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Ways Relationships Affect The Journey Towards Sobriety

Relationships require a lot of effort from both parties–even without addiction. A successful relationship is characterized by honest and assertive communication based on respect, enjoyment, and fulfillment. The ultimate goal is to establish trust, compromise, and understanding. The relationship should be free from any form of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, violence, and aggression. Additionally, a healthy relationship allows each individual to have personal space while also enjoying time together, and all members should feel good about themselves.

Addiction is a complex and challenging issue that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a chronic condition characterized by compulsive drug or alcohol use despite harmful consequences. Addiction can lead to various negative outcomes, including social, emotional, and physical problems.

Seeking sobriety is essential for those struggling with addiction to improve their quality of life and overall health. However, the journey toward sobriety can be difficult and requires support from various sources, including friends, family, and healthcare providers. In this blog, we will discuss the ways relationships affect the journey toward sobriety.

Supportive Relationships

Supportive relationships are a fundamental piece to the puzzle of sobriety. They should provide emotional support, encouragement, and accountability, making it easier for individuals to maintain sobriety. Supportive relationships can come from various sources, including family members, friends, and support groups. These relationships can offer a sense of belonging and reduce feelings of isolation, common among individuals struggling with addiction.

Codependent Relationships

Codependent relationships are when one person is overly reliant on another person's needs or behavior. These relationships can be harmful to sobriety as they can enable addiction and become a trigger for relapse. Signs of codependent relationships include enabling behavior, lack of boundaries, and neglecting one's own needs.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), codependent people:
  • Control others because they do not think the other person can function independently.

  • Have low self-esteem and overly focus on their loved one.

  • Are willing to compromise their own needs, wants, and beliefs to keep their loved one calm and content.

  • Are very cautious and aware of the emotional changes of others.

  • Maintain loyalty and commitment to their loved one despite a lack of reciprocation.

Codependent individuals tend to engage in imbalanced relationships, where one person's needs take priority over the other's. A codependent person may feel frustrated by their loved one's addictive behaviors and needs, yet they also have a strong compulsion to care for that person. In a sense, the codependent relies on the addicted person just as much as the addicted person relies on the codependent. The codependent's sense of self may become intertwined with a self-sacrificing role, feeling an obligation to serve or sacrifice for their partner while fulfilling their need for intimacy and connection. Such relationships often involve enabling behaviors, as the caretaker figure may go to great lengths to shield the addicted individual from consequences or solve their problems instead of allowing them to confront the natural outcomes of their substance abuse.

Toxic Relationships

Toxic relationships are those that have a negative impact on an individual's mental health and well-being. These relationships can be emotionally draining and can trigger addiction or relapse. Signs of toxic relationships include manipulation, emotional abuse, and controlling behavior. These types of relationships help develop a substance abuse problem. Sometimes, it is often the case that the toxicity of a relationship will enable an addict to binge on their drug of choice thus leading into a developing addiction.

It is important to ensure you or your partner are supportive regarding your sobriety. If you find yourself in a messy situation (mental/physical/emotional abuse), you need no longer suffer in this relationship. You should remove yourself as quickly and safely as possible.

Here are some tips:

  • Develop a safety plan in case domestic violence is involved.

  • Utilize your support system.

  • Seek assistance from resources such as local police or a domestic violence hotline.

  • Share your plans for moving forward with individuals you trust who can provide support.

  • Seek ongoing social support throughout and following the breakup.

  • Communicate clearly, succinctly, and consistently.

  • Be cautious of assurances for change and manipulative tactics. Remember to prioritize your own well-being and make choices that will benefit you in the long term.

Relationship Changes in Sobriety

Sobriety can bring about changes in relationships. These changes can be challenging as they often require setting boundaries, communicating effectively, and making difficult decisions about the people in one's life. However, making these changes can lead to improved mental health and reduced risk of relapse.

Relationship Repair

This requires taking responsibility, rebuilding trust, and building effective communication. Repairing relationships can lead to improved social support and reduced stress, both essential for long-term sobriety.

Tips for Repairing a Relationship

  • Replace your current dysfunctional habits with healthier ones.

  • Recognize the negative impact of your past behavior

  • Establish effective techniques to handle these problems in the future

  • Dedicate your time and effort into building a positive and thriving relationship.


To sum up, relationships significantly impact the journey towards achieving sobriety. Supportive relationships can offer emotional support, encouragement, and accountability, making it easier for individuals to maintain sobriety. However, codependent and toxic relationships can impede progress and trigger relapse. It is crucial to make necessary changes to unhealthy relationships and work towards repairing damaged ones to enhance social support, reduce stress, and promote long-term sobriety. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, seeking support from trustworthy friends, family members, or healthcare providers is essential. Remember that sobriety is more attainable with the right support and dedication.

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