It’s not easy having to co-parent when the other person doesn’t live with you, but it becomes more difficult if they’re someone who also struggles with addiction. Pointing the finger doesn’t help the situation and can definitely damage whatever relationship your child might have with that parent. Instead of feeling aimless, here are 3 Dos and Don’ts when you have a co-parenting partner struggling with addiction.
1. Do Educate Yourself About Addiction.
Not many people understand how addiction actually works because of how it’s portrayed in popular media. Addiction is a lot more complicated than that. Do some research into addiction; you could even take a visit to a drug rehab in utah to learn from a professional what the process actually entails. They can provide you with all of the information that you need to start the healing process.
2. Do Focus on the Issue, Not the Person.
A recovering addict already feels guilty about becoming addicted in the first place, so pointing a finger isn’t going to help the situation much. This will only make the co-parent retreat more into their thoughts and feelings instead of sharing them with you. Communicate from a place of empathy and love rather than blame so that your partner is more eager to talk with you when they start to feel down.
3. Do Research Treatment Options.
If your co-partner is still in active addiction, then they might not be ready for help yet, and that’s okay. You can do your own research in the meantime so that you have a safety net of options ready for when they want to start the process of becoming sober.
1. Don’t Force Them to Quit.
It’s been proven that forcing an addict to go cold turkey isn’t the best way to help them get sober. Tough love rarely works, especially if your partner is not ready to get sober. They’ll go right back to their bad habits once they leave rehab or you’re not around to watch them.
2. Don’t Be an Enabler.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, it doesn’t help to enable them to continue using drugs either. You can be supportive without enabling their use: don’t give them money where you don’t know how it’s being spent and don’t make excuses for your partner’s addictive behaviour.
3. Don’t Give Up.
It’s going to be a difficult moment to get through, but if you truly care about the well-being of your partner, then it’s important to be there when they need support. In most rehab facilities, the professional staff will tell you that the opposite of addiction is connection.
Being an addict is a very isolating experience, so it should take some empathy and understanding on your part to come to terms with how your partner is feeling. It wouldn’t hurt for both of you to take some part in some joint therapy sessions so that you can both make the best decisions for yourself when it comes to helping your partner end their substance addiction.