“You will lose them the exact moment you make their substance misuse a moral issue.”

Beer Is A Must

Today’s Episode – My Partner Is Using Drugs

Thank you for joining the discussion today for another episode on holistic approaches to health and wellness.  Today we focus on the complicated dynamics of substance misuse in the family.

Previously, we reviewed the occurrence of addiction in athletics, and philosophical approaches to substance misuse.  These have been two of our most popular podcast episodes.

Addiction is clearly a topic front and centre, especially when considering the current opioid crisis throughout North America. In Vancouver BC alone, overdose secondary to Fentanyl adulteration, will soon surpass last year’s stats, reaching to over one thousand deaths by the end of 2017.

A listener recently asked,

“My husband drinks too much.  Do you have any suggestions for what I should do?”

In response to our listener question, we first review a list of approaches to avoid when tackling the behaviours that accompany substance misuse.  Popular culture is full of singular, and poorly thought out methods, for coping with the substance misusing behaviour of a loved one.

For example, “Tough Love” was particularly popular in the 90s, but is wrought with judgment, moralizing the addicted behaviour into two simple categories, “clean vs. dirty.”  If we approach our partner with this polarizing approach, shame and resentment are sure to follow.

Finally, in the most important segment of our show, I discuss keys for understanding your own behaviour and reactions, followed by a list of principles for approaching your loved one (when, and how).

Getting Support

It is essential that you get support if you find yourself grappling with a partner’s substance misuse, and the maladaptive behaviours that go with it.  I suggest that you seek a personal counsellor with a background in concurrent disorders.  Al-Anon groups are also a source of support.  However, I suggest you use Al-Anon to augment your counselling sessions for balance.  It is also important to find a supportive network of friends.

Suggested Reading

Motivational Interview, by Miler and Rollnick, was originally published as conceptual guide for clinicians.  However, I think the material is enormously valuable. It is the number one book I suggest to all entry level graduate students, and family members, encountering the complicated dynamics of addiction for the first time.


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JKP 047 • My Partner Is Using Drugs! What Should I Do? was last modified: November 14th, 2017 by Jerod Killick
  • It is always more complicated that the often overused singular approaches of the past.