When Someone You Love has an Addiction

When Someone You Love Has an Addiction

The fallout from an addiction, for addicts and the people who love them, is devastating – the manipulations, the guilt, the destruction of relationships and the breakage of people. When addicts know they are loved by someone who is invested in them, they immediately have fuel for their addiction. Your love and your need to bring them safely through their addiction might see you giving money you can’t afford, saying yes when that yes will destroy you, lying to protect them, and having your body turn cold with fear from the midnight ring of the phone. You dread seeing them and you need to see them, all at once. 

You might stop liking them, but you don’t stop loving them. If you’re waiting for the addict to stop the insanity – the guilt trips, the lying, the manipulation – it’s not going to happen. If you can’t say no to the manipulations of their addiction in your unaddicted state, know that they won’t say no from their addicted one. Not because they won’t, but because they can’t. 

If you love an addict, it will be a long and excruciating road before you realise that there is absolutely nothing you can do. It will come when you’re exhausted, heartbroken, and when you feel the pain of their self-destruction pressing relentlessly and permanently against you. The relationships and the world around you will start to break, and you’ll cut yourself on the jagged pieces.  That’s when you’ll know, from the deepest and purest part of you, that you just can’t live like this any more.  

I’ve worked with plenty of addicts, but the words in this post come from loving one. I have someone in my life who has been addicted to various substances. It’s been heartbreaking to watch. It’s been even more heartbreaking to watch the effect on the people I love who are closer to him than I am.

I would be lying if I said that my compassion has been undying. It hasn’t. It’s been exhausted and stripped back to bare. I feel regularly as though I have nothing left to give him. What I’ve learned, after many years, is that there is absolutely nothing anyone can do to change him. With all of our combined wisdom, strength, love and unfailing will to make things better for him, there is nothing we can do. 

I realised a while ago that I couldn’t ride in the passenger seat with someone at the wheel who was on such a relentless path to self-destruction. It’s taken many years, a lot of sadness, and a lot of collateral damage to people, relationships and lives outside of his.

What I do know is that when he is ready to change direction, I’ll be there, with love, compassion and a fierce commitment to stand beside him in whatever way he needs to support his recovery. He will have an army of people behind him and beside him when he makes the decision, but until then, I and others who love him are powerless. I know that.

Nobody intends for a behaviour to become an addiction, and if you are someone who loves an addict – whether it’s a parent, child, partner, friend, sibling – the guilt, the shame and the helplessness can be overwhelming. 

Addiction is not a disease of character, personality, spirit or circumstance. It can happen to anyone. It’s a human condition with human consequences, and being that we’re all human, we’re all vulnerable. Addicts can come from any life and from any family. It’s likely that in our lifetime, if we don’t love someone with an addiction, we’ll know someone who does, so this is an important conversation to have, for all of us. 

The problem with loving an addict is that sometimes the things that will help them are the things that would seem hurtful, cold and cruel if they were done in response to non-addicts. Often, the best ways to respond to an addict have the breathtaking capacity to drown those who love them with guilt, grief, self-doubt and of course, resistance.

Loving an addict in any capacity can be one of the loneliest places in the world. It’s easy to feel judged for withdrawing support for the addict, but eventually, this becomes the only possible response. Unless someone has been in battle armour beside you, fighting the fight, being brought to their knees, with their heart-broken and their will tested, it’s not for them to judge. 

The more we can talk about openly about addiction, the more we can lift the shame, guilt, grief and unyielding self-doubt that often stands in the way of being able to respond to an addict in a way that supports their healing, rather than their addiction. It’s by talking that we give each other permission to feel what we feel, love who we love, and be who we are, with the vulnerabilities, frayed edges, courage and wisdom that are all a part of being human.

When Someone You Love is an Addict.

  1. You’re dealing with someone different now. 

    When an addiction takes hold, the person you love disappears, at least until the addiction loosens its grip. The person you love is still in there somewhere, but that’s not who you’re dealing with. The person you remember may have been warm, funny, generous, wise, strong – so many wonderful things – but addiction changes people. It takes a while to adjust to this reality and it’s very normal to respond to the addicted person as though he or she is the person you remember. This is what makes it so easy to fall for the manipulations, the lies and the betrayal – over and over. You’re responding to the person you remember – but this is not that person. The sooner you’re able to accept this, the sooner you can start working for the person you love and remember, which will mean doing what sometimes feels cruel, and always heartbreaking, so the addiction is starved of the power to keep that person away. The person you love is in there – support that person, not the addict in front of you. The sooner you’re able to stop falling for the manipulations, lies, shame and guilt that feeds their addiction, the more likely it will be that the person you remember will be able to find the way back to you.

  2. Don’t expect them to be on your logic.

    When an addiction takes hold, the person’s reality becomes distorted by that addiction. Understand that you can’t reason with them or talk them into seeing things the way you do. For them, their lies don’t feel like lies. Their betrayal doesn’t feel like betrayal. Their self-destruction doesn’t always feel like self-destruction. It feels like survival. Change will come when there is absolutely no other option but to change, not when you’re able to find the switch by giving them enough information or logic.

  3. When you’re protecting them from their own pain, you’re standing in the way of their reason to stop.

    Addicts will do anything to feed their addiction because when the addiction isn’t there, the emotional pain that fills the space is greater. People will only change when what they are doing causes them enough pain, that changing is a better option than staying the same. That’s not just for addicts, that’s for all of us. We often avoid change – relationships, jobs, habits – until we’ve felt enough discomfort with the old situation, to open up to a different option.

    Change happens when the force for change is greater than the force to stay the same. Until the pain of the addiction outweighs the emotional pain that drives the addiction, there will be no change. 

    When you do something that makes their addictive behaviour easier, or protects them from the pain of their addiction – perhaps by loaning them money, lying for them, driving them around – you’re stopping them from reaching the point where they feel enough pain that letting go of the addiction is a better option. Don’t minimise the addiction, ignore it, make excuses for it or cover it up. Love them, but don’t stand in the way of their healing by protecting them from the pain of their addiction. 

  4. There’s a different way to love an addict.

    When you love them the way you loved them before the addiction, you can end up supporting the addiction, not the person. Strong boundaries are important for both of you. The boundaries you once had might find you innocently doing things that make it easier for the addiction to continue. It’s okay to say no to things you might have once agreed to – in fact, it’s vital – and is often one of the most loving things you can do. If it’s difficult, have an anchor – a phrase or an image to remind you of why your ‘no’ is so important. If you feel as though saying no puts you in danger, the addiction has firmly embedded itself into the life of the person you love. In these circumstances, be open to the possibility that you may need professional support to help you to stay safe, perhaps by stopping contact. Keeping a distance between you both is no reflection on how much love and commitment you feel to the person, and all about keeping you both safe.

  5. Your boundaries – they’re important for both of you.

    If you love an addict, your boundaries will often have to be stronger and higher than they are with other people in your life. It’s easy to feel shame and guilt around this, but know that your boundaries are important because they’ll be working hard for both of you. Setting boundaries will help you to see things more clearly from all angles because you won’t be as blinded by the mess or as willing to see things through the addict’s eyes – a view that often involves entitlement, hopelessness, and believing in the validity of his or her manipulative behaviour. Set your boundaries lovingly and as often as you need to. Be clear about the consequences of violating the boundaries and make sure you follow through, otherwise it’s confusing for the addict and unfair for everyone. Pretending that your boundaries aren’t important will see the addict’s behaviour get worse as your boundaries get thinner. In the end this will only hurt both of you.

  6. You can’t fix them, and it’s important for everyone that you stop trying.

    The addict and what they do are completely beyond your control. They always will be. An addiction is all-consuming and it distorts reality. Know the difference between what you can change (you, the way you think, the things you do) and what you can’t change (anyone else). There will be a strength that comes from this, but believing this will take time, and that’s okay. If you love someone who has an addiction, know that their stopping isn’t just a matter of wanting to. Let go of needing to fix them or change them and release them with love, for your sake and for theirs.

  7. See the reality.

    When fear becomes overwhelming, denial is a really normal way to protect yourself from a painful reality. It’s easier to pretend that everything is okay, but this will only allow the addictive behaviour to bury itself in deeper. Take notice if you are being asked to provide money, emotional resources, time, babysitting – anything more than feels comfortable. Take notice also of the  feeling, however faint, that something isn’t right. Feelings are powerful, and will generally try to alert us when something isn’t right, long before our minds are willing to listen. 

  8. Don’t do things that keep their addiction alive.

    When you love an addict all sorts of boundaries and conventions get blurred. Know the difference between helping and enabling. Helping takes into account the long-term effects, benefits and consequences. Enabling is about providing immediate relief, and overlooks the long-term damage that might come with that short-term relief. Providing money, accommodation, dropping healthy boundaries to accommodate the addict – these are all completely understandable when it comes to looking after someone you love, but with someone who has an addiction, it’s helping to keep the addiction alive. 

    Ordinarily, it’s normal to help out the people we love when they need it, but there’s a difference between helping and enabling. Helping supports the person. Enabling supports the addiction. 

    Be as honest as you can about the impact of your choices. This is so difficult – I know how difficult this is, but when you change what you do, the addict will also have to change what he or she does to accommodate those changes. This will most likely spin you into guilt, but let the addicted one know that when he or she decides to do things differently, you’ll be the first one there and your arms will be open, and that you love them as much as you ever have. You will likely hear that you’re not believed, but this is designed to refuel your enabling behaviour. Receive what they are saying, be saddened by it and feel guilty if you want to – but for their sake, don’t change your decision.

  9. Don’t buy into their view of themselves.

    Addicts will believe with every part of their being that they can’t exist without their addiction. Don’t buy into it. They can be whole without their addiction but they won’t believe it, so you’ll have to believe it enough for both of you. You might have to accept that they aren’t ready to move towards that yet, and that’s okay, but in the meantime don’t actively support their view of themselves as having no option but to surrender fully to their addiction. Every time you do something that supports their addiction, you’re communicating your lack of faith in their capacity to live without it. Let that be an anchor that keeps your boundaries strong. 

  10. When you stand your ground, things might get worse before they get better.

    The more you allow yourself to be manipulated, the more you will be manipulated. When you stand your ground and stop giving in to the manipulation, the maniplulation may get worse before it stops. When something that has always worked stops working, it’s human nature to do it more. Don’t give into to the lying, blaming or guilt-tripping. They may withdraw, rage, become deeply sad or develop pain or illness. They’ll stop when they realise your resolve, but you’ll need to be the first one to decide that what they’re doing won’t work any more.

  11. You and self-love. It’s a necessity. 

    In the same way that it’s the addict’s responsibility to identify their needs and meet them in safe and fulfilling ways, it’s also your responsibility to identify and meet your own. Otherwise you will be drained and damaged – emotionally, physically and spiritually, and that’s not good for anyone.

  12. What are you getting out of it?

    This is such a hard question, and will take an open, brave heart to explore it. Addicts use addictive behaviours to stop from feeling pain. Understandably, the people who love them often use enabling behaviours to also stop from feeling pain. Loving an addict is heartbreaking. Helping the person can be a way to ease your own pain and can feel like a way to extend love to someone you’re desperate to reach. It can also be a way to compensate for the bad feelings you might feel towards the person for the pain they cause you. This is all really normal, but it’s important to explore how you might be unwittingly contributing to the problem. Be honest, and be ready for difficult things to come up. Do it with a trusted person or a counsellor if you need the support. It might be one of the most important things you can do for the addict. Think about what you imagine will happen if you stop doing what you’re doing for them. Then think about what will happen if you don’t. What you’re doing might save the person in the short-term, but the more intense the addictive behaviour, the more destructive the ultimate consequences of that behaviour if it’s allowed to continue. You can’t stop it continuing, but you can stop contributing to it. Be willing to look at what you’re doing with an open heart, and be brave enough to challenge yourself on whatever you might be doing that’s keeping the addiction alive. The easier you make it for them to maintain their addiction, the easier it is for them to maintain their addiction. It’s as simple, and as complicated, as that.

  13. What changes do you need to make in your own life?

    Focusing on an addict is likely to mean that the focus on your own life has been turned down – a lot. Sometimes, focusing on the addict is a way to avoid the pain of dealing with other issues that have the capacity to hurt you. When you explore this, be kind to yourself, otherwise the temptation will be to continue to blunt the reality. Be brave, and be gentle and rebuild your sense of self, your boundaries and your life. You can’t expect the addict in your life to deal with their issues, heal, and make the immensely brave move towards building a healthy life if you are unwilling to do that for yourself.

  14. Don’t blame the addict.

    The addict might deserve a lot of the blame, but blame will keep you angry, hurt and powerless. Addiction is already heavily steeped in shame. It’s the fuel that started it and it’s the fuel that will keep it going. Be careful you’re not contributing to keeping the shame fire lit.

  15. Be patient.

    Go for progress, not perfection. There will be forward steps and plenty of backward ones too.  Don’t see a backward step as failure. It’s not. Recovery never happens in a neat forward line and backward steps are all part of the process.

  16. Sometimes the only choice is to let go.

    Sometimes all the love in the world isn’t enough. Loving someone with an addiction can tear at the seams of your soul. It can feel that painful. If you’ve never been through it, letting go of someone you love deeply, might seem unfathomable but if you’re nearing that point, you’ll know the desperation and the depth of raw pain that can drive such an impossible decision. If you need to let go, know that this is okay. Sometimes it’s the only option. Letting go of someone doesn’t mean you stop loving them – it never means that. You can still leave the way open if you want to. Even at their most desperate, most ruined, most pitiful point, let them know that you believe in them and that you’ll be there when they’re ready to do something different. This will leave the way open, but will put the responsibility for their healing in their hands, which is the only place for it to be.

And finally …

Let them know that you love them and have always loved them – whether they believe it or not. Saying it is as much for you as it is for them. 


In Love With an Addict

I am in love with an addict. He is an alcoholic and addicted to pot. We have had our issues before, but lately it has been out of control. In January, all of a sudden he started treating me really mean. He goes into these fits of rages and I don’t know why. This has been happening during our entire 9 year relationship. Sometimes when he drinks and/or smokes pot, he is fine, just drunk and/or stoned. But sometimes it’s like there’s this switch that flips and he becomes nasty, hurtful and mean. He doesn’t even look like the man I love-he looks demonic. And he screams. So loud the neighbors can hear. He calls me all kinds of names, makes up things that I didn’t do or say, says I blame him for things I haven’t blamed him for, and picks a subject and just won’t let go of it.

We have been living apart since June, and I told him I wanted to work on our relationship. that he and it meant so much to me. I have given up on my dreams for him, because he doesn’t like them. We seemed to be doing fine, just baby steps, then last night he started in, this time in public, and by the time I got him to where he was staying (a “friend” that he feeds off of, they both keep each other in pot and alcohol) he was in a full on screaming match. He left his cell phone in my truck and came by this morning to get it and he was still raging mad. Said I started the argument (I did not) and that he couldn’t live like this anymore. He didn’t want to listen to anything I had to say, and completely rejected my pleas for understanding.

I don’t know what to do. I know he’s an addict and can’t help what he’s doing. This is so incredibly painful because I love him more than anything God put on this Earth. He’s my great love. But blaming me for things I didn’t do, twisting things around to fit the fight he wants to fight, and his abusive behavior are leaving me hurt, sad, confused, conflicted and empty. I feel like he’s taken my brain, kicked it around like a soccer ball, and shoved it back into my skull. He’s taken my heart, ripped it out of my chest and stomped the hell out of it. I am broken hearted, and to top it off I’ve been diagnosed in the past as depressed, and I feel like I’m slipping again and am afraid I won’t come out of it this time.

Please help me. I don’t know what to do.

Denice M

i am after walking away from an addict{alccohol/hash/tablets} i had to,he was getting worse.but now im back in my home {which im going to lose}with 3 addict sons. i am at my wits end with death threats,dealers,police etc. i am jittery,anxious,nervous all the time,looking out window,doors locked. im thinking of just walking away and going somewhere where they wont find me


When you start to feel crazy, when you start to feel depressed, when the addict’s words and actions start to destroy YOU, you have to leave.

As heart breaking as it is, it saved me from driving off a bridge.

Cut off all contact, texts, phone calls, emails, everything you can because it will get nasty before it gets better.

My heart goes out to you


I’m in the same position. After I forgave so many lies, discards and emotional abuse, it was the alcoholic who ended our relationship. It’s been 2 1/2 weeks and I’m still crushed.
This article helped so much, because I’ve been focusing my mental energy on what I can do to help him, but the article helps me see that the best thing I can do is stay away.
I haven’t contacted him, but I think about him constantly. Can’t eat, can’t sleep, obsessively search for an article or video that shows me how to heal this.
The agonizing truth is- he chose dishonesty and alcohol over my love. This isn’t the man I fell for 5 years ago. He was kind, loving, open and strong. Now, he’s weak and cruel. It really is as though he’s gone and nothing will ever bring him back.
I’m counting on time, and therapy, to heal myself now. I can’t go back to that hell, even though this new reality feels so lonely and desperate.
A lot of people find the strength to leave an addict and I’m in awe of you! I wasn’t one of those, but his decision to leave me will hopefully save us both. This article really gives me the strength to rebuild myself, and allow the addict to meet his own consequences.
Like everyone has said, it’s horribly painful. We’ll grow so much from the pain, though, and that’s something our addicted loved ones will never do until they decide to feel again.
Wishing everyone peace in this lonely journey.


Hey, I told mine to go as I had got to the end and didn’t know what to do anymore. He had been managing his alcohol and not any drugs to talk about after detoxing during our 3 year relationship. He was starting to get more and more wasted in front of another new group of friends as he had ruined it in front of other friendship groups by being aggressive and completely smashed. Anyway I remember after another argument looking in the mirror and thinking I am starting to look old with all the stress and ended up cutting my wrist out of anger in another argument and frustration not because I wanted to kill myself. After a Few weeks of him trying to come back I said the only way I was prepared to have him back is if his money went into my account so I could see what he was drinking. We had been working towards him getting his licence back. He said no way, Then I started seeing pictures of this rough looking girl on social media, someone I hadn’t seen in the area before and then I find out he’s been spending time with her. She drinks with him and does drugs and that was that. I haven’t seen him since. He hasn’t worked since the day he left, on the sick, Valium, cocaine and alcohol. New fiends, new girlfriend who he moved straight in with and sofa surfing when she kicks him out. Seeing your post was a god send I feel as I haven’t been able to find anyone who is struggling at being dumped by an alcoholic boyfriend. I struggle everyday 8 months later, still cry, feel so responsible that it was my fault he went off the rails and into the arms of someone else who he can be the mess that he is an she welcomes it because that’s how she keeps him there. Paying for everything he needs and doing it with him in a one bed bedsit with her 10 year old son seeing everything. All the time and tears that went into the three years we were together, engaged, planning a future and trying to help him stay on the straight and narrow was all a waste of time. I just want to move on and be happy but I can’t, the guilt, the loss when your in a codependent relationship, will he die soon, why doesn’t anyone else do anything and sort him out. I realise now though that it was always going to happen. Wish I hadn’t invested the time into it I wouldn’t be in half the debt I am in now if I had listened to others. Never ever ever get knvolved with an addict


My partner been using more and over the last month ,and its destroying me,seeing him do this to himself,and I feel so helpless, I cant even send him away,from the area,because I haven’t got anyone I’m never felt so low


Ive searched the internet daily for answers. This article describes every part of where I am and was.
Its so inspiring and such humbling truths.
I so grateful God allowed me to receive this article. It will be my inspirational print for the rest of my life. Thank so much. It has helped me see the truth.


I’ve been with my boyfriend for 3 years now. He started Using drugs for over a year now. He has ptsd. This entire article has made me understand something that I didn’t want to admit to myself. One of those things is that It’s easier to help him since In a way it makes me feel at ease. Giving him money, making sure he eats, making sure he has a form of communication ultimately avoids any type of argument or feeling of guilt on my part. I’ve been pretending to be okay at work and with my family but deep down all I’m thinking about is if he is in jail, if he is with friends on the street, if he is sleeping on a bed, if he is okay or going crazy on drugs again , etc. It gets hard to function at times. Everytime I try to see him( to make sure he is okay) he always makes a scene in public. Strangers always overhear his screams and mumble talk and ask me if I’m okay. I don’t want to be the victim anymore. I understand mental illness and substance abuse is a big issue in society, especially vets with ptsd, and I have nothing but compassion and love for anyone struggling with this. I honestly couldn’t understand why people acted a certain way on the street but I get it now. And I understand how easy it can be to be manipulated into not helping but enabling. I’m going to be printing this article and re reading every day. It’s comforting in a way only the people that are going thru this will understand.


I am going through a very similar situation. My bf’s demon is meth though. He has changed completely. Everything that he once valued about me, our home, our relationship, my son, etc no longer seems to matter to him at all. After getting upset because I confronted him about unprotected sex that I caught him having and breaking our bed, hitting me with the headboard, he moved out and has since isolated himself from me completely unless he wants or needs something. He currently stays with his cousin and spends all of his time holed up in a room there with a girl half of his age that admitted to me that she smokes ice. He still has not admitted to this day. I feel so hurt, so confused and so pissed at myself for holding on to how he was and still wanting that man. I know that he is no longer who I fell in love with. This is the hardest thing that I have ever went through and my heart breaks for anyone who loves an addict, as well as addicts themselves. This article was amazing.


Girl I completely understand you the love of my life is a meth addict meth. I fell in love with the sober him. That’s all I knew most of our relationship until one day he relapsed cheated on me and changed to a completely different person. He tries to come back by still lurking through my social media and I’ve decided to keep my distance but it’s the hardest thing ever knowing the man I love is hurting himself.


Thank you for your words of wisdom. They have come at the right time. We are dealing with our adult son who is homeless and addicted to meth. We are trying to guide him to seek recovery and know it is his decision alone to make. It is hard to set firm boundaries but know it is what’s needed for him to move forward.

John c

Is there a support group I can go to in ny ? I am going through something very difficult at the moment and could really use a helping hand … ( this amazing well written) post has helped but I still am having a million of emotions In the amount of time it takes for a car accident to go from oh fuck this is happening to happening. Uhg .


Are there meetings or counseling I can go to get help for me the mom because my 20 yr old is draining my life when he uses heroin and alcohol etc…

Christine B

Please go to alanon meetings. It is where people learn they are not alone, there are too many of us mothers with childern turning into addicts.

Christine B

This article is about the best I’ve read.
Alanon has men and women who love addicits. They share what works and what doesn’t for them. They share their boundaries and they share their big broken hearts and articles like this.


This article makes me see I’m not alone which I have felt for so long.my hubby of 19 years was anti drugs when we met never been in trouble with the law we have 2 beautiful girls. He has recenlty been released from prison… that alone still blows my mind it blew my worl apart. He is living with his mum coz i wont let him live with me and it’s just the same stuff all over again. I’m so confused and lost. Hard not to be angry at him. Who is the addict and who is he. I feel I’m the one losing my mind. Het beautiful texts he wants US back he loves me so much etc etc yet lies to me in the next breath. Struggling to let him go its s vicious cycle. Meth is a killer all round

Florinda S

Hi,I just left my husband of 15 years because legal marjuana had ruined our life for the last 4 months….since he started has been pure hell,there’s nothing left of him,it’s all about marjuana,took all the money out of our accojnt,since July 1st the police is been over the e house 23 times plus he as been baker acted twice……my husband is the most sweet ,gentle generous person u ever met who as now become a selfcentered monster with moods swings, can’t sleep,paranoid, a lier which is completely out of his character…out of the blue decided not to send our 3 kids to school……and when I finally got them back in school he showed up there all high trying to pick them up.
The police wea called he’s now ban from school has a transpass and school called CDS on us…….but thank GOD they understood the situation……the only thing I could say is that this is not my husband….the marjuana as altered his mind . I left a week ago, one time he called me crying to come home,one time he calls me mad, then his saying he’s coming for the kids,then he calls I abandon him….it’s a turture but I love him with all my heart,just going to pray and wait for him to realize hopefully it won’t be too late.


I needed this article so bad. I just had to tell my brother, again, that he needed to leave my home this morning because my 16 yr old daughter found a crack pipe in our bathroom. He said he was in recovery, said he was getting better, he said all the right things. yet here we were again. I felt hopeless this morning. guilty, angry, ashamed at myself for allowing the door to be opened again, worried for him, fear. I was spinning.

Thank you for this article.

Monica C

These words are so spot on with what I am going through. I love him so much but he keeps running back to taking pills. Then he starts saying the most hurtful things to me that he would never say when he isn’t under the influence. I want to be there for him and i have been for 2 years and he gets better then goes backwards. Reading this made me feel better in how I am feeling and know that I am not wrong for still helping him get better but I need to set my boundaries. I just need to refrain from saying hurtful things back when he starts saying the hurtful things to me.


Hi my name is Heidi and my boyfriend is a heroine addict and we been together 10 years and over past year he has relapsed so many times and it is destroying us! I get so mad at him and we fight every day and I just don’t know what to do anymore it is messing me up mentally I love him and wanna save him he says he wants the same but doesn’t show that please help me do I leave him or do I try and help him

Kerry H

Leave! Tell him you love him hut cannot have him in your life while he has drugs in his. You cannot save him he has to do that himself.


I can’t do this anymore I can’t lose you and the girls I’m going to get help. How can these people say leave me when they know nothing about us. I’ll stop because I have to or I’ll die . I’ll see you when I’m better

Bernd G

Reading your article again and again gives
instant relief to my wounded soul.
Thank you so much.

Jay J

My friend wants her boyfriend to stop consuming drugs. I like how you mentioned the sooner you stop falling for what feeds the person addiction, the more likely it will be that the person you remember will find the way back to you. Thank you for the information. I’ll share this information with my friend so she can get help for him from a professional instead.


Thank You, I have endured so much in the past 18 years.This article was very enlightening . My daughter and I miss him so much and love him but this change has to occur in all of our lives.


Your loved one is going to lie to you, and you will want to believe them. They might actually believe it themselves. But what they are doing is protecting their illness, because their substance has come to seem as vital to them as air. This isn’t to say that you should excuse lying, only that you should understand where it’s coming from so you can take it a little less personally and avoid getting sidetracked by pain and resentment. Instead, keep the lines of communication open, but set clear boundaries that protect you and them, and that encourage a turn toward treatment.


I fell in love with a man addicted to drugs and possibly sex. He is a good man with a kind heart but not in his addicted state. I am enabling his behavior by being codependent and wanting so badly for the u addicted man to surface. I am heartbroken and only hurting myself by clinging to someone who won’t change because he can’t. At least not right now. Your article has been so helpful. I’ve read it at least 30 times and will keep going back to it until this pain subsides. Thank you.


This article explained so much. I’ve been questioning my own sanity, feeling guilty for my less than stellar reactions to behaviors of someone I cared for deeply who is addicted to crack and coke. He uses daily. His health is now failing. It’s heartbreaking to watch happen.

I first saw the evidence of crack use when he left his kit in his bathroom. I didn’t want to believe it. This man has lost so much in the last year – all tie back to his using. He is in deep emotional pain. He is generous and funny but then there is another side that is cruel and emotionally abusive. .

I know now that my behaviors were enabling. I took his actions personally as I have huge abandonment issues. I do believe he loves me – to the extent that he can but he needs to suppress his pain and does it w drugs and sex with many many many people.

I now know I need to let him go and employ no contact. I am raw with emotion. Confused. Angry. I feel like I have become unraveled. I know I will think of him daily. I will always love him. I need to love me more.

God speed to all out there who love someone who has an addiction.


Karen, I can completely identify with the stage you have reached and how you’re feeling. I’m at exactly the same place, lots of counselling, learning to love myself and deal with the issues of why I became so dedicated to a man and situation that has severely affected my physic and emotional health. I’ve now reached the point of ‘no contact’ heartbreaking decision, but one i’m left with no choice over. Cannot cope any longer with the seesawing personality and the emotional abuse doled out when the addicted personality rules for that day. Good luck with your recovery. I hope you find contentment, peace and consistency!


Fantastic read . My son a coke addict. It’s now tough love . I’m broken with heart ache. His mood swings . His ups & downs . We have supported him, 5 yrs on .im done . I can’t watch him destroy his life . He talks the talk but doesn’t get help.
He loves the buzz of coke . I’m so deeply saddened the love of family & life doesn’t give him buzz . ?


Hi hun I’m so sorry to hear your son is going through an addiction with cocaine. I’m finding myself in the exact same predicament – my partner who I have loved for the last six years is also addicted to cocaine whilst also being a diabetic type 1 he has been consuming since a very young age he is currently in his late 20’s.
My heart hurts so much, the pain I have endured the hopeless episodes I’ve had, the constant torture to my own head it all just seems like an endless journey of ups and downs. so today I had to make a harsh decision itll seem harsh to me right now but I know I did the right thing for the both of us in the long run – I only thank God for my wisdom, my empathy towards human beings, and my determination to carry on strong for the both of us
I will never ever leave his side although this had led me to forget about my own life, my own issues etc he is the most wonderful man I’ve ever met and I could just never say goodbye
We are each other’s soulmate, if it were me and him it would be so much easier
His family are all enabling him right now, I can understand why they do it too but for as much as it should be okay it’s not! This is allowing him to continue his addiction


Thank you for this article. My husband is an addict. He has been an alcoholic since before I met him and had used drugs before. When we married I thought it was all in the past – boy was I wrong. I admit that I was an enabler – always coming through for him even when he didn’t deserve it. He lost his job in 2017 due to his addiction and I supported him financially until he got a great job last year. Soon as he got money he went straight back to using and lost his job 6 months later. He continued to use until he ran out of money. He has been off drugs for the same reason and drinking moderately. Last night he asked me to take out a loan for him and I stood my ground and said NO! If I continue to save him as I have for the last 7 years then as soon as he gets money again he’ll go right back. It’s not easy to see him lose his car and everything else but this man has left me with a mortgage and taking care of household expenses and our daughter. The emotional pain and suffering he has caused me is too much to bare. I really have nothing else to give. I warned him when he started relapsing into alcohol use that this would spiral out of control and everything has happened just as I said. I feel for everyone dealing with an addict. Let us stay strong!


Hi Victoria, i was reading your post and for the most part i felt like it was me who wrote it, i am practically in the same situation and it does not get better, i am looking for answers and cant find any, i am lost, my boyfriend has addiction and i am helping him to fight it, but it comes back. I am thinking of leaving him because i just cant do it any more, its not getting better and it might make him start new life when he will be on his own. But i am hesitant. Dont know whats best.


How do you deal with one, in this pandemic. I have no idea what he is using, I think crack and he is a scotch drinker and 65 years old. He will not tell me what he is using.


While I had so messed myself and life with depression, confused everything just run a way from him because of our conflict got severe the more I love him. this articles hit me few time and helped me what it looks like around people and hurt, hopeless beside we love addict one. I had been struggling with my addicted boyfriends with distance love relationship 5years. He has alcoholic and finally variety of drug player. to boost his emotion. His family has addiction problem and always chains to look after someone, and need another person to help them.
Over the distance we often managed to see each few months kept contact every day, talking about be together, I actually didn’t realized what happened to him while we discuss out want and future. I kept someway trusted what he said and enough to knew his own drink, drug problem. I respect that all of his knowledge towards drug. But it’s was my too much confidence attitude to this disease. It’s about more mental disease connect emotion. I had seen his drug takin while we had lovely lunch, he cooked beautiful meals, and all his manipulative relation play with me and friends to not to be alone. Occasional used drug for entertainment. I even didn’t know the street name of heroin! (Finally I got) the more love letter which I receive from the distance had cruelly exposed what he had and been. It’s traumatic love as well, over my innosent emotions was manipulated or lied, threaten what he was not he want, Hope. And I had kept blaming myself could not figure out emotional verbal attack ex, the happy story has suddenly drastic torture. We has been so much believing each other and love the moment be next each other. However I could not curry any more own myself. And now I learned how much I love for him and needed to love me back myself. First Always love are inside, Hope if you can feel much of your love when you are difficult situation.


I’m in a gay marriage of 20Yrs. We have an 11yr old daughter. I discovered when she was born that my spouse had both addiction of a substance and sex. It took 7 more years to stand firm and get him to acknowledge them both. He participated in a recovery program for meth. some improvements came. Now the intensity has returned. My dilemma is feeling alone, trapped, and not sure what to do. What started as a brief leave from outside work in the birth of our child has lasted 11yrs because of the irratic behavior. I’m well educated but learned sadly society doesn’t value leave for parenting or if you’re past 50yrs old. So I don’t enable him financially. the question is how do you create boundaries in a situation like this?


Living with an addict feels like torture. I could see how pretending everything is okay is a type of defense mechanism or distraction from my own pain I neglect dealing with. I don’t know how much longer I can stay living with this person or living this way. Great article.

Sabrina A

I love when you said that nobody intends nor plans on getting an addiction and that it is a human experience that can happen to anyone. My best friend from college has been struggling with a cocaine addiction for the past couple of years and is seeking help. I want to be there for her and help her find a drug addiction recovery center to help her heal.

Mats W

I appreciate the advice of not validating the person’s addiction by letting them know that they can be whole without their addiction. My brother has had a serious addiction for the past 5 years and it really has brought a toll to our whole family. We are thinking about sending him somewhere to get treatment for his addiction.


My boyfriend is an addict. I’ve loved him since the moment I saw him. I loved him when he first kissed me, I love him even now… after so much.. well.. shit.
it’s been two years, I came into his life when it was already bad. I didn’t know how bad it really was, I couldn’t have understood because he had not yet understood him self.
The first year was the hardest.. the mood swings were the worst. one day he’d love me, the next he’d love the drugs just a little more. It’s hard to explain to other people how the really dark times felt.. how many times I woke up in the middle of the night.. or early in the morning.. in his bed and he’d be no where in sight.
seeing him choose drugs over work, choosing drugs over sleep, choosing drugs over food.. choosing drugs over me.. again and again.
I’ve changed so much. I learned how to set boundaries, I’ve learned to not come running when it’s 7 am and he’s too anxious to close his eyes to sleep.
I’ve learned to ignore him. Ignore him when the drugs cause indescribable mood swings. I’ve learned to ignore him at those times, because I can’t be of any help… the universe knows I’ve tried.
Im learning to be okay with understanding I can’t love him into recovery.
I’ve learned to not put him and his addiction before me and my life, and my friends.
I’ve learned more about how to be there without draining the life out of my body.

I’ve learned so much over the past two years… but it still hurts like it did the first time. It hurts to see him in pain, and not being able to stop it. It hurts seeing him choose drugs over his future.

a few months back, he got introduced to a few new drugs. I saw him slipping back into his old ways and it felt like someone was ripping my heart out of my chest.
I saw him slipping back and he didn’t.
I was the closest to leaving him that time. he doesn’t want to loose me. I don’t want to loose him.. the real him.

I constantly feel like he’s lying to me, always on edge.
All I can do now is root for him. Push for him to take the needed steps.. therapy, medication, new friends. I’ve learned I can’t make him do that, I can’t love him into recovery.
I can be here, waiting for him when he’s ready though. I can be there when it’s appropriage. I can have time to my self when things get dark, I don’t have to keep my pain to my self anymore.
I’ve learned to talk about it, sometimes a little too much information. But for those who understand.. the relief is so great, that it makes me sad thinking about old times… times I would cry alone in the car, lost and scared.
There’s been so much bad.. but when he’s him.. the good is worth it. The good reminds me.. and him.. about how it could be, once he’s clean for good.

this may be a sea of strangers from who knows where.. but it’s comforting to know that I’m not alone in how I’ve felt over the past few years.
keeping everyone’s loved ones in my thoughts.


My hearfelt sympathies for you; I have come face to face with my spouse’s addiction again. She went through a harsh cancer treatment, got through it. Her alcohol addiction stopped during these 8 months and after she recovered she went back again. Not as harsh as before but for the first time, she realized that it is a problem she can’t really manage. Coming face to face with cancer and still taking the risk, this is what addiction does to a person. The people who love addicts are all on the same boat, I am wishing you many happy days ahead even when now looks dark. We are not alone.


It’s so comforting to know that I am not alone in this. For me, I have loved an addict for 4 years. The first year he was using behind my back and then broke my heart by breaking up with me out of the blue, little did I know he was just choosing the drug lifestyle over me. We were apart for 3 years and last year came back into my life after getting clean. It was the same caring, loving guy I fell in love with the first time, no one will ever make me feel so loved. We had so many conversations about how he never wants to go back to that dark place again and that he wants thisfuture with me more than anything, but recently the stresses of lockdown and us being apart has caused him to relapse again. He went from being my amazing boyfriend at the beginning of the week, to calling me blind drunk and telling me he doesn’t love me anymore in the space of a couple of days. I’m heartbroken but I’m trying to realise I’m dealing with two completely different people…my loving boyfriend who completely dotes on me, and the selfish addict who doesn’t care for anyone or anything. Pains me because I know this isn’t what he wants AT ALL, its just the disease. He deserves so much more and I want to help him so much.
All we can do I guess is just take a step back and allow them to fight their demons.
Thank you to who wrote this article x


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Would you be more likely to take advice from someone who listened to you first, or someone who insisted they knew best and worked hard to convince you? Our teens are just like us. If we want them to consider our advice and be open to our influence, making sure they feel heard is so important. Being right doesn't count for much at all if we aren't being heard.
Hear what they think, what they want, why they think they're right, and why it’s important to them. Sometimes we'll want to change our mind, and sometimes we'll want to stand firm. When they feel fully heard, it’s more likely that they’ll be able to trust that our decisions or advice are given fully informed and with all of their needs considered. And we all need that.

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"We’re pretty sure that when you say no to something it’s because you don’t understand why it’s so important to us. Of course you’ll need to say 'no' sometimes, and if you do, let us know that you understand the importance of whatever it is we’re asking for. It will make your ‘no’ much easier to accept. We need to know that you get it. Listen to what we have to say and ask questions to understand, not to prove us wrong. We’re not trying to control you or manipulate you. Some things might not seem important to you but if we’re asking, they’re really important to us.❤️" 
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The move towards brave doesn’t have to be a leap. It can be a shuffle - lots of brave tiny steps, each one more brave than before. What’s important isn’t the size of the step but the direction.

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You know who I love? (Not counting every food delivery person who has delivered takeaway to my home. Or the person who puts the little slots in the sides of the soy sauce packets to make them easier to open. Not counting those people.) You know who? Adolescents. I just love them. 
Today I spoke with two big groups of secondary school students about managing anxiety. In each talk, as there are in all of my talks with teens, there were questions. Big, open-hearted, thoughtful questions that go right to the heart of it all. 
Some of the questions they asked were:
- What can I do to help my friend who is feeling big anxiety?
- What can I do to help an adult who has anxiety?
- How can I start the conversation about anxiety with my parents?

Our teens have big, beautiful, open hearts. They won’t always show us that, but they do. They want to be there for their friends and for the adults in their lives. They want to be able to come to us and talk about the things that matter, but sometimes they don’t know how to start. They want to step up and be there for their important people, including their parents, but sometimes they don’t know how. They want to be connected to us, but they don’t want to be controlled, or trapped in conversations that won’t end once they begin. 

Our teens need to know that the way to us is open. The more they can feel their important adults holding on to them - not controlling them - the better. Let them know you won’t cramp them, or intrude, or ask too many questions they don’t want you to ask. Let them know that when they want the conversation to stop, it will stop. But above all else, let them know you’re there. Tell them they don’t need to have all the words. They don’t need to have any words at all. Tell them that if they let you know they want to chat, you can handle anything that comes from there - even if it’s silence, or messy words, or big feelings - you can handle all of it. Our teens are extraordinary and they need us during adolescence more than ever, but this will have to be more on their terms for a while.  They love you and they need you. They won’t always show it, but I promise you, they do.♥️
Sometimes silence means 'I don't have anything to say.' Sometimes it means, 'I have plenty to say but I don't want to share it right here and right now.' We all need certain things to feel safe enough to put ourselves into the world. Kids with anxiety are thoughtful, observant and insightful, and their wisdom will always have the potential to add something important to the world for all of us.

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