What to do when your partner pressures you to do drugs

In a healthy relationship, couples do a lot of stuff together. As they explore shared goals and interests, it is possible to discover a partner’s unhealthy behaviors, like doing drugs or drinking alcohol. But what do you do when your partner pressures you to do drugs, drink alcohol or do things you don’t want to do?

partner pressures you to do drugs
partner pressures you to do drugs
partner pressures you to do drugs
partner pressures you to do drugs

While doing drugs or drinking alcohol are personal choices, it becomes personal when someone forces you to participate in behaviors you don’t feel comfortable with or that your parents would disapprove of.

We know that a partner who pressures you to do drugs or become intoxicated does so for several reasons, including:

  • Avoidance to not feel guilty of getting drunk or high alone
  • Wanting their partners to be less able to assert their boundaries
  • Getting a partner addicted to drugs or alcohol to have more control over them

These controlling techniques eventually lead to gaslighting or manipulation. Often, they leave survivors feeling guilty, ashamed, and fearful about being judged or disbelieved if they tell others they participated in drugs or alcohol.

These situations are scary, confusing, and painful to deal with. After all, why should you be forced to do something you’re uncomfortable with, especially by someone who is supposed to care about you and your safety? We understand it can be difficult to speak up.

When your partner pressures you to do drugs or drink alcohol, you can follow these four steps to stay safe:

Know where you stand

You have the right to a safe and healthy relationship based on trust and open communication. With that said, when under pressure to do something you are not 100 percent comfortable with, you have the right to say no.

Common warning signs

Being pressured into doing something you are uncomfortable with—like smoking marijuana, cocaine, taking pills, or drinking alcohol—is a warning sign of unhealthy relationships. So, if you feel like someone is coercing you to do these things and you feel uncomfortable, anxious, or scared, allow yourself the opportunity to say no.

Evaluate your relationship

Remember, it is your body, and your partner should respect that no one but you controls it. If your partner continues to pressure you, reevaluating your relationship goals is an ideal opportunity. You can decide if this relationship is worth pursuing or breaking up.

Have an uncomfortable conversation

Setting boundaries

Although discussing boundaries may feel awkward, setting the record straight when sharing yours and knowing about the other person’s wants, needs, fears, and limitations is essential. If you haven’t yet, telling your partner that you don’t feel comfortable when they try to make you drink alcohol or do drugs is a great way to set clear boundaries and expectations regarding behaviors that are acceptable or not to you.

Talk about safety

Our love is respect advocates can help you make a safety plan if you cannot communicate safely with your partner. You might also want to talk to someone in your support system about ways to keep you safe when drugs or alcohol are involved.

Have a safety plan

If your partner has ever forced you to drink or do drugs, reinforcing your boundaries with them will probably not be safe. So, having a safety plan may be a smart idea.

What is a safety plan?

A personalized, practical safety plan can help you lower your risk of harm from your partner. This includes avoiding dangerous situations or reacting when in danger. For instance, if you are at a party, you can use the buddy system with a trusted friend. They can also help you devise an excuse to escape a drug or alcohol situation.

Whether you decide to stay or end the relationship, it’s a wise idea to empower yourself with the knowledge of how to act in different scenarios. Our website has an interactive safety planning tool if you want to check it out.

Forgive yourself

There may be occasions where you feel forced to agree with your partner’s demands. You might take that drink or smoke that cigarette—whether it is because you don’t want to get into an argument or upset your partner. Regardless, it’s important to forgive yourself when there are no other safe choices.

Remember, abuse is about power and control

Abuse is about power and control and exerting that control over a partner. Abusive partners may even say they know best and should be in charge.

Whatever the reason, remember that abuse is never your fault. There is nothing anyone can do to deserve abuse.

We’re here to help

If you currently have a problem with drug or alcohol abuse and are unsure of what to do, there is help. For help with your relationship, chat with a peer advocate to learn more about what you can do. For help with addiction, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

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