Knowing When and How to Leave a Drug Addict

drug addict partner

The unfortunate reality is that drug addiction impacts many relationships each year. If you have been searching for “how to leave a crack addict” or something similar, you understandably may feel as though all hope is lost. The person you are in a relationship with today may be unrecognizable from the person who you originally fell in love with. Perhaps the relationship has taken a violent turn and you are fearful for yourself or other family members. While you may know deep down that ending the relationship is the right step to take, you may be riddled with doubts and questions. Learning how to leave a drug addicted spouse can set you and other family members on a healthier course. What should you know when leaving an addict?

Why Leaving an Addict Is Challenging

The many doubts and questions that you may have today can leave you with a feeling of uncertainty. This is a person who you once loved deeply, and perhaps you still do. Walking away from someone who you share a long, intimate history with is not easy to do, and you may wonder if this is a mistake. If you stay in the relationship, perhaps you can help your loved one to break the addiction once and for all. You may wonder if you have done everything you can to help. You could even be concerned that leaving your addicted loved one could send him or her on a downward spiral that has no end. In some cases, the impacted person may be afraid of being alone.

These are all common concerns when leaving someone with a drug addiction. However, the reality is that your relationship may no longer be healthy. The many strong factors that your relationship was originally based on have eroded. It is important to note that all of these concerns are rooted in fear of the unknown. You need to place your health and well-being above those fears. While you may seek help for your loved one as you end your relationship, you ultimately must do what is best for you.

Key Reasons to End Your Relationship with an Addict

If you are still on the fence about ending your relationship, you should understand some of the most significant reasons to do so. Love is a strong reason to stay, but there are many rational reasons to leave that may surpass the strength of love. For example, physical, emotional and verbal abuse are common in relationships impacted by drug addiction. This is because drugs can make even a calm, easy-going person more irritable and angry. In fact, this may be one of the reasons why you may not recognize the person the addict has become. The bottom line is there is no good reason to stay in an abusive relationship.

alcoholic partner

In some cases, the impacted party believes that he or she is supporting the addict through a tough time. In reality, however, you could be enabling the addict to continue with his or her unhealthy and dangerous ways. In many cases, the enabler does not realize what he or she is doing. By enabling the addict, you may be preventing him or her from fully realizing and taking responsibility for the drug use. This may actually interfere with him or her deciding to seek treatment. This may result in the addiction continuing or even worsening over time.

In many relationships involving an addiction, the non-addict partner will try to minimize the social impact of the loved one’s drug abuse. For example, he or she may make excuses to explain unpleasant behavior, tardiness or other issues that could otherwise draw attention to the issue. In some cases, these excuses are made to avoid personal shame. After all, you may believe that friends and family could potentially blame you for the addiction. When you make excuses, however, you likely are lying to friends and family members. In addition to continuously lying to these people who you care about, you may be preventing yourself from getting the additional support that you and your addicted loved one need.

Another reason to leave a drug addict is related to time. While some people who are committed to an addict will eventually grow tired of the situation over time and leave, many others will become accustomed to the problem. It may become natural to deal with erratic behavior and to try to cover for unruly behavior. For some people, the longer that they remain in the relationship, the harder it can be to leave. In addition, it may be harder to identify the reasons to leave when you are accustomed to them as part of your daily life.

What to Do Before You Leave an Addict

As you might imagine, there are a few instances when it may be better to stay in a relationship with an addict. This is a serious matter that requires detailed introspection. One of the most significant factors to consider is if your partner wants to change and improve his or her life. Individuals who have a desire to overcome an addiction may be more willing to go to rehab. More than that, he or she may be more willing to put in the personal work necessary to be successful in rehab and beyond.

Another factor to consider is related to you. You must carefully analyze your relationship to determine if you are an enabler. It can be difficult to identify the signs of enablement in your everyday life, so you will need to step back to look at the big picture. Observe the specific words and actions you take with the addict, and pay attention to how they impact the enabler. Are you trying to lead the individual to a drug-free life, or do you make excuses that ultimately contribute to the continuance of the addiction? Regardless of other factors that may encourage you to stay, enablement is a sure sign that it is better to end the relationship.

You also should consider if you are in a healthy relationship. In a healthy relationship, both parties work equally to maintain the relationship. They are affectionate, thoughtful and appreciative. Unfortunately, in many relationships involving addiction, the addict zaps the other partner of energy and fails to express love and appreciation on a regular basis. If you feel as though your relationship has become one-sided and your partner is not willing to change, it may be time to let go.

Before you finalize your decision to stay or leave, spend time looking toward the future. Do you honestly see the addict improving and overcoming the addiction, or do you see this issue continuing to be problematic for years to come? It can be difficult to admit that the situation may seemingly be hopeless, but there are instances when it is simply not feasible to once again have a healthy relationship with the addict.

Another important factor to consider is the children who are involved in the situation. Focus on how the addiction is affecting children. A parent or guardian must provide a safe, healthy environment for the children. If your children feel unsafe or if they are making concessions in their lives to accommodate the addiction, they should be removed from the environment. This may mean that you end the relationship or that the children be removed from the home. There is no room to negotiate on the matter of your children’s well-being.

How to Leave a Drug Addict

The last thing that you want to do as you walk out the door is to magnify the problem. The end of a relationship can be traumatic for the addict. You may be concerned about the addiction worsening or even about the possibility of self-harm or suicide. There are a few important steps that you should take to ease the stress of the situation.

  1. Initially, you should firmly decide that you want to leave. This is not a time to waver in your conviction. Define the reasons why you are leaving an addict. Most likely, your partner will inquire as to why you are ending the relationship. Do not be evasive when answering this question. While you should try to keep emotions out of the situation, you should truthfully convey the reasons. Sugarcoating the matter will not make it better for you or your partner.
  2. Ideally, you will have an established support system in place. This support system may include friends, family and even a therapist. Let them know ahead of time what your plans are. Their support can help you to work through your decision-making process and can give you the strength to act on that decision.
  3. Self-care is crucial when you are going through a breakup, and it may become even more important when you are dealing with emotions and thoughts associated with ending a relationship with an addict. Focus on things that can relieve stress and help you to feel balanced. For example, exercising, practicing yoga, reading and playing an instrument are all smart options to consider. Allow yourself time each day for the relaxing activities that you enjoy.
  4. One of the best steps that you can take to avoid a messy breakup is to establish clear boundaries both before and during the breakup. For example, let the addict know when he or she can contact you. It is also crucial to make living arrangements before the breakup. In the days and weeks leading up to the end of the relationship, make plans to live with a friend or family member, or rent a separate space. It may be helpful to avoid telling the addict where you are moving to.
  5. While telling your partner that you are ending the relationship may be extraordinarily difficult, actually leaving maybe even more challenging. When the time comes to do so, remember the reasons why the relationship must end. Remember that ending the relationship now may set the addict on a path to getting clean. This may be an essential step that ultimately benefits both of you.

What to Know When Leaving an Addict

Whether you are trying to decide to leave an addict or you are searching for the conviction to follow through on your plan, you should remember a few important points. One of these points is that you are not to blame for the situation. The addict is fully responsible for the decisions that he or she has made in life. You also should be aware that you cannot resolve the matter. An addiction can be treated in rehab and with long-term therapy and professional support, and this is only when the addict has a strong desire to get clean. In addition, remember that breaking an addiction is a journey that only the addict can walk through. You have no control over the timing and how straight or jagged that path is.

When to Consider a Drug Addiction Treatment Program

Whether you have decided to stay in the relationship or you believe that leaving an addict is the best option, you may want to guide your partner on the path toward a drug-free lifestyle. You cannot force an individual to change, but you can suggest resources and treatment programs that could be helpful. By simply giving your partner an alternate path to explore, you may open his or her eyes to the possibility of a better life. Long Island Treatment Center provides a diverse range of treatment options to meet the varying needs of drug addicts. To learn more about our treatment programs, contact us today.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Long Island Treatment Center


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