Loving an Addict: How To Help Someone with Addiction


Shelley and her husband have four grown children and two grandkids. Olivia Wilder serves as Director of Admissions for Burning Tree Programs. Sober since 2014, Olivia is a proud alumna of Burning Tree Ranch. She counts her two children and loving husband amongst her greatest blessings.

Meanwhile, they might feel pressure and start drinking more or using drugs to fit in with their addict friends. They know that addiction is a disease and that addicts are not bad people. Thus, they end up spending money to maintain an unhealthy relationship with addicts because they have no other friends. One of the most challenging things about having a lover in an active substance abuse situation is staying calm.

What Is The Primary Cause Of Addiction?

The experience of loving an addict can be slightly different for everyone, but there are some general commonalities that most people say they experience. The highest levels of dopamine and oxytocin occur in the early stages of romantic love before gradually fading with time. On the other hand, someone abusing substances can control dopamine levels by increasing the frequency or dose of their drug to maintain the desired effect. When someone uses drugs, their brain releases tremendous amounts of brain chemicals to produce extremely pleasurable and desirable feelings.

loving an addict

The addiction isn’t about you, it’s not about hurting you or shaming you (even though this is likely occurring as a result of the addiction). No matter how much you love an addict, you will not stop their addiction—only the addict can do that. Your love and support can help them to make the decision to get well, but in the end, the addiction is part of your loved one and it will be up to that individual to fix the problem. Loving an Addict, Loving Yourself by Candace Plattor provides a ten-step roadmap to regaining control over lives side-tracked by an addict. Her approach, grounded in self-examination, self-respect and self-care, guides us through the changes we need to make in order to break the cycle that holds us at the addict’s beck and call.

Tough Love Isn’t Always the Answer

How do you deal with someone who is allowing addiction to rule everything in their life including their thoughts, words, and actions? How can you possibly love an addict who clearly cares about nothing more than the substance that he or she is addicted to? Obviously there are real struggles occurring, but there are safe ways that you can love an addict without harming yourself in the process. I like that you provided clear descriptions that set up examples of individual addictive cases, and showed practical solutions in how to address the various problems.

This can lead to arguments, hostility, and general discomfort in the relationship. If you live with an addict, you’re at greater risk of victimization. You may experience an increase in frustration that leads you to express anger or act out violently against your partner. Begin self-care by targeting the aspects of your physical health that are damaged by stress. By addressing these, you can return to a healthy level of functioning. Self-care may initially seem selfish, but improving your own health will make you better able to help your loved one when needed.

Mental Health Treatment

I thought this was the only way, but I’m starting to learn that pulling away from the relationship even a little bit can be a very positive thing. And focusing on myself isn’t so selfish, and not a bad thing! I still read part of your book each night to keep my spirit uplifted. This option may be an appropriate addition to professional treatment or completed independently. Most support groups are maintained and led by group members rather than a professional. Al-Anon is a type of support group designed for family members of addicts that is grounded in the 12-Step philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous.

  • We now make decisions as new situations occur with Candace’s words of advice in our heads.
  • A proud father, Peter and his wife count five dogs amongst their family members.
  • It also allows the enabling Martyr to remain a victim and gain empathy and sympathy from others.
  • No one intends to become addicted to alcohol or drugs before they get their first taste.
  • They must support their addicted spouse without enabling their behavior, which is understandably challenging.

I’ve lost two uncles from drug use & my family has a history of it. My real mom is their daughter & we’ve always talked & been somewhat close but she’s almost 70 now & still has a drug & alcohol problem. I love her but I can’t keep dealing with this… When she’s not high or drunk she’s a great person..

If you think you might be dealing with an addiction to love, know that you aren’t alone; there are many others who are experiencing or have dealt with these kinds of emotional challenges. The good news is that a mental health professional can help you learn to form healthier relationships with yourself and others. Because love addiction isn’t a recognized form of mental health condition, there are currently no medications typically used for its treatment. However, if it co-occurs with other disorders such as anxiety or depression, your doctor could prescribe medication to treat symptoms of the co-occurring condition.

How do I get over my partner’s addiction?

  1. Acknowledge the Addiction. The first step in breaking the pattern is to recognize it.
  2. Invest in Healthy Relationships.
  3. Learn About Love Addiction.
  4. Abstain from New Relationships for a Period.
  5. Develop Awareness of Your Triggers.
  6. Become Grounded in the Present.
  7. Get Professional Support.

When those who love people with any type of addictive behavior finally reach out for help, they have usually been dealing with their situation for a long time. If you have been waiting to see whether things would get better without professional help, please consider getting help NOW, before things become even worse. Ask yourself the question “How would my life be better if I wasn’t consumed by behaviors that enable my loved one? ” Allow yourself to answer honestly, and be aware of any feelings that come up.

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. These kinds of actions https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/what-to-do-if-the-person-you-love-is-an-addict/ on your part will not help your loved one in the long run. It is your responsibility to recognize and “own” your unhelpful behaviors, and to get professional help in doing this if necessary. People with this kind of addiction often have unrealistic standards and expectations of love.

If relationship issues are not treated, conflict can and will return. So, lasting substance use recovery depends, in part, on a better relationship. When someone struggles with addiction, they may withdraw emotionally from their partner, leading to isolation and loneliness.

Emotional Detachment

Sometimes, a spouse living with an abusive addict will turn to substance abuse themselves. Without professional treatment, the relationship may end up with two addicts. Having a partner with an active addiction problem may lead to domestic violence cases. Domestic violence takes several forms, including physical violence, guilt-tripping, and becoming overly controlling. Note that approximately 80% of crimes involving domestic violence are related to drug abuse because of how the substances alter a person’s brain chemicals. Thus, the addict could have impaired judgment causing them to behave that way to their partner.

loving an addict

These occur when someone can no longer maintain a level of care towards or interest in the loved one. People who experience burnout become cold, distant, and unable to care for themselves or others. The benefit of peer groups for people affected by addiction and alcoholism vastly outweighs any academic debate on terminology. You can always let the addict know that what you have been doing is not working for them and yourself. You can concede to your mistakes and offer them professional help in exchange for your ineffective help.

There’s very little you can do, and you certainly can’t fix the person. Addiction is a complex disease, and there’s no amount of threatening or begging that’s going to eliminate the problem. Instead, one of the best things you can do when you love an addict is making sure you’re not enabling them. You do not have to sacrifice your mental well-being for someone addicted to alcohol and other drugs.

  • Maybe you have to let them hit rock bottom; perhaps you have to leave to get better.
  • Loving an addict often means that you’re plagued with constant fear, and that can lead you to feel depressed or hopeless.
  • However, addicted individuals will likely display the same effects in romantic relationships as they do with their family and friends.
  • If you provide a safety net for the addict you love, they’re not going to stop using.
  • With proper treatment and care, you can begin to discover healthier ways to express love.

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