships Interfere with Our Recovery

When living with addiction, many of us have a tendency to place more importance on our romantic relationships than on our own well-being, and we often will prioritize them over our own recovery. It can be nearly impossible to focus on ourselves and to do what we need to do in order to get better when we’re embroiled in a relationship, particularly one that is toxic and unhealthy. Many of us who struggle with addiction also tend to be in very dysfunctional, co-dependent, even abusive relationships. Our internal unwellness, our fears and our pain often make us attract partners who mirror and reflect our issues back to us and who compound those issues rather than helping us to heal. We become so caught up with our relationship problems, with the unhealthy cycles we fall into, that we can’t focus fully on ourselves and our healing. We see ourselves as partners first, and we prioritize making the relationship work above all else. We place far more importance in our partners’ needs and in the needs of the relationship than we do our own. We prioritize resolving our relationship conflicts more than we do healing our own internal conflict. We often don’t realize that the two are in fact connected. When we are full of emotional turmoil and toxicity, we usually can’t help but transmit those to the relationships in our lives, and to have a healthy relationship with others, and most importantly with ourselves, we have to be able to heal our internal pain.

A successful recovery requires that we invest our full, wholehearted energy into our healing. We need to be able to focus on ourselves and our healing without being distracted by anything else, particularly an unhealthy relationship. When we’re more committed to the longevity of a relationship than we are to our own wellness, we do ourselves a great disservice in our recovery, and we hold ourselves back tremendously. It takes a great deal of focus, time, commitment and dedication to heal from addiction. It requires that we be self-focused and prioritize ourselves above everyone and everything else. When we’re in a relationship, we often can’t see the big picture of our life story or follow our intuition. The love we feel, coupled by the tough issues we’re experiencing, can cloud our vision and impair our judgment. We’re not thinking clearly, and very importantly, we’re not thinking about ourselves. We’ve become entirely disconnected from ourselves.

For years we’ve grown so accustomed to being there for other people, to helping them with their troubles and supporting them through hard times, that it is often to our own detriment. We become so selfless we stop caring about ourselves. We start to love the other person more than we love ourselves, and we prioritize the relationship over our own peace of mind, our well-being and our chances for a happy future. We’re conditioned to think that to take care of ourselves and to prioritize our happiness is selfish. We want to be good partners to the people we love, and we think that by putting ourselves first, we won’t be. Our loyalty goes to our partner and to the relationship, rather than to ourselves. We stay in abusive relationships long after we know definitively that we are in harm’s way. We allow ourselves to be manipulated, controlled, lied to and mistreated. Many of us would choose to be in a partnership, no matter how toxic, no matter how unhealthy, rather than be alone. We’re afraid of being abandoned. We’re afraid that being alone means we’re inadequate and unworthy of love. We think that if our partner leaves us we’ll never find love again. We come to believe that we need them and can’t live without them, all the while our healing is taking a back seat to all of the issues in the relationship, and we’re unable to focus on getting better.

Our relationships are a form of distraction. They bring us feelings of escape, comfort, solace and relief from our pain. They can function just like a drug and can become addictive in their own right. We often will retreat into our relationship when we’re desperate to escape our difficult thoughts and feelings. The high we get from the love and affection feels so much better than confronting the internal issues we’ve been avoiding facing. When the high wears off, as it inevitably does, we’re left to crash and burn, feeling not only the weight of the relationship issues but all of the years of pain we still haven’t healed from.

When we’re committed to healing, sometimes we have to make the tough decision to separate ourselves from our romantic relationships in order to prioritize our recovery. We’ve begun to see firsthand how much they have been interfering with our ability to focus on ourselves and to be dedicated to our recovery. We finally get to a place where we realize that we must focus on our own healing, our peace of mind and our happiness if we’re ever going to be stable and whole within ourselves, if we’re ever going to be able to move forward and create a life we’re content to live. If we don’t prioritize ourselves and our recovery, we might always fall back into patterns of self-destructiveness and self-sabotage, especially in the form of unhealthy relationships. Without taking the time to heal ourselves and to be totally focused on ourselves, we may always wind up in toxic partnerships, and we might never fully recover from our addictions.

The Guest House is a welcoming and supportive recovery home where you will be met with open arms, wherever where you are on your journey, without judgment or expectation. Call 855-483-7800 today for more information.