A reader writes in and asks: “I’m in love with a drug addict, what should I do?”
Good question. Unfortunately there is no easy answer to this question, any path that you take, anything that you ultimately decide is going to be difficult for you. Obviously the ideal situation is if the drug addict in your life suddenly decides that they want to change their whole life and start living clean and sober and they dive head first into recovery and embrace it with all of their heart. If this happens it will have a lot more to do with the addict and their being at the point of surrender and it will not have much to do with you at all. In other words, you are not in a position to control when this moment of surrender occurs and you do not have the power to wave any sort of magic wand and make someone suddenly want to recover. Furthermore, making an ultimatum of some sort is not likely to produce this sort of result either. If someone is genuinely afraid of losing you due to their addiction it will not necessarily make them face their addiction and stop using. More often than not it will drive them further into isolation and a deeper level of addiction to their drug of choice.
So really there is only one thing that you should definitely do in this situation, and that is to get some help for yourself as an individual. Now most people get a bit put off by this suggestion as they state that they are fine and it is the addict in their life that needs the help, not them. But on the contrary, you cannot force the addict to get help and there are some things that you can probably stand to learn about dealing with an addict in your life. In this case my biggest suggestion to you is to get yourself to an Al-Anon meeting. If you are younger then you can go to a similar organization called Ala-teen. These are meetings that are similar to AA meetings but they are for the friends and family of alcoholics and drug addicts.
You might hesitate to go to such a meeting and share your story but I would urge you to do so. There is nothing that could be more helpful in most cases. Going to Al-Anon and sharing your story will open you up to a lot of feedback and support. There you can also get expert advice on exactly what you should do and how you should behave around the addict and what you should decide about your future.
At some point you might have to make a decision to leave the relationship. This is never an easy thing to face because there is so much comfort and security in staying together, even if there is some pain in the relationship due to the addict’s behavior. If the addict has no intention of changing, or seems to be permanently stuck in denial, then at some point you might need to just move on.