Many people who love a drug addict ask, “Can a drug addict truly love someone?” Unfortunately, the answer is no. A drug addict can’t love you. If you have questions about how to repair a broken relationship with an addict, you’re in the right place.
But in this case, the relationship you must first repair is with yourself. You will want to consider the root cause of your co-addiction with the addict.
Root Causes of Co-Addiction
If you’re emotionally involved with an addict, you may feel that you love them. You may also feel that you can’t let the addict go.
The most important relationship you have must be with yourself. To balance your emotional life, you must consider the root of your own issues, not those of the addict. You may in fact meet the specifications of co-addiction with the addict.
Start the process by looking at how the situation evolved and developed:
• Your co-addict and co-dependent behaviors may have started in childhood. At this time, these behaviors may be deeply suppressed. As a co-addict, you might not recall when the sense of self was lost.
• If you faced emotional abuse, psychological abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, or you were neglected or abandoned by a parent, it may be healthy for you to uncover memories with the help of a therapist.
In your past, you may have attempted to maintain your sense of self and to resist the abuser. Your abuser, whether a parent or close family friend, probably become more irate as you attempted to resist. Your struggles to right your sense of self might have been futile. Over time, your child-self learned that personal feelings were much less important than demonstrating submission to the parent or other abuser.
During your lifetime, you may have accepted submissive behaviors. As you encountered other abuse, you may have responded with more submission. Although your behavioral response may have been mild, you acquiesced to a controlling or self-focused parent or another person who emotionally or otherwise abandoned you. As a child, you may have learned that the “correct” response to these behaviors was passive submission. Since you were totally reliant on a parent or caregiver at that time in life, you had no choice about how to change the relationship dynamics.
Co-Addiction in an Emotional Relationship
The development of submissive behaviors today may have started in childhood if it was necessary to relate with an addict. If one or both parents or other caregivers struggled with addiction, you learned that your parent—and their addiction—came before you.
Their actions demonstrated that your care and needs came second to their own addictive struggles. In this way, you may have lost your <i>voice</i> and your sense of sovereign self in order to care for the needs of an addict. You responded to their verbal and nonverbal demands by developing a quiet-as-a-mouse, self-dismissive personality. This behavior may be ingrained today. Perhaps that’s how you interrelate with intimate partners, work relationships, and others in all parts of your life.
Valuing the Self
It’s not “selfish” to value yourself more than others. If you’re in a relationship with an addict, you may ask yourself if it’s healthy for you to value their needs over your own. In this context, it is easier to see that, as an adult co-dependent or co-addict, you’re aware of how an abusive past may have created your present-day behaviors.
Love doesn’t require you to place more value on another person. Your welfare must come first. Your identity isn’t formed around another person you love. If all facets of your life revolve around the needs and requirements of an addict, you may be co-dependent and co-addictive. Regaining your identity is an important first step to your recovery.
Addict and Co-Addict Relationships
Of course, your emotional self may feel that you’re a perfect match with the addict in your life. Recognize, though, that it’s unhealthy to put your own problems and needs above those of the impaired person!
Your relationship with an addict may feel quite natural. As a co-addict, you may be submissive and hide behind them. Similarly, the addict is quite attracted to you as a co-addict. They cannot truly take care of many of life’s obligations and requirements without your help. The addict is able to continue on the path of addiction because of the help and support you offer.
That’s why it’s essential to look at your past within a therapeutic relationship. Review past traumas, relationships, and experiences from childhood at the start. As you do, you may understand more about why you chose to become intimately involved with an addict. Your response to the addict’s impairment is to place their needs above yours. In fact, your response may be quite natural.
To understand why you chose this current relationship, understand how previous experiences helped bring you here. Talk therapy and other supports can assist you in doing the work needed to understand and change this negative relationship dynamic.
After all, how do you repair a relationship and its dynamics if you don’t understand the reasons for your choice? You can’t repair a relationship with an addict until if and when they decide to live a healthy life. They must get to the root of their own problems, in their own time.
Start the Healing Process
Start the process of healing with you. Call us now at 844-903-2111. Choose healthy habits and behaviors. Model these behaviors for everyone in your life. The addict may feel it’s “tough love,” but you must stop derailing your own life because of the addict’s problems. That’s the only way for the addict and you as the co-addict to make important and healthful life changes.