Tuesday February 20th 2018

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Being in love with an addict does not mean that you are weak

Spouses of addicts are the strongest people

If you are in a relationship with an addict and cannot let them go, this does not mean you are a weak person. The reason you cannot leave may have more to do with personal underlying issues that you are not facing. But the husbands and wives of addicts are some of the strongest people in the world.

How strong are you to love and keep a relationship with an addict? Why do people mistake it for weakness? We discuss these terms and review different perspectives, here. At the end, we welcome you to join the discussion by posting in the designated section. We will answer all questions personally and as soon as possible.

Weakness or co-addiction?

I always assumed that because I loved an addict and could not leave that I was weak. I felt like every person around me was stronger than me. I was married to and in love with an addict and I could not let him go. I wanted to turn over a new leaf with him and believe his every promise. I was willing to do anything. I sat by and watched things I know no one else would tolerate.

Some definitions and translations of the term “weak” are:

  • lacking the power to perform physical tasks
  • not able to fulfill functions properly
  • breaking under pressure, lack of character
  • lack of enthusiasm or energy

This does not define a person who is living with an addict in the least. Often known as co-addiction, taking on a relationship with an addict requires strength, perseverance, and die hard loyalty. In fact, the definition of a co-addict is quite the opposite of “weakness”. Co-addicts:

  1. Co-addicts perform mentally and physically exhausting tasks on their own to make up for their loved one’s absence in a household.
  2. Co-addicts have to fulfill many functions. They sometimes head the household and make up for the loss of a partner in executing the daily tasks of supporting a household. They even act as single parents due to the lack of parenting on the part of the addict.
  3. Co-addicts work best under pressure because of the strain of the active addict. They have to be aware and sharp at all times. When the addict gets out of control or when they have to take on extra responsibilities they have to juggle many balls in the air at the same time.
  4. Co-addicts have more character than anyone I know. They do not give up and they persist and persevere because they are adamant in helping the person they love. Co-addicts are of distinguished character because they are usually moral, ethical, honest and concerned ultimately with the safety and well-being of those they love.
  5. Co-addicts ooze energy and enthusiasm because their job of taking on multiple roles is endless. They try to be a cheerleader every time the addict says they want to get sober. They are continually being supportive and forgiving.

The strength of people in love with addicts

Those of us who choose an addict as a partner do not realize how strong we really are.

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  1. We can do what most deem impossible.
  2. We endure physical, emotional, mental and spiritual pain and betrayal but continue to wake up each day to support our families.
  3. We put on a brave face when others would be crumbling into little pieces.
  4. We can handle more than our share and take on the roles of mother, father, friend, nurturer, caregiver, wage earner, cook, housekeeper, counselor, protector, expert at dealing with any crisis, nurse, and the responsible party in our relationships.
  5. Our energy, will, character, power, courage, and ability to do things that most people will not do for another human being are beyond measure.

These qualities are simply misplaced with the addict but eventually we learn that the weight of the addict is not allowing us to fulfill our real purpose. The addict is constantly trying to take what is good and turn it against us. Their addiction is like heaviness on our chest. If we can set ourselves free from this situation the strength and courage can be re-channeled back to us where it belongs.

There are reasons that we enter into co-addiction that require resolution. Due sometimes to underlying issues and insecurities that have nothing to do with the addict, a co-addict chooses an unhealthy relationship. Even though you know that a person is an addict…you do not give up. More here on how to intervene with an addict so that they hear your message.

As the partner of an addict, sometimes we do not give ourselves enough credit. Instead, we bow our heads in shame at how weak we are. The truth is that no ordinary person could take on this role. However, becoming co-addicted is a sign of issues which require work on yourself.

Got any questions about loving an addict?

If you would like to ask a question or share your story with others, feel free to post them in the comments section below. We try to respond to all legitimate inquiries with a personal and prompt response.

Photo credit: Red--Roses

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7 Responses to “Being in love with an addict does not mean that you are weak
12:05 am August 2nd, 2016

Hi my name is Laura and I am a God Fearing Woman of Faith. I was reunited via facebook with a long time friend of mind. We had a crush on each other when we were 11 and 13 years old. We hadn’t seen each other since 1980 and started talking, Praying together and began to share our testimonies and realized we had similar testimonies were soulmates. We fell in love and on March 5, 2015 we got married. Well by August of last year 5 months into the marriage where I thought he’d been delivered from drugs he’s not been. He will sneak out of the house while I am sleeping and be gone for days. In the beginning it wasn’t very frequent but now it’s become more frequent. He’s now borrowing money from co-workers and has missed days of work. So now he’s exposing himself where he tries to keep it a secret. i have shifted my focus now and given him totally to God now. Even as I’m typing on August 1st he’s been gone now for two days. He’s been gone up to 5 days before but no longer. Should I call the police after day 5?

3:47 pm August 4th, 2016

How do you distinguish enough is enough and build the courage to leave? I am married with 3 sons, sadly our beautiful 3rd son who is still a baby was conceived with the idea of bringing hope to my husbands illness and would help him to stay clean but it lasted about 3 months and yet another relapse. Our home environment is very vulgar and emotionally and verbally abusive, my boys love their father but are also being negatively affected by this selfish behaviour!

Amanda Andruzzi
2:54 pm August 8th, 2016

Laura and Davina,
I understand your pain but you are doing the right thing by Letting Go. There is a term in al-anon that resonated with me, “Let Go and Let God.” We have to take care of ourselves at some point and allow addicts to follow the path they need to take in order to find their way. When we are in their lives, we tend to enable their addiction and take care of them when they need to learn how to take care of themselves. They need to be left to their own devices when it gets to a point that they have been supported and offered all of the help in the world and they still choose to keep on using. Leaving an addict is a very personal choice, I cannot tell you what to do or how to do it but I can show you through my experience and my book, all of the things that I did which held no real consequence and only hurt me while enabling him.
Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict
View the video book trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

5:43 am July 21st, 2017

I am what you refer to as a co-addict. Well I am engaged and love my addict but I’m exhausted! He was a regular user but now he is about a once a month-2 mont user. I do see positive changes and never lies or dishonesty. But are there ever happy endings to these relationships? Or have I only got a broken heart to look forward to?

2:56 pm November 11th, 2017

My husband has been in several different treatment programs and sober living the past 2 and 1/2 years. So…on some level he has engaged in recovery. He recently went to Hawaii from TX for a job opportunity and is scheduled to transfer back here Wednesday. It has become clear that he has relapsed big time, I’m sure his job opportunity is threatened. I told him he can’t come home as planned and I am not talking to him right now, I need to do that for my own sanity and concern that I would back down under pressure. However, I feel really guilty and scared that he won’t make it back. How do I do this when he has been in recovery???

11:26 am January 31st, 2018

hi,I am sadia,I love a person who is a drug addict..our relation is 2years. in his childhood he was abused by his aunt and for that he used to take drug. when he was a versity student he loved a girl but after one year their relationship break down.then he fully addicted by drugs. he also do part time jpb,his boss oneday gave him a propose to do escorts job, he worked there 1year. when he realize he is going to bad totally,then he goes to rehab centere. about 7-8months he got released from rehab. after that he make relationship with me,I know he loves me but we have not made physical relation.we also made deep conversation over mobile. it is strange thing that he told me that he will not ruin my life by doing physical relation. suddenly 6months ago he made some new friends who are fully drug addicted,they treat him and help him to made a physical relation with their girlfriends.he confessed the truth to me and 4months ago a one of his friends girlfriend cased a rape case against him.he told me he was drunk and what he had done he could not remember,the girl was a pros and she got money for that.my boyfriend told me the girl cased rape case because of money. now he is out of contact to me, he calls me suddenly,he is f lliving fully depressed life. he told me not to wait for him,because his life has been spoiled,but I do not want to let him go. what will I do for him?I love him so much but I am so helpless. please give me advice

9:02 pm February 18th, 2018

I agree with you 100% it takes immense strength to deal with everything that comes with being in a relationship with an addicted person and go through life everyday like everything was normal in spite of the stress wére under. We never take breaks like a regular person would in a tough situations because we just cant, we have to deal right? However I feel like pushing my limits over and over for a couple years and putting out fires all the time has robbed me of a lot of strength. I am young but have very low energy, I used to be a high acheiver but now I have a tough time pulling through and learning new things. When my alarm clock rings in the morning I feel like crying and on some days off I cant get off the couch. I feel like even though he eventually got treatment, that those years have changed me and despite my efforts I wont be completely normal again..

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About Amanda Andruzzi

Amanda Andruzzi, MPH, AADP, CHES, is a Certified Health Coach, founder of Symptom-Free Wellness, and the author of Hope Street. Her first book, Hope Street memoir is an inspirational story of one woman's frightening journey of co-addiction that led her to uncover courage, unbelievable strength and overcome great adversity. She resides with her daughter, husband, and two sons in Florida.

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