When Your Partner Is
Dealing With Cannabis Addiction

Living with someone who is addicted to cannabis can be challenging. Addiction is a beast that can crawl under a person's skin and set up residence with surprising determination. It can take a lot to get addiction to pack its bags and leave for good, particularly with those withdrawal symptoms banging furiously at the door day and night! Becoming addicted to something can be a bit like visiting the Hotel California – easy to enter but once you're inside – extremely hard to leave! In fact, at any one time around 200,000 South Africans are also having similar struggles – so you and your partner are not alone in dealing with this issue!

Impacts of cannabis addiction on your relationship

When it's your partner who is struggling with a cannabis addiction, it can feel like twice the challenge – not only do you love and want to help them, but you're also faced with an internal struggle where you may resent a part of them that you fear may never change.

As an outsider looking in, you are able to see the negative impacts weed is having on your loved one's life – and yet you don't want to get them offside or create constant conflict by pressuring them to quit all the time. You may resent the time and money they spend on using weed and wish they had more energy to get out of the house and enjoy life. You may worry about legal issues and what would happen if their stash was found in your home. You may sometimes feel a sense of inadequacy, because you just can't seem to help them with this – and that's when it's important to remember you can't always change someone but you can offer them support.

Passive smoking can also be an issue for partners and children of cannabis users. No doubt your own health, and comfort, along with the children's is being adversely affected if you are breathing in second hand smoke. Your partner may have a chronic cough or even mental health issues related to their addiction – all things that would have an impact on your quality of life together.

Never fear! Help is here!

So what can you do? It's likely you've been trying your best to

support your partner, you've encouraged them to get help and quit, and you've racked your brains for anything else you can do to finally get them on the road to recovery. If you're feeling powerless and exhausted and don't see much chance of a change on the horizon, there are a range of organisations and support groups that can lend a helping hand.

Our organisation understands that sometimes quitting cannabis can be really difficult and that this can mean a lot of strain for the user and for everyone around them. As part of a support network for a user, we encourage you not to give up, not to blame yourself and to try to stay patient (this can be really tricky!). Be open and honest with your partner when you talk to them, share how you feel, how their use is affecting you and your concerns about them and the future – just be careful not to nag, harp on about it or raise the issue at potentially embarrassing times like in front of friends or family.

If you're having trouble dealing with your partner's cannabis use, you can give us a call for assistance. Our trained counsellors not only have some great advice, but they are really good at listening – many of the calls they receive are from concerned family members who just need some guidance or a friendly ear.

positive piece of information to leave you with is that many people naturally quit cannabis as they mature or are faced with life changing events such as a new child on the way – on the bright side, most withdrawal symptoms from quitting cannabis are also over after two weeks. There are a lot of things you and your partner can do to make the transition easier and plenty of help is available if you need it, so don't give up!