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Leaving an addict boyfriend or husband

Why do you stay? A personal story about what can happen when you FINALLY decide to leave an addict.

4
minute read

My Life After Leaving An Addict

The scariest part of leaving my relationship with my drug addicted husband was learning how to stand on my own two feet again. I had leaned on his sickness for so long. I had taken on his emotional problems and made them my own. I wasn’t sure how to live without him.

The two things I had left to prove that I had even been in a relationship with this person was my pain and my five year old daughter. I had a choice right then and there—I could become bitter and angry, trying to tie him down with court cases and requests for child support or I could move on with my life.

Choices: I Followed My Gut Instincts

Some people told me that I should do or not do other things that involved the addict but – unlike the twelve years I was with the addict – when I left him, I decided to go with my gut feelings. For example, many people told me that I was stupid and crazy not to file for child support and insist he be responsible. I seconded guessed my decision to raise my daughter autonomously from her father.

Perhaps my choices were unconventional, but so was the situation.

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What I learned was that as long as my intentions were genuine, I could not go wrong with my decisions. I would not be perfect. Nor would my decisions. Not everyone would agree. In fact, some people were hurt by my decisions. Still, I was not going to revert to my old ways.

Not everyone was going to like how my decisions affected them, but I had to start doing what was best for me.

Being Me

When I made the decision to leave (the last time), I was finally ready to work on me. I went through a period of personal growth that was instrumental in my own recovery from my addiction to my husband’s addiction (co-addiction). For me to be able to do that I had to have him out of my life and, because of his risky lifestyle, my daughter’s as well. It was not too difficult because when I distanced from him, he simply disappeared from our lives anyway.

What I learned through the process of re-discovering who I was is a lesson about acceptance. I was not going to be angry about the years I spent with him, or bitter about the resources I had exhausted to help him. All I could do from here was learn from the experience and not resent the journey.

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Get Honest with Yourself

This part is not always easy to do because it means not just pretending that you have moved on to others… but being honest with yourself. If you are separated from an addict, that does not mean you have let go. If you are:

  • still trying to find out about this person’s life
  • contact him through other people
  • are affected by their choices

…then you have not truly let go.

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Let Go of Excuses

Leave the addict to gain back your life! It was not easy for me to leave the addict. After all, he was my daughter’s father.

But that could have been just the excuse I needed to keep me intertwined in his life. Despite what my soon to be ex mother-in-law insisted, I had to take my daughter away from this situation so we could have a healthy life. My mother-in-law at the time was angry and spiteful. I almost caved into her wishes many times but something did not feel right.

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It was not until five years post-divorce that my mother ran into this woman and found out that even she stopped communicating with her son. He just couldn’t stay sober. He even had a few psychotic breakdowns.

I was also approached by two people five years later who wanted to speak to me about their current dealings with my ex-husband. This confirmed he was still stealing large sums of money from people, using drugs, and disappearing. They said his stories never added up and they wanted confirmation that they were not insane.

Find the Courage to Leave!

If I had not had the strength and courage to take my own road – despite the guilt and the anger I caused other people due to my decisions – I could have been tangled up in my old tendencies until this day. Instead, I decided to take those lessons and put them to good use in my life.

I could have easily remained the same person taking my behavior to other situations, but I chose to sincerely move on. It was not the easiest road, but, in the long run, it allowed me to be me and live a truly authentic life.

Don’t you wish that for yourself, too?

About the author
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.

23 Comments

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  1. Mary, Kristie, Becs & Brenda,

    Thank you all for sharing your stories. I wish I had the time to answer you individually and I commend your braveness to share this. You are not alone and I know you are scared but this is something that requires a lot of strength to get through and as with anything, you will, it just takes time. You just have to take care of yourself because the addict is going to do whatever you are going to do regardless of what you do or don’t do. So you need to start taking care of you regardless of what the addict is or is not doing. When it comes to your child Kristie, you can try to support her as long as she has really left the situation. You need to help her in any way she allows as long as she is moving in the right direction. Her children need you!
    Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the video book trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  2. My daughter is in a relationship with a heavy drug crack user. She has actually left him this past Thursday. She has 2 children right now. 1 a little over a year and the other 7. The 7 year old lives with her father (different man) but that’s why she aloud her to live with him due to her circumstances. The 1 year old lives with her, which is the addicts child too. Now, she is pregnant with twins and they’re too addicts kids. She is now homeless with no money or anything. I live in a different state and she does not want to leave due to her 7 year old and seeing her. My daughter can not get any help from anyone. Is their anything out there that can help her living situation? She just doesn’t want to be separated from her 7 year old. Her father and I can not help her financially and we both live in different states. Just trying to find her somewhere to live. Her doctor is there she’s trying to apply for food stamps. She is in desperate need!!!! She is not working, obviously due to pregnancy. She about 5 months a long. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!! She lives in Dickson, tn about 20 miles west of Nashville, tn.

  3. I am glad that I found your blog. We dated about 3 years and married for 1.5 years. He was my best friend, love of life and my companion. He was always sweet, trustworthy, polite and gave me so much love. Few month after our marriage, he has been having trouble sleeping since early March of this year, he said he has a allergy and that is why he cannot breathe and sleep. I never thought it was because of cocaine. I recently (6 month ago) found a little bag with white powder in our house, but he said he can control himself and he only did it occasionally and never going to use it again. so I believed him. 2 months ago, I got a call from emergency room that he has been in car accident and he fainted while driving. It was his first seizure and his license got suspended. Few weeks later, we were suppose to go on a trip with my family for my dad’s big birthday, but he had 2nd seizure at the airport right before the security check, so we had to cancel a trip and went to emergency again. I tried to help him to find the reason, and get better. but his health was getting worse and worse. He was always angry and very sensitive to what I say, he went to work even on the weekends and never spent time with me, he had seizure consistently, so I couldn’t sleep well because I worried about him. I was suspicious that he might using cocaine and it might be because of cocaine, but whenever I asked, he sounded very certain that he is not using it and I really trusted him. 2 weeks ago, he had really bad seizure and went to emergency, but he refused to stay in the hospital and came out. A day after it happened, he had hallucination and seizure after, I called 911 again and he was sent to emergency. That night, I found a cocaine in his bag. Emergency doctor told me that is was due to drug overdose and convinced him to go to rehab, but he refused to go. I was heartbroken, didn’t know what to do, I wanted to die. I tried to convince him to go to rehab, but failed. Few days later at the neurologist appointment, I found out that he has been using cocaine for 10 years, even when we dated. I had no idea, I felt betrayed. That day, I decided to leave my husband, I still love him, but I could not handle this situation anymore.. I told my parents everything and made an appointment with divorce lawyer and left him for separation. All of sudden, he got sober and he calls me and cry. he said I am the reason of his life and he loves me so much that he cannot live without me. He said he will go to rehab and get better. Every time he calls, I feel like I should give him another chance, but the other side of me says, I cannot trust him anymore, I deserve better life, I don’t want to go back to that hell.. but I am scared if something bad happens to him when I leave him. I don’t know how to handle this.

  4. My husband and I have been married for 14 years. He has always had a struggle with alcohol or pot, and we have had a pretty tumultuous marriage. I know I have enabled him for years, but it was because I love him, and I know the good that is deep down inside. It was what I fell in love with, and what I used to see glimpses of here and there. Over the last year, I have been suspicious that he has been doing meth. He had changed physically, and become angrier and has horrible mood swings. He denies it, even though I have found proof. For the longest time I was in denial, but a few days ago, I heard him smoking it in our bathroom. It was like a punch in the gut. It quickly became very real, and now I am faced with the choice to continue on living in denial or throw him out. I am literally frozen with fear, and sadness. It is almost like I have been told he has only a short time to live. The grief and pain are the same. I know the man I have fought for is gone, but my heart just can’t let go. I use to think I needed him because he was strong, and I could count on him. But I just realized that he is not strong at all. He has never been, otherwise he wouldn’t have to rely on drugs and alcohol to cope with life. If anyone has been strong, it has been me. I don’t see him getting clean anytime soon, he still denies it. I am terrified, and so brokenhearted that I almost cannot function at my job. I guess I replied to this thread more for myself than anyone else. Saying it out loud and sharing it with people who understand helps a little. I have a long road ahead of me, and I pray I can be strong and let him go. Even though at this moment, I just don’t know how to do that.

  5. Hi.
    I loved an addict for a long time..10 years..We attended elementary school together. Then saw each other at our high school reunion in our 40s. Initially, I was swept away by his charm and my desire to be loved. I deluded myself for years..he was a FUNCTIONAL addict. He was able to hold a job..but the “relationship” tore at me financially, emotionally. There were lies. Cheating. Betrayal. I kept hoping it would change. I didn’t accept my role as an enabler or my codependency. I actually left my family and friends and moved to the Midwest with him. That last for a year. I finally had the sense and courage to leave. Its hard. Hurtful. As I have to recover and rebuild this late in life. I’m seeking therapy now. I’ll never regain the investment of time, money, effort or energy. I didn’t use. And didn’t have children with him. But I’m finally away. Time to focus forward.

  6. Maria,
    I never used any drugs with or without my ex-husband. I am more concerned with the fact that you were using meth with him and for your own sobriety. I think that using and being with this person is just a symptom of something else going on with you internally; insecurity, lack of self-love and it is time to get down to the bottom of that. A lot of times we deflect our own issues by taking on someone else’s that is what co-addiction is, particularly when we choose an addict to be in a relationship with but in your case using to be around him is something that you did and needs to be addressed. I would recommend seeking professional treatment to guide you through this and gain the support of some good, positive people around you.
    Amanda Andruzzi, MHP, CHC, AADP,published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the video book trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  7. Hi Amanda. I have A Similar Story Like yours . Back in 2015 I Met My ExBoyfriend. We met hanging out in this park . I had seen some guys hitting a pipe but i didnt know what it was . I was so curious and i tried meth for the first time . We eneded up going out . All we would do is drugs with our friends . Thats all we did during our relationship. On April 2017 we left eachother but we would always see one another . I Poured my heart out to him. And he didnt care. He had sex with many girls. He even had sex with my best friend ….. its a long story…. in 2018 today i still see him…idk if he manipulates me . i feel stupid/Depressed. I question myself everynight why do i still love him? Is it love?? Im am 20 years old and for my age ive been tru so much…. god bless u girl. Im glad ur over with your drug addict boyfriend. Its so hard💔😢

  8. Miss R,
    I can’t tell you when you will be ready to make the final break but I can tell you when you are you will know it deep down in your gut. It sounds like you don’t really need him and that you support your family financially so the issue here is fear. You fear letting go of the man you love and the father of your children, what life will be like without him and a whole host of other unknowns, correct? I can’t get you to move on with my words but I can ask you these questions; what is the life you want? is being with this man even close to the life you want for you and your children? what is really stopping you from leaving?

    If you become vulnerable and lonely I would suggest seeking a support group, friends and family in those times. You can’t make someone change, you will never force him to get clean but you can change yourself.
    Amanda Andruzzi, MHP, CHC, AADP,published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the video book trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  9. I am in a 13 yr relationship with 4 children and with an addict of alcohol and drugs, I want to leave, I find myself struggling to feed his addiction, my kids and I all pay the consequences when he chooses and I have no idea why I stay around. We have a home together, I work fulltime, he don’t work, he watches the baby, we struggle financially and the most hesitant issue or concern is getting up and moving w all my children and making the huge move that I know is going to be the most difficult thing in my life, I have left him more than a few times in the past and always went back as soon as I was vulnerable and lonely. Please help!

  10. Clarissa,
    for the sake of your two daughters, yes it would be ridiculous to go back to him unless you knew with all of your heart that he was in a real recovery program and had at least a year of sobriety under his belt. Have you read Hope Street? If not, please, please do so. I was with my addicted husband for 12 years, through marriage and a daughter and now 8 years have past since I left and he is still using, nowhere to be found. It will be an eye opener for you. You don’t want that life for you or especially your children.
    Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  11. I just left my boyfriend whom I lived with due to his spice addiction when I met him I knew he smoked week but never that I have a daughter who when we met had just turned 2 and well her father wasn’t in the picture and well for me him accepting me and my daughter was what made me fall for him as he too had a daughter but as per him his ex wife never let her see him I wondered why I never asked as the months passed he told me he got laid off from work he works in pipelines and as I thought well soon there would be another job well no he never went back for 3 months he was jobless and to top it off I went to live with him my daughter and I well he wasn’t working I had to work mon-fri and guess what that’s when i noticed he was taking money from me to support his addiction that i had never seen too top that off we became pregnant naive as I was I grew happy for the new baby coming but things just got worse it got to the point where he would just act like a zombie so i left and my parents took me back on one condition do not go back so i said yes okay uh huh so he looks for me texts me calls me and what do I do answer he said to me he stopped and that he got a job he would help me with Bill’s idk how but he would and needless to say he left me in debt with my cards and loans anyways so he helped right so I thought he changed so i went back no this happened Jan 3 now I’m back with him hes working he seems changed not even a month or 2 back and he started again but since he works out of town it was very rare he would get high on spice till Friday June 22 that he did this spice he fell off the kitchen seat and was on the floor vomiting with his eyes rolled back and possibly siezing I was so scared for him that my brother in law was the one who patted his back to act decent again but nothing we had to call the ambulance because he was on that floor for a good 5min my daughter kept saying papi vomiting I felt so ugly and then this idkot wont get checked by the paramedics that they leave he almost died you would think he would stop after me crying my daughter seeing him and I’m 36 weeks pregnant he would stop to realize but no not even 1hr passes and he gets high again and again until I told his mother you know what I’m leaving as much as I love your son but my girls are not going to see him that way and plus I don’t want to be there or my girls see that he killed himself due to his addiction I swear I would throw all his baggies and pipes just so he could buy some more and make all kind of pipes with all kind of pens and straws that it was just pathetic I love this man I do but he wont love himself enough to change and get help that he needs so as for now I’m with my parents until I have my daughter and I just give myself time to heal after all this I will be returning to work and just take it say by day and be fit to be a single mother again but now with 2 girls even if this is recent I’m praying to God he changes his ways and that he wont sweet talk me to go back because it would be ridiculous right?

  12. Jackie, I am so grateful this information is helping you!!

    Wndey, You are starting to ask the right question; “what is wrong with me?” this means you are finally starting to see that the change has to come from you. You need to find self-love, confidence and emotional stability and then this type of relationship won’t even appeal to you anymore.

    NJ, please read Hope Street. I had a similar situation with my ex mother-in-law. I have been without her son for 8 years, never been happier and she is still bitter over the fact that I left for the sake of her own grandchild. She wanted me to keep our child around and watch him self-destruct because she thought maybe her son seeing his daughter might save him. She didn’t care about how it would affect me or her grandchild. To this day he is still conning people out of money, still insane, using then going into rehab on and off as far as I know so I know going with my gut was the right decision for my daughter and for me.
    Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  13. I married my husband not knowing he was a drug addict. I found out later on. I have tried everything to support him in recovery and out source different ways to help him realize he deserves a better quality of life. Things have just gotten worse with time. He started drugs at the age of 13 he is now 35. We have two sons together. U have decided to take my kids and leave. I deserve better, there is nothing worse than emotional abuse. You cant love someone who does not love themself. The worse feeling is being in a marriage but feeling so alone. I started packing up… his mother is upset because she wants me to play her role, its only about her son, never about my sons and I. She was good to me when I was taking care of her son now that I am making a choice to take care of myself and my sons she wants non of it. She is the reason he started using, she ran off with another man and left him alone, lied to him his father was the reason she left. For years he resented his dad. When he eventually found out the truth he was so upset with his mother for lying to him for years. She was never there, she knew he was on drugs and she was ok funding his habbit to make up for her absence. She still funds his habbits to this day. I have cut her out of my life, she is happy killing her own child, both mother and father.

  14. Hi ! Since 2011 im with a guy he does coaine every day.I beg him to stop but he does.We broke up so many times .Verbally and menatallt abuse almost every day from him.Yes i waa abused as a child .We dont live together .What is wrong with me i let him do this to me?

  15. Vickie, Kristin, Emma &b Debra,
    You are all at a transitional point in your life and your relationship in one way or the other. Your inquiry is a good thing because it means you are starting to care about you. Your concern is now invested in how you are going to be okay and no longer focused on how to make the addict okay.
    I really need you to understand that the only way out of this situation is to let go; let go of the addict (detach with love or walk away), let go of the fear of leaving, and let go of your expectations of what you want to happen for the addict. It is not in your hands what happens to an addict, you can only give out a helping hand but when it is constantly rejected then you have to let that person play out their own addiction in their own time and that might mean something different for each addict. You have to come to terms with the fact that they are not going to choose you over drugs; not while actively in addiction or not until they are truly in recovery. I want you to know that I understand your feelings, your situation and your pain, that is why I wrote Hope Street. I hope you do get to read it.
    Amanda Andruzzi, MHP, CHC, AADP, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the video book trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  16. I know I’m at a pivotal moment in my life where I have to do something to change the path I’m on my husband of 25 years has been using drugs for the last year at least. He’s mean controlling manipultive and violent. I fear for my mental as well as my physical well being. He’s getting worse as time goes by and I can’t live in denial any longer

  17. I finally had the courage to let go of my addict boyfriend of 3 years who has relapsed.

    It was only causing me pain and hurt.

    He was sober for a year but relapsed and recently was using behind my back.

    I have been ignoring him for two months now but he still sends me text messages and leaves calls which I ignore. As I told him it was over. And he is still not getting the help he needs.

    Do I keep ignoring him or do I need to say something again to him?

    I don’t really have anything to say or want to really but is he going to keep texting me.

  18. Hello – I left my addict husband that I have. Even with for 17 years and have two kids together and I raise his son as well. The pain is almost unbearable and he makes me feel insane. He was clean off meth for 13 years but had a surgery and was addicted to opiates for the last 7 years and then relapsed in meth. I stuck by even with the opiates and was miserable at times but thought he was getting them from a Dr so I can’t abandon him for chronic pain. Even though my nurse friend said his dose was for someone that would of been in hospice. So with the meth relapse I was out of town and he offered it to our 15 year old and smoked it with our 18 yr old who has mental health and CD issues already. Yup pretty much your wise nightmare and CPS got involved did pretty much nothing and my husband is lying and will bring it to his grave that he ever did that to our kids. I had no choice but to leave. I don’t know how the pain will ever go away as I feel like I lost a part of me. I loved him and still do and can’t believe it came to this. I go to therapy 2x a week. I’ve been begging him to get treatment so he doesn’t lose more than he already had like his job and house and his $28k truck he bought the weekend I left cause he deserved it. Mind you I’ve had the same job for 12 years while he’s had 20 at least and probably fired from most andcweve amways lived paycheck to paycheck but yea he deserved it. Oh goodness I just want to know how and when it gets better and what you do to find yourself and move on from the addict?? Luckily I have amazing family and friend and unforohe doesn’t have anybody he only had me as a true friend. But I just need to figure out how to heal. Any advice is so appreciated.

  19. Hi Amanda, I have read your book and your blogs. So much of what you write sounds like my life. My husband and I have been together for 12 years. He has probably been an addict all twelve if not more of those years. I found out about 5 years ago. When I found out I was devastated and he assured he me he was getting clean. His drug of choice is pain pills. He says thats all he uses but I find it hard to believe for the last decade that’s all he has done.(not that it even matters). I never whole heartedly believed he was clean and It was confirmed for me Easter weekend that he is still addicted. When he “got clean” five years ago we had an agreement, One and your done. The consequences were if he was using he can not live here with our family. He admitted he is still on pills and I let him stay. He assures me he is weaning off and I honestly don’t believe him. How can someone who has been addicted for so long get clean without help? He is a functioning addict but hasnt always been that way.He works and pays the bills but spends no time with our family. Now that I let him stay I feel stuck. I have lost so much of myself being with him. I have become insecure with myself ( he has mentally abused me). I have lost my self respect and I have developed huge trust issues. Its been about a month since he has confirmed his drug use and I have been struggling emotionally to the point where I can barely get through my days. We really have no relationship left to work on. But I feel stuck. I have no respect for him, But I feel stuck. I don’t even think I love him anymore but I feel stuck. I wish when he admitted to me he was using I made him leave right then and there. AS for now I take my life one day at a time.

  20. Barbara,
    Thank you for sharing your journey. Your story is important to me and I know the longer he is out of your life the more clear things will become. What matters now is taking care of yourself, healing so that you can be healthy and get back that self-love and respect he tried to take away from you. Thank you for your kind words and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your boys.
    Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the video book trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  21. Hi Amanda, thank you for sharing your story. So much of your story sounded like the last few years of my life. I just left my addicted boyfriend (now ex-), after 3 1/2 Yes. I had depended on him on so many levels, and now that my head is clearing up, 5 months sober, I’ve come to realize how much he lied to me as well as kept me high, it got to the point that he gave me a black eye one afternoon, and his only concern was that I was gonna call the cops and he was gonna go to jail. Not that he just seriously hurt me. That was the first and last time anyone ever put hands on me like that. Now that I’m away from him, I could look back and recognize how toxic we were, I’m grateful that I got out, and I’m patient as I try to rebuild my relationships with my dad and my 2 boys. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and God Bless to you and your daughter. Here’s to a better clean life

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