When to stop helping an addict

When does your help actually become HARMFUL? We review the difference between positive and negative help here. With a section for your questions at the end.

4
minute read

There is no question that addicts need help.

There are times when you can catch an addict on the right day and allow them to see what they are doing to themselves. You can also show an addict love and create boundaries which force them to get help. Sometimes, a serious event will cause an addict to seek help. Other times, an addict may come to the conclusion that they need help on their own.

So how can you tell when your “intervention” can actually help, or not? We discuss the difference between positive and negative help here. Then, we invite your questions, personal story, or comments at the end. In fact, we try to respond to all comments with a prompt reply!

Positive help for an addict

If you love an addict there are ways that you can help, but there comes a point when you need to stop helping because the help has transformed into enabling. Where’s the line between the two?  Let’s use some concrete examples to help you understand the distinction. Productive help includes things like:

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  1. Performing an intervention with a specialist, friend and family
  2. Setting up a place for recovery
  3. Loving the addict from a distance (Let go and let God)
  4. Setting up boundaries for the addict
  5. Enforcing the boundaries
  6. Supporting the addict when THEY decide to go into recovery

However, most loved ones of an addict have tried these routes and many of us have failed.

Addiction is an illness. The families of addicts feel so sorry for the addict or have guilt about their addiction that they want so desperately to help, control, or be a catalyst for change. In some cases, an addict will see what they are doing to their loved ones and go into recovery. But in most cases, the drugs have gotten to a point where they can no longer make choices. In many cases, there are severe underlying mental illnesses that the addict is self-medicating for and cannot see another way to deal with.

I describe most addicts as, “Self-medicating people that deal with the demons and the void they feel on a daily basis through substances”. However, what happens when the demons win and the addict will do anything or destroy anyone to continue to use?

If you are reading this article then you probably have experienced this. But families of addicts need to see addiction from the other side. When our guilt, fear and love for a person override our rational self, then we are most likely no longer helping and more than likely hurting or enabling the addict.

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Negative help for an addict

If you have tried to assist the addict with Positive Help but there has not been any success and you are continuing to “help” then chances are you are providing negative help. Negative help – a.k.a. enabling – DOES NOT HELP and  includes things like:

  • accepting chronic relapses
  • begging the addict to stop
  • cleaning up after the addict
  • crying over and over again for the addict to stop
  • giving the addict an ultimatum to stop (recovery) and then not following through
  • giving them a place to stay when they are homeless
  • lending money to the addict
  • making excuses for the addict to family and friends
  • making excuses for the addict to their work
  • paying bills for the addict
  • showing unconditional love by taking on things that the addict has dropped
  • taking on extra responsibilities because the addict cannot function
  • yelling at the addict to stop

Still, this list is not exhaustive and there are more items that can be added but the sentiment is the same. When you do anything to make it easier for an addict to continue to use you are:

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  1. Enabling their addiction
  2. Prolonging their addiction
  3. Prohibiting them from hitting rock bottom

Letting go of an addicted loved one

Many loved ones of addicts will search feverishly for ways that might help them help the addict. And they have convinced themselves that leaving an addict is too hard. When they run into information that tells them to let go of the addict for the addict’s own good, incredulously they reject the information.

This is the point where a loved one needs to start looking at their role in the addict’s addiction. If you are at a place where things do not change in regards to the addict and your interactions with them, then something else needs to change.

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recovery today.

You will need to stop “helping” in this situation. This is the time to let go and offer your support from a distance. That means you can extend to the addict the following support.

SUGGESTION 1: When they are truly ready and ask for your help for getting into recovery, be there for them.

SUGGESTION 2: As long as they continue to use and lie, do not assist them.

SUGGESTION 3: No longer be a party to helping them to be able to use. Period.

Questions about helping an addict

Do you have a question or situation you’re struggling with? Please leave us a note in the comments section below. We’ll do our best to respond to you ASAP.

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. My 34 year old son has been using since he was 18 ,, only a mother of a addict knows what I’ve been though , chasing him an begging him to get help , then he started stealing from me An his sister an brother ,, been in jail , I’ve sent him to a expensive rehab twice AFR Battle Creek Michigan 2nd time he went to sober living in Hollywood Fl ,, then got a app with a girl he met at rehab 2nd time , they did ok for a while ,, I’ve enabled them for years an years , paying their bills etc , taking care of court fines ,, then two years ago they both looked bad I told them I was out of money an his girlfriend now is pregnant,, they moved in with me an it was a nightmare , my son kept using an drinking he kept stealing from me a forging checks they were both in the methadone clinic,, had the baby , baby was a addict baby but she got through it ,, sweetest baby ever ,, David kept using an stealing , he always had a good job but no money his girlfriend only took care of baby ,, when baby was 10 months old I told him he had to leave , he went to detox then in sober living , he was three hrs away , we went to visit twice got kicked out of sober houses twice ,,girlfriend goes to near where he lives in another sober house he’s in An her family get her to detox from methadone an get her into a mother an baby sober house ,,her family does not want them to be together,, but they see each other An things were going well for couple months then they get a place together , they were doing well for a month but both started using again , David almost died, infection in his heart an lungs from using in hospital for 6 weeks ,, girlfriend an baby go to pa to be with girlfriend mother,, they put her in a rehab an they cut all connections with her an David , which I understand that but I miss my granddaughter an only get little information about her though girlfriends aunt ,, when my son left hospital I took him right to another sober living but that only last couple days ,, he’s living in motels,, calls me every once in awhile , I’m not sending him money ,, he lost his job he’s lost his baby an girlfriend ,, dr told him everyday in hospital that if he uses ever again it will kill him ,, his heart valve needs replaced An he has blood clots in his leg ,, I guess no one can help him now , I only pray to God to help him so that he can help others ,, so much more happened in these years that I’ve not even wrote about ,,my heart breaks for addicts ,, just breaks my heart ,, my name is linda

  2. My son is 33 has been using opioids for quite awhile not sure how long I only know of the past 5 years twice in rehab doesn’t follow through with any help from me or follow up after rehab currently staying with me and still using I told he he can not stay if he continues to use. Frustrated hurt and at my wits end I have other family members with me as well tried numerous ways of helping him nothing is working

  3. I feel helpless I keep waiting for him to see Ebt he has and will stop. But it has taken control of my life. I want him to leave but then go into a panic that I won’t be able to find him or know what Joe is doing. I know it is sick

  4. My sister is an addict and was previously married to another addict. Their marriage ended after they both went to rehab. A couple years later she got married again, and it looks like a year into that marriage she began using again. Now we would like to get her to rehab, but her current husband is. it supportive of that, saying she is better off getting support by going to church. What can we, her parents and siblings do?

  5. Bev, It is time to stop the enabling, please read my other articles here on helping families with drug addiction on how to go about this. You can’t help her because right now all you will end up doing is help her keep using. You need to let her know you love her more than anything but you won’t watch her self-destruct and that if she is ever serious about recovery, you will be right beside her.

    Nicola, Don’t start IVF treatments at this point, I think that would be a big mistake to start a family with someone who is actively using. You need to tell him he has to go into rehab or that you are not going to tolerate the drug abuse anymore and will be leaving. It might sound cruel but you will only watch self destruction while you also self-desruct!

    Amanda Andruzzi

  6. Hi I’m desperate for help my husband keeps taking drugs even after he was seriously ill for months in hospital. He kept off cocaine until just a few weeks ago and now has been taking it every weeks since. I really thought he had learnt his lesson and had manage to break the cycle. I don’t know what to do we were supposed to start ivf to have a baby why has he started again

  7. My addict child continues to lie and manipulate. We have done everything possible. She checked herself in to rehab and walked out two weeks later. She connected with a male addict who got kicked out. She lives with him now in a hotel which is a pattern of her behavior. She is a drug addict and an alcoholic and either can’t quit or won’t quit. I am an enabler and keep helping her, but I know I am sick, too. I want to cut her out of my life. Is silence the best approach? I have physically moved away but am still sucked in.

  8. What does a parent do when addict won’t commit to recovery? We have done counseling intervention treatment centers we have quit enabling and set boundaries

  9. Bec,
    Thank you for the feedback on my book. No, you are not wrong, if you need to leave because you have tried everything and need to get some distance that is okay. You never truly leave your children But when you finally wake up to the fact that enabling them is actually hurting them that is a good thing. You can detach with love and let your daughter know that if she’s ever ready to change her life you will be there to support her. You can let her know when and only when she is ready for recovery is when you will be able to be a part of her life again.
    Amanda Andruzzi, MHP, CHC, AADP, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  10. My adult addict daughter is living with a heroine meth addict who is a drug dealer Ann convicted felon.she is an alcoholic and meth addict. He physically abuses her. She lies,steals, and has no respect for herself or me. I enabled her for ten plus years but have stopped. She has no money now. I don’t want her back in my gone.she doesn’t seem interested in recovery. I want to move out of state just to be alone. Is that the wrong thing to do? I loved your. Book!

  11. Lynda,
    The guilt you feel which is common is really you not being ready to move on. Unfortunately we feel stuck and we don’t want to have to change because we keep hoping things will change. I really want you to understand that it is okay to do what is best for you and put your life, health and well-being first and if that means leaving a toxic situation then it has to be done. You deserve to be taken care of and loved and to be happy.
    Amanda Andruzzi, MHP, CHC, AADP, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  12. My boyfriend is an alcoholic. I didn’t realise it when I met him. He was charming and polite and was really keen on me. I know precisely when I should have left him,at the beginning but I had fallen for him and I didn’t . 6 years on and two attempts at AA have failed. He is now 67 and has really bad back problems. I cant count the times an ambulance has been called for him. He is often verbally abusive to me in an extremely nasty and spiteful way when he is drunk. I am 74 now and getting exhausted with looking after a sick alcoholic . I feel guilty to have left him because he is now on a bad way and I think he will drink himself to death as I know others who have done so. I am very sad because half the time he has been lovely and I miss that. I am lonely now but I cannot stand being with him when he is drinking. I have left. Any comments would be most welcome. I live in UK. Thank you for this website xx

  13. Jan,
    enabling is doing anything for the addict that they should be able to do themselves or anything that makes it easier for them to use. It does not sound like you are enabling because it sounds like the only time you really are there for your daughter is when she is ready to get help and like you said, how are you to know which time will stick? When it is your child, there is no giving up but you can try to detach with love to some degree so that you can maintain some sanity and peace. I think you just do what you can and only help her in her quest for sobriety and as long as you do that, you are not enabling. You just keep telling her that she needs help and the only way this will end is if she gets sober.
    Amanda Andruzzi, MHP, CHC, AADP published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  14. My daughter has been an addict for about 10 years been in jail, dedox, rehabs, and clinics many times over. She continues to use Xanax and herion after a few days of coming home from these places. She says and cries all the time she don’t want to be like this. I have giving her numerous rides and helped her to get to these places today she again is asking for a ride and help i never know if maybe this will be the time she stops but I’m running myself ragged trying to help her. Please dont take this the wrong way I love my daughter with all my heart I just don’t know when enough is enough am I helping her or enabling

  15. Trying to forgive myself and being angry at my self for seven and a half years of believing the addict and now seeing my coaddict Behavior..I need some support so I dont get so down on myself feeling like I only deserve to pay to have friends

  16. Ashley,
    I don’t know about you but if I lost my children because of an addict, father of them or not, I would do exactly what I need to do to get them back. I would put my kids first but that is just me.
    Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  17. Hello I have already separated from my husband we have 3 kids together but I still try to support him I have learned the difference from enabling and supporting I only now am involved when its about rehab . However my social worker is telling me I cannot even support him or I will not get my kids back. Is this legal ? I know kids can’t be around a active user so as long as I know that what’s the problem ? She is stating even if its only for support purposes I am still involved with a active user and so there for I cannot have my kids . she told me I had to cut all contact off with him. I’ve talked to counselors and they say Ashley he needs your support you give him more then likely he will . so I’m so torn at what to do I do not believe my social worker has the right to put me in the position she is or use my supportive contact with a user as away to not give me my children back am I correct ?

  18. I highly recommend vivitrol. insurance covers it if not it’s $1000 a month. It’s a shot once a month. We would initially get him the shot at three weeks, then 25 days to 30 days a month.
    You can go to therapy outpatient at night.
    You have to be completely clean for one week and will take a test before the shot. It may make you feel a little crappy but I promise you it was worth it to our son. It’s better than being dead which he was headed.

  19. Sandy,
    You are not enabling by helping your grandkids, continue to take care of them and let your son know that they will be taken away from him if he does not go for help.

  20. My husband and I believe my adult son has relapsed back into heroin addiction after over ten years of sobriety. He has lost a high paying job and is going to lose his rental home if he doesn’t find another quickly. The problem is that he is a single dad raising 2 teens. My husband have been helping with the kids while he is at work for over ten years. We don’t want the kids to go through the trauma of moving and changing schools. We want to help the kids without enabling my son.

  21. Jen,
    Please get help! Coming here is a great start but you do not want to be with an active addict. This is not only detrimental in your recovery but it will eventually lead to a relapse if you don’t get a hold of this. You know very well too that an addict will only stop when he/she is ready and no sooner. So maybe you need to walk away so that he can play out this addiction the way it will for him.
    Amanda Andruzzi, MHP, CHC, AADP,published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the video book trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  22. Jennifer,
    What is happening is that you are dealing with an active addict. Nothing will make sense, everything will seem crazy and not possible when it comes out of an addicts mouth because most likely everything they say is a lie. An addict will do and say whatever they need to in order to keep you and help themselves keep using.
    that’s the truth of it! Go with your gut.
    Amanda Andruzzi, MHP, CHC, AADP,published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the video book trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  23. I’m struggling with an addict. He’s in denial. I’m so lost and confused. I can’t stop crying when I’m alone. I am trying my hardest too help him get clean but he won’t take the help. I understand addiction and how it works. I used to be an addict when he wasn’t. He left me for a year to go and work in another province. I felt like I lost everything so I made myself loose everything in the worst way possible… I gave up on happiness.. I couldn’t stop until he came back. He saw the woman I became and when he looked at me I saw sorrow in his eyes. I realized I couldn’t do that too him and I couldn’t keep doing it to myself either. I wanted happiness and I saw my chance to get back everything I once had. So I quit cold turkey, I only had one relapse and never again. I’ve been clean for almost two years now. But he has started because of his new job and the influencers there. It was only once every few months before.. but now it’s almost every day. He doesn’t see the problem with it. I don’t have the same effect he had on me when I was an addict. It’s bothering me a lot because I’m starting to want to start up again because I’m around it again all the time now. I just got promoted at work, I have my own office finally, gorgeous view… I should be happy right?? But I can’t stop crying. I can’t stop worrying. I love him to death and I don’t want to leave him. Sometimes I think it’s best if I would just kill myself so I wouldn’t have to live like this anymore. I obviously won’t do that though, I’m too scared to take anyone’s life let alone my own! I told him I couldn’t take it anymore. If he continues to do it I have to walk away. But that will kill me if I do that. I’m scared of loosing my happiness again. I don’t know what to do. Please someone help.

  24. I am going through crisis ,I have tried to help my boyfriend in everyway,we argue because i want him to help himself and he says he does but refuses to apply for insurance and asks me to buy suboxone for him from his friend who also has addiction to H. I did buy a few times but under the agreement that he get his own insurance and help to get away from old habits and yes maybe your friends in order to change your life. Well although i didnt want to buy another i did and i was mad and resented him .His so called good friend couldnt even drop it off for him..No my bf asks me to drive because his friend jus got out of work ,lol so did I.After all that we fought .I felt like he didnt care that something else was up.He was jus acting different ,not looking atbme when talking ,snapping ,he stated he was having a hard day before the sub thing.Its a funny thing behaviors and patterns because prior to we were laying on the bed talking and he had a neurontin and was calming down when his buddy then texted about the so sub and OH BOY he jumped up super quick….i then again felt angry and not right..i didnt want to go…but he pushed and pushed…and after all tht I had seen in my bf text he said to his friend “yea this B.tch !she almost haa me in tears…and his friends response was ahhh dont let her get to you..yea come by I have a little somethin for ya!!II saw text today and told him to leave …I dont know …he has been hitting me on regular lately but hasnt been frequently…we broke up before he called after 6 months…said he was cleaning up….yea here we are.I love my boyfriend dearly I told him when u truly want to sober up I will be there ,he says he hasnt touched a thing for 3 weeks we have been living together..help me please sort this through…..I kniw I yell at times but only when i m starting to feel wrong about things …please I dont want to feel so hurt and alone…I need support and to see a little more clearly.My bf states i dont understand and yet tells me im the greatest gf ever.Wjats going on

  25. Christine,
    What are the questions you want answers to?
    It sounds like you are scared and frustrated and I think it is time for you to weigh your options and one of them is leaving which you CAN do, believe me. I did it and so can you.

    Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  26. Hi my name is christine and I live with my boyfriend or better yet he loves bed with me , and six years of his using drugs now on a daily basis is at a peek where I do not say anything anymore , because I will pay a big price …I will lose the fight and lose time away from work and just be exhausted! I don’t think I can leave , and want to get answers and help

  27. Kelly,
    The truth is you feel like a doormat because that is exactly the way he is treating you. You take care of him while he needs to come down and you always take him back in. He eats your food and leaves when he feels better to do it again and that is the definition of someone who is using you. You have every right to resent him but you also have to take responsibility for the fact that you are the one allowing it to happen. The only way to make it stop is to make the change yourself. He will keep using the revolving door if you allow it I can assure you of that so the only way to stop it is to close the door and change the lock.
    Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  28. My boyfriend of four and a half yrs has not paid for rent but once totally on his own. Every time he goes on a bing i tell him I am done over it. But he still returns. Why do I keep allowing him to do this to me. I feel like a door mat. He comes home sleep s for days eats me out of house and home get s his cloths washed then off and running he goes. I resent him and am finding my self hating him.
    Please help

  29. Jody,

    I am so sorry about your son. You must be very scared for your son. You can only lend help and support if he is leaning up but if you help him while he is actively using then you aren’t helping him stay clean but making it easier on him to use. As a parent myself I know this must be the most horrible thing to go through, but getting him out of your life right now is your only choice. You can get him into a program but HE has to want it.

    Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  30. Im concerned about my 33 year old sin who is and has been addicted to ctack cocaine and now chrystal meth. He moved in with me a mo ago after his wife kicked him out. He relapsed twice. He started staying out very late and doing other ctazy things. I told him he needs recovery and if he decides not to he has to leave. He stopped coming home at night and would come here while im at work to shower abd leave vefore i get home. I told him he needs to get his stuff and give me my apt key and leave. He argued awhile than gave me the key. He obviously had another key made and is still coming gere while im at work. Monday i found his burnt foil on my table thats what made me tell him ive had enf. Today i come home and noticed ge took some food. I need to tell my land lord to chabge my dead bolt so he cant get in. The problem is im not suppose to be having people here longet than twovweejs anyway. Im worried sick about my son. I just lost a son a year and a half ago to alcoholusm. Any suggestion’s

  31. Marge,
    You are in a situation that NO parent would trade places with. Although it is not healthy for him to be in your home I know this is still your son. Although you are going to break and then you can’t help you, other family members or your husband. It sounds like he will resort to anything to get those drugs and there is nothing you can do to help him at this point. I would think the only thing left for you to do is to try and have him committed to a mental hospital where they can possibly treat him long term, so that he is off of the drugs and they can find some medication to stabilize him. Either way she needs to leave your home so that you can restore some sanity because he is ill but he is also going to bring down your entire family and it’s not fair to anyone. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  32. My son has been an addict for more than 12 years. He has been in a city drug court for nearly 6 years and was finally sentenced out unsuccessfully; he has probably been to at least 30-35 outpatient, detox, and inpatient programs. For the last 2 plus years he has been using “bath salts” or “research chemicals” that are slowly, but surely altering his brain chemistry and causing him to lose cognitive functioning. For the previous year, I don’t believe he’s gone more than 2-3 days during any given month without using these synthetic amphetemines. He has never worked, has several underlying mental health issues and an extensive criminal history of non-violent drug-related charges, many of which he has no recollection of their occurrence. During all of these years, he has basically lived at home with us. There have been times when we have kicked him out only to see him return days later promising to call the rehab. Several months ago he was in a car accident that required multiple surgeries. He was given opiates for his pain, most of which he sold in order to buy his drug of choice. We have had to call the police to have him taken to our hospital crisis center-many times in the last several months and after a recent episode of severe psychosis, he was involuntarily committed to a behavioral hospital ward for 2 weeks. He is becoming more unpredictable, is emotionally and verbally abusive and my husband and I are both about to lose our minds. I’ve sent a referral to our county’s department of mental health for treatment services which has been approved, but now he is paranoid about meeting with the case worker because he thinks it is an attempt to take away his freedom. Life has become a daily nightmare for me. I cannot sleep because he is up all night making messes and picking through things; I often feel overwhelming anxiety and nausea; and I worry constantly that my husband or another son will get into a physical altercation with him so I don’t go anywhere. I told myself I’d let him stay until he is able to walk again without crutches, but I don’t think I can wait that long. He uses and then doesn’t follow his doctor’s advice and goes out and wrecks his leg again. I am near my breaking point and want him gone, but am wracked with guilt at tossing a physically disabled addict with mental health needs out into the street. I’ve hired an attorney to consider conservatorship, but I don’t know how much good that will do. Any suggestions would be helpful. It feels good just to write this. Sorry it’s so lengthy.

  33. Shona,
    You are faced with the same situation we all face as loved ones of an addict. You cannot believe anything the addict says and trying to track when he uses and when he doesn’t is an illusion of control. You have just understand that you will never know the full truth, that he is probably never sober or if he is, it is only temporary and trying to keep up with his relapses will only drive you insane. You have to stop worrying about him, because he is clearly not worrying about you or your girls right? Addiction is a selfish, manipulative, dark disease and trying to rationalize it will only take you away from yourself and your children. When you want to get off the ride, you will. I am here to help.
    Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  34. Ana,
    You are right to not understand what is up or down at this point. Being in love with an addict is the most intense, frustrating, scary, rollercoaster road any one person can be on. This is him, you are not crazy, believe me, but if you continue on this path it will not get better and so you are asking yourself why you would do this right? You are not crazy but you are a co-addict, caught in this cycle of co-addiction/addiction. You are addicted to the addict much like the addict is addicted to the drugs. It is the highs and lows and prospects of hope that keep you sucked in, so like the addict, you have to quit cold turkey and then get yourself support to help you heal and move on, otherwise this cycle will continue for as long as YOU allow it to. I have been you, believe me, I know what you are going through.
    Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  35. Got married 2 wks ago my husband used right up until couple days b4 the wedding. Took our vows in gods house and i thought this is it things will be different they have to be he will do it for me & the kids now. Honeymoon was perfect. Home 2 days & bam smack in the face hes using again 🙁 call him out on it and same shit ive heard i swear i promise & i believed him 🙁 today again he used i am so so hurt so worn down i feel a failure to our children cos im constanly focusing on him & his addiction. There is zero trust. Zero. I know what i have to do leave let him see let him hit rock bottom but i cant why cant i im a coward im so deeply in love wit him i cant leave but i have to for me & our girls ;(

  36. Hello, my boyfriend is a heroine addict and also uses diffrent drugs like meth, weed, Percocets. We have been together for a year at the beginning things where great he was always caring and nice also very charming. The problems started when we moved in together he started smoking in the house and staying out late. The last 4 months have been a horrible experience he became agressive towards me breaking my personal things damaging my car also phisically assaulted me. He blames me every time he gets angry He has made me feel guilty about everything that has gone wrong in the relationship at some point i started to bealive this and now i know he is sick and needs help. i kicked him out of my house and he is homeless now even tho he has caused so much emotional damaged i still went to help him when he cried to me for help but he did it again he got agressive and he cries to me that i dont care about his feelings when i have been the only one there for him. Im battleling with a depression for months now and i finally told him i was absolutely done with him again, of course he insulted me and got agressive. Ive said it before and never keep my word because i feel so sorry for him im starting to bealive that something is wrong with me too, why do i keep helping him? why do i let him treat me this way? Why do i feel like im going crazy too? I just want to stay away from him and let him go before he hurts me bad. Im scare of this person but he threatens to hurt himself and take his own life. It breaks my heart to see him homeless and think this way but i have helped him so much even got him in rehab centers and didn’t work. Ive been loosing myself trying to help him and all i have left from this is a broken and damaged heart.

  37. Amanda,
    Please read my other articles here, by clicking on my name, Amanda Andruzzi at the top or bottom of the page. There are more articles regarding family and addiction. Letting go of a child is almost impossible, you can never stop feeling for a person you gave life to. However, you can stop enabling them so that they might have to actually deal with their addiction. If he lives with you and has nothing, your support is the last straw. He needs to hit his own rock bottom which he might never if you are there to rescue him. This is easier said than done but there are groups and support out there that can help you and I would find a therapist who specializes in addiction to help your family cope with what is going on. You and your family need the support to realize that you must let go so that you can have a chance at living again and for his own benefit.
    Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  38. Goldfish,
    There are not many situations where long term pain management with addictive pain medications is the protocol. There are many other alternatives that an help in various situations. How do you help someone who does not accept your help? If they are not well and you keep on doing the same thing expecting different results, you are not well either. All of us here, including myself, went through a period of insanity. We all kept trying to help and nothing changed. You have to be the game changer, you can love and care for someone else but you have to love and care for yourself first.
    Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  39. Please help me
    My 23 year old son has been addicted to cocaine for 6 years and this has ripped out family apart. We were a very close professional family and now our lives are In tatters. My don still lives at home with us as he has no money or any place to stay. He has tried unsuccessfully many times to stop taking Coke and last year he was actually clean for 9 months however the addiction return and seemingly with a vengeance. We love him dearly but feel we are grieving for a lost son even though he is still with us he is not the lad that once was. My husband and I know that we enable him but we are desperate for him to be well again and so find ourselves paying his debts and constantly making excuses. This now has to stop but we have no idea how to let go, how does one let go of thier child who they have always been very close to and proud of what he was before cocaine. He has no money, no friends and no where to go, how can/do we let go?? Xxx

  40. I am reading through all of these stories and I wonder how do we know the difference? How do we know if it is worth sticking around and helping or just moving on?How one forgets about the love and the hopes? I am going through a marriage of alchohol and prescription drug abuse. We have had 4 years of sobriety and 8 of usage. There are legitimate medical issues thet require the pain medication. The problem is the thin line between pain management and running after a high. Not sure what to do. I knw I need help and I need to focus on my own life and self but how do you do that when you do care and love somebody.

  41. Lost Love,
    I was you many years ago, naïve and didn’t really understand the real truth about addiction and Addicts which is why I wrote my book, Hope Street, and have this blog. I want to try to help people not make the same mistakes that I made because I didn’t have anyone who knew what I was going through. I would like to make so many suggestions to you but unless you read my book and understand my frame of reference they will fall on deaf ears. I know this because I had a lot of people giving me advice but I knew they weren’t in my situation so I was always able to rationalize what they were saying to make sense for me and that’s what you will do with my advice unless you read my book and I understand where my advice comes from. If you read it you will get a glimpse into your future if you don’t leave. Keep me posted.
    Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  42. I left my boyfriend of only 7months after I started to notice he was self-medicating his depression, he is 20 years old. We were living together and doing everything I possibly could to be the perfect partner. I developed serious anxiety as I did not feel as though anything I did was making him happy. I had always told him that he needs to speak to a professional but he said he wasn’t ready. It got to the point where we couldn’t go out for a drink without waiting for the words “Would you care if I just did a line?”. I am at the point in my life that I want to focus on my future and move away from doing drugs recreationally and drinking all together. We had planned lots of travelling for our future and both really felt as though we had found “the one”. After he moved out I told him how his depression and self-medicating directly affected me and brought on anxiety issues. I stayed in contact with him for 3 weeks whilst I was out of the country to try and help him through sobriety and trying to stay clean but after so many empty promises, drunken messages and not hearing from him for over 24hrs during a binge I decided to give up. 3 days later he had binged and slept with somebody else which broke my heart. Another 3 weeks has gone by and I have met up with him to see how he is doing and to “close the door”. After our conversation it has become more apparent that his situation has only got worse and now has a serious problem with alcohol and cocaine. He spent over $1400 in a few days and said he feels like he cannot tell his parents, his friends don’t understand and that he is lost, scared and has a plan but just doesn’t know where or how to start because he can’t think clearly. He cannot believe that his addiction has pushed away the one person in his life who actually cares and now I have said that I will only be available when he is ready to get professional help. I need to focus on myself but once again I’m worried sick and wondering what the hell he could be doing each night. I have a good heart and don’t want to abandon him because he has nobody else. Should I be making myself available to him when he is ready or leave before he hurts me again, even though he has told me how bad he wants to leave this lifestyle? I don’t want to be with the person he is now but I love this person so much that I want to support him to become a better version of himself.

  43. I left my boyfriend of only 7months after I started to notice he was self-medicating his depression, he is 20 years old. We were living together and doing everything I possibly could to be the perfect partner. I developed serious anxiety as I did not feel as though anything I did was making him happy. I had always told him that he needs to speak to a professional but he said he wasn’t ready. It got to the point where we couldn’t go out for a drink without waiting for the words “Would you care if I just did a line?”. I am at the point in my life that I want to focus on my future and move away from doing drugs recreationally and drinking all together. We had planned lots of travelling for our future and both really felt as though we had found “the one”. After he moved out I told him how his depression and self-medicating directly affected me and brought on anxiety issues. I stayed in contact with him for 3 weeks whilst I was out of the country to try and help him through sobriety and trying to stay clean but after so many empty promises, drunken messages and not hearing from him for over 24hrs during a binge I decided to give up. 3 days later he had binged and slept with somebody else which broke my heart. Another 3 weeks has gone by and I have met up with him to see how he is doing and to “close the door”. After our conversation it has become more apparent that his situation has only got worse and now has a serious problem with alcohol and cocaine. He spent over $1400 in a few days and said he feels like he cannot tell his parents, his friends don’t understand and that he is lost, scared and has a plan but just doesn’t know where or how to start because he can’t think clearly. He cannot believe that his addiction has pushed away the one person in his life who actually cares and now I have said that I will only be available when he is ready to get professional help. I need to focus on myself but once again I’m worried sick and wondering what the hell he could be doing each night. I have a good heart and don’t want to abandon him because he has nobody else. Should I be making myself available to him when he is ready or leave before he hurts me again, even though he has told me how bad he wants to leave this lifestyle? I don’t want to be with the person he is now but I love this person so much that I want to support him to become a better version of himself.

  44. Patty and Dee,
    Your son has simply replaced one addiction for another. He is most likely, as you describe his physical appearance a meth addict. Decline come quickly. I would not hand him money and confront him and let him know he needs help. You will not watch him destroy himself or make it easier for him to use drugs. A family therapist who specializes in addiction would really help you right now and could perhaps perform an intervention for him. He needs help but addicts don’t want help to stop using they want help to keep using and that is where you need to draw the line. You never want to abandon your son but think of this as helping him hit his own rock bottom so that he may be the one who realizes his life is destroyed. I know this is the most heartbreaking thing you could ever go through but you have to let him fall, on his own. Please understand that addiction is a chemical addiction usually coupled with mental health issues that have not been diagnosed. I hope you are able to find peace and do not stop searching for answers on how you can detach, with love, and understand that he needs help on many levels but that HE has to be ready.
    Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  45. Patty,
    Your son has simply replaced one addiction for another. He is most likely, as you describe his physical appearance a meth addict. Decline come quickly. I would not hand him money and confront him and let him know he needs help. You will not watch him destroy himself or make it easier for him to use drugs. A family therapist who specializes in addiction would really help you right now and could perhaps perform an intervention for him. He needs help but addicts don’t want help to stop using they want help to keep using and that is where you need to draw the line. You never want to abandon your son but think of this as helping him hit his own rock bottom so that he may be the one who realizes his life is destroyed. I know this is the most heartbreaking thing you could ever go through but you have to let him fall, on his own. Please understand that addiction is a chemical addiction usually coupled with mental health issues that have not been diagnosed. I hope you are able to find peace and do not stop searching for answers on how you can detach, with love, and understand that he needs help on many levels but that HE has to be ready.
    Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  46. My son is 25 and has been using opiates for 7 years. He’s been through inpatient 3 times, jail several times and outpatient treatment too. Recently finished probation which included treatment. Was doing well, got a job and living on his own. He relapsed, quit job and moved back home. He is clean some days and then uses again. I have told him he needs treatment again but he insists he has learned everything he can from treatment and feels that he can quit on his own. I know he can’t but he he refuses treatment. I told him its treatment or he has to leave, but he won’t leave. I don’t know what to do next. I hate to involve the police.

  47. My son is 34 and a Registered Nurse was addicted to opiates and Overdosed at work on Fentanyl was charged with possession and is on probation has a record and lost his job, may not be able to nurse again. Lost his home and fiance. This all happened last year he went into a inpatient rehap and was doing well up until December, now he is looking very thin and sick. Also just found out he has HepC. He does not live in my home as my husband his stepdad will not allow as we have a 15 year old son. He has a job now at a call center but keeps missing days. I have helped in buying groceries for him and occasionally giving him $20.00 for gas. My heart is broken don’t know what to do with him and he also has a 13 year old son, that he sees on Wednesday nights and some weekends. I confronted him about drug use and he says he has done marijuana and some meth. Does a relapse mean he needs to go back to re-hap? Last year he had seizures and oded twice, I am so upset this time I have taken time off work. Any advice will be appreciated.

  48. Debbie,
    You are not alone in this and I think you need some support from people who are dealing with the same issue. Al-Anon, therapy, or any other support group will really be a great help and guide to you. All that you do for him is out of love, I know, I have 3 children, but when it comes to addiction, that love becomes an enabling factor. You would die for your children, I know this as a parent but sometimes we have to let go of our children and let the addiction run its course. An addict needs to see what life is like as an addict without support. I am not saying that you need to not be a mother anymore, but you need to set ground rules; if he is not going to be in recovery, you will not be in his life because you will not watch him self destruct; you love him and always will but his addiction is killing him and you; you will have no contact with him while he continues to use drugs but if and when he is ready, you will be there to help him get himself into recovery. At that time, I would send him to a long term treatment facility where dual-diagnosis can help him stabilize and he can get the right care and medication to help with the underlying mental health issues. He has used for so long that coming off of drugs must be a nightmare and his chemicals are wired for drugs to the point where he has lost his ability to even make the decision to stop. Please keep reading the other articles here I have written, especially Zero Tolerance for Addiction: Help for Families, as it is a guide on how to handle these situations. I am sorry for the loss of your son to drugs but I pray that you will find peace and that one day he will get the care that will save him.
    Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  49. My son who turns 29 next week is a drug user. Heroin, speed, ice. Usually becomes very aggressive towards me and my home. He has lived in his own rented place for last 10 years but through being broken into for the umpteenth time has come to stay for a short time. Been into detox twice, mental health unit twice due to psychosis but refuses to go back. Has lost his 3 children to docs due to his behaviour and I have to deal with docs just to see my grandchildren and to supervise my sons contact. Staying with me until he goes away with a friend, came home this morning after taking ketamine . Became aggressive And I was scared so had a friend come to take him and got house keys off him. I can’t keep doing this. I am becoming ill, have a small brain injury from one of his attacks and feel I cannot help him. I told him this, he cried said I was only person to help him but I am not the right person to help him. Am a nurse who works with difficult people but when it is your son, it’s personal. Just wanted to vent. Thankyou

  50. Kayley,
    I am so sorry for your loss, you are not alone. You will go through many emotions, shock, anger, sadness, pain and then acceptance. It might take a long time but right now things are too raw. This is normal with loss and I would gain some perspective through family counseling or your own therapy to help you through this so that you chanel these feelings and work through them. Your brother was an addict and unless he was going to be the one to want to change, there is not much a family can do, especially one which faces addiction itself. You will never get over your brother dying but you can learn to heal and live with it and maybe find a productive way of helping others through what you are dealing with some day. Right now I would urge some family counseling so that you can talk to your family about how you feel. Don’t sweep it under the rug, the subconcious mind will always hold on to it and it will come up at a later date.
    Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  51. Kama,
    If he is using and you do not want to be with him as an addict, then yes you are enabling. You are showing him that you will stay with him no matter what, and in some situations that is normal and good but not in this one. If he is an addict heading for destruction, then you are just there cushioning the blow. I have been there and I know that as co-addicts we beg and make pleas for them to stop using but they don’t and we don’t leave. This is a toxic scenario and the beginning to a long road of more of the same.
    Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  52. Aleida,
    If you left him because of his drug abuse, I don’t think it is a good idea to see him and reopen things again. Like a scab, let it heal, don’t open it up again. Missing him is normal, but what will you accomplish by seeing him? Think about the reason you are going in the first place. Is it a unhealthy, old pattern?
    Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  53. Carolyn,
    I am sorry to say that I would be weary of this situation. Addicts in general, especially young addict feel invincible and that they can do it on their own. Maybe some do for periods of time but in my experience, without the support, tools, therapy, and experts as a guide, what is to stop him next time he gets the urge. Will power only works for so long. Please find some support for you so that you can understand what you are dealing with. You have to understand the chemicals in his brain are changed with addiction and he is not the same person, even clean, it takes a long time to regain perspective. You cannot force him, but you can stop enabling and let him know if he is doing the right thing, you will be there and if he is ready for recovery you will support him, but that if he is using, you cannot help him. You will always love him, but you will not watch him destroy his life.
    Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

  54. My 23 year old son has been addicted to cocaine for 6 years and this has ripped out family apart. We were a very close professional family and now our lives are In tatters. My don still lives at home with us as he has no money or any place to stay. He has tried unsuccessfully many times to stop taking Coke and last year he was actually clean for 9 months however the addiction return and seemingly with a vengeance. We love him dearly but feel we are grieving for a lost son even though he is still with us he is not the lad that once was. My husband and I know that we enable him but we are desperate for him to be well again and so find ourselves paying his debts and constantly making excuses. This now has to stop but we have no idea how to let go, how does one let go of thier child who they have always been very close to and proud of what he was before cocaine. He has no money, no friends and no where to go, how can/do we let go?? Xxx

  55. My brother was selling meth and died at 24 years old. I was not talking to him until the night he was shot. I am so saddened by this. He was also in jail on and off but that didn’t keep him from using when he was released. I need help to understand why I am angry towards my neglectful family as we lost our dad a few years ago. Addiction is definitely a family disease and the damage is left behind. It’s only been a month and he was the most important part of my life. I am left with so many regrets.

  56. My husband has been addicted to pain pills and now Heroin. He has denied it repeatedly but I’ve dealt with his prescription drug use for so many years that I know his manorisms and I swear I was able to tell if he even looked at it. But now it’s different, he’s different. I don’t even know what was the last time I saw him “normal”. I’m incredibly sad, just devastated really, because I know he’s gone forever…

  57. I don’t know if I’m enabling my partner whose using meth.
    He says he can’t stop even though I’ve told him he’s heading towards prison or death.
    I need help.

  58. I am currently going thru a divorcie .i had not spoken to my husband for like 2 months. Well last night we spoke and talked about meeting up.. It’s that a good idea or should I just let go.. I know he was high like always but I miss him so much.

  59. Ihave finally left my addict boyfriend of 8 years. I moved to my parents house until he gets out of my house. Of course he dragged his feet well this week he should finally be leaving. Of course he is making me feel like we are breaking up all over again saying that he is trying so hard to be a better man. However I’m done and don’t care to see the better man. I don’t even know for sure it’s true and if it is how long does it last? I’m tired of the toxic battle, trying to change him only changed me into an angry person and I’m trying to work on myself. I keep asking myself what if? How do I get pass the “What if” . I was fine up until today. I want to get pass all the what if and know I’m doing the right thing so I can keep going.

  60. my son started using heroin by snorting 3 weeks ago. He went into rehab yesterday and signed himself out today. He is 22 yrs old. He was trying to detox for a few days prior to going to rehab. He was verbally abusive and he said it was an unsafe environment.
    Is he scared straight or am I kidding myself? I know he needs a support group

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