Updated on February 6, 2024
7 min read

What to Expect When You Love a Drug Addict

Key Takeaways

Being in love with a drug addict is difficult. For many people, drug addiction is enough to end a relationship. 

If you also struggle with addiction, it exacerbates the problem. Two drug addicts in love isn’t a healthy relationship, even if they adore each other.

Domestic violence is common in relationships that involve addiction. Often you’ll need to enter counseling or conduct an intervention for a loved one struggling with addiction.

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Can a Drug Addict Love You Back?

No, at least not in a healthy way while the addiction is active. An active drug addict might believe they love someone, and at times, they might behave lovingly. But it’s a broken relationship if active addiction is a part of it.

If you’re asking yourself if a drug addict can love, seeking counseling and learning about addiction can be helpful. It’s important to note that many addicts are attracted to people with codependency issues or who are also addicts. 

However, it’s still possible for your partner to recover from their addiction. Many people who recover from addiction live happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives. 


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How Drug Addiction Affects Relationships

Substance abuse affects everyone who cares about the addicted person. If your partner is addicted to drugs, you and their loved ones must deal with it.

Drug addiction often alienates the addict and their loved ones. It can also damage the trust and intimacy of your relationship. People who love addicts tend to feel lonely and isolated. 

Many develop depression and find that their interactions with the addicted person affect their future relationships. 

In some cases, a relationship with an addict can lead to codependency.7 Codependency is an emotional or psychological reliance on a partner who requires support because of an illness or addiction.7

Dangers of Codependency

If you’re in a codependent relationship, it can lead to negative effects like:7

  • Increased risk of developing an addiction
  • Low self-esteem, depression, and other mental health issues
  • Poor health and other physical health consequences
  • Social isolation from other people 
  • Ignoring responsibilities to take care of your partner
  • Neglecting your own needs

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What to Do if You Love a Drug Addict

You can do many things if you love a drug addict to help your loved one and maintain your well-being. For example:

Don’t Enable Your Partner

Enabling your partner means allowing them to continue their destructive behaviors or protecting them from the consequences of their addiction. Although defending your partner is tempting, enabling only delays the inevitable. 

Enabling your partner can worsen their addiction and your relationship. Set boundaries and keep them accountable whenever they abuse substances. 

This means doing things like:

  • Refusing to give them drugs or alcohol
  • Preventing them from having access to drugs or alcohol
  • Not giving them money to buy drugs or alcohol
  • Not cleaning up their messes or covering for them

Hold an Intervention

An intervention is a structured encounter that addresses an addicted person’s issue. You and their loved ones, alongside an addiction specialist, will confront your addicted partner.

During the intervention, you’ll present examples of how their addiction affects them and everyone around them. You’ll also explain what will happen if they refuse to get treatment.

It’s important to remember that interventions aren’t intended to attack or bombard your partner. Instead, it’s an opportunity to be clear and direct about the problem. They’re more likely to seek treatment if they have support from their loved ones.3

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a 12-step peer group support program for people with alcohol use disorder. Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a similar program built on the same 12 steps for people addicted to drugs.

These programs are great for people struggling with alcohol abuse or addiction. They’re also useful for those who have completed comprehensive treatment programs and need something to help them maintain sobriety.

They also provide a community of empathetic and like-minded people. AA and NA are free to attend and require that someone only have the desire to stay sober to participate.

Help Them Find Treatment

One of the best ways you can help an addicted loved one is to assist them in finding an addiction treatment program. If you’re conducting an intervention, show them a few treatment options. 

You can research various treatment options in advance. An addiction specialist can help you find the right treatment for your partner.

Even if you don’t conduct an intervention, you can still approach your loved one with treatment options. Sometimes, a person might want help for an addiction, but they have no idea where to begin or how to find a treatment program.

Join a Support Group 

Support groups are a great option for people who care about someone addicted to drugs or alcohol. They can teach you how to deal with your partner and cope with their addiction.

Al-Anon is one of the most popular support groups for loved ones of alcoholics. Nar-Anon is a similar program for people who have drug-addicted loved ones. 

These support groups offer partners and loved ones of addicts a place to share their experiences. This can help you learn from others who share a similar experience.

Learn When to Let Go

Being in a relationship with an addicted person can be difficult, and there’s no shame in walking away. Especially if leaving your partner might be the best option for both of you.

Talk to a mental health professional to determine the best time to walk away. Knowing when to give up on an addicted person is an important part of understanding addiction.

You can’t take care of your partner by neglecting your personal needs. Taking care of your health and well-being is important.

Treatment Options for An Addicted Loved One

If you’re planning to approach your partner about seeking treatment, you should do your research. Although there is no medical cure for addiction, there are treatment options that could help them.

These include:

Phone, Video, or Live-Chat Support

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Signs Your Loved One is Using Drugs 

There are several ways to tell if a loved one is using drugs, even if that person is dishonest about drug use. 

Physical signs of drug use include:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Enlarged or shrunken pupils
  • Sudden weight gain or loss
  • Unusual-smelling breath or odors on clothing and the body
  • Deteriorating physical appearance and neglect of personal grooming
  • Impaired coordination
  • Tremors
  • Slurred speech

Behavioral signs of drug use include:

  • Poor performance at work or school
  • Lateness or absenteeism
  • Financial challenges that sometimes lead to theft
  • Suspicious or secretive actions
  • Changes in friend groups and other social habits
  • Legal problems

Psychological signs of drug use include:

  • Personality changes
  • Mood swings with angry outbursts and irritability
  • Lack of motivation
  • Periods of unexplained hyperactivity
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia


Being in a relationship with an addicted partner can be difficult. In most cases, addiction is enough to end a relationship.

Staying in a relationship with an addicted person can negatively affect both of you. This includes mental health problems, codependency, or developing an addiction.

Fortunately, there are ways to help an addicted partner and help them recover from their addiction. But it’s important to understand that being in a relationship with an addicted person isn’t healthy.

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Updated on February 6, 2024
7 sources cited
Updated on February 6, 2024

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