Living with a Recovering Drug Addict

Living with a recovering drug addict is one of the hardest things a person can do and yet it is done every day because of one of the simplest and purest reasons there are: love.  Whether it is a child, a sibling, a parent, or a spouse, people live with recovering drug addicts and the pros and cons of that on a daily basis.

recovering drug addict 300x199 Living with a Recovering Drug AddictEveryone makes mistakes.  Drug addiction is controlling and a person’s mistake becomes a situation that they no longer have control over.  Yet, not only is the drug addict affected, their loved ones are affected as well.  That is why there are support groups for families and the drug addicts themselves; because drug addiction is truly a family problem.

Living with a recovering drug addict has its share of moments that are similar to those when the addict was using.  You wake up each morning wondering if something will happen, yet when the addict’s recovery is real and successful, you also live with the hope and faith that should a possible relapse present itself, the drug addict has the tools to overcome the cravings and urgings that are brought on at that time.  Not only that, but hopefully those living with the recovering drug addict also have the support and tools to work with.

Sometimes the fallout of a drug addiction is long term. It could have hit the family financially, it definitely hit the family emotionally, and quite possibly, it affected them physically as well.  Once again, a little four-letter word that has more power than any other word in any language can take over and help: love.  No, living with a recovering drug addict is not easy but it can be done.

Helping Beat Addiction 150x150 Living with a Recovering Drug AddictSomething that should be seriously addressed directly with those living with a recovering drug addict is to stay sober and clean as well.  You cannot expect John to refrain from alcohol if you keep beer and liquor in the house.  You cannot expect Brent to stay clean if you keep your own little supply of pot or cocaine around for special occasions.  Get real.  The entire family has to commit to recovery in order for it to work.

Living with a drug addict can be stressful. Living with a recovering drug addict means that you should help lessen their stress at least during the first few months after treatment while they ready themselves with the tools and support they need to avoid a relapse.  Do not expect them to be perfect when they get out of rehab.  Give them time to adjust.  In the end, the ones living with the recovering drug addict will benefit just as much as the addict does.

By Nick Hayes

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Article by Nick Hayes

Nick Hayes is a graduate of the Narconon drug rehab program in 2005. Nick takes much enjoyment in writing, and feels there needs to be more information about drugs and alcohol provided to the people of the world. He believes nobody should have to go through an addiction.
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87 Comments

  1. Khutchins says:

    All of these posts have been tremendously helpful. I read yours and it seems to be alot like my situation. I don’t know what to do…my boyfriend has had a checkered past with drug use…basically using whatever he could get his hands on to get high at the moment. This ranges from weed, to pills, to smoking opiates and crack, to IV heroin. When i met him he was clean, but soon into our relationship he relapsed…the relapse started out small, then grew into an everyday habit. After months of him lying, stealing my money, stealing my belongings, and car to get a high he entered himself into detox, and then outpatient rehab. Things (concerning his drug use) were good. He was really into recovery, goint to meetings, showing up for counseling, the whole 9. He was clean for 70 days, and then day 71 he slipped up and used again. Throughout his 70 days sober, i noticed a progressive change in his personality. He used to be so caring, and loving, and i could do no wrong. Once he got clean it was like he had done a 180, something was always making him mad, it was always blamed on me, and there was nothing i could do right. He would relentlessley critisize me from the way i talked, to the way i did the dishes. It was hell for me, but i kept trying to tell myself that this was a sensitive time for him, and things would change. It got worse, and last friday night he got drunk, stole my car, my money, my bank card, and spend almost $700 of his paycheck buying coke and crack. He didn’t come home that night, didn’t go to work the next morning, and when I did finally see him he decided he needed to be in an INpatient program. He said he needed to relapse in order to get help. He is currently in detox, and awating the start of his 28days Inpatient. I hope this helps him, but i don;t know what to do when he comes back home? I miss him terribly, but a part of me is relieved he is gone because he was a huge source of my stress. I am so afraid that it will be the same thing when he comes back. Is this normal (the personality change)? Why does it happen? How should I deal with it?  Any input would help. Love to know how things worked out for some of you that had posted in the past as well!

  2. Flashbacforever says:

    Dear tired mom
    I am feeling ur pain…as I am in that boat today, now that it’s 1year past…how is your son doing? I will be applying the same method that you have….I am so afraid of the unknown.

    GodWHY?

  3. Y3shel says:

    I stumbled on this site looking for a gift for someone in detox. I’m so touched by your experience. I’ve been in a relationship (not married) with this man for 3 years, I love him darely, he used heroine for most of his life. When he was only a child, a teenager his uncle (now deseased) showed him how to use heroine. (This infuriates me so much) He was married has a daughter a loving and caring wife who stood by him through all his struggles. When he wouldn’t get help after many years, she gave up, understanably, filed for devorce and saved herself and her daughter. He got help eventually after hitting rock bottom. He’s been clean for almost 5 years, but recently had a relapse. Like Italia said which seem so self evident, they can’t handle stress and it’s so scary. He found himself with more bills than normal and no way to deal with it at that moment. I started noticing some difference in his behavior. He had told me before all about his past with using. So no doubt my mind is going back to everything he’d been through before. I am really hurting, and Im afraid, very afraid. He came to me at work and told me he can’t go on like this,he checked himself into detox and has been there for 4 days now, all I want is for him to get well, I feel like it’s going to be a struggle, I prayed for him time and again, I’m just wondering….what now? what happens when he comes out, Im hoping for the best with all my heart, but I’m scared.
    Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Please tell me what to expect, what to say, what not to say or do. Please thank you in advance.

  4. Duckjm17 says:

    It sucks his family is trying to beat you guys to death with that idea..however,if you don’t use,then there’s no real reason as to why you shouldn’t be together.If you are a user as well,that could go either way if you’re both committed to getting clean! I was friends with my current gf for about 4 yrs and once we both got clean we starting dating and she’s been one of the best things to ever happen to me,she was/is so helpful and supportive of me,even when she was going through the same problem..we have been together for about 1 yr.and 4 mos. still going strong and still clean.

  5. Duckjm17 says:

    clearly you’re the one who never experienced the ‘actual’ addiction to a substance..There are many reasons as to why people begin using and many are judged too harshly for it! Regardless of the reason why they started,the fact is they’re addicted NOW and need the proper treatment to get back on track,everybody makes mistakes..Unless you’ve been through exactly what someone else has been through you can’t judge them! 

  6. Hey Lindsey – Communication and being honest and straight has also been and will alway be very successful.  Communicate together as a couple, keep honest with one another, you will notice you will continue to share the same realities, and will build a stronger afinity for each other and have strong communication.  It is really about creating your realtionship together, sharing the same goals and overcoming challenges together, look at it like a game. Ask each other what is needed and wanted from each other, write it down if you have to, but you will see by doing this what it is the both of you will need and want in life and from each other.

  7. Great job at making it work!

  8. Guida Rachel says:

    I am pregnant 8 months was thrown out of inlays house because of anger and drug issues that my baby’s dad has meanwhile the parents provide him with these pills. I am totally convinced he will not recover with these pills so redilly accessible. He tested positive at probation and is in jail, when he gets out is going back into this environment beneficial to him. I’m being made out to look like the bad one because of this opinion,?? This is very frustrating and I do not know what to do anymore!

  9. Guida Rachel says:

    Yes it is spiritual warfare which I am not strong enough or wAnt to fight. I agree with you it is generational curses. I am dealing for a year, am pregnant but am done. I can’t do this anymore, you are so right! Most just switch to a different drug and go figure I’m an herbalist lol. Being unequally yoked is my situation and I see the damage children grow up with because of this.!!!!

  10. Nick says:

    I have been an addict for the past 3 years of my life. Not to drugs but to video games. I ignored everything in my life and used them to get away. I was able to hide it very easily from my girlfriend of 8 years. I would hide it from her out of embarrassment, denial, and because I thought I could fix it myself. 

    One month ago something in me clicked, and I was given the courage to end my destructive habit. I started by telling my girlfriend. She was very supportive of me and said she loved me and would help me through this. 

    Over the past month I have learnt more about myself then I have had in my entire life and I’m going on my 2nd week of not touching a game. I’m not saying I’m better yet. I know I still have lots of work to do but I feel as though I can do it. 

    Despite this positivity my girlfriend just told me that she has been feeling weird, guilty, and sad for the past few days. She doesn’t know if she can stay with me given the fact that I have lied to her so much in the past when I was addicted. I don’t know what to do. She is holding me for things that I couldn’t even be truthful to myself about, how was I supposed to be truthful to her?

    I’m trying to stay strong, but  I find myself crying so much. I cry every time I think of my life without her and I’m hoping with all my heart that when she does realize what she wants, that it will be a life with me.

  11. Nikki says:

    I googled maintaining a relationship with a recovering addict…. I have been with my boyfriend for a little over three years, and today he broke up with me. When we first got together he was not using his drug of choice but was drinking but in moderation and only in social settings, however he told me he had a problem with drugs in the past… For a year he was not using, and then the second year he messed up a dozen or so times throughout the year, then the third year he was using as much as he could, I put up with so much and I stayed strong as best as I could and i was supportive, I loved him unconditionally and he chose to check himself into rehab this past November, after detox and a 20 day facility he transferred to a 6 month program at a sober house. He wasn’t allowed to use the phone at all for 30 days and only allowed visits on weekend for only a couple of hours and u drove every weekend 40 minutes to go see him and bring him what little money I had, I struggled at home without him emotionally and financially but managed to keep a brave face in front of him so he wouldn’t feel overwhelmed and I got back on anti depressants to help me cope, I’ve slays struggled with depression and anxiety… Anyway in January he was able to start sleeping home for the weekends and then he started back at work so he could visit for an hour here and there during the week, I noticed he was being distant and I tried not to question him but he stopped being thoughtful and forgot our three year anniversary, we have had several fights and arguments and each time resulted in that he is trying to be what I need him to be but was struggling then today was the same thing, and he called me from work and told me that this wasn’t working and he couldn’t do it anymore he couldn’t give me what I needed right now and he wasn’t sure if I am the one, but that he doesn’t know what he wants but says he does love me bit he’s not sure if he’s fallen out of love with me, he’s confused and he doesn’t want to hurt me more than he already has. I’m so incredibly heartbroken and I need to know if anyone can relate and if I should try to just move on or if I should wait until he figures out what he wants once he finishes finding himself…. I feel so lost, I thought once he got clean we would be better than ever but now it’s worse, I’m positive he’s the one I want to marry and have a family with, I’m 27 & he is 28 so it’s not like we are kids anymore… What do I do?

  12. Very Well Done!!  It is great to hear news like this that will help to insire others. 

  13. I understand what you are saying, and thank you for sharing this.  Has your husband been back to treatment, what has been happening lately? 

  14. Thank you for sharing this.  What has been happening in the past six months?

  15. I can understand completely what you are saying.  Tell me a little more?

  16. Thank you for sharing your story and staying dedicated to your wife!

  17. Thank you for responding.

  18. Thank you for sharing and offering support.

  19. Thank you for sharing this, his he still in detox/treatment?  If not, please call one of our counsellors, they can provide some more information.  Treatment is the best solution, now that he is detoxed we can start teaching him how to deal with stress and handle the reasons why.  let me know what you think?

  20. I hear what you are saying, thanks for responding.

  21. Thank you for posting this, and providing support, and sharing your experiences and advice.

  22. Crystal says:

    I know exactly how you feel..I have been with my Fiance for a lil over 2 yrs and we have been struggeling over a year with all of this..I have stood by his side and encouraged  him to get help..(he has had this problem since HS he is now 24)  Everyone turned the blind eye on him hoping it would go away never getting him help or adressing the situation…I did hear within the first few months that he used (but I had no clue to what degree) And when he was around me I couldnt tell he was using (but then again I was never around someone using so I didnt know the signs)We were extremely happy the 1st year now that his addiction is out  in the open we are only focused on HIM theres no us anymore..His mom actually said this is his time..he needs to focus on him..I asked him if he could attend Tues n Thur AA meetings in the AM so I could see him during the week not on just weekends while he is laied off of work and he refuses telling me he likes the evening meetings better so he expects me to wait until late at night when hes done with them to come see me for 2 hrs in which his mom calls him within the first hour hes there saying he needs to come home. Mind you I have to get up and go to work.( Just in case you are wondering I am not a drug user nor was I ever in my life!) His mom blames me for his relapse before because I broke up with him (my feelings dont matter) she actually told me I need to learn how to stop fighting with him! I am the only person that has made his addiction come to light and encourage him to get help..His parents were mad that he wanted to go to rehab instead of work?? He has been living there with his parents for 4 months now and they still have alcohol in the house and drink around him. when he first went and got help I heard he was going to the bar drinking evem before he went to an AA meeting and when I told his mom that he shouldnt do that either cause he might replace the drugs with alcohol she said Hes never had much of a drinking problem!!! I have skipped work to spy on him lied to ppl about his addiction not 1 person in my family knows but Im considered the evil B*tch in his because I wanna still be in his life Im damned if I do Damned if I dont His mom says she dont think we should break up in fear of him relapsing…but he does need space! I cant take much more! My heart goes out to all of you..Im not sure were my path will lead me but I can only hope this will get better! I could go on and on but I tried to sum it up a lil so ppl dont get bored with reading.

  23. Crystal says:

    So lost and empty inside without my love ):…I have been with my Fiance for a lil over 2 yrs and we have been struggeling over a year with all of this..I have stood by his side and encouraged him to get help..(he has had this problem since HS he is now 24) Everyone turned the blind eye on him hoping it would go away never getting him help or adressing the situation…I did hear within the first few months we were dating that he used (but I had no clue to what degree) And when he was around me I couldnt tell he was using (but then again I was never around someone using so I didnt know the signs)We were extremely happy the 1st year now that his addiction is out in the open we are only focused on HIM theres no us anymore..His mom actually said this is his time..he needs to focus on him..I asked him if he could attend Tues n Thur AA meetings in the AM so I could see him during the week not on just weekends while he is laied off of work and he refuses telling me he likes the evening meetings better so he expects me to wait until late at night when hes done with them to come see me for 2 hrs in which his mom calls him within the first hour hes there saying he needs to come home. Mind you I have to get up and go to work.( Just in case you are wondering I am not a drug user nor was I ever in my life!) His mom blames me for his relapse before because I broke up with him (my feelings dont matter) she actually told me I need to learn how to stop fighting with him! I am the only person that has made his addiction come to light and encourage him to get help..His parents were mad that he wanted to go to rehab instead of work?? He has been living there with his parents for 4 months now and they still have alcohol in the house and drink around him. when he first went and got help I heard he was going to the bar drinking (even before he went to an AA meeting) and when I told his mom that he shouldnt do that either cause he might replace the drugs with alcohol she said Hes never had much of a drinking problem!!! I have skipped work to spy on him lied to ppl about his addiction not 1 person in my family knows but Im considered the evil B*tch in his because I wanna still be in his life Im damned if I do Damned if I dont His mom says she dont think we should break up in fear of him relapsing…but says he does need space! I cant take much more! My heart goes out to all of you..Im not sure were my path will lead me but I can only hope this will get better! I could go on and on but I tried to sum it up a lil so maybe someone will read this with some advice..I can use any kind!!!

  24. narconontr says:

    Crystal, thank you for sharing this with us. I can understand the situation that you are in, I know you are finding it difficult to create the relationship you want with him. There are so many outside influences and his drug addiction has taken hold. He really needs to get into rehab, this is the only real solution. I know you care for him and maybe love him; one thing that holds true is, you do not have to like what he is doing. If you look at things along that line, you may find it easier to take a harder approach to get him some help and potentially rediscover the relationship you once had with him.

  25. narconontr says:

    Thank you for responding, I am very happy to hear is getting better. Keep supporting him, especially his health, vitamin regiments, exercise, continual support through his meetings. Even if he can start picking up new hobbies, a new purpose for things; start creating something around him. With newly discovered purposes, a person can keep looking forward and feel a huge sense of accomplishment. Keep in touch, and let us know how we can help.

  26. narconontr says:

    I understand the situation you are in right now and it is a very tough one, as you love your son very much. It is hard to watch what he is doing, and I am sure you do not like what he is doing. Has he ever reached for help before, talked about help, has there ever been a time where he has mentioned wanting to stop? Intervention is an idea, getting a treatment center lined up and ready to go the second he says he wants out. Get back to me when you can.

  27. narconontr says:

    Thank you for the comment, I understand the approach you are looking and i can be effective. The uncertainty about people using drugs requires so many different approaches to help them, and I appreciate you sharing this particular one.

  28. narconontr says:

    Thanks for the comment. He really has to take full responsibility for this himself, the more you want to watch out for him and look for those signs if he is using; it really is telling him its ok to stay in the position he is in now.
    The meetings are good to talk about the issues, but unless he gets to the real reasons why and gives himself more abilities in life, you will continue to feel the way you are feeling now. You can not take responsibility for his condition in life. I know you care for him, but he has to do a lot of this himself.

  29. jay f says:

    I have lived with my girlfriend for the past year, an she just got out of detox two weeks ago.I am trying to be very supportive to her recovery,but I have noticed some of the same signs from when she was using. She was on adderal which she had a seizure from an other pain meds. She says she hasn’t taken anything but it’s hard to believe anything from all the lying from before. She hasn’t been sleeping much an picking her skin apart which I noticed slot when she took to much aderal. Is this normal after detoxing. I just sound accusing when I ask her

  30. Tubabad says:

    Hello, 

    Two days ago, I learned that my partner is a alcohol and drug addict.  I found out that he has been using for years and has been able to hide it from everyone.  Friends and family are flabbergasted… left field.  It explains a lot of his behavior over the last four months or so.  Upon starting a new job, I assumed it was a high amount of stress.  I love him so much; he left for rehab today for the next 30 days.  The way things have been, I’m not even sure we’ll survive… it seems like he is pushing me away, before he got help.  And to an extent, I’m not sure if I should stay.  I feel so much pain because I know his true nature is a beautiful soul and I’m willing to do my part with his recovery.  Things have been so bad for the last 7 months or so.  I’m so glad he is in rehab, I’m fearful of the near future about whether, he’ll succeed and whether or not we’ll last.  Does anyone have any insight?

  31. in so much pain says:

    My husband is a drug addict.  He injects opioids.  I found out over a year ago and he told me that he was getting clean and was almost there and was going to do it for us and for our 2 little boys.  I believed him and went through a devastating detox period with him.  Now over a year later, I find out that he never gave up drugs and now has added dipping snuff into the mix.  I feel so much pain that I can’t even put into words what I am going through.  The lies, the broken trust, the drug and added tobacco use was more than I realized.  I want to leave so bad because I can’t believe that someone could hurt someone that they claim to love so so much.  I have no one to talk to and no one to ask for help.  I know that he still loves me and desperately wants to save our marriage, but I simply don’t think I can trust him.  I have agreed to let him stay for 30 days and have told him that I would help him get over his addiction.  He wants to stop, but somehow cannot.  I told him to call me if he feels the need to use or has used and just wants to tell someone.  I feel like I am giving all I can to someone who is underserving of my love, energy and compassion.  I pretend to be supportive and strong so that he won’t be stressed and want to use, but inside I am dying quickly.  I am drowning in my pain and don’t know if I can do this.  I cry at night when everyone is asleep so that no one knows the pain that I am in. During the day I put on a happy face for my boys and a strong face for him. I know I need to do this for my kids, but where do I stand?  I hate him so much for doing this to me and our family.  He had EVERYTHING and chooses to throw it away. For what? I don’t know.

  32. Ashs04 says:

    Hi Nick I have never posted anything but I am desperate. My 26 year old son has been at Narconon since June 5th and is getting ready to come home mid October. His father wants him to go to a halfway house to live does not want him home. I am torn scared to death and don’t know where to turn. He has been using since he was 15, has a lot of anxiety and I question bi-polar
    ADD for sure so I was thinking since he has been clean June 5th it would be a good time to have him evaluated by a dual diagnosis psychiatrist or psychologist however I don’t want a psychiatrist to prescribe drugs. I really don’t know what to do.

  33. Amanda says:

    I am frustrated with these rehabs, they call us enablers and co-dependent, but then they let him smoke cigarettes and sit in circles talking about his feelings while I’m out working. “He needs to focus on his recovery” how about this, it is that sort of selfish thinking that got him here and after the hell I’ve been through since I got that phone call ” he is in county jail” I’m supposed to baby him? These addicts need to quit being baby’s and go get a job, it is us wives who deserve
    to sit around talking about feelings, while these guys go to work and put money on the books and make call after call. They are selfish. We are not to blame.

  34. jamie says:

    I’ve been married for 8 years, 4 months ago I file for divorce. It wasn’t until after are temporary orders had been written that my husband told me of his addiction. I found out that he had been using meth throughout our entire marriage and over the last year was using it multiple times a day. we have two girls the youngest one isn’t even a year old yet. I filed for divorce because my husband was seen his best friend’s ex, he moved out of the house and spent all of his time with her he rarely saw the kids, or even talk to our 7 year old. The baby didnt know who he was for the first 7 months of her life. I have let him come back into the house 3 times since I found out. I’m having trouble this time even trying to love him again we have 2 kids and if it weren’t for them I don’t think I’d be trying. he says he wants to stay clea., but he keeps slipping and using again. His family is suportive and everyone wants him to get better but he refuses to go to rehab or counseling for the diction. and the last time he slipped he broke into our house and stole his daughters TV. she knew he took it and was scared to sleep in the house for weeks after he’s apologized and while we don’t have the financial means to replace the TV, he is back living with us. do two choices he made during the last year he doesn’t have a car or valid drivers license he just got a job and I’m worried that access to money will cause a relapse. I am on disability so him contrubiting would really help, but i I am having trouble being supportive of the new job. its a serving position so he will have cash daily. I’m just not sure what to do how to make myself care about him like I used to I want my girls to grow up with a loving father.

  35. Tia says:

    Ive been dating my boyfriend for almost a year until I figured out that he’s a drug addict. After few months he told me that he quit taking drugs. I believed him and then one day I kept trying to call him without an answer so I called his mum she said that he was taken to a detox and then moving to a rehab. I was in a shock because I didnt even know he was using any sort of drugs! Its been a month now and he’s coming for a visit im supposed to see him and ive no clue what to do. I love him so much that I cant take life without him but I also cant forget all what he has done and the lies he has said. Im not sure if I can blame him for anything or to stay away from blaming him on anything. Im still thinking if I will be able to live with a recovering addict. Since we’re not married yet so I have my time to think.. I wanted to have a good life but mow im not sure if this want can be accomplished with a recovering addict. Please help me I do need help. Im devastated. I cant see lif without him but Im also in a severe pain. Thank u..

  36. I’ve been a addict on prescription meds for 15 yrs!! Been with my boyfriend for 12 years!! I am to blame for sooo much butt… Can we get through this??? I’m cursed with my past, he brings it up daily!! I’m now on suboxone and he doesn’t understand that this drug saved me!!! I’m scared that the mental abuse is way beyond!! Any advice ?? Help me

  37. Nick Hayes says:

    Hello there, in any situation like this sometimes the best course of action is you and your boyfriend going to some group counseling or couples counseling. Group counseling or meetings will give some good reality to your boyfriend about what you are going through, and also provide support for both of you. these steps help in bringing a complete understanding of addiction to those whom have never been through it. This will also allow you to be around others whom can help you express the things you want to say. This can also lead you to taking steps with your doctor to weaning off the suboxone and being totally drug free!

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