Board Certified Emergency Med Physician and ABCNEWS Medical Contributor
We are all allowed to set our personal boundaries around substance use. In every relationship, it’s important to have an open and honest conversation about each other's feelings around the topic. To avoid sounding judgemental, you should first evaluate your feelings around substance use and why these feelings exist. Take time to understand what associations you draw with substance use and where these associations come from. Substance use is often stigmatized, as many draw an unfounded association to low moral standards. You have to remember that everyone’s story is different and the reasons behind substance use are often multifaceted and nuanced. When having the discussion with a prospective partner, you should be sure to practice active listening and continuously remind yourself that you have not lived in this person’s shoes and be fully open to understanding their story.
It’s perfectly acceptable to want to choose a partner that shares your boundaries around substance use. You should be able to articulate that your boundaries don’t come from a place of judgment—but from a place of wanting to share a life and a lifestyle together. It’s good to be honest without having to resort to being hurtful.
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