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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.

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

Leave a Reply

54 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.

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:

Amanda Andruzzi
12:34 pm April 28th, 2017

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

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

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:

4:09 am July 17th, 2017

This article reflects my experience of loving and cohabiting with an addict (cocaine). Regarding Peter Phd comments: they always feel terrible about their wrong-doings while under the effects or in the search of their next fix, then again they always have got excuses, number one being they are ill. I told him an illnes was to have cancer or ME, you dont choose these but you choose to take a drug. Of course they explain it away saying it was due to the terrible lives they were enduring .. but we all know people who have hard lives and do not opt to take drugs.
I tried everything to help the man I fell for but at the end you have to help yourself and drug was his choice time after time. I wasted 16 months of my life, yes wasted, falling in all the co’dependant traps until I woke up. Was I sick? Not physically but clearly I was in a very low moment mentally and emotionally.. otherwise why would I have chosen to have a relationship with someone who was always going to put me second and pretend to be first?? .. not trapped any longer, got angry with myself first and now I have accepted it as a learning curve (about myself).
And a note: it does not matter how much experience doctors have treating addicts, they dont know themselves the reality of living with an addict and suffering the consequences of it. It is always easy to preach from the outside.
Heartfelt thanks Amanda Andruzzi for sharing your experience.

Amanda Andruzzi
1:14 am July 21st, 2017

Thank you so much for sharing and for your insight. I understand that the time with him might have felt like it was wasted but now you can see that this gave you great strength and insight into yourself. You grow from this experience and become very grateful for things in life which you do have. Yes, being in this relationship gives you the kind of experience that no therapist who hasn’t lived through it can understand but I am not afraid to voice my experience because I know you are out there Monica and many others as well. I know how you feel because I was all of you at one point and I only hope the ME now can inspire you to focus on yourself.
Amanda Andruzzi, MPH, CHC, AADP
published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the video book trailer:

12:06 pm July 23rd, 2017

If a man really loves you, would he offer to help inject you with drugs?

9:50 pm August 7th, 2017

OMG I took care of a alcoholic mother my whole childhood. This is the first thing ivevread that makes sense. I’m totally in love with an an educated professional I know better.reading this I know our demons saw each other from the first moment we met.

6:50 pm August 22nd, 2017

OMG that’s me.. a coaddict why I keep getting with these guys with addiction. I’m clean sober never had a problem.. my X’s and hubby that just OD were all alcoholics or drug addicts.. my father was a hard core alcoholic.. and abusive.. verbally mentally emotionally and tried sexually.. how do I fix myself .. it’s why in attracted to these kinds of men.. what do I do please help me

1:15 am August 23rd, 2017

This is sick. As a former drug abuser who recovered many years ago and made a life for myself, you sum up the stigma that kills a lot of people with one line:
“No. A drug addict cannot truly love you.”

Because of course, addicts are subhumans who are incapable of love. You say it outright… making you either evil or just a sham vying for attention with click-bait. You sound like you’d prefer the Duterte method of dealing with addicts and I don’t blame you. We’re a troublesome bunch… but maybe we’re not subhumans incapable of fundamental human emotions.

You may honestly think we deserve to be beaten to death or sterilized or isolated until we kill ourselves… but, believe or not, we are human beings and we are capable of love!

I know that might be a shocker for you but try not to hide behind some bull about active addiction or some other non-starter. You can rationalize this however you want… but you are killing people with an attitude that isolates and punishes. You deserve whatever hell you’ve created for yourself.

5:50 pm October 13th, 2017

I am a 25 year old lady and I fell in love with this guy in high school our last year and when we found ourselves in this situation we approached it and he told me his not a good guy for me his bad in 2015 we became best friends on the 23 of September 2017 I went to visit his guy friend I was with my girl cousin we went there to chill he found out and came there caused a scene shouting this is my girlfriend it caught me of guard it was chaos in a way that there was blood everywhere he commanded us to go out the house me and my cousin went out be started beating me up be even broke my leg I have a cement on it then during the days after the incident we still spoke expressin bow much he loved and cared for me here I am now dating this guy still going to see him with my broken leg. … confused please help is there something wrong with me? I truly love him and when I went for a chill out to his friends house I mentioned that if be found out hearly wouldn’t be happy about it but we never thought things would blow out of proportion since everyone knew us as friends could the worst happen?

9:27 am October 19th, 2017

It is so sad and makes me hurt and angry that to know am with a person who uses drugs that it actually goes back to my child years when i was abused .Why should i not hate the person that did this to me ?

6:40 pm October 19th, 2017

agree with some of what you said. But I tend to agree with Peter, PhD, as well. First of all, you did state that an addict cannot love. You didn’t say they can’t maintain a healthy relationship. That is true though. They can’t. I am deeply in love with an addict. I am a recovering addict. I can’t let go. I do love him more than myself. It goes deep. I was the daughter of an alcoholic father that abandoned me. But to say that’s what made me end up loving someone like him, is wrong. I loved him the first time I looked into his eyes. No one compares. Trust me, I’ve tried to move on. I can’t. I look forward to seeing his face when he walks through that door. He’s very loving and sweet to me. But he can’t stop. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t love me. So do I accept him for who he is? God knows I would give anything for it to be different for him. Or do I move on, thinking of him every day when I wake up and every night when I go to bed alone and all day in between? Being unhappy without him and the time I get with him? It’s not healthy for me either way. So I choose to take what I can get. And to love every moment we have together. Because those moments don’t come along in everyone’s life and I feel like I’m the lucky one for finding the love of my life. Why would I throw him away? Love conquers all. And if someone can walk away from someone that’s an addict, claiming to love them but having to let them go, then they didn’t know the love that we do. It requires work and commitment. You can’t pick and choose who you truly fall in love with. It doesn’t work that way. It just happens. God brought him into my life for a reason and I’m never letting go. Ever. I had issues too. I worked through the pain of my past. Basically, I’m a happy person that loves and sees the simple things in life now. I try to focus on remaining that way for my own good. And keeping him in my life and seeing his smile everyday is the one thing that brings me the most joy. Now that’s love. Life is what we make it. Just know that every situation is different. People can write books telling us what we should and shouldn’t do from an outsiders perspective and their professional opinion of how damaged we addicts are and how chaotic our lives will always be if we don’t do what you think we should. And if we do that, the magic fairy will make everything okay again. You’re sure of it but you’ve never walked in our shoes. I don’t think, anyway. Maybe you have. We love. And we love deep. Maybe more so than most. I appreciate reading what other people have to say because sometimes I do get things out of it. And just knowing that someone thinks we are incapable of love makes me want to tell the whole world about the love inside of me. Painful? Yes, it can be. But love is pain because without pain, there would be no love. Life is what we make it. I choose to take every moment I can with him and laugh and make more memories to hang onto. I don’t want to change this wonderful person. I don’t want to lose him either to death. But none of us get out alive. None of us. So, I hope that maybe an addicts opinion might make you reconsider other possibilities of how our lives truly are instead of what you think it is. Straight from the horse’s mouth. And the horse is healthy. Thank you.

1:34 am October 25th, 2017

Laura, Are you saying that it’s okay if you’re in a relationship with an addict when the addict is high to cheat on you, verbally and physically abuse you, but when they’re sober they can be the best people you’ll ever be with? That my dear is not love! Is it okay for someone to stay in a relationship where they are Dr. Jekyll one day and mr. Hyde the next? I think that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard! I’ve endured a relationship with an addict for 4 years. When he was high he cheated on me, he verbally abused me, he has hit me, and made me feel less of myself then who I really am. And get this, because he was up so long without sleep(cocaine, adderall, meth) and then went into drug-induced psychosis thinking that I was doing all kinds of evil things that I wasn’t doing because he wasn’t in his right mind. He was selfish and always thought he was right and always blamed me when things went wrong never taking any responsibility for his own actions. When he was sober, a few times that he went to rehab, he was the man of my dreams. Everything that I ever wanted in a man and then some. How could you not see that this is emotionally damaging to a CO addict? That’s not a healthy relationship but extremely toxic. If that’s your idea of a healthy relationship then that’s fine but I want to be with a man who’s only going to keep his package in one place and who is going to be the man of my dreams everyday not just when he’s sober. Amanda, I read your book Hope Street and I have to say that it’s saved my life. I want to personally thank you so much for writing it. I feel like almost everything that I read is exactly what happened to me. I’m just glad that I didn’t take 12 years to figure out that I had to leave for my own health.

Amanda Andruzzi
11:56 pm October 26th, 2017

Thank you for your comment. And I am inspired by your words. I don’t think an addict or anyone who has not been with one can truly understand the tragedy and pain they inflict on other people, even if we choose to be with them I stand by my words an active addict cannot be “in love” with anything but their drug that is why Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde come out, addiction just brings out the worst in most addicts, not the best in them.
However, if you read my second book you would see I think there is a chance for an addict to change but it is rare and it requires total transformation of old behaviors, thought patterns and philosophies.
Amanda Andruzzi

4:51 pm October 30th, 2017

It’s been 5 months since my hubby OD on meth. He was 2 yrs clean.. which I found out in his death.. I was told by him and his family it’s been years he’s been clean.. after his death is when I found out his true history of this drug.. his family kept it hidden as he did. All on his cell I discovered him on Craigslist personals sending naked pics of himself answering 52 ads I counted till I decided I had to quit looking it is unbareable for me.. I never thought he’d cheat on me .. now everyday is another day without him.. & knowing he had this double life that destroyed him & our life together.. this is the lowest point of my life. He was a kind loving person with a good soul.. he just leaned on meth & the lifestyle of it.. he chose that over us.. I’ve never loved anyone the way I love him.. I miss him every second of the day.. this will be my last relationship with a man & friends that have a drug or alcohol history.. I emotionally can’t do this anymore.. my heart is in pieces.. he was truly my best friend.. as that I go back in forth feeling guilty that after being 2 yrs clean he went back.. I felt I failed him as his best friend.. I miss him deeply

Amanda Andruzzi
8:19 pm October 31st, 2017

Debbie, He loved you in the only way he could. You have to understand with addiction comes dishonesty, manipulation, sometimes cheating and all other things that keep you apart from the people you love not bring them closer. This is not going to be easy to go back and realize how you have been wronged but I don’t think it will serve you to focus on those things at this point. You will go through phases of loss but ultimately you have to accept what was and hopefully be a stronger and wiser person for all of it. Amanda Andruzzi, MHP, CHC, AADP

11:27 pm November 11th, 2017

I do not think drug addicts are hopeless nor are they monsters but their behaviors when they are entangled with borderline personality disorder which seems to often come together with drug addiction,-does create a monstrous like personality. I’m a gay man and I have lived through disease both medical issues of cancer HIV. Caring for more than 30 young people by the time I was 20– late 80s and 90s all sadly died… I grew up in a very straight rigid dynamic Christian based home with a working world owning a business at 12– one of those Virgos that never stop…. they keep going I find a way to make everything work in my own process of life, becoming terminally ill didn’t keep me down but I was not going to allow myself to have anyone in my life so for over 20 years I maintain strong friendships and the important members of my family, Now 50 years old— I had decided enough I’m going to meet someone who excites me and who was wonderful. The very first minute I met this man JG I knew he was in trouble. And what I thought was well I’ll help I’ll try! I also did not realize I had fallen in love with a man who cheated on me left right and Center lied, stole, broke my heart… My heart will heal I said, it did.

The cheating not a big deal sadly it’s what gay men do…. not myself but it seems to be the norm it’s disgusting and I think I hate that more than I hate the drug addiction ???? NO, JG was a binging drug addict that is to say he wouldn’t use for two three weeks and then the first of the month when funds became available from the ever-present social security system. because if you’re an addict you get paid to be one??— he would go on for 5/6 day binges leaving taking/ stealing a vehicle not answering his phone then finally some communication perhaps very sick, left for dead hematomas, Hospital runs, Panic, fear and worry you name it he would always come back a mess starving emaciated broken hating himself– there would be a would be a lecture and then there would be forgiveness and love and care the truth is I’ve never loved this much in my entire life. — being a Catholic boy this will sound funny but I went into a Jewish mother mode-but be aware you will lose yourself I am not a drug addict nor am I a person of compulsive behaviors other than perhaps shopping and cleaning– 2 years time this gentle human being who was so lost cost almost $80,000–He never paid into anything didn’t even show up for my 50th birthday celebration of my life that was to be surprise co-hosted by himself. He had wonderfully accepted his addiction and decided to stop using for almost 4 months but on the very day of this surprise birthday…. started using again– OYE—I saved his life 5 times but I never did enough, or what he wanted–HUh–what??
THe worst thing HE ever said to me when I try to keep him off the streets and keep him safe and hold onto him with care if not to be my love at the very least to provide him what he needed as a human being with Love and care and respect.–YOU CAN PUT IT ON A SILVER PLATTER IT DOESENT MEAN i have to take it!

But yes I do believe love besides within a soul with a soul can be produced whether that Soul was produced in love or in regret of being made from light does possess the power to be loved and to love.. b-day lost or found or spoiled or addicted yes I do believe they may be able to love but not necessarily in the norm and in the world of addiction what the hell is the norm anyone who is scared and then become addicted to the addicted knows this answer very well.

2:44 pm December 7th, 2017

“Do what you must to be happy. Just don’t hurt yourself.”

2:51 pm December 7th, 2017

Some are good and strong and noble and intelligent, and deal with the urge in a discreet, considerate and sane manner. Some are good but a bit weak and a bit dumb in spots, and do things they regret and later apologize for. Some are unfortunately scum, naturally psychopaths even if there were no drugs or alcohol to be had anywhere. They would be scum even if they were physically as pure as the driven snow. The only thing the addiction may change in that case is the length of time that they can continue to be scum, and in what ways they might do so. It varies.

7:26 pm December 7th, 2017

Thank you Amanda..that honestly hit a nerve.. Your comment that “i have been wronged” i have carried so much guilt within me.. Noone knows.. I loved him and still do more than ive loved anyone. I never knew he was a recovering full blown meth addict.. He had a beautiful sole and heart.. My hate is for the drug..all it does is destroys lives.. Tge addict and people who love the addict.. I have forgiven kearning to forgive myself.. With feelings if letting him down..i have went over over all of this what has happened.. I have learned alot about myself.. I dont judge people.. I just dont.. My love for him will never die.. Ill miss him everyday until i can be with him again.. Im trying my best to heal.. And accepting for things for what they were.. Thank you for helping me.. As i have noone to talk to about any of it..

3:35 am December 8th, 2017

I read your article. I have been with an addict for 17 years. Like you I have a masters degree. I have worked in the area of addiction. I see addiction as a disease same as cancer and diabetes. The AMA agrees with me. I recently left my husband. I didn’t leave because of his most recent relapse. I could handle his relapses. I was always able to separate the addiction from the man I love. I never saw myself as codependent. When he stole, I had him arrested, when he was using, I made him leave or he left on his own. I never threw up his behaviors or made him feel bad for what he had done when using, i never judged him . However I didn’t allow drugs in our home and I made him responsible for his actions. I left him because he for the first time told me he didn’t love me anymore and that I couldn’t get over. In all his past relapses, his love for me was never questioned, I knew loved me and I adored him. However when he said those words it broke a faith in our relationship that I can’t get back. I still love him always will. I think a person can be a great person and be an addict and do bad things. Just like a person can not be an addict and do really bad things. I have worked in a rehab. I have met some awesome people who have a disease and I have met some bad people who have a disease. I think an addict can maintain sobriety if they are willing to change themselves and not just quit drugs. My husband never could change himself. He could only not use drugs for awhile. I think a person can be with an addict and not have the addiction bring them down. I didn’t. I always protected my self, my money, my mental state. My husband at one time adored me. He knew the rules if you relapse you have to leave until your ready for help and I’ll help get him in rehab. What ever he did while out there he had to fix on his own. Yes I was sad hurt scared during these periods but my life continued I would reconnect with friends, keep busy , whatever I needed to do to keep my mind off of him. This worked for me for years of relapses with a few years of sobriety here there. I kept my boundaries which allowed me to keep my sanity. Now he has came back to say he does love me but unfortunately he crossed a line that I can’t get over. I believe him falling out of love might be because of the addiction and the constant negativity that he thought and felt, but in the end out of love is out of love and there is no going back or taking the words back. Well that’s my opinion for whatever it’s worth. Let’s face it no addict wants to be an addict. I made my choice on loving and marrying an addict, and I would do it all over again.

4:49 pm December 10th, 2017

Hi there Amanda’s, firstly. My name is Anna and I’m a recovering addict. I’ve been clean for 2 and a half years now and am doing great and starting to reclaim my life. I got a habit when I was 14 and it was when I met my ex partner. I was hooked quickly, I was a shy girl with little confidence and at the start I was flattered by all the attention I was getting. 8 and a half years later I was still with my partner and worshipped the ground he walked on, my parents didn’t notice anything was wrong at the beginning, I would dissappear for weeks at a time, but my parents weren’t conventional and kinda just let me do my own thing and it was me that took care of my younger sister, my dad lived in Holland and my mum was an alcoholic. I cared about john (my partner, deeply) and loved him with all my heart, he was the only person on the planet that I would fiercely protect. But after 8 and a half years and two major operations and numerous other health problems I nearly lost both my legs, and it terrified me. It was like I just woke up one day and the wool that had been over my eyes was lifted I got an overwhelming sense that it was like I was living someone else’s life, I knew I was meant for bigger things, I just knew deep down that I I had been living a huge mistake. That day I got the train to Newcastle and went on a methadone programme, I just needed to get away, john came with me and said he felt the same way and then a year and a half later I decided it was time to move back home and see my family again for the first time since I was clean. So that’s what we did, we came home. But before long I started to realise that I took my recovery a lot more seriously that john did and it didn’t take long after we returned home for john to start using again, I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t want to abandon him after everything we had been through but in 2009 I had given birth to a beautiful baby girl and at the time I wasn’t in a good place and I got the choice between her or john and foolishly I chose john, well now that I’d been clean for a while all I could think about was chloe (my daughter), who is with family. And I was getting eaten alive by guilt, it’s like the heroin numbs yours feelings so they aren’t as strong but for some reason I had complete loyalty towards john. I was coming back to my senses and all these feelings were coming flooding back, so what I did was I moved into a house on my own and decided that because I had been with john from such a young age I needed to take some time to get to know myself. It wasn’t long after we took some time apart before john got involved with drugs again and I just feel so helpless, even though we aren’t together anymore I still feel a sense of responsibility towards john and the fact that I’m moving on with my life and I’m doing really well makes me feel guilty that he is not, I so badly wanted him to make It without me but all it did was make me realise that the only reason he stayed away from drugs for as long as he did was because he was doing it for me and not for himself, and it just doesn’t work unless you do it for you. As soon as I was gone the first thing he did was use and it spiralled from there. I was with him for so long that I will always love him to some extent and I care about him deeply. I just dont know how to help him. 2 and a half years ago my life changed, I had an epiphany I knew I would succeed because there is nothing more important to me than my recovery, I just so badly want to be “normal” again and I am nearly there, I started on 160mls of methadone and I’m now on 35mls. I’m finally realising who I am again, but there is much pain and guilt. There’s nothing I can do to help john, because he has to want to help himself, all I can do is let him know that he is loved no matter what and let him know that there’s support there for him when he needs it and people who care. He is now in the hospital with health issues and I’m hoping that it’s the best place for him to let his body start to heal. So the answer to whether or not an addict can love is yes and no. It depends on the person, drugs have a different effect on each individual person and sometimes they can twist a person’s personality, they start to steal rob and lie, but then some people just get numbed by drugs (like me). I very much still loved just in a different way I ended up in a co dependant relationship but the minute I got clean all my feelings came rushing back, and I now have to live with all the things I did that I shouldn’t have. Please understand that an addict is still a person that loves and wants to be loved and many of them never had a family and never experienced love of any kind. I was lucky that I have a family who love me because not everyone does. It’s hard when a loved one doesn’t see their own potential. But unless they realise there’s nothing you can do. I hope my insight helps. Thanks.

5:11 pm December 11th, 2017

I loved what u sucks so much to learn about this drug after my hubbys death.. It changed him..he became distant critical..selfish.. I tried talking to him calmly telling him how much i loved him he would get angry tell me i wasnt allowed to even say the word meth it made him want to we couldnt talk about it..i am riddled with guilt..regrets..our anniversary will be xmas eve only 2 yrs.. 3 yrs together.. I miss him so deeply.. It takes a ll i have to not sit in my car in the garage.. Ive never loved anyone the way i love him..i know he loved me the same..but when meth entered our changed him and became his love..i hate the the end its prison suicide or overdose.. It destroys lives.. Id do anything to have him back

4:42 pm December 15th, 2017

He is my treasure, and I have never felt quite so loved as in his presence. I do my best to make sure that nothing bad happens to him unnecessarily, since he tends to be awful to himself, although to nobody else. I am pleased to be among the things that make his life worth sitting through. Four years together shall soon roll into five…<3
A lot does seem to ride on how much of a difference there is in the person’s behavior when sober and when under the influence. If both are acceptable and largely the same, there is nothing wrong. Otherwise, though…

8:06 am December 23rd, 2017

The insight from these stories is eye opening. I wish I knew what was right and was is wrong. I met my husband when we were 13 years old in middle school… I don’t know what connected us so electrically, but he was a beautiful, bright eyed, brilliant boy that loved (still does) chess and piano. I thought he came from a good home…both parents seemed involved, they drove a minivan like my family…we connected and for 2 years it was good. Our interest and love seemed mutual… but then he went to boarding school, and while he was away I was sexually assaulted. I don’t remember which came first, the dabbling in drugs or the assault… but around that time is when things seemed to change. He became very disconnected and socially anxious, and things continued to swirl. My husband’s drug of choice is marijuana, and foolishly I thought it was harmless, not realizing addiction is addiction, and it does what it does. So many of you women have endured so much…my husband never cheated on me as far as I know, and is as “functional” as could be… but I still hurt so much. I’m still with someone who isn’t really into me, or can love me the way I’d want to be loved. The disinterest hurts so much… and the thought that I might love him more than I love myself is so disheartening. I love my husband, and he claims to love me and outside of his addiction, it seems he truly does…but I don’t want to be a woman that never sees her worth. I’m so confused.

Amanda Andruzzi
8:26 pm December 31st, 2017

It is not fair to judge each addict like they are all the same, that is true. Some are kinder, more functional in society, some live normal lives, some live on the streets but one thing rings true for all addicts; DRUGS COME FIRST AND DESTROY LIVES, the life of the addict and the lives of their loved ones. That is what these articles are all about, taking your life back and not focusing on the addict but using all that energy to take care of YOU. An addict doesn’t on the norm make their partner feel loved and happy and that is why we are all here. This exists because addict hurts and we can blame the person, the disease or come at this from any angle but the end result is the same, we are lost in their addiction and we are unhappy, hurt and tired of it. With that being said each situation will be handled differently and each person will come to their own realizations in their own time but a change needs to be made. I try to educate people in understanding that although we cannot make an addict stop, we can still be happy, lending distance either emotionally, spiritually, physically or all 3 from the addict.
Amanda Andruzzi, MPH, CHC, AADP
published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the video book trailer:

6:20 am January 2nd, 2018

@Amanda Andruzzi….. “no, an addict cannot truly love you”. Shit has me crying it’s so untrue people like you people who perpetuate stereotypes and continue the stigmatization of addicts and mentally ill people are a great barrier for these people’s recovery, including mine. I have a fiancee who I love with all my heart, after almost half a year in recovery my love for her is stronger than ever

9:12 pm January 2nd, 2018

Very much so, @addict. I have known two addicts, one romantically, one not, and they were both nicer to me and to pretty much everyone else, pets included, than they were to themselves. To be loved more than one’s own self is pretty incredible.

11:09 pm January 6th, 2018

After been with a poly drug user meth heroin crack user this is what I saw
First thigs first I met this girl on fb we stared chatting she was very nice and polite, me completely ignorant about heroin or meth addicts, so we dated then she told me she was in rehab for one year heroin addiction I tried to be gentle as much as I could, then she told me about the program therapy and suboxone, she was really nice energetic woman, then she told that she hast a past…prostitution than the place where she is also is a place for prostitutes in recovery then I said ok is the past, few months later she graduated for the program and I went to her graduation to meet those people in charge they all were students trying to help with prostitution problems but in really those women were prostitutes because they wanted to satisfy their drug needs, nobody was forcing them to be prostitutes
So technically they can’t love because they don’t know how and because their priority in their life is not their boyfriend, girlfriend or kids, their mission in their life is to get high if they don’t get their favorite drug they going to blame you or their family about their living, they are going to be the victims and try to blame anyone,
This woman after she graduated she moved to live with me then after a month she stared acting differently complaining about how quiet is the area where I live complaining about she has no job no car no education no credit no bank account not a house. She got a job in the club where I live then she stared complaining and getting drunk then after 3 months she relapsed she moved out to a small room provided by the program she was before then she stared hanging with her drug buddies again, in the lapse of this time she went back to rehab 2 times, in the lapse of this time I learned a lot from her a drug addict behavior and what drugs do
She cheats she lies she sells sex or drugs to keep what she really loves “drugs”she has 3 kids the state took 2, her mom has one in another state. This person talks wonders when she is high dreams about she is going to change her life to get back her kid and be a good person, but I notice if she is going to stay in the same place with the same phone number the same circle of people and if she doesn’t move to another country with a deep change in mind she will never recover she has 2 options, get free from drugs moving to another place or OD.

8:19 am January 17th, 2018

Ok so what’s the next step!?
I can see the root to my co-addict behavior… now what?

Won't be her
11:17 am February 18th, 2018


I took some of this article in. I think it does relate to myself (the co dependent) and the woman (addict / herion and crack cocaine) that I’m in a relationship with. We met with her working the streets and me looking on the streets about a year ago. Fast forward to now and she’s been living at my house for the last six months. It’s very financially costly as you can imagine to supply ones daily addiction but I’ve made the means avaible to do so. Thank goodness she’s put effort to minimizing the financial burden and seeks to use herion enough to avoid dope sickness but not use massive amounts to get high. That tells me she wants positive change. She also tells me she loves me, she helps where she can around the house. She’s put all her trust in me to provide for her and let herself be far from resources. I’m in total love with her and I do believe she is a good person and wants to be loved and loves me.

There are periods where the drugs hold come out in full force . She’s left a couple of times and wound back up on the blocks she used to walk endlessly and get high for days on. Just as before she actually moved in, i would drive hours upon hours to find her. Once it took twelve hours straight , but I found her. This sometimes involves seeking out other addicts help, other prostitutes to lead me to her. I pay these addicts and they get me to where I need to look for her and I always find her and get her back. To give a sense of how hard I’ve seen these drugs take hold of someone , once I waited in my car for her to buy drugs and I wound up kidnapped and robbed at gun point. I did get back to her and we dealt with that and other things throughout the day. The next day she wanted more crack and we actually saw the guy who robbed me. She still wanted to stop . This is how much the drug will hold you captive even to danger. I put myself in harms way in many ways just to put a roof over her head, make sure she eats, uses clean needles , and doesn’t have to sell her body. I’m in love with her and although it could be harmful I can’t leave her to the streets. She would be homeless and that won’t happen on my watch . It won’t be her that dies in a abandoned house from an OD. Maybe me and her are very wrong for each other, it hasn’t been easy. But love can and does exist in these circumstances. I ride this roller coaster with her until it stops. . On a last sentence, she has done the methadone clinic once about a month ago , and it failed when she left me for 10days . She is talking about going back soon now. I don’t know if anyone relates to this but hope this gives insight.

7:49 pm February 19th, 2018

It’s really i was abused when i was a kid by my dad and now i reading this is why im in a relationship since 2011 off and on .We break up so many times .I have to be the 1 to leave for good .Life is so not fair to me .

5:34 am February 22nd, 2018

I am a co-addict to a T! After almost 3 years dealing with my partner who has an addiction, I just now today dropped him off at rehab. I am thinking about moving out of state, but don’t want to leave him. We have known each other for 15 years. We have a very stong bond. He very much wants to get clean and have a normal life and be together. He even said he would come to where I moved after his treatment if i decided to leave. I don’t know if I can trust it. I wanna go, but I’m afraid I will lose him if I do. Should I stay and wait?

Amanda Andruzzi
4:43 pm March 8th, 2018

Addict, Tanya and Mont,
Although stating “no, an addict cannot love” may be harsh, it was meant to wake a co-addict up to the fact that they are not being loved in the way they should.
Yes an addict can feel love but NO, they cannot love a person the way they deserve and to be in a trusting, loving, honest relationship while they are abusing drugs. I don’t think any one of you will disagree with that especially if you have been an addict yourself.
Do you think during your active addiction that you were honest, loving and fair with your partner and treated them the way they deserve to be treated????
Love is not just about a feeling it is about a mutual respect, about honesty, about emotional faith and health between two people and if you can tell me that is what you provided while putting drugs first (aka being an active addict) then I it would be a first.
I believe you should rescind your comment unless you really believe that you were a good partner while being actively addicted.
I am trying to help the co-addict and unfortunately helping them may affect the addict.

Ashley and Rose, I would recommend getting help, support and knowledge about addiction and about why you are in this relationship. Therapy, time, healing and life experience really helped me understand why I stayed in a relationship with an addict for so long.
Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer:

10:27 am March 15th, 2018

i have met a wonderful man who is 2 and half years clean. he attends meetings has a sponser and is very much aware where he is now. i truely beleive he cares for me and we have some wonderful times together. he is the one whom talks about future plans then he suffers an anxiety relapse, is this normal i am not an addict nor x addict by the way

Amanda Andruzzi
2:42 pm March 15th, 2018

As long as he doesn’t relapse with drugs and handles the anxiety in a healthy manner then he’s doing the right thing. If his relapse includes using this is not a good sign.
Amanda Andruzzi, MHP, CHC, AADP,published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the video book trailer:

6:45 am March 16th, 2018

I have not been addicted. He was and is, and I believe he is a good partner, yes.

10:39 am April 6th, 2018

I was searching for some feedback for hours tonight on the topic of addicts and relationships. It was drilled into us at rehab that if you start a relationship while in rehab it has a very low chance of turning into anything once you leave. I get that. I was in rehab 6 years ago and recently a year and a half ago. I was at my best when I was married or in a long term relationship. I can love. I love love. I don’t mean making love I mean the security of feeling safe, feeling attractive, worthy. capable, Yes, I still drank and am an alcoholic. Not all roses. But am I capable of love,,,of course I am. I love my husband, my children, etc. Every search I did, it was always flipped around to say How does a wife love her addict husband? tons of that…page and pages…nothing for me, the addict…until I saw a couple sentences that linked me here. Finally someone speaking to me, from an addict point of view. After my first rehab, my adult children and family said it would be worst thing ever if I even thought of dating/relationship. I had to work on me. I felt like I didnt deserve love..I had blown it for a lifetime. I had an abusive stepmother for many years, physical and mentally. I had no self esteem. I started drinking at 10. Years later I am in love and married. I didnt drink like i used to, I didnt need as much sedating to cope. Love and reassurance. Cuddling and being silly. Supporting each other. I have made mention to my family just here and there how terribly lonely I am. All these years later, 6 years, they still shake their heads no, not a good idea Joan. Do they think that will cause a relapse? They must have read one of those shit articles I looked at tonight. I believe that feeling loved and accepted and the companionship will do wonders for me. All this alone is too alone. It makes me weak and depressed. Yes, of course we are capable of love. Whoever wrote that garbage need to go out with the garbage. Thank you

4:06 am April 10th, 2018

I have been searching for the article that hits home and this one is the best I have found. I have everything going for me. Great career, $$$, health, looks, brain, etc. I am totally straight and clean and have an unusually healthy life style. Yet since my divorce 25 yrs ago, I have repeatedly sought out and fallen in love with women who were drug addicts. Initially it is sexual but then it becomes part of the need to rescue an extremely needy person that is impossible to rescue. The last one ended many yrs ago and the breakup was so severe it almost cost me my sanity. Many of the relationships were long term and consisted of my trying to get them clean but always winding up buying them more drugs. I have been robbed, had my car stolen, and many times have gotten too close to getting arrested. I become extremely submissive around these women – like they were the healthy ones and I was the addict. My childhood consisted of being unable to please my mentally ill mother and having my submissive father as my role model. And now again, I am in a normal long-term relationship wo intimacy. So, I picked a young girl up about 3 months ago. Let’s call her Z. Z is a very busy hooker and also non-stop crack and heroin user. Z has done numerous rehabs since she was very young. Z also has very checkered past of petty non-violent criminal offenses. Besides being extremely attractive, she has a great personality and is extremely bright. And her addiction is destroying all these good things and gradually killing her and she knows it. I let myself fall in love with her. I told her – I fell in love with you, I am addicted to you. Would you believe she could handle submissive me but I could not handle her – she was in control of the relationship with her drugs and me. And of course I am leaving out the extremely bizarre things that happened. But I tried to show her how life could be good wo drugs. I fell into my usual “try to love her out of her addiction”. Forgetting the lesson I learned over and over again – an addict is in a committed relationship with her drugs. She will not cheat on him. Mr drug controls her mind and body like the mother in Psycho. It was just a repeat of the other failed relationships with drug addicts. I took her to rehab 2x and could not get her to go thru intake. It was probably the most impossible relationship I have ever been in. But people are most comfortable with what they are used to and it doesn’t matter if its a good thing or a bad thing. Very very crazy.

Amanda Andruzzi
10:40 pm April 16th, 2018

It sounds like you know exactly why you rescue broken women and that stems from your childhood but it also sounds like you cannot help yourself. Well why not try and I am glad you came here. Have you tried cognitive behavioral therapy, going back to the root of the problem, your addicted mother and trying to get through that? Have you tried any other type of therapy or support group? why not get down to the root of this and figure out how you will be able to enjoy a healthy relationship.
If you read back what you wrote, what would be the advice you would give yourself?
It is time to let go and do this on your own. When you are ready to walk away, no looking back,
I will still be there. In the meantime, please try some therapy for you and even an al-anon meeting. It will help you take the focus off of him and start putting it on you.
Amanda Andruzzi, MHP, CHC, AADP,published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the video book trailer:

4:34 am May 17th, 2018

Hello Amanda,
I have been following your blogs and post lately and I’m looking forward to reading your book. You are amazing for sharing your experience and insight in this very sad issue. I am in love with an addict and trying so hard to let got without guilt, or feeling I have abandoned someone dear to me. It has been 3 years of back and forth with a wonderful man who tries so hard but can’t seem to stay away for 3-4 months at a time. Unilike before, this time everything was going great for him. He had a good job, a stable place to live with me, all the support, his relationships had been repaired with his family and all was well..I thought. Then out of the blue, it was over. He always relapses so hard and it spirals out of control very quickly. After being gone for two days, I kicked him out and I am afraid that I may have made it worse for him now that he is homeless. I really just want to get off this train, but I love him but don’t know how to help him any longer. I just want so badly for my life to feel normal again.

I thought since this time, he had everything he wanted, job, stability, support, love and security, that it would be the things that would keep this change, his new sober life going. There was no warning sign or anything leading up to it. He was sober one day and then relapsed hard the next. It left me more confused than I have ever been so far, that now I am ready to lay down my hat and seek my own healing and life without him. I don’t know how to do that without the hurt and fear I feel for him out there alone.

I need words of strength.

Amanda Andruzzi
11:01 pm May 21st, 2018

It is great that you are looking for more and realizing that you have to start the healing process by working on yourself. It is the only way for you to move on and get healthy. You are in the right place and seeking the right information. You are not alone and you deserve to be happy. You really have to understand the nature of addiction and the fact that you cannot change or fix an addict and that you cannot change anyone but yourself.
Amanda Andruzzi, MHP, CHC, AADP published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict
View the Video BOOK Trailer:

3:48 pm June 11th, 2018

This is absolutely horrible. I am an addict myself. We are NOT some kind of subhuman parasite incapable lf loving. In my own personal experience, i am in love with my ex still, she left because of what i was doing and it kills me everyday that i wasn’t strong enough to change. You cannot say that addicts don’t feel love unless you have been down our path. Some addicts may feel emotions deeper than non-addicts. Society needs to quit labelling and degrading, it only makes the pain worse for the addict.

9:55 pm June 12th, 2018

It is my experience, from spending yrs with girls addicted to crack and dope, that they are totally and completely, but secretly in love with drugs and their professed “love” for me or others was a facade.

11:48 am June 13th, 2018

What I don’t quite understand is why this is treated like the worst thing in the world. As long as it doesn’t warp your love’s personality past the point of being acceptable, or make him do things that he really, really shouldn’t, what does it matter what he does for pleasure? What difference does it make whether the thing in his hand is a cigarette or a crack pipe? It seems cruel and dumb to reject or discard someone otherwise perfectly good for such a reason.

Amanda Andruzzi
4:01 pm July 9th, 2018

Cody, Jay and Tanya,
We are all capable of love, some of us in our own way but for most of us being with an addict is not the kind of love we want or deserve because when it comes to addiction drugs come first. It is hard to compete with that and feel loved the way we should. It is hard to love another person the way they need to be loved when drugs are #1.
Amanda Andruzzi, MHP, CHC, AADP,published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the video book trailer:

1:01 am July 15th, 2018

Bullshit… They have a disease. They need help. I’m in love with an addict and I know he loves me. I’m not an addict. He hates that he tried meth. He tries to get off of it. But when he turned to help the counselor told him he needs to get off his ass and get a job. He was rude didn’t care. When u love someone u don’t give up. He has cried to me, on me. An addict can love. But yes he lives the drug more . We’ve been together 3 yrs but known him all my life. He pays my bills. Make sure I’m ok. I can see it in his eyes that he loves me but needs help. But they won’t help if u don’t have insurance and the state we moved to doesn’t have funds. He is my bff and I’m his. His parents started him on shit when he was 10 he can’t help that he had a bad life and both parent we’re stupid. I’m so heated by this. An addict can love they can. They just don’t need someone to give up on them. Help them. I know it’s hard trust me I know but I love him and I’m not going anywheres. I will help him. And I just hope he beats it. We move to another state to get away from others that were doing meth. He came down here to he with me knowing he wouldn’t know anybody. Therefore he couldn’t get it. I feel so bad cause half the freakn world is on it. And he was clean for 5 mths. Then the wrong people came around😥 and it tempted him. He’s back in it but I pray I pray he stops he tries don’t get me wrong he really does. But don’t ever say an addict can never love.

Amanda Andruzzi
3:10 pm July 27th, 2018

please refrain from using profanities. This is a civil site for rational discussions. All of us here are or were in love with an addict and if we were getting what we needed, this site would not exist. Drug abuse is just a symptom of something else that is very wrong, health imbalances, underlying mental or physical issues which are the root of the problem.
If you were loved the way you wanted tobe, you would not have ended up on this site searching for answers. Why are you even here? To learn how to help the addict? That sounds like enabling to me. The truth hurts but at some point we have to understand that we cannot attack other people for their opinions gained from their own experiences. If you are so guarded about this comment then that sends up a red flag to me. I am glad he pays your bills but that does not make someone able to love you the way you should be loved. Ask yourself, do you think he loves you the way you deserve to be when he is actively using???? That is what this whole article is about. Everyone is capable of love but an active addict is not capable of loving a person the way a partner should when drugs are #1, if they were then why are you trying to get him off drugs?
Amanda Andruzzi, MHP, CHC, from the wife of an addict View the video book trailer:

4:38 am August 1st, 2018

I left an addict at the start of this year. I broke off all contact, because it was the only way I thought I’d be able to move on. In the past (about 4 years worth) we’d go on “breaks”, and continue talking, and the cycle would start all over. Enough is enough. There was no notable progress. Just the same stress, guilt, chaos (always something), disappointment, fear, dread, sadness, lackluster… I still love him, and I still think about him daily. I say that I’m trying to move on. But I think in my heart of hearts I would love him to find me and tell me he’s clean. All those negative feelings I had towards the relationship and yet I still have that fantasy????? 🙁 just had to vent. Today was really hard.

12:01 pm August 16th, 2018

Hi Amanda,
Thank you for this article. I also had my share of being with an addict. I broke up with my ex-boyfriend a week ago because it was way too much for me. We were friends for a long time and eventually became boyfriend/girlfriend. I knew that he was battling with an addiction that most of his friends if not all talk behind his back. I was the only one who understood him at that time and decided to help him. I asked my brother about it and told me to give him a chance and so I did. We would have heart to heart conversations telling me that he wants to get out and that he needed my help. He would tell me when he felt like wanting to do it and all. So I decided to help him. But I slowly noticed that he was abusing the kindness and the care that I have given him. He would make up excuses just to get money out from me. And eventually found out that he was still using drugs. I caught him cheating through a text message recently. When this happened, I had the guts to get out of the relationship. It was a wake up call for me. I thought that I have already wasted 3 years of my life trying to help him because I love him with no success. I’m just lucky enough that his cousin and his cousin’s girlfriend are there for me as my support to do the right thing. To move on with my life. From my experience, it would really help if you have a support group and that’s our friends and family.

Again, thank you Amanda for this wonderful article. I’m sure that this will help those people who are struggling the way that I did.

Amanda Andruzzi
4:05 pm September 17th, 2018

Lisa and Sheila,
It is so hard to move on because when you leave an addict things are always unsettled, there is rarely closure and you always question “what if he gets clean and I missed it?” Right?? But in order to really move on other things have to happen and the work we do has to be internal and external. We have to implement self-love and self-care, find a community of support, friends and people in order to move on with our lives. You may continue to think about that person but as you replace your old behaviors with new ones, meet people who really care, love & fulfill you this will fade.
I thought about my ex for years, just wondering if he was ever going to get better for our child. I was remarried and having more children but for my child I wanted to hope. But any love for him faded quickly because I started to respect myself and when you do that you realize that this person not only took away your self-respect but also your happiness, ability to live and love life and created a world of fear and I just couldn’t love anyone who could do that to me. You will get there.
Amanda Andruzzi, MHP, CHC, AADP,published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the video book trailer:

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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.