10 Painfully Honest Things You Must Know About Loving An Addict

It's hard to watch the person you love lose to addiction.

Depressed woman Casarsa | Canva 

I've never been in a relationship with an addict, yet I still felt entitled to form an opinion about it when it comes to celebrity couples and their open fights with addiction. (It's nearly impossible not to have an opinion because we’re a species that loves to put everything in its properly defined box.) But what would it be like if we extended compassion, rather than shame or judgment to those who stand by their addicted partner?


“The Non-Tolerators” like myself, would have to broaden our minds in order to understand what it would be like in the situation. Consider the why behind the choice to stay rather than hyper-focus on the reasons why we would NEVER put up with that. “The One More Chancers” would think twice about rooting for the addict and wishing for the fairytale ending — they’d think about the one that stands beside the addict and suffers in silence. “The believers” that hold strong religious convictions, would open their hearts to other possibilities, rather than simply sticking with their rigid thinking about "the right thing to do." 


There’s actually A TON that we don’t know when it comes to why partners stay with struggling partners.

Here are 10 painfully honest things you must know about loving an addict:

1. They suffer at times more than their addicted partner.

 Just imagine having to watch your one-and-only repeatedly self-sabotage.



RELATED: I Was Homeless, On Drugs, And Desperate — Until This Place Saved My Life


2. Addictions are progressive — they don’t happen overnight.

This gives 'stayers' the ability to build a tolerance to the loads of lies they have to take in.  

3. Being married to an addict is very lonely.

You get passed up for your partner’s drug of choice all the time, and after a while people stop wanting to talk about it.

4. Religious convictions riddle them with guilt.

What does “in sickness and health really mean?”

RELATED: The Painful Agony Of Being Married To A Drug Addict

5. Yes, they do worry about the poor parental role modeling taking place, a lot.

No one wants to watch their own kids repeat the same mistakes they did.


6. They’re scared that their partner won’t survive if they leave.

This leaves them feeling stuck either way. It makes them feel like they have to stay, even if the relationship is unhealthy.

7. The thought of separating and the inability to protect their children 100 percent of the time terrifies them.

Parents can only protect their children from so much of the world.

RELATED: I Grew Up With Addicted Parents, And Even The Smallest Things Can Trigger My PTSD

8. For most, this is the only life they have ever known.

Typically, a child raised by a parent who's an addict will marry an addict.



9. They're financially freaked out.

They don't want their partner to keep spending their money on drugs.


10. They're in love with a partner that happens to be in love with a substance.

They have to watch their partner choose their addiction over them.

Now hopefully the next time we see a scenario like this play out with someone we care about, we can take a step back and view their situation with a less critical eye. 

Drug and alcohol addiction is incredibly common.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that approximately 20.3 million people above the age of 12 have suffered from a substance use disorder in the past year. According to SAMHSA’s 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, close to 2 million people of the same age bracket have suffered from opioid use disorders and 14.8 million from alcohol use disorders.


Misusing alcohol and other drugs can be detrimental to your immediate and long-term physical, emotional, and mental health.

Alcohol and drug addiction is something to take seriously, although often overlooked. Anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender can suffer from alcohol and drug addiction.

Recovering from an addiction is more than just abstaining from drugs or alcohol. It’s about investigating the internal framework of your brain, rewiring your thought patterns, and actively changing behaviors over a long period of time.

If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, there are resources to get help.


The process of recovery is not linear, but the first step to getting better is asking for help. For more information, referrals to local treatment facilities and support groups, and relevant links, visit SAMHSA’s website. If you’d like to join a recovery support group, you can locate the nearest Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings near you. Or you can call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-799-7233, which is a free 24/7 confidential information service in both English and Spanish. For TTY, or if you’re unable to speak safely, call 1-800-487-4889.

RELATED: 6 Key Signs Of Addictive Behavior

Jessica M. Miller is a relationship, personal development, and motivational coach. She's the author of Back 2 Love and How to Start a Mental Health Private Practice.