If you have a partner who has addiction issues, you probably know all about the home drug test.
You know how they work, you know where to get them, and you might even have a favorite brand.
You might also know all of the reasons our addicted partners use on why they shouldn't take one. Or maybe you’re just familiar with a few of these reasons.
The point is, when you know, you know.
I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on the social media pages I follow about this topic so I wanted to give my perspective and experience on it.
Like I said, I’m sure we all have some experiences with drug tests, and I am no exception. I’ve used home tests but have also looked into lab ones (never ended up using that though). And my partner is very familiar with me threatening to buy them or actually throwing one at him and demanding he use the bathroom right then and there.
I would see him acting strange, or just get the sense that things weren’t normal, and I would have the internal debate in my mind of whether or not to test him.
Is it worth it?
Will it even work because I know the accuracy isn’t the best?
Will he find a way to cheat at it?
And then I would decide to buy it or not.
And if I didn’t, I would be tormented by not knowing or having proof. And even if I did, I would either think the results were wrong because there’s no way he’s not doing anything, or they would give me the answers I didn’t really want.
The point is, at least in my case, they didn’t really help me at all.
They didn’t help in the way that I wanted, meaning, they didn’t give me any directions. No matter what the test told me, it didn’t give me a plan of action.
If anything, it made me more confused.
I mean, sure, it gave me results, but it didn’t tell me what to do after that.
Should I trust the accuracy? Even if it says negative for every drug it tested for but I feel like things are off should I just not do anything about it? If it says positive on any of them can I trust that it’s correct and make him leave or use it as proof? Should I even confront him at all about the results?
Then I would get upset at not knowing what to do.
And after a while I realized, it’s not about the answer on the drug test cup. It’s not about if he cheated the test, it’s not about how accurate it is, and it’s not about figuring out what substances he’s on.
The point is, I wanted answers on how to move forward, and I couldn’t do that without boundaries and a healthy sense of self. Regardless of what the drug cup told me.
No matter what the drug test shows as being positive or negative, it means nothing if you don’t know what to do in your life as a whole. And I realized that only after I got to a place of better understanding with myself, and once I was in this place I noticed that I didn’t even need the idea of a drug test anymore at all. To me, it just added unnecessary information to an already upsetting situation.
Instead, what I started using were things that I could clearly see: Was he being present? Was he communicating? Was he coming home when he said he would? Were we getting along? Were things running smoothly? Was my intuition feeling anything off?
And beyond that, I didn’t want to do anything else. I didn’t want the added confusion of a test and what it may or may not mean, I didn’t want to actually go out and buy one, and I didn’t want to keep tabs on him that way. That’s a job for someone else, not for me.
Of course, it wasn’t a light switch either. There were times that I thought I needed the test and that I was doing good things by getting it. I thought it meant we were working together if I agreed to test him every so often to hold him accountable, or that it meant I was taking care of him. And it was hard to let it go, because I thought, if I’m not holding him accountable, who will?
I think you know the answer to that one.
But once I got to the point of understanding that I didn’t need the drug test, and that so many other ways of finding the answers I wanted were available to me, it became much more freeing and I was much more calm and strong in myself.
So, if you are starting to consider the idea of drug testing, or are currently battling with using them for your partner, I want you to ask yourself for the reasoning behind why you consider this as an option.
And to get you started, here are 3 things you should ask yourself before drug testing your partner, and some information on what this information can show you (they are ones that I mentioned having issues with a little bit further up):
Are you using the drug test in your relationship to see if your partner is in active addiction?
(This is to become aware of the reasoning behind your testing, such as making sure they are safe to be around, etc. Be sure that you have boundaries in place to know what a failed test would mean for you, and how you set these boundaries. It's also important to consider if you are using this information to attempt to control or influence a situation that is beyond your control or ability to influence)
What will you do with the information once you receive the results?
(This is to notice what your motives are, and whether or not you have boundaries that have been crossed or if it's just something you want for your own knowledge. It's good to have a plan of action to figure out what is best for you and what you will/won't allow, while still being in line with keeping the focus on yourself)
Are there other methods of ensuring that your partner is safe to be around that can be used instead of a drug test?
(For instance, observing that they are actively participating in your life and behaving in a way that is in line with a healthy relationship. While there is nothing inherently bad about a drug test, there are more simple ways to ensure safety and enforce boundaries that allow you to remain in your own lane without overstepping into control-minded territory.)
After you get more clarity from these questions, I want you to see what would happen if you chose to turn the attention away from the idea of using drug tests to yourself instead, and see what you are doing to hold yourself accountable.
Because the real question isn't whether or not to test your partner. It's what that reasoning behind the testing means for you.