How Drug Addiction Affects Relationships

Updated on December 17, 2020

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There is nothing more stressful than having a drug addict in your life. These people will lie, cheat and steal on a daily basis, and this can have an immense strain on your relationship. Anyone who has a drug addict in their family (and anyone who has been a drug addict) will already know this says Eric B. – Founder of Anchored Recovery, alcohol and drug detox program in Orange County, California. An entire book could be written on how drug addiction affects relationships. That being said, here are some of the most obvious ways.


How Drug Addiction Affects Relationships?


1. Drugs Can Affect a Person’s Personality


This is probably the biggest issue with drug addicts and their relationships. Many times drug addicts can transform into entirely different people. They may even become a complete stranger who you do not recognize and wouldn’t want to know. This can manifest itself in many different ways.

They may become aggressive or rude, or behave in ways which are totally at odds with their character. Whatever type of behaviour they display this can affect or even completely destroy the relationship.

sad woman looking through the window into the rain


2. Drugs Are Enormously Time Consuming


Whether the person spends their time buying drugs, getting money, getting high, recovering from a drug binge, or spending their time in the company of other drug addicts, the bottom line is this – drug addiction is incredibly time-consuming.

In fact, some people have described drug addiction as a 24-hour job and this is certainly true. Actually, when someone is in the grip of a serious drug addiction, it might almost seem as if they have dropped off the face of the earth. This can be extremely distressing if that person is important to you.

The essential truth is that the drug addict is going to spend almost all of their time consumed by drugs. This leaves very little time for you and will place tremendous strain on your relationship.


3. Drug Addicts Are Not Always Faithful


This is an important point for people who are married to or dating drug addicts. What you have to realize is that drugs lower inhibitions. This means people are more likely to engage in casual sex and other risky behaviours. If you are in a relationship with that person this can be extremely dangerous for you and greatly affect the relationship.

This is especially true if the person is prostituting themselves or exchanging sex for drugs. This isn’t something that a lot of people like to think about, but you must confront this harsh reality. The fact is that these types of activities can put the drug addict at risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases – and these can be transferred to you. This is probably the most important reason why you should seriously reconsider your relationship with the drug addict in your life.


4. Drugs Affect Your Ability to Trust the Person


As we’ve said drug addicts will constantly lie. They do this in order to cover up their behaviour. The fact of the matter is that drug addicts are some of the most adept liars you will ever meet. They are also extremely manipulative. Quite often this is done to hide their drug addiction. Drug addicts will lie about absolutely everything. From where they were to what they were doing to why they needed money.

Another fact is that drug addicts constantly need money for their drugs, and most of the time this money will be sourced from the people in their lives. This makes it very hard to have a worthwhile relationship with these people.

Then there are the broken promises. Drug addicts will promise you the world and deliver nothing. They do this over and over again and eventually, all trust erodes. You cannot rely on them for anything. Regardless of what you want from them, their drug addiction will always come first. Basically, all of these behaviours make it almost impossible to have a satisfying relationship with someone who is on drugs.

sad woman looking through the window


What Are Some of the Ways You Can Help the Drug Addict in Your Life?


If you are in a relationship with a drug addict then what can you do about it? Whether the person is your child, spouse, friend, or partner, what you have to understand is that drug addiction is unbelievably difficult to deal with. That being said, here are some ideas that can help you cope.


1. Realize It’s Not the Person but the Drugs


This might sound like a cliché, but it really is drugs which are causing the unwanted behaviour. People will sometimes say things like, “the drugs are doing the talking” and this is 100% true. You need to learn to separate the person from their addiction. The only reason why they are doing what they are doing is because of their addiction. If they weren’t on drugs then your loved one would be exactly the same as they were before. This is something you must realize on a deep level and constantly remind yourself of.


2. Protect Yourself From Bad Behaviors


If the person is manifesting bad behaviours then you must protect yourself. While this may be difficult it’s something which must be done. Bad behaviours may include things like stealing and / or violent and aggressive outbursts. If the person is doing this then it may be time to break off that relationship. This can be difficult if the person is a family member, but there are times when it may be necessary to throw them out of the house.


3. Try to Get Them Help


All drug addicts need help, and depending on the depth of your relationship, you might be the most important person in their life. What we’re trying to say is that if you truly care, then it might be up to you to get them treatment. There are dozens of options available from NA to rehabs. Sit down with your drug addict and discuss these options.

two people holding hands


Final Thoughts


Finally, if the person is unwilling to change their ways then it’s probably best to break off the relationship. This is not always possible if the person is a family member. But if you are dating a drug addict or friends with them, then it’s certainly something which must be considered.

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