Addictions and Relationships

Can you think of a more important skill than the ability to form and keep a long-term relationship? I can’t. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time.

Please think about this with me. Let’s say you are a world-class guitarist or an internationally known actress or a billionaire entrepreneur but you lack the ability to hold a relationship together.

Which skill is more important to you? Really—what kind of success do you value the most?

Now hold that thought and think about this: what strikes at the core or essence of relationships more than addictions?

All long-term relationships are built on three principles—respect, trust, and loyalty—in that order. The result when those three things are in place is always love. A love that glows. Boundless, secure, safe, happy, peaceful, fulfilling love.

True principles never fail you. We may fail to live up to them, but when we do live up to them, they never fail us. Respect, trust, and loyalty are true principles. They are also qualities and skills. And they are also gifts that we give ourselves and others.

Relationships that last must be built on respect, trust, and loyalty. Unless those three things are firmly established, the love may continue in a polite form, but the relationship won’t.

It is better to be trusted than to be loved. —David O. McKay

When one or both parties in a relationship has an addiction, what happens? Trust is replaced by suspicion, respect erodes, and loyalty is threatened. When an addict has a “love affair” with his addiction, it makes relationships very difficult. If you don’t embrace respect, trust, and loyalty, you won’t be able to hold things together for long.

If you can’t create and hold a long-term relationship with another human being, it is doubtful that you can hold a meaningful relationship with God. If you don’t have a strong relationship with God, you likely don’t have have very good relationship with yourself. 

Given these facts, what is an addiction worth? Is it worth giving up a even one long-term relationship? Never. Ever.

It can be any kind of addiction, really—drugs, alcohol, pornography or sexual addictions, gambling, even video games. Even something subtle like Facebook or caffeine.

When you cling to an addiction, you send a message that something else is more important than the person you love. That is where the heartbreak lies. And broken, unhealed hearts lead to broken relationships.

Instead of security, addictions bring insecurity. You don’t feel safe. You and those around you will be mired in sorrow. You will have a troubled heart. You will lack fulfillment.

Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel. —Proverbs 20:17

What would you give in exchange for an enduring relationship? Is any addiction worth threatening even one relationship?

I am not beating up on addicts. I am beating up on addiction. You are not your addiction, even though it would like to control you. Even if it does control you, it is not you. You can beat it. You and those around you deserve the real you.

If you are an addict, you owe it to yourself and to everyone you love to do everything you can to get in recovery and stay in recovery.  Stop allowing something or someone to control your body and to lie to you about it. Stop telling yourself that you have it all under control when you don’t. Stop thinking you can do it all on your own. You can’t. If you try to do it alone, you will fall back into addiction whenever crisis taunts your body to go back.

One last thought. There is only one price for a wife or husband. It’s everything. And he or she is worth it.

Please think about it.

2 thoughts on “Addictions and Relationships

  1. Tyler Smith February 15, 2014 / 8:17 pm

    This is a great treatment of the subject of addiction. Really, it will affect any relationship, marital or otherwise. Addiction isolates. As always, love reading your posts.


  2. Michael James Fitzgerald February 21, 2014 / 3:57 am

    Tyler, thanks for reading and for your support. You are right: addiction isolates. It sends human beings in the opposite direction of where they were born to go.


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