Addicted to Addicts? Find Out Why.

“I’m a person just like you, but I’ve got better things to do than sit around and fuck my head or hang out with the living dead.” –Minor Threat

If you’re so against drugs yourself, how is it that you always end up dating addicts? This is a question my friend and I asked ourselves last night. She and I are straight-edge but the guys we’ve attracted in the past have usually been addicted to drugs. If you find yourself in a similar predicament, trapped in a pattern of dating intelligent-stimulating-but-destructive people, explore the reasons below. Maybe one will apply or perhaps several will apply, but nonetheless, the point is to get some insight into yourself so you can broaden the selection of people you date. Here are some reasons you may be addicted to dating addicts:

1. You’re used to this threshold of chaos and drama, and anything less than this isn’t stimulating enough for you. “Normal” relationships and people just don’t hold your attention the way the drama of dating a drug addict does. Which brings me to my next point.

2. You lack emotional maturity. As Rumi once said, “Water seeks its own level.” You equate love with pain and excitement with chaos. Either way, you don’t quite know what you want out of life yet…which is why you’re content settling for addicts.

3. You don’t want real intimacy. If you did, you wouldn’t date an addict, because at least half the time, you’re treated like you aren’t there. Any efforts of yours to help or alleviate what they’re going through are often ignored and your needs are swept under the rug. It’s like you don’t exist, as you try feeding into this black hole of a situation. A person who wants real intimacy wouldn’t stand for this. They would demand more out of their relationships, love, and life.

4. Real intimacy comes with real accountability. Perhaps you can’t handle real intimacy because you don’t want the responsibility it requires to maintain.

5. You’re desensitized to drug addicts. One of the first addicts I dated back when I was twenty years old was a heroin addict. All addicts after that kind of paled in comparison. My brain rationalized their drug use as something that was “more tame”, which I told myself I was equipped to handle.

6. You haven’t met a sober artist you have chemistry with- yet. Speaking from personal experience, there are just a limited amount of sober artists out there. The biggest reason I’ve put up with the crap other addicts I’ve dated put me through is because they were interesting, well-read, creative, artists. If you hang out in those circles you will see how difficult it is to find a “stable” artist. You probably won’t. But you can try finding a sober one, or at least an artist dedicated to their own recovery.

7. You are better at helping others than helping yourself. You’re comfortable with the role of being a “helper”, “healer”, or “fixer”…mainly because it takes the focus of yourself and all the hard work you need to do for your own journey.

There are probably several others explanations as to why you are constantly surrounded by drug addicts despite not being one yourself. I’m curious to hear your perspective. If you wish to submit an article elaborating on either one of these points or offering an explanation on a different point of view, submit your article to partnersofaddicts@gmail.com

How to Confront Cross-Addictions

It can feel like the sun is finally starting to shine when your partner leaves a destructive habit behind. In my case, I was dealing with a meth addict that had a very hard time quitting. Although it may have not been the case, at the time I felt as though I was in as much turmoil as he was, and also desperate for answers and a new way of living in terms of his sobriety.
When my ex suggested we go to the casino across town for a date, I thought nothing of it. In fact, I was more than happy to leave the house. I had begun to feel a bit under the weather because of all the relapses and meth detoxes he was going through that kept us trapped in our apartment complex.

So we sat in his car and took the long drive over to the nearest casino. In Washington, there are three casinos within an hour driving distance from Seattle, all which you can imagine, attract the most broken of the broken in the area.

I hated the way my life was once we entered this “casino phase”, but we had no other answers. Despite me trying to help him in more conventional ways, like therapy and meetings, nothing was working. At some point I think I had just surrendered to his addicted personality and figured we had tried everything else and there was nothing left to do except enjoy the few good moments we had between each other.

So almost every night, even if it was a night on a weekday, my ex and I would sit in his car before we left the apartment complex around midnight, discussing the pros and cons of which casino to visit.

“This one has these machines, but that one has a café,” he’d reason. I’d reluctantly engage in this needlessly tedious conversation, however superficial and hollow it felt. I tried suggesting we stay in and watch a movie instead, but nothing was ever good enough. We couldn’t just stay home and enjoy each other’s company. He was always running from something, and because I was dating him, I found myself running with him too.

The mood on the drive to the casino was always different. Some nights, he liked to play his music loud, drowning out any chance of a possible conversation between us. Other times, he was at ease and able to open up very easily, with the anticipation of casino games just around the corner.
Other times, he was tight-lipped and bothered, impatient for his release.

Upon entering whatever neon-filled casino we arrived to on those weeknights around 1am, we were instantly hit with a heavy cloud of stale cigarette smoke and found ourselves playing musical chairs around the different casino games until the morning.
I hated when we’d go on different machines and then I’d have to look for my then-boyfriend, alone in the casino, with the leery eyes of different crackheads on me at four in the morning. Although I was twenty-four, I already felt like part of this community of the living dead. As I say in my book, “there were the regulars and the newcomers, but they all looked the same if you were standing on the outside.”

I don’t think I was familiar with the phrase “cross-addiction” at the time, which is basically when an addict temporarily halts one addiction in favor of another. It gives us sober people the impression that they’re recovering when they’re really not.
If I had known this is what the gambling thing was, my ex trading in meth for another adrenaline rush, I may have done things differently. As I mention in other posts, hindsight is 20/20. So here’s what YOU can do if you find yourself in a similar predicament:

1. Bring your suspicions of your partner’s cross-addiction to their attention. As human beings, we can all benefit from being called on our shit. Sometimes we do destructive or self-destructive things that we don’t see the ramifications of because we’ve become desensitized to the ways in which we cope. With addicts, being “called on their shit” could go one of two ways. They’re highly likely to deny the severity of what they’re doing, deflecting all accountability to maintain their “high”, but at least they will know that you are onto them and that other people are aware of what they are doing. This can help them STOP or it may prompt them to try and be more secretive/protective of their cross-addiction. If they do the latter, proceed to the following tip.

2. Get them professional help. One addiction is hard enough to heal from… Juggling more than one addiction signifies a highly addictive personality and serious inability to cope with reality. This is something bigger than you that requires professional help.

3. Don’t be fooled into the idea that one addiction is less damaging than the other. At first, I begrudgingly went to the casinos with my ex because I thought it was better than him doing meth, at least in terms of physical bodily damage. But all addictions are destructive and an addict trying to recover shouldn’t be given a pass on a “less harmful one” if they are serious about their recovery. They are just avoiding and/or postponing the hard inner work it takes to heal.

Five Terribly Unhelpful Things You’ll Hear From Others

One of the main reasons I created this site was because I remember how isolated I felt when I was dating my intelligent, handsome, talented, meth-addicted ex. I needed help, you see. I didn’t feel I had the emotional strength in me to help him all on my own, without confiding in a few friends or close family. This is because it was a stressful relationship at times and I needed to vent and get answers about how to deal.

Unfortunately, when you’re dating an addict, people in your inner circle are not likely to understand why you choose to stay with your partner. They may say the following things, which does nothing but make you feel more isolated and undermine your relationship:

1. “Do you not think you can do better?” My ex was a brilliant artist, great friend, smart businessman, amazing lover, and emotionally available and warm. He had amazing traits about him that made it difficult to “cut him off” just because he had a drug problem. People telling me “I could do better” showed they really did not understand my perspective and decision to stay with him at the time. I thought he was amazing because he had a full-time job and was a very sweet, dependable person DESPITE his drug addiction.

2. “Why do you stay with _________?” Comments like this are ignorant, heartless, and contribute to the stigma of addiction. I get it and I agree, drugs suck. But they don’t define a person. And to suggest abandoning a person struggling with a mental health problem or addiction is just cruel in my opinion. I stayed with my ex because I loved him. I didn’t like when people asked “why”.

3. “You should break up with them and let them hit rock bottom.” This could work to quell an addict, but it can also backfire. Either way, it’s not that easy to just walk away from someone you’re truly in love with, especially when they’re struggling.

4. “Why are you doing this to yourself?” Many people get into relationships with addicts and didn’t even know they were using to begin with! Addicts lie! And then we fall in love and get invested and it’s hard to get out, especially when we see all their good qualities. Addicts lie about their use because they know how stigmatized drugs are and they want us to give them a fair chance…This is an explanation, not an excuse. Either way, I’m not doing anything “to myself” by staying, except dating the person I love and wanting to get them help.

5. “You deserve so much better.” No one is perfect. We’ve seen our partner’s flaws and accept them. We’re just trying to learn how to navigate the relationship/life with their particular set of issues.

I wish that more people were educated about addiction so that it isn’t so raw and difficult to discuss. I wish people addressed drug addiction as a mental health condition instead of an example of “poor character”. People that do drugs aren’t necessarily bad. In fact, they may have lots more good traits than the average person, like empathy and creativity. They’re just caught up in a self-destruction cycle and need help getting out.

Lessons I Learned About Relationships From Dating an Addict

Dating my now ex-boyfriend this year was filled with ups and downs, but despite breaking up, I was left with a plethora of insight about relationships in general. The specific issues we dealt with in pursuing his sobriety left me with these lessons:

1. You know the quote “You can’t change anyone, you have to love and accept them for who they are.” This makes sense on the surface, but how can you apply this when your partner is choosing to self-destruct every day and put both of your lives at risk? Unfortunately, this is where it gets complicated. You want to “accept” someone for who they are but set firm boundaries as to what you’ll accept as fair or unreasonable in the relationship.

2. You can’t make your partner out to be the “bad one” in the relationship, even if at the time, their actions are actually terribly irresponsible, selfish, destructive, and even dangerous. You have to see the bigger picture and understand that some years in the relationship, they may be the one struggling, but other years in the relationship, you may be the one “causing problems”. If you shame your partner, it rarely motivates them to change. This is especially true for addicts. You have to choose your words very carefully and call out the behavior, not their character. This is assuming you’re really set on making your relationship work.

3. You need to remember the positive. This can be difficult if you feel there’s always drama or undesirable behavior going on in your relationship, but if you practice being positive, it can help you flourish in other areas of your life as well. Sure, it sucks your partner is an addict. At some point, you have to accept it, leave their recovery in THEIR hands, and move on to other things in the relationship. Don’t get hung up on the things they have yet to work on.

What to Do When Your Partner Ultimately Chooses Drugs Over You


If you’ve ever been in this position, you know how difficult this can feel. You’ve tried giving your best to your partner but at the end of the day, after trying to navigate the incredibly difficult task of encouraging sobriety (even though it may have been at the expense of your time, happiness, and well-being), you still weren’t enough.

Sometimes our partners can and do get sober, and we beam at the role we’ve played in their recovery. Other times, they don’t. Sure, addiction is a lifelong condition, but wellness for an addict (or anyone that struggles with mental illness) is having fewer episodes (or relapses) over time that last with less intensity. What if this doesn’t happen?

The worst case possible happened in my relationship. Not only did I try hanging in there for months while my ex “attempted” to quit meth…he also cheated on me in the process. The most frustrating feeling was the dynamic that played out…Instead of seeing that someone believed in him and wanted the best for his health, he felt hostile…Even though he had come to ME confessing that he was addicted and needing help! Basically, he was unwilling to do much of the work that his healing process would have entailed. I tried being reasonable by acknowledging everyone had their own healing process, but he wasn’t taking advantage of ANY of the resources at his disposal. He was not consistent with his support groups, medication his psychiatrist prescribed him, or scheduling private therapy sessions. Our relationship just became….strained. He later admitted he regretted telling me he was addicted to meth, because in truth, he hadn’t been ready to quit. In fact, his “confession” about using occurred on a particular afternoon where he was really high.

This situation is so tragic that it’s almost comical. Regardless, because he continued using multiple times a day, I felt…completely invaluable to him, and without checking myself, I dealt with severe depression for months afterward.

Since he had cheated while under the influence and probably as a result of what we were going through in our relationship, essentially, he had decided that between me and drugs, meth was something he couldn’t live without. Not me. I was…disposable. Compared to meth.

A cynic at heart, I knew I’d never win this war against his first love (drugs). If I would have known he were using when I first got with him, I wouldn’t have moved in with him.

I get a little sad because I know of couples in which one person struggled with an addiction…yet, with the help of their partner, they got better. Sometimes I stay up nights wondering what I could have done differently. I’ve picked my actions apart and dissected them, hoping to get some insight so that this particular DEEP pain never strikes me again.

After all that’s happened, here’s some advice I’d have for those who are in my position:

1. If you don’t see your partner making significant efforts to help THEMSELVES and it’s occurring at the expense of YOUR well-being, get out as soon as you can. If it’s meant to be, you can always reconnect in the future. But pulling out of the relationship because your partner isn’t carrying their weight is only fair. You know in your heart you can only help them so much with their recovery…but if they aren’t willing to help themselves, you need to move on for YOUR sake. Don’t let curiosity or false hope let you cling on, because a depression that only gets darker awaits you on the other side.

2. Even if you made some “mistakes” on your partner’s journey to recovery, the choice to continue using drugs was up to THEM, not you. Don’t beat yourself up because of what you could have done. You aren’t a trained drug counselor, and even if you were, it would have been impossible to be “objective” in this position because your feelings were involved. Don’t beat yourself up.

3. Be proud of yourself. If you survived being with a drug addict that never quit, here are some things you can be proud of:
the fact that you never got addicted to drugs with them, the fact that you got out of this situation ALIVE, and the fact that you’re a compassionate person who likely tried their best.

The good news is that any relationship after this painful one may feel a whole lot LESS stressful, assuming that you pursue one with a more emotionally healthy individual.

Drugs and Doom

The only way you can date an addict is if you’re fairly positive you can survive this: giving and giving and giving and trying your best and giving all the love and patience you still have, and still risk your partner taking your actions for granted because they aren’t in the frame of mind to be receptive to them and reciprocate. If you feel you are ready to RISK giving your all and have that not be reciprocated, then proceed. You’re not dealing with an emotionally mature or even necessarily sober person, so check to see if your expectations are reasonable.

This hurts. Especially if you love the person. But between choosing drugs or choosing you…well, that’s something you don’t necessarily have any say in. That’s a personal journey your partner is on. It can be agonizing as you yearn for them to throw drugs aside and confess that your love is enough…9/10 times…it’s just not going to happen.

Yes, It feels devastating to love with every inch of your heart only to have that be crushed nonetheless. You will be tested. Your nihilistic fears will confront you. It’s a hard road to navigate, and it’s even harder to navigate alone.

Unlike other posts, this one isn’t chocked with prescriptive advice to keep you going. This one’s a reality check. This is the rough reality you’ve signed up for. Why would anyone willingly do this? To understand dark mutualism and essentially parasitic relationships, visit www.gettinbetter.com.

Four Completely Normal Things That Will Cross Your Mind After You Break Up With an Addict

Break-ups are tough in general, but they can be even more complicated when the person you broke up with was an addict. This is because you can be left with intense feelings of guilt, regret, anger, and sadness for very specific reasons that differ from other relationships. Here are four completely normal things that may plague you after you’ve broken up with an addict.

  1. Intense worry that they may relapse or even die from their drug of choice: It may have been a thought that also crossed your mind when you were together, but now that you have virtually no say in your dynamic, you may experience feelings of complete helplessness as it pertains to your ex’s recovery. You may fear that they may be triggered to use again and this time, more intensely because of the break-up…Or you may feel as though you were the glue that held their sobriety together in the first place and worry what you’re going to do after you’re gone. Don’t let this dread overwhelm you. It’s a natural thought process, but ultimately, the two of you are adults completely responsible for your own lives. Yes, it is scary to think they may do something stupid like overdose because of the stress of a break-up, but that’s out of your control. If it makes you feel better, inform your mutual friends or close friends of theirs after your split so at least you invite other people to help your struggling partner.
  2. Anger, and lots of it: Perhaps in your relationship with this person, months, years, or decades have gone by where you’ve put 150% effort in and hardly got much back. You may have realized how much time you lost investing in a relationship with a person who was incapable of truly reciprocating, so you become angry at yourself. You may feel as though all your efforts to help this person have been completely in vain, which is also disappointing. Use the anger to your advantage…Use it as fuel beneath your wings to soar towards a better opportunity that will provide more satisfaction for yourself.
  3. Depression: Simply put, you felt like you and your love weren’t enough for the other person to quit. This can make you feel down beyond belief and may cause you to question your own self-worth. Read more about this specific concept in my article here.
  4. Regret: Looking back, especially after you’ve been introduced to resources like this that can give you more insight, you may find yourself filled with regrets of things you could have or should have done better. Always remember that hindsight is 20/20 and that you tried your best with what you knew at the time.

Don’t let this break-up completely wreck you. Seek professional help if you feel you can’t get out of this funk on your own, or consider submitting an article sharing your own story to this blog as a therapeutic release.

 

10 Ways to Lift Your Partner’s Spirit Through Their Recovery

  • Suggest a local meeting– Most cities in the U.S. have meetings for recovering addicts. Encourage your partner to attend so that they can meet new people that can relate to them and feel inspired.
  • Get involved in art– Whenever you and your partner have a free afternoon, go to a local art or craft store and stock up on some items. Try allocating a spot in your house where you can just zone out and work on artistic projects together. Having a record player or music player of some sort that plays your favorite music adds on a nice touch.
  • Make your home a relaxing place– Invest in things that relax your partner…candles, scented soaps, relaxing artwork, and new pillows are good places to start.
  • Find a local slice of nature in your area and make it a routine to visit– Make an effort to get out in nature with your partner. It’s free and guaranteed to uplift and inspire the two of you.
  • Begin a workout routine together– Sometimes to kick an old habit, you have to create a new routine. Consider signing up for a gym membership so the two of you can commit to fitness and wellness together.
  • Revisit old passions and hobbies– Ask your partner what his/her passions were growing up. Maybe they had a knack for photography that became buried as their workload increased. Try to make time for old interests the two of you used to have. You never know where this can lead you!
  • Create a bucket list– This is a fun thing to do that gets your partner outside of their head and have things to look forward to in the future other than using.
  • Create a travel fund– Start planning a vacation for next year, even if it’s rather local. Meet your partner’s need for adventure and exploration by booking some tours and really going all out if you can.
  • Bring the romance backSee my article on things you can do if your flame has flickered with your recovering partner.
  • Visit a local spa– Spas aren’t always expensive and they’re almost always relaxing. Get you and your partner a package to the spa to unwind after a stressful work week.
  • The point of doing these things is to literally show your partner that you can find escape and relaxation in other ways other than using drugs.

    Addicts and Lying: Is There Such Thing As An Honest Addict?

    Consider my experience. When I first found out my ex-boyfriend was addicted to meth (something he admitted after four months of being together), I was incredibly on-edge. I wondered what else he had kept from me in that time of being together and what other dishonesty he was capable of. Because I was still madly in love with him, I made him promise me that if I stayed with him, he would at least be honest with me if he ever relapsed. As a non-drug addict, I saw this as a fair compromise at the time. But wow, did that NEVER ONCE go according to plan.

    My experience is not unique. If you’re the sober partner, despite your best attempts of trying to be the calm, receptive person you can be to your addicted partner, often times, they will STILL not confide in you. And after a while, it starts to hurt. Deeply. Why do they still not TRUST you with sharing that aspect of their lives with you after you’ve accepted it but asked for some honesty in return?

    After sharing my story with other’s who have been in my shoes, I’ve come to wonder, is there such thing as an “honest” drug addict? Or are you setting yourself up for heartbreak with the constant lying that often accompanies addiction?

    I’m currently seeking articles to publish on this topic, so if you have a story or article you’d like to share, please send to partnersofaddicts@gmail.com. Review the submissions page for more information. Your contribution is valuable!

    3 Tips on Rebuilding the Romance With Your Addicted Partner

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    If you’ve ever been with an addict, you know that if they ever have an extra $40 in their wallet, that money’s pretty much guaranteed to go into feeding their addiction instead of taking you out, buying you little gifts, or putting it into your savings.

    It feels awful, and rightfully so. Not only are you trying the best you can to be a supportive spouse, but it seems like you aren’t getting much back in return. The relationship, in more ways than just this little financial example, is starting to feel like you’re giving 150% while they’re giving it 50%.

    Undoubtedly, this will make it difficult, if not impossible at times, to feel “romantic”. No one likes to feel like they’re taken for granted or putting more work in than the other partner, even if this isn’t necessarily the case.

    Here are three things you can do to try and bring back the romance while your partner is still on their journey from recovering from drugs:

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    1. Try low-budget activities that involve spending quality time out in nature. Hiking, riding bikes, or even just packing a picnic out are all great ideas. Being outdoors in an environment of your choice can bring you much needed comfort, relaxation, and inspiration that will undoubtedly add fuel to the fire as it comes to romance. The memories you two share and nature can bring a welcome, therapeutic change to your dynamic and can ultimately ground you two so that you’re reconnected to what’s important in life (love).
    2. Try not to take your partner’s behavior personally. I write “try” because it can be very difficult at times…or even if you acknowledge their behavior isn’t personal, it may be hard to accept it. But encouraging yourself to give them the benefit of the doubt and trying to see the things they do for you instead of all the things they don’t do can be a great remedy on your quest to bring back the romance.
    3. Take a trip down memory lane. Read old love letters to each other, listen to records that remind the two of you of simpler times, watch movies you saw together at the beginning of your courtship, spend time with friends you haven’t seen in a while…This may bring up lots of emotions, but it will definitely reconnect the two of you to why and how you fell in love in the first place.