18 thoughts on “5 Things To Know Before Dating An Addict

  • February 14, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Absolutely brilliant piece. Never have I seen the “truth” of this issue be so clearly elucidated in such a warm, direct and compassionate manner. You take the reality of the disease of addiction straight out of the confines of myth and misconception and address the often unaddressed issues faced by loved ones and family members.

    It is my belief that addiction can be described as not only a disease, of which drugs are a symptom, but a “family” disease. A disease in which there is one “identified patient” (the addict) within a family system whose members always exhibit some symptom associated with this disease. Within a systemic paradigm, the impact of addiction can also be expanded to a community, society and culture. In my experience, as you also note, an addict’s recovery MUST ALWAYS come first. Unfortunately, most often, it is only an addict, per se, who truly understands why this is imperative. They understand and identify with the frequently stated words in Narcotics Anonymous: “The therapeutic value of one addict helping another is without parallel.” Addicts with a strong recovery program know this. They know that without recovery, this family disease cannot be arrested. I strongly believe that as professionals, it is our ethical duty to educate ourselves and allow ourselves to be educated by those who “know”. It is only then that we can be of service to all those who are affected by the disease of addiction.

    Thank-you again for this article. I do hope it OK to take the liberty of using this with clients.

  • February 15, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Well, considering #1, I wouldn’t start dating a topless dancer. I want to also say that your addiction does not have to be filled with relapse after relapse. I understand the logic behind the premise but accepting it, in a sense, makes it OK to relapse repeatedly. It is not OK. Every time you go through the addiction-recovery-relapse cycle the recovery phase becomes harder to maintain. I have always disagreed with this stance and, having gone through recovery myself, I see this way of thinking as A major impediment to lasting recovery, not the understandable, accepted behavior that is forgiven time after time by AA and NA. The concept of medication-assisted recovery is considered blasphemy within these circles. Which would you rather experience in your recovery: long-term sobriety which allows you to return to normal functioning or the “get high, come off, begin recovery, get high again” perpetual cycle? Everyone must answer this question for themselves–one path leading to life, the other leading directly to the cemetery.

  • February 20, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Once upon a time I could not have read this article through. I am just out of a long term relationship with an alcoholic who has done massive recovery work. I honor him for that. What others could see (and I could not until I did about a year’s worth of work in Codependents Anonymous) was that there wasn’t a relationship there. At times it was verbally abusive, and once there was a bruise that took two weeks to heal. I left but went back. Until then, I had no idea about “why” people “do that”. I do, now. And there are a lot of things I understand differently. Love does not conquer all, and recovery may be deep but not complete. I honor the wonderful things about him but understand – that interrelationship was a destructive time for me, and may not have been all that constructive for him. The biggest act of love and self love may be letting go; the second biggest may be “going in” with awareness and compassion and self protection.

  • February 20, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    A good friend has been through all of this plus some – and manages to keep her dignity and understanding of her “significant other.” and they have a relationship – not what she envisioned once, but – he is family. She did have to set up some boundaries that she won’t let him cross – as in, if he appears to be drinking again(as in innumerable past times) he cannot not visit her. Period. And she calls him on it directly, no coyness. Would she have gotten involved if she had known ahead of time what was to come (he was divorced, there were warning signs)? She doesn’t waste time on what-ifs. Of course there is always this sort of imbalance that exists because of all his bad behavior related to addictions through the years, and it’s one that I don’t now how people get “over” -or through. It’s as if he is the permanent irresponsible one, she’s the adult. His alcoholism began at about 13.

    But knowing his issues – nope, as an adult – who has of course had addicts in my own life, there is no way I would ever choose the misery of being an addict over loving one. Perhaps it looks like that when the addict is still young – but put some years on, lose everything, and it is a nightmare of loss.

  • November 24, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Excellent! Well said.

  • April 18, 2014 at 10:47 am

    I liked this article in that it helps someone to understand things to think about before dating an addict. In the article it state that love doesn’t conquer all in which with the case of addiction, leads to many let downs. Someone with an addiction has to want to stop on their own and sometimes people believe that just because that have intense feelings for someone means that that can help them to stop with their addiction.

  • April 18, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Totally see what your saying. Curretnly dealing with something similar to this right now but I think that some times when you are involved with an addict that has relapsed you can saty with them and get them through it. I have leared that in the begining time is for sure needed. They neeed to look at into their lives and figure out what is important. See what is worth not being addicted over and if you are one of those things then staying with them shouldnt be a problem.

  • December 14, 2014 at 3:07 am

    Ex-addicts are ALWAYS in recovery. There is no cure. I wish there was a cure for it though because I am in desperate need of one, being an active prescription drug addict (all prescriptions are legitimate and my own prescribed for back pain and fibromyalgia), but I just can’t seem to stop abusing my pain meds. The longest I was able to maintain sobriety was only 3 months, but had to go back on my pain meds because I just couldn’t hardly live a normal life with the physical pain. It was hard to quit the first time, but I’m finding it almost impossible to even try a second time. I am too phone shy to call (or even be called) to speak to an admissions counselor about rehab. It’s not that I don’t want help because I do, but it’s my darned phone shyness (and highly irrational fear of always being judged for some reason or another…..which I think is a big trigger/reason for my drug abuse) I can’t even call doctors, my hairdresser, anyone I am not super close/familiar with because I am so paralyzed by this ridiculous fear. For God’s sake, I KNOW I need rehab, but am too shy/ashamed to make the calls to find out where I could possibly get the help I need. I’m sure some people will read this and not take me very seriously because even I know how ridiculous/irrational my fear is, but anyone who’s experienced the kind of social anxiety I do would understand. I guess I’ve just become so detached from normal society and have found it easy to find out almost any kind of information online that I am used to and wish I could just computer chat or find out which rehabs accept my insurance plan and register without actually having to actually speak to someone. I wish I knew why I am so terrified to talk to strangers, who’ve never met me, on the phone. Grrr, it’s frustrating and embarrassing and just makes me feel weak all the way around. I usually get other people to make my calls, but this is one call I am too ashamed to ask someone else to make on my behalf. I hope I get to recovery before I end up accidentally killing myself…..I mean I hate the person I’ve become, but I don’t WANT to die and I know my body will give out sometime with the amount of pills I’ve been known to take, plus add in the 50mcg Fentanyl patches. My life is a mess and without some positive light to help me, I can’t begin to see the place to start cleaning it up. Ugh. 🙁

  • December 14, 2014 at 3:42 am

    By the way, my addiction started in college. I was majoring in Interior Design and had spent a good 12 hours straight on ONE project, making sure I met EVERYONE requirement of the assignment, only to be told that my design was “not very creative,” and resulting in a grade of C. It really hurt me after all the time I spent making sure everything met the requirements of the assignment with the LITTLE space we were given to design for. Plus, professors (especially in such a creative environment/job) should be giving CONSTRUCTIVE criticism…..all I got was criticism and nothing constructive about what I could have done better. On a positive note, I was a shining example of excellent handwriting (labeling each and every fixture/room/elevations) because it was so straight and perfect. I have been known to be a perfectionist. I think my mom had something to do with my self-esteem problems/being a perfectionist. I am the oldest of 2 (I have a brother 10 months younger than me and he was born very premature back in late 1985) and have always had more expected of me by my mother. Not just about setting/being a good example, but if I got C’s on my report card I would get lectured and told “You’re better than that,” which made me always feel not good enough, while my brother was NEVER lectured the way I was about my grades. She always blamed it on his premature birth, that he is a slower learner (he’s perfectly fine for a 6’3″ man with 2 kids now who not only had the heart valve surgically closed after birth, but also contracted Meningitis while in the hospital and my mother was told he could end up having cerebral palsy or be blind, at one point they even called her because they thought he was about to die in the hospital, but he miraculously survived with ZERO birth defects, save for needing glasses even though he doesn’t and can obviously see just fine), but his academic strengths were my weaknesses and my strengths were his weaknesses, yet he never was told “You’re better than a C.” All in all, I mostly feel like my mother made me feel never quite good enough. It was always, “You can do better,” and even after doing better it was never quite to her standards. This feeling has carried on into my adult life and I think that in a professional/work setting I am always looking for approval of how well I did my job. I know my mom was proud of certain things I accomplished, but I don’t think I got enough praise as a child for the good things I did. Then again, I have seen a lot of my generation feeling that way…..always looking for approval, which consequently they blame on the educational system for giving awards to ALL participants…..you know, like getting the trophy just for participating. I still think my case is a little different since I did pretty well in school for the most part, but on the occasions my grades were a little lower it seemed blown out of proportion. I don’t know. I’m no psychology or drug addiction expert, but I CAN tell you how I feel.

    • September 15, 2015 at 10:31 pm

      Hi. I think it’s really admirable that you admit that you have a problem. Most people would deny it. Don’t be scared to make that call. The people you would speak with will be very supportive and wouldn’t judge you. Also, try to forgive your mom for not treating you fairly. I’m sure she had her reasons. Just remember that you are not alone and the changes you want in your life will only depend on you. I will always have you in my prayers. Stay well and be strong. You can do it. 🙂

  • October 8, 2015 at 2:48 am

    hes nuts!

  • October 28, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    I have been in and out of a relationship with a addict or recovering or using something else for about 2 or 3 years. I get away then for some reason or another drug back. Stuck at the moment due to legal stuff she got me into. No violence nothing like that. Now may I say these addicts are all mostly yuppie kids who have been told they are princesses. They have no real concept of self worth n the only real struggle has been truly self induced. They get off the dope then start drinking n doing ecstasy or coricidin which she is currently on. Nothing like having a grown adult who u need to look after like a little kid. Its often hell surrounded by slight glimmers of sunlight from time to time. She steals from stores on probation smokes weed comes home n takes a box of coricidin. I’d love to be drunk on my days off but she drinks all the beer before I get the chance.

  • August 30, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    I started a relationship with an ex addict…well he said he was.started the relationship loved him with all my heart. He drinks every day. Smokes weed every day. Cocain on weekends. Methredone 12mls every day. Diazipan every day and also codine. I helped him as much as I could. He as been gone 5 days now. It’s killing me as I’ve just found out I’m pregnant and I’m not keeping the baby.

  • March 20, 2017 at 3:02 am

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  • May 26, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    I’ve recently broken off a 5 1/2 year relationship from a gal that I was crazy for. I would love to say madly in love with however now that Ive taken some time alone to digest and evaluate the relationship from the outside (alone) I’m trying to sort through a lot of thoughts. When I first started dating my ex whom was 1 year removed from AA (though she was a drug abuser) I was very reluctant not knowing. Not knowing what it would be like but more so if she was to relapse what would that look like in supporting her emotionally, physically, financially, etc. The truth is I feared it more so now I realize I had hit bottom or came to a very dark depressed state in my life. I was uninspired by the relationship and what I thought I fell in love with. As they say you learn and live / move forward. The whole experience had been exactly what I needed in my life though I didn’t really realize it at the time. I had become addicted to once again smoking a lot of pot and drinking thought not overboard was a staple I’m my week to week life. I knew I needed to quit the smoking and the drinking I didn’t think much of. About 2 years into the relationship I started to realize it was time. Time to stop and respect my girlfriend but I also knew it was time for me to better myself. I learned a lot about my girlfriend and her family. The good the bad and the ugly but I also saw a lot of similarities in my own self and the relationship with my father (who would never consider himself an addict but he is). I saw the complexion of why my mother chose to be with him, etc. All and all it was a very educational experience and truthfully, I don’t know what will come of my ex and I whether it will be close friends or perhaps intimate once again but I do know there will be parameters and discussions of what was and what is and what it will take to make the relationship grow to the next level and if not that’s ok too!

  • April 6, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    I dated an addict for 10 1/2 years. 8 years later he overdosed and passed away. I was very close to his family and I attended his funeral and it was heart breaking for me. Even though we were broken up for 8 years, I knew him to be a really good person, despite the pain he caused me when he was withdrawing from his addiction and some other uncomfortable situations. I knew that he had a very good heart and he was a very fun-loving individual. The thing to know before dating an addict is that the person he is while using drugs is not who he really is. That person is buried down deep. Its a person that not even he knows. His development has been arrested not only by the drugs but by whatever caused him to use in the first place. It is true that it takes a couple of years of recovery before they are truly who they were meant to be, and there is no telling once he does become that person that you will be the person that he chooses to be with or truly loves. He/She may be under the demise that they are in love with you while dating you and on drugs, but once the drugs are truly out of their lives, and they do recover, THAT is when they are who they really are supposed to be…the real them! And at that point, you may only be the person who helped them through their recovery. At other times its not like this…you may be with someone who truly appreciates your support in his/her life, but most times, once they become grounded in accepting life on life’s terms, then and only then do they know who they really are, and by that time, you may not be their partner of choice. It is definitely true that if you are consistently attracted to men/women with these kinds of problems that they issue may not be the partners themselves, but you and a co-dependence issue.

  • August 18, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    After being involved with an addict for the past 4 years, I truly believe it is a disease of the spirit. The addict is so lost in their addiction, it consumes them and they are in pain emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I could not help my friend. I had to end it. Only he can help himself. I will never love anyone as much as I loved him and still do. But enabling him is and was not the answer. I hate this disease. The addicts suffer in every aspect of their lives from financial, social and in their careers which are non-existent because they virtually have no future and no hope if they do not take the initiative to help themselves. I was exposed to the world of addiction for a reason, and I can only say my heart goes out to anyone who has a family member or a loved one who is an addict. No one can truly understand unless they have lived it first hand.

  • January 10, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    This article has shined a little light on what i’m currently going threw with my boyfriend. When i first got with him he didn’t show any signs of addiction but as the relationship progressed into a year and a half he would stay out late and I would hear from him For days till , he admitted having an addicted to Heroin and Coke.
    Iv been with him for 4 years now and he use to be such a sweet person and down to earth and well rounded but now he just mean and all these different mood swings and wanting to find a reason to fight. After he comes down , He tells me that he feels bad and shitty and dose not feel like himself.
    I always tell him to seek help
    But it never a process on ever doing it.
    I pray for him every day to get better and hope he opens his eyes soon and realize he needs help.. before it too late.
    Since Christmas he has been doing drugs non stop and only recently talked to me . We got into a huge argument yesterday because of shoes i couldn’t find. His mood went left… at this point i feel like their no way on getting him back to reality…. i’m only 21 and he a older than me by few years.
    Finding this article made me feel not so alone with my situation.
    It sucks seeing someone you once love become a whole other person.


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