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Loving a drug addict: Can a drug addict truly love?

No. A drug addict cannot truly love you.

If you’ve found this article, you might be searching for ways to repair a “broken relationship”. But the truth is, you’ve got to fix…you! Here, we’ll take a brief look at root causes for loving an addict. What gets you to this desperate place to begin with?

Then, we’ll challenge you to take action. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section at the end. In fact, we try to respond to all real life questions personally and promptly.

Getting to the Root of Co-Addiction

If you find yourself in the situation where you love an addict and you cannot let them go, then you need to get down to the root of your issues, not theirs. If you have found that you meet the criteria of a co-addict; it is time to look at how this situation developed.

Codependent and Co-addictive behaviors may have roots that date back to childhood. The behavior may be so severely suppressed that the co-addict does not even relate to or remember when they lost their sense of self. For example, if a young child faces:

  • sexual abuse
  • emotional abuse
  • verbal abuse
  • psychological abuse
  • neglect or abandonment by a parent

…they may have tried to resist. In this resistance they find that the abuser only becomes more irate. Their response to fight for their well-being gets them nowhere. Over time, the child may learn that their feelings are less important and become submissive to that person, parent and/or abuser.

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Are You Becoming More Submissive?

The abuse or act of submissive behavior may even be mild; a controlling parent, a self-absorbed parent or a caregiver who abandons a child. Even if these roles are not as pronounced as what we think of as outright abuse, the child is still learning that their voice only angers this person and they develop a passive, submissive disposition.

More specifically, with a co-addict, the development of submissive behavior might be a result of a childhood relationship with an addict. For example, if a child’s parent/s or caregivers are addicts then the child may learn early on that they must put their parent and their addiction first. They are naturally going to come second to a parent’s addiction so they lose their voice, their sense of self and learn to grow up taking care of an addict parent or family member. This behavior can become something that is ingrained and will be carried out into all other areas and relationships in their life.

Do You Value the Addict More Than Yourself?

It is also possible that the adult co-addict or codependent is aware of the abusive relationship they endured which imprinted their lack of sense of self. In either case, the adult codependent is a person who puts more value on the person they love then on their own welfare. A co-addict or codependent may lose their identity. The only identity they create is through the person they are codependent on.

Addict and Co-addict: A Perfect Match

Don’t you find it strange that most addicts marry codependents or co-addicts who end up putting their addiction and problems above their own?

This relationship is actually a pretty natural one. Co-addicts need to hide behind others and be submissive and addicts need someone to take care of them and put up with their behaviors. An addict is naturally attracted to a codependent or co-addict. In fact, being in any type of relationship with one is how most addicts survive and continue their addiction as long as they do.

The Challenge: Are You Ready to Look at Yourself?

If you can look at your past trauma, childhood relationships and experiences, you may start to uncover why you chose an addict as a partner. Being with an addict or a person whose needs are put above yours may be comfortable for you, familiar, and feel like second nature. If you can understand why you are in this type of relationship and unravel the life events which helped you get here; then you can start to work on your part which contributes to this troubling relationship dynamic.

How can you fix the relationship and the dynamics of it if you do not understand why it happened in the first place? You cannot and that is why a co-addict must get down to the root of their problems and stop deflecting them with the addict’s problems. That is the only way for a co-addict to sort out and then make changes in their life.

Photo credit: PIRO4D

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6 Responses to “Loving a drug addict: Can a drug addict truly love?
Peter, PhD
10:19 pm April 23rd, 2017

This is pretty out of date. First, in saying that the “codependent” (person in a relationship with a substance user) is sick or as sick as the abuser, this is pop psych written in the 1980.s Second, the entire premise of the article, that substance abusers can’t love, is outrageously stigmatizing, and the reason why it’s hard to get people help, b/c we demonize them, make them into “folk devils”. I have conducted lots of research with former “crack moms” and they loved their kids to peices, but were unable to be proper parents b/c of their disability. They felt awful about their neglectfulness.

Tamara
8:55 pm April 25th, 2017

Can two drug addicts love each other

Amanda Andruzzi
2:07 pm April 27th, 2017

Peter PHD,
I welcome constructive criticism. I have also done a great deal of research, both academic and case studies. I do agree that an addict can love, however, the relationship I am referring to is not about a parent and a child, it is specific to a husband and wife or boyfriend/girlfriend. What you are missing here is that I don’t say an addict can’t love, just that an addict cannot provide their partner a healthy relationship. Don’t you see the big picture??? Do you agree that an active addict cannot love a partner the way they deserve because I don’t know about you or all of the research you have done but none of the people who post here are happy in their relationship with an addict. I know you want to sound like you are extremely well-versed on the subject. I have my Masters, I have written a Thesis, I can relate to your frame of reference, but I was also married to an addict and can connect with people who are in a way that you cannot.
I really like your comment though. Thank you for your contribution.
Amanda Andruzzi, MPH, CHC, AADP
published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the video book trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

Amanda Andruzzi
12:34 pm April 28th, 2017

Tamara,
I actually named this article something different and my publisher changedthe name. The purpose of this article is to explain the relationship between an addict and a co-addict. What’s happening in this relationship is that the co-addict, The person we focus on here in this blog, is not satisfied with the relationship and the love they receive from an addict or more importantly an active addict. And this is not to say that an addict cannot feel love, this is specifically addressing the fact that an addict who is active cannot be in a healthy relationship with a co-addict. I am not saying 100% that an addict cannot be a good partner but from my experience both personal and professional the relationship that theactive addict is in falls far below on the scale of things that are important to their drug of choice. That being said if two people are addicts and they find each other and they are OK with the fact that drugs come first then yes maybe their relationship will be easier. However anyone who is abusing drugs or alcohol has a void, an issue, a problem and a serious disease that needs to be addressed. It is not my intention here to judge anyone, only to share my knowledge, research, and experience to help those people who love an addict. I don’t think anybody abusing drugs is in a good enough place in their life to be Able to focus on having a loving healthy relationship.
Amanda Andruzzi MPH, CHC, AADP

Nani
8:47 pm April 29th, 2017

I had feelings him but i had to let it go because it was hurting ME.I was sleepless,stressed my whole life was a mess.I’ve been trying to help him past 3 years and all he loved was his drugs.So who wrote this article is 100% right.I can’t say i forget him but for my mental health and my life was the best choice.

Amanda Andruzzi
3:32 am May 5th, 2017

Nani,
Thank you for your comment and sharing with us. Agreed, When you are in a relationship with an addict it can make your whole life unstable and feel like everything is out of control.
Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the video book trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

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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.