Addiction: Is my partner an addict?

Questions to help guide you in identifying addiction in a spouse or partner.

minute read

Here, you’ll find a review of addiction and co-addiction for those interested in getting help for families of addicts. While we can live with an addict in denial of the problem, the truth is that addicts pretty much exhibit the same characteristics.  More here on how to identify addiction in a partner or spouse. Then, we invite your questions and comments at the end.

All addicts are the same

I have a friend who had been dating a guy for a few months before they got engaged. This friend had been a huge support to me during my own struggle with my addicted spouse. She was the first person to tell me he was an addict and that he was no different from other addicts. I was under the impression that because my spouse made very good money and we lived a semi-normal existence that he was not a typical addict.

What I learned through my experience and through the stories of other co-addicts is that regardless of the person, all addicts are innately the same. With addicts, there is an intrinsic factor to “use” above all other things. There is a limitless amount of denial and an everyday struggle to realize they can never “use” again. Whether they are a successful business person or destitute, all addicts share the same qualities in relation to addiction.

It took me a long time to come to the realization that my husband was like every other addict. It was this denial that kept me in my own prison for far too many years. You would think a rational, educated, intellectual person would be able to realize that the person they love is an addict but that is not usually the case. My friend’s fiance is a professional, owns his home, and pays all of his bills on time. Even though my friend had watched my sordid situation with addiction, it is hard for her to realize that her boyfriend is an addict just like my ex-husband.


For reasons we cannot understand,when we are in love with an addict we tend to wear blinders. That’s what co-addiction is. We see, but have very limited vision when it comes to this person and their addiction. If I had a dime for every time I said “but you don’t understand my husband is not really like that” or for every time I have heard another person speak the same words regarding their addicted partner, I would have a room full of dimes.

It is extremely common for our “blinders” to be on when it comes to the person we love. We never want to associate them with all of the horrible realities we know of addiction. If we hold the addict to a higher standard and see them as unique or superior to the “average addict,” then we can hold on to the fantasy that things are not that bad and will never get that bad, for a little longer.

Blinders and enabling behavior can meld very quickly. Our blinders can easily transform into enabling and not only do we not grasp addiction but we cannot see our part in its progression.

The Truth

There are many versions of the truth and we can skew the odds in our favor any way we like but the TRUTH is an addict is an addict is an addict. They come in many different shapes and sizes but they all put their addiction first.

If you have questions of whether your partner is an addict, ask yourself a few simple questions.

  • Do they “use” regularly or binge on substances?
  • Do they depend on their substance of choice?
  • Do they make excuses for using?
  • Do they change personalities when using? Do they deny there is a problem?
  • Do you feel like something is wrong regardless of how they justify their drug or alcohol use?

If you have answered yes to two or more of these questions, you need to seriously consider that your partner is an addict. The TRUTH is, the sooner you can come to terms with this, the sooner you can help yourself.

About the author
Amanda Andruzzi, MPH, AADP, CHES, is a Certified Health Coach, founder of Symptom-Free Wellness, and the author of Hope Street. Her first book, Hope Street memoir is an inspirational story of one woman's frightening journey of co-addiction that led her to uncover courage, unbelievable strength and overcome great adversity. She resides with her daughter, husband, and two sons in Florida.


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  1. Chris,
    Take a deep breath. You were going to be OK. Helping yourself means that you need to stop worrying about him and start worrying about yourself. To worry about yourself simply means going to take care of your needs, emotions, feelings, and health. You cannot take care of yourself or be happy if you are in the midst of someone else’s serious problem. You can love someone but know that they are not good for you. You can also make a choice to Move on and then take every step you need to make that happen. Seeing a therapist is a really good start, joining a support group is also good to help you feel like you are not alone and starting to do the things you love again even if you don’t feel like it will help you feel more and more like yourself over time. It takes time to heal, don’t forget that but you deserve to be happy and you cannot make an addict stop. If he has broken every promise he is not ready and may never be. You deserve to have a good life now.
    Amanda Amdruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict.
    Go to to view the video trailer

  2. I know my boyfriend is an alcoholic. He binge drinks to the point of blacking out and stays out all night. He thinks he doesn’t have a problem because he thinks this is normal behavior for someone his age and tries to justify his actions by comparing himself to others. I’ve told him repeatedly, I feel sick, scared, disrespected and out of control when he binges but he won’t stop. I could go into all the stories of everything he’s done: stayed out all night, pissed himself when passed out on our couch, taken my money etc, but I won’t.

    Six months ago he moved out in a drunken rage and then 24 hours later was calling me telling me he’d made the biggest mistake of his life. I told him he needed to live with the consequences of his actions and would not let him move back in, but would see him periodically. After a few months of this I agreed we could try living together again if he met certain criteria: he had to stop drinking, he needed to be more financially independent of me, and started seeing a therapist both with me and alone…

    That was six months ago, and he’s broken every one of these promises repeatedly. After another big blowout night last weekend, I made him pack his stuff and leave his key. I have’t heard from him in a week. I know that this is the right thing to do, so but my question is, what now? I’m seeing a counselor and have been for the last few months. I kept reading about ‘getting help for yourself’ but I honestly don’t know what that looks like anymore. I really have no idea what’s going to happen and I’m just so unsure of everything.

  3. Zeinab,
    Thank you for sharing your story. It is always welcomed for people to share stories of encouragement. So many of us do not feel like there is life after addiction and feel hopeless. Your story is encouraging to us all. We need to hear the positive side to ending an addictive relationship because for some of us it seems an impossible thing. I wish you more and more luck and success in your life. Thanks again!
    Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir of a co-addict

  4. I am so grateful for this site. My alcoholic husband moved out, thank god! He said to me that I will suffer financially with my two boys, you know what? let me suffer there is always a way. I realized that I was a co addict, now my eyes are open after 10 years of abuse, mentally, verbally, physically emotionally and financially. I was new in this country, pregnant and no body for support. I now have a job, my children are 8 & 3 now. I am so happy alcohol is out of my and my kids life. Thanks

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