It has been said again and again that drugs ruin relationships and dating an addict can never be healthy. Being in a relationship with a drug addict is a daunting and emotionally draining experience. It is characterized by the constant hope that things will change for the better, but that hope does not always yield the results one may seek. The addict is usually struggling so much with their own battle that they just can’t devote any energy to the relationship.
As Fredrik Backman puts it, “Addicts are addicted to their drugs, and their families are addicted to hope.”
Now, ask yourself. Can that really ever end well? As lonely as such a relationship might feel, there are many others out there going through the same thing. Today we have a story, a lived experience shared by a courageous soul. Maybe she has put your feelings in words, and you might find something to ponder over when you read this account. Thanks to her story, we have a little learning, and a little hope to lend…
How Dating An Addict Ruins Everything
Dating someone with an addiction looks like this on most days: the substance that is being abused often becomes the third party in your relationship and it takes precedence over everything else that happens. The drug in question exercises control over your partner, and consequently, the relationship takes a backseat.
There may be times when you can’t recognize your boyfriend or girlfriend when they are under the influence of drugs. It’s possible that they might even become emotionally and physically abusive. Perhaps you’ve just lost count of the number of times they’ve humiliated you or physically hurt you.
However, trying to end a relationship with a drug addict generates a tremendous amount of guilt. You want to put yourself first, but leaving them when they are so vulnerable seems completely wrong to you. The relationship is clearly not healthy and you don’t know how to deal with dating an addict at all.
Someone has already been through the motions of what you’re going through. She has faced these dilemmas but she has also overcome them. Here is her story about being in a relationship with a drug addict, which you may perhaps resonate with while also gaining a fresh perspective on where you stand.
Related Reading: 8 Ways You Can Help Your Partner Get Over Drug Addiction
Dating a drug addict was a horrible phase of my life…
(As told to Raksha Bharadia)
While most couples spend the first few weeks of their relationship being wooed by their significant other with chocolates and flowers, I spent mine watching my boyfriend get higher than the Burj Khalifa. This was definitely not how I pictured the ‘honeymoon phase‘ to go in my relationship. But I was dating an addict. So I’m not sure I should have really expected much better.
A lot of people say that those who abuse drugs are two completely different people rolled into one — the intolerable one in a drug-induced haze, and the sober, apologetic one. My experience has been that the two share more similarities than one would like to believe. Yes, it’s true.
For instance, the ‘high’ self that acts on every whimsical, socially inappropriate impulse due to a lack of self-control is much like the sober self that can’t help himself from waking up and doing a line or taking another hit. They’re inextricably linked with and to each other, and believing otherwise is just self-consolation. Drugs ruin relationships, as well as the person you’re dating. There is no nicer way to put it.
The fact that my boyfriend abused drugs was something I had underestimated early on. It had a much greater impact on us than I can describe. At one point I was convinced that I was in a toxic relationship.
Related Reading: 5 Ways Drug Addiction Affects Relationships
It all boils down to the kind of person he is
The bigger problem was never really the drugs in his life — it was more about what his addiction said about him. When it boiled right down to it, whether high or sober, he was an unambitious and directionless person. He was unbothered by the ground reality of everyday life, and in a sense, he refused to grow up at all. For how long did he think that his lifestyle was sustainable?
I kept trying to inculcate some sort of accountability in him but it was all in vain. He had all the signs I was dating a drug addict but I still convinced myself that I could perhaps change him or help him. Back then I used to wonder whether I was perhaps going wrong, and maybe I was explaining things to him incorrectly. I questioned myself a lot in this toxic relationship. I now know that was not the case. It took time to tell myself, “My boyfriend is a drug addict and he is responsible for his choices. It is not my responsibility to fix him.”
People often ask me how to deal with dating an addict, and I usually say: you can’t. You should be dealing with your own inhibitions and complexes before moving on to focus on him or your relationship. Pay greater attention to yourself, because doing otherwise will yield nothing really.
For once, I asked, what am I doing with my life?
Honestly, he did very little to challenge me, which truly stunted my personal growth. His erratic personality fueled by narcotics made him an extremely unstable, emotional support system. The fundamentals of support in a relationship just did not exist for us. Upon further reflection, it seemed like the only reason this stagnant relationship saw any light of another day was due to my dependency on him. He hardly had any redeeming qualities about him at all.
So why did I stay through the countless dates disturbed by calls from his drug dealer? Or through the many sleepless nights which I spent being worrying about his safety? Why did I continue dating something with addiction issues?
For the same reason people continue to pump resources into a dying business; it’s hard to forgo the time already invested, which in my case was coupled with unrealistic hope. It gets even harder to shut shop as more time passes because the efforts invested just increase. It’s a scary, vicious cycle to be a part of, even if it’s evident that the relationship is over. Breaking up with a drug addict requires introspection and asking yourself, “What am I doing with my life?”
Related Reading: How To Know When A Relationship Is Over? 25 Signs That Indicate So
There was a tug of war inside me
I have always been a strong believer that when it comes to human beings, there is a constant battle that rages within us, between the impulsive child and the logical adult. So while my boyfriend’s constant drug intake tempted the child in me many times, his selfish behavior appealed much more to my rational self.
He had no self-control and that angered me a lot. I felt like I was putting in so much work to make him better, while he couldn’t keep his hands off a joint.
I have to admit that his constant insistence that I try this ‘enlightening’ recreational activity almost persuaded the curious, instinctive child in me. But then, witnessing him prioritize the ‘high’ over his academic workload or his responsibility to his family and friends only made me surer that I would be happier finding ‘enlightenment’ through yoga, meditation, or our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The last straw, breaking up with an addict you love
I distinctly remember a poignant night in my life, and of our relationship. This was just before his final exams were about to commence, and this was a rather important set of exams as he was on academic probation. Failing these would lead to his expulsion from the university. While most students would spend hours making flashcards or testing themselves, I was surprised to find him popping some Xanax and simply hoping for the best. No need to look for any more signs you are dating an addict. It’s as obvious as it can be.
I was flabbergasted at his casual approach. He simply didn’t care, not just about anything else, but even his own self. While I understand that addiction is a serious sickness, his lack of willingness to even try was such a relationship deal-breaker for me.
It was at that moment that I decided our journey together was over. I was done dating an addict who neither respected me nor himself. I could not keep putting myself through this anymore. It also hit me that I had to be realistic about where this relationship was going. Could there be any future with a drug addict boyfriend? I should’ve known a long time ago that the answer to that question is a big “No”.
Breaking up with an addict you love is hard, but it has to be done. Ending a relationship with a drug addict is the final step when you have to choose between him and you. When people wonder and ask me why I never got around to trying drugs, the answer really is very simple and obvious — it’s because of him. I have experienced first hand the pains of being in a relationship with an addict and I could never do to someone what he did to me.