Living with a drug addict boyfriend can be daunting and emotionally draining. Especially when you have no experience dealing with substance use disorder and addictive behavior.
If you are in such a difficult situation, you are not alone. There is help available if you want to get out.
How To Be Sure Your Boyfriend Is Dealing With Addiction?
Sometimes, it can be difficult to establish if a loved one is dealing with addiction. We are prone to overlook flaws and are tricked by denial into ignoring signs of addiction.
If you suspect your boyfriend to be a drug addict, here are signs you should look out for:
New Changes in Behavior and Frequent Mood Swings
You might notice significant changes in your boyfriend's behavior, such as sudden anger outbursts, erratic actions, or unexplained periods of happiness or agitation,
Frequent Neglect of Responsibilities
Your partner might need to pay more attention to their responsibilities around the house or at work/school. They may often miss tasks for no good reason, forget about important assignments, etc.
Facing Financial Problems
Substance abuse can lead to financial difficulties. Be alert if your boyfriend is constantly running out of money, asking for financial help more often, and isn’t spending on something substantial you can see.
Physical and Health Changes
You might notice sudden weight changes in your partner, along with changes in appetite. There might also be physical signs of drug intake, such as bloodshot eyes, dilated or constricted pupils, unbalanced gait, etc.
An overall deterioration in health due to altered sleep patterns, poor hygiene, and unhealthy habits might become more noticeable over time.
Addiction can cause strain on a person's relationships. You’ll notice your boyfriend becoming more argumentative, angry, and inconsiderate with you, his friends, and his family.
Your boyfriend might become weirdly secretive about his routine or schedule. He may disappear for extended periods without explanation.
The most important proof of addiction is what you can see physically. You might notice drug paraphernalia (e.g., needles, pipes, rolling papers), empty pill bottles, or drug packaging in the dustbin or bag. You may also notice unusual odors, such as the smell of smoke, marijuana, or chemicals- indicative of drug use. There may also be signs of other substance abuse, such as alcohol abuse.
If you observe these signs consistently over an extended period, it may be worth investigating.
Try to approach the topic with care and empathy and encourage open communication. However, you might fail to get them to confide in you, which can be frustrating. But remember, addiction is a complex issue that requires professional intervention to ensure the safety of both parties involved.
How To Prepare Yourself For The Final Step
Even if your boyfriend is dealing with substance abuse, leaving him might not be as easy. If you’ve stayed this far in the relationship, you probably have an emotional connection that’s not easy to let go of.
Some of these are also codependent relationships, getting out of which isn’t very easy.
Here are some things you can do as you mentally prepare yourself to leave this relationship.
Educate Yourself On Substance Use Disorder
The first step in dealing with a drug addict boyfriend is to understand what substance use disorder is and how it impacts the addicted person, romantic partner, family members, and other people around them.
Educating yourself about drug addiction can help you better understand the behavior and mood swings of someone with an active addiction. It will help you make informed decisions regarding your life, relationship, and future during this challenging time.
Substance abuse problems can vary widely, from alcohol addiction to illicit drugs, and understanding the nature of different types of addictions will equip you with the knowledge necessary to navigate this difficult situation.
Join Support Groups for Families Dealing With Addiction
Support groups for family members and partners of individuals struggling with drug or alcohol addiction can provide invaluable assistance at times like this.
These groups, like the Al-Anon meetings, offer a safe space for like-minded individuals with similar struggles to share their experiences. It helps them gain insights from each other. It’s also a great place to teach and learn ways to cope with the consequences of their drug-addict relatives’ actions.
Connecting with people who understand your struggles can be empowering and provide a sense of belonging when you may be feeling alone.
Support groups can help you gain strength and reassurance from the stories of others who have successfully left addicted spouses or partners. They can guide you through the process and provide support throughout.
Set Clear Boundaries for Your Own Mental Health
It is essential to define clear boundaries when dealing with a drug-addict boyfriend. You cannot control their actions or addiction, and you need to protect your sanity while dealing with them. Establishing healthy boundaries helps protect you from imminent emotional and physical abuse. It also allows your partner to understand the consequences of their behavior.
Communicate your boundaries assertively and repeatedly. Be clear about the consequences of not respecting these boundaries. Seek professional help if you need to reinforce them.
Seek Professional Help
Leaving a drug-addict boyfriend may require outside help, especially in extreme physical abuse or severe addiction.
In such instances, you can reach out to legal experts, mental health professionals, addiction therapists, or addiction counselors to guide you through getting out of the situation safely. They can also help you explore the best treatment options for your partner if you wish to pursue that.
Professionals can provide individual counseling to help you cope with the emotional challenges and feelings of guilt that might come with leaving an addict. They can guide you regarding resources to provide ongoing support.
Confide In People Close To You
You must seek help from a close network of people that you can trust.
Confide with a close friend or family member regarding your situation and talk about how challenging it is for you.
Having someone at your back during this difficult time can provide immense comfort and reassurance to get out of the relationship. They can also help you assess the situation objectively and offer advice based on their perspective.
It is also important from a safety aspect to have someone know that you’re in an unhealthy relationship dynamic.
Prioritize Your Safety and Well-being
At the end of the day, your safety and well-being should be your top priority. If your drug-addict boyfriend refuses to seek help or becomes a threat to your mental or physical safety, leaving might be the best thing to do.
Consider reaching out to legal professionals for the best course of action and obtaining restraining orders if necessary. In extreme cases where there is immediate danger, contacting local authorities or a domestic violence hotline can help you expedite the process and protect you from serious injury.
Understand That Leaving Your Drug Addict Boyfriend Won’t Be Easy
Deciding to leave an addicted partner might be one of the most difficult things to do. Especially if you’re emotionally or financially dependent on them. However, it is important to remember that loving someone should have to come at the cost of your sanity or well-being.
Be sure to use legal and professional help to safely navigate the emotional challenges during this process. Family therapy (if you have kids involved) or individual counseling can help you address the feelings of loneliness, guilt, and anxiety that come with getting out of a toxic relationship.
How To Have The Conversation?
If you have finally decided to get out of this relationship and leave your drug-addict boyfriend, kudos to you! However, communicating your decision to him might be scary and challenging,
Here’s how to go about it:
Choose the Right Time and Place
It’s important to find the right time to have this conversation. Opt for a time when both of you are in a good mood and your boyfriend is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Try to find a public place that offers some privacy so you can call for help if things get heated.
Choose Your Words Wisely
It's important to be clear and direct when communicating your decision and leave no room for confusion. Use statements that begin with “I” to express your feelings clearly. Avoid blaming or criticizing him to avoid getting an unpleasant reaction. Also, try to explain how the addiction isn’t the only thing affecting your relationship but his changed behavior plays a major role too.
Express Your Concern and Care
Your boyfriend needs to understand that leaving him does not undermine your love for him. Try to acknowledge his struggles with addiction and express your concern for his well-being. Make him understand that even though you deeply care about him and want him to recover, you can not risk your own needs, sanity, and well-being while he does it.
During the conversation, your partner may try to initiate physical contact or sex to get you to deflect from the topic. Hence, define boundaries from the beginning of the conversation and tell him that he can not approach you physically until you say it’s okay.
Encourage Him To Seek Support
Tell him about how you have sought support from professionals and how much therapy and counseling can help him too. Offer resources and treatment programs from your prior research and ongoing support if you wish to provide them.
Prepare for a Reaction
Addiction can cause your boyfriend to react unpredictably. He may resort to manipulation or physical touch to convince you to stay or make empty promises of change.
In such moments, you must remain firm in your decision and remember your motivation.
If your partner is abusive or prone to violence, have a safety plan for when you plan to have the conversation. Keep a close friend informed and ask them to remain nearby, and have a safety word in place that you can text them in case of emergencies.
Keep your local authorities on speed dial, and remember to get a restraining order once you leave.
Leaving a drug addict boyfriend and breaking free from a toxic relationship is never easy. You might often gravitate towards them due to your old attachment to them. However, you can avoid falling into that trap by seeking support from support groups, setting clear boundaries, and relying on close friends and family members for support.
We encourage you to obtain professional help to navigate this situation safely and take steps to reclaim your life. Remember that your well-being and happiness should matter more than anyone else's, and seeking outside help is not a sign of weakness.
It is critical to be patient with yourself and remember that you deserve to be in a healthy relationship and happy environment. With the proper support and resources, you can find the strength to let go of an addict and create a brighter future for yourself.
If you are looking for addiction treatment centers for yourself or a loved one, SoberSpeak has a resource for you. By calling 888-831-4586, you'll be in touch with a free service that will find you the best possible solution.
Helpful links for addiction:
SAMHSA Treatment Finder at SAMHSA.gov
National Institute On Drug Abuse at DrugAbuse.gov
Mental Health & Substance Abuse at USA.gov