Explaining Addiction to Your Significant Other

Have you ever had trouble admitting a problem? If you are in a relationship and have an addiction, explaining it might prove complicated, but it will have to happen sooner or later. So, is it time to tell your significant other that you have an addiction? If you’re asking yourself this question, the answer is probably yes. When communicating addiction to a significant other, you might be asking yourself questions like:

  • What are they going to think of me?”
  • “What if they leave?”

It’s okay to be scared, but sharing such a personal truth demonstrates honesty that deserves respect, no matter what. Some people have a strong relationship that will adapt to this new information. Others may find that their significant other is not the true teammate that they’d hoped, which is upsetting but still important to know. An unstable relationship will hinder your recovery, whereas strong relationships only get stronger when banding together during recovery.


Communicating addiction to a significant other is not easy, but it will help to show you are willing to get treatment. Call an addiction specialist today at 912-214-3867 to find out more about how to begin your journey to recovery.


Do you need help explaining your addiction to your significant other? Then continue reading below for more information. If you require additional support contact our specialists today and we can help you get the conversation started.

intervention in savannah, ga

I’m Sick and I Need Help


When explaining addiction to a loved one, effective communication is critical. Find a safe space to be alone and collect your thoughts before starting this conversation. 

What do you need to say? How to communicate addiction to a significant other depends on your comfort level and how you feel your significant other will take the news best. Those variations aside, the idea you’re communicating is simple.

You are sick, and you need help. 

That is the bottom line. It does not matter how you got here, when it started, or how long it has been going on. All of those questions will arise in rehab and can be addressed at that time. Right now, this communication is about honesty. Addiction is an illness that requires treatment. Just like any other patient with a chronic condition, you need treatment and medical attention to recover.

Admitting that you have a problem is the first step. The next step is to reach out and get help to remedy this problem. Communicating that this is a health need is a big part of how to explain addiction. It is a sickness brought on by chemical changes in your brain. Addiction rewires your brain to focus on getting high or drunk again regardless of the consequences. When you begin to disregard the consequences, that is your warning sign.

Explaining addiction to a loved one must have a bottom line. The bottom line here is that you are sick and need help. There is no arguing that truth and your needs and feelings are not up for debate. Speak your truth, and you will discover all you need to know.


How to explain addiction scientifically is a bit different than simple honesty. Explaining addiction to a loved one requires some information to paint a clear picture. Those who are not aware of how addiction changes your brain may have a bias, believe you are choosing not to stop, or feel like you don’t want to stop at all. These common misconceptions are part of why addicts have such a hard time finding healthy relationships. Judgments based on ignorance don’t allow new information to prove them wrong. So, what does your partner need to know?

  • The neurotransmitter called dopamine is responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward.
  • Drugs cause dopamine levels to skyrocket, making you feel really happy.
  • Dopamine spikes condition the brain to “hunt” for as much dopamine as possible, disregarding most everything else.
  • The rewired brain reaches the point of being unable to feel pleasure without drugs to cause the dopamine spike.
  • Tolerance to the drug requires the addict to take even higher doses to feel pleasure or reward at all.
  • Addiction is a kind of slavery, in which you have to continue feeding your brain this drug regardless of the consequences.

This is not a complete explanation, but there is no need to go too far into detail when communicating addiction to a significant other. It’s enough to get at the basics of what is happening to your brain and why you need help. Those who understand addiction agree almost universally that it is an illness and not a moral defect. If your partner is on your team, they will find a way to react with love, compassion, and a desire for you to be well.

Should the Relationship Continue?


Being without your significant other can be a scary concept, but it is vital to analyze the relationship’s foundation before bringing someone into your vulnerable space. Ideally, your partner will take the news well, and you can talk about it and move forward. However, having a significant other who is unsupportive, angry about your decision to get healthy, or trying to talk you out of quitting drug use is not going to work out well.


These circumstances are probably more common among unmarried couples, but marriages to are susceptible. Many of them have not been tested at this level before, and some people may find their partner is not actually on their side.

If your relationship with your significant other is toxic, damaging, or encourages your drug addiction, this person will not be a healthy support system for you in rehab. Toxic people and relationships have to go; you need to be surrounded by as much love and support as possible while healing. The recovery journey is not an easy one, and many programs want to involve the people you are close to. If your significant other does not show compassion or support now, what is to say they will not behave the same during those meetings? Will they celebrate your success? If not, it is time for them to exit your life. You are worth saving. Do you want to stay with someone who would disagree?


If your relationship with your significant other is loving and supportive, that person may be your greatest ally. Throughout rehabilitation, there will be many opportunities for family and loved ones to join you in your fight against drug addiction. Family attendance is an important chance for professionals to explain better what is happening to you, relieving you of the responsibility of explaining addiction to a loved one in its entirety.


Additionally, depending on how long you have been in a relationship with your significant other, they may already be aware that you have a drug problem. Perhaps you have shown signs of drug addiction in the past, which indicated that you are struggling with something bigger than you let on.


Moreover, coming forward with such sensitive information might confirm their suspicions or clarify relationship obstacles in the past. Regardless of what your partner is aware of, admitting that you are sick and need help can pave the way for a deeper, more intimate relationship through overcoming obstacles together. Let us help you overcome your battle with addiciton. We can work together and find the best course of treatment for you and your needs. So please do not hesitate to call us. We are here to help you live your best life.

Involving Your Significant Other in Your Recovery


Communicating addiction to a significant other is more about expressing your need for help than breaking down the science of addiction. It’s okay for you not to have all the answers. When explaining addiction to a loved one, neither of you need to have all the answers right away. Participation in rehab treatment plans and group meetings will provide a great deal of education that you both will benefit from.

For instance, Family Behavior Therapy involves members of your family coming together with you and your rehabilitation team to discuss family functionality, acceptance, and available resources to bring healing families together. These meetings are not limited to the patient’s behaviors, but analyze family functionality to determine if the patient’s home environment is supportive. If it is not, they will work together to identify strengths and weaknesses, as well as strategies for overcoming the obstacles of addiction as a family. Family Behavior Therapy is an excellent way to include your significant other in your recovery, fill any educational gaps, and process emotions with professionals.


Another option to include your partner is to ask about open meetings for 12-step programs. These 12-step programs act as a self-help support group setting. However, over time some programs adapted to optionally include the addict’s loved ones as part of the recovery process. Extending the invitation to loved ones strengthened the support system for addicts by allowing them to participate and become part of the recovery journey.

Education and compassion are vital in any situation involving addiction treatment. Your significant other can also become involved with your recovery outside of group meetings by:

  • Not passing judgment
  • Encouraging you to continue with treatment strategies
  • Helping you to clear out any potential triggers from your home or space
  • Participating in sober activities with you
  • Keeping unsupportive family or friends away while in recovery


Overcoming hardships together within a relationship tends to strengthen the bond. Actively inviting your significant other to participate in your recovery is one of the most constructive examples of how to communicate addiction to a significant other.

What if You and Your Significant Other are Both Addicts?


People with drug problems tend to form relationships based on drug use. For instance, if your brain is now hunting for another dose and finds a reliable source, you may find yourself in a relationship with your dealer. Finding common ground in such a specific and consuming area can form a bond that both addicts feel they benefit from. After all, this is someone who understands your level of drug use, who won’t judge, who will share your drug experiences. Relationships based on drugs have a certain logic, but ultimately are toxic and will not function under your new rules in sobriety.

People can change; however, often they choose not to. Before the healing can begin, you must prepare to give up that which makes you sick. If your partner is also suffering from drug addiction, participating in treatment together is a beautiful way to grow and create a healthy new life. You can encourage each other throughout recovery, both working toward the same goal. Additionally, entering rehab together makes a difference in the success of both rescues. There is strength in numbers and having your significant other beside you increases the likelihood of your success in rehab.



If your significant other is also addicted to drugs but refuses to participate or support you, it is time for you to choose if you want to stay in that relationship. Throughout your time in rehab, you will hear about the dangers of being close with a drug user. These dangers include:

  • Risk of relapse
  • Discouraging treatment
  • Shaming or bullying
  • Casting blame to bring you back to the lifestyle
  • Intentionally sabotaging your process


Misery loves company, and the miserable will do almost anything to stop you from leaving them behind. Remember, if your significant other is also an addict, their brain is hunting for the next dose just like yours. Therefore, if you choose to move forward within the relationship, you should consider calling our addiction specialists at 912-214-3867 for information on intervention services. An intervention will provide your significant other the opportunity to see how serious you are about sobriety. Communicating addiction to a significant other can mean expressing your concerns about their drug addiction, not just yours.

In the end, if an intervention fails or would be lost on your partner, then it is time to leave the relationship and your drug addiction in the past. Completing addiction treatment involves reinventing much of your life. You do not want to return to the same environment that fueled your sickness; therefore, it is time to evolve. Clean living is a beautiful thing, and you deserve it, too. Contact our experts today, and we can help you start living your cleanest life now.

Moving Forward

Communicating addiction to a significant other is not easy. However, treatment is necessary for your addiction, and can also strengthen your relationship. Call our addiction specialist at 912-214-3867 to find out more about how you and your significant other can work together on your journey to recovery.

You will have access to education on addiction treatment plans, intervention services, and everything you need to complete rehabilitation.


GIVE US A CALL AT 912-214-3867!

We here to help with your guidance and questions.

If you have any questions about drug and alcohol treatment, give us a call. Our trained professionals are standing by to answer your questions and help you get the help you need.

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search

Addiction and Physical HealthAddiction: Is It A Disease or Not?