Toxic Relationships in Addiction

Hi to you all and I am so sorry I haven’t been very active with writing lately, it has been a rocky start to this year and I have made a lot of changes to my life that are very exciting. If you want to read about the biggest change you can check out my post about why I want to be a mommy blogger on my baby website.

Today I want to share my knowledge and experience with toxic relationships in addiction. If you are looking for help for a loved one, please check out this post!

For me there are two sides to this topic that are very important. The first one is that if you are an addict all your relationships are toxic or damaged. This is what this post will address, specifically love relationships.

The other aspect of this topic is Sex and Love Addiction, this is something I will go into on another post. For now I will just say that I personally believe that every addict/ alcoholic should look into sex and love addiction simply because like I said every relationship of an addict in active addiction is either severely toxic or damaged.

Toxic Relationships in Addiction

Toxic Relationships in Addiction

So why do I say that every relationship of an addict in active addiction is either toxic or severely damaged? It is simple really, think about it…. you’re flying high as a kite on drugs right? Who wants to be in your company? You are drunk as a skunk, mumbling incoherently and you think the person listening to you is in a healthy state of mind?

Not a chance! If you are in active addiction or alcoholism then none of the people you are hanging out with is in a good mental state.

I am now referring to every relationship you have and every person has a number of different relationships. There are the relationship between yourself and your employer, your parents, your children, your lover or spouse, your friends… even the person that works at the corner shop that you go to regularly. You may not know that person very well and it may be a very sort of vague relationship but it is there. Anyone and everyone that you come into contact with can be considered a relationship.

And if you are an active addict or an alcoholic you can bet that every single relationship is toxic or damaged!

Here is a great example of how an addict recently damaged a relationship with me. There is a man that works in our complex, he does all the gardens in our complex. I don’t know his name, but I greet him every time I see him. I nod in his direction and smile. He does our garden every Tuesday. So we have had a relationship of sorts, a pleasant relationship.

However on Sunday while I was home alone with my 4 year old daughter there was a knock on our door. I looked out the window and saw it was this man. I opened the door without thinking about it. I mean I know the guy right?

I immediately saw he was high on drugs. He was edgy and mumbling and asking me for money, giving some story about how he was supposed to be paid but something went  wrong and can I please give him 50 bucks. I said no immediately, I mean this is actually a dangerous situation. I know, I have been on drugs. He then said but he will give it back to me on Monday. I told him  he has misunderstood me, there is no money on this property.

My daughter then jumps up and shouts she has money. You know, one of those ridiculous moments? He starts looking around me at my daughter, with a hopeful look on his face. I told him she is confused, she has no money here and I give my daughter a death look to try and shut her up.

I never knew he had a problem. He works during the week and has no reason to be here on a Sunday knocking on my door. This relationship is now completely damaged and I feel unsafe having a drug addict working around my property. I am at home alone during the day and this man knows this. I have my children at home alone with me in the afternoon and he knows this too doesn’t he?

So now a perfectly good relationship has been damaged by drugs. I am going to have to have a talk to the people that run the complex and tell them I am not happy with this man working here and this is a horrible and uncomfortable situation for me.

Why Can’t Addicts Have Healthy Relationships?

They just can’t. Eventually every relationship will become tarnished by the addicts behavior as I have clearly illustrated in the point above. To an addict every person is good for one thing only. What they can do for the addict. Can they provide funding for their habit? Can they give the addict a place to stay when they have been evicted? Can they cover for the addict’s lies and manipulation?

Ok so I am making addicts sound like the devil himself…. umm yeah well that’s how it really is. The addict thinks of nothing and nobody except him or herself and his or her drugs and using. This is the nature of addiction. It is a selfish and ugly problem to have.

What About Love Relationships in Addiction?

Unfortunately this is the same and it gets even uglier here. If you are an addict and you are in a relationship with someone I will bet that your partner is one or more of the following:

  • A drug addict
  • An alcoholic
  • An addict of some form (gambling, sex, love, porn, food, self harm…)
  • An abuser
  • A codependent

There is just no way that your partner is a normal, sane and mentally healthy person. This just does not happen. Healthy people attract and form relationships with healthy people. Unhealthy people attract unhealthy people like flies to shit. This is just a rule of the universe and there is nothing that will change this rule.

drug addicts and toxic relationships

There is only one way to start forming healthy and loving relationships and that is to get clean and to work a program of recovery. If you are in a relationship with someone and you are an addict you will most likely have to let that person go in order to get yourself into a healthy state of mind.

What About Getting into a Relationship When You Get Clean?

Tread with caution here please! This is a very dangerous road. If you are thinking you can get clean and after 2 weeks start getting into a relationship let me set you straight right now. The fastest way to relapse is to have sex or start a relationship with someone!

I’m now 7 years clean and I have watched everyone around me fall from grace and the number one reason has been sex and relationships!

Think very carefully about your life and remember it is literally a situation of life and death. If you relapse you could die. I have seen it happen plenty of times and it is awful.

My advice here is to wait until you are 2 years clean to get into a meaningful relationship with anyone. And yes, you should keep all sexual relations confined to a meaningful relationship!

It is important to work on yourself and to heal yourself before attempting to rock the boat with all the emotions that go with a relationship. If you are an addict chances are that you have never managed to have a healthy meaningful relationship with anyone. You may be 50 years old but you are more clueless about relationships than a 12 year old that is about to have his first kiss! You need to learn how to love yourself and only then can you think about learning how to care for and nurture another person.

And of course sex just opens up another huge can of worms too doesn’t it? Chances are you haven’t even had sex sober right? Sex is another whole topic that I am not going to go into now, but don’t worry I will be getting to this interesting topic at some stage!

So How Can This All Be Fixed?

So if you’ve browsed around my website before you might have read my post about whether addiction can be cured, if not then I suggest you read that.

My suggestion here is to make yourself a promise, that you will wait until you are 2 years clean and working a program of recovery before you get romantically involved with anyone. I know it sounds like a tall order but really the time flies.

You need that time for yourself, to heal and to make changes to your life. You need to grow strong and learn how to love yourself before you can choose a good partner. Trust me, I know this.

I have been in relationships with abusers, with sex and love addicts, drug addicts and seriously mentally sick men. The pain of being in a relationship like this is so intense that I don’t think I can even get it across to you. If you are in a relationship like this, you know what I am talking about.

I am now married to a wonderful man, that loves me and takes care of me and our children. I promise you something, if you can get inside my head and see what I can see now you will understand that a 2 year wait is well worth it. I wouldn’t even call it a sacrifice, it is an investment.

So get yourself into a treatment center or get yourself to a 12 Step meeting and get started with your journey to recovery.

If you have any questions or any feedback please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.

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  1. Peter Mantu says:

    This is a sad topic that needs through addressing. Something along the lines of how we can help addicts overcome their problem…

    It’s not easy as this is not something that can be done for someone who doesn’t think they need help. Thanks for sharing though…all the best!

    • Lynne says:

      Hi Peter

      You have brought up the really important part here. An addict that doesn’t want help or believe they don’t actually have a problem is not reachable at all. It is only when the addict truly wants help for him or herself that any recovery can begin.

    • Alexey says:

      Hey there it’s Alexey. Your post is giving so much value, and covers a very important subject. Relationships in addiction are bad, toxic and can ruin everything.
      I like your advice (to wait 2 years to be clean) and then to go and start a relationship with someone.
      Thanks for the share!

      • Lynne says:

        Hi Alexey
        Thanks for visiting 🙂 Yes it is very sad, especially since often the addict craves love and acceptance so much.

      • Ayanda says:

        Thanks for this Lynne

        I have just left my boyfriend because of his addiction and thus his behavior. I really wish I could help him coz I truly love him, but I’ve come to realize that I can’t help him and for my and kids well being its best we let him be. I read somewhere that it can also be kind of “inherited” I really hope this is not the case for the sake of my kids.

        Is there anything I can do?

        • Lynne says:

          Hi Ayanda

          I’m sorry to hear that you have to go through this, it is terribly sad, especially when there’s children involved.

          I wouldn’t say that just because he is an addict that your children will be too. There are different viewpoints on this. One is that it is hereditary and the other is that it is when someone that uses a lot of drugs crosses an “invisible line” and become an addict. I think there is truth in both. I am planning a new post which will explain how addiction is like diabetes… some people are born with it, and others have a predisposition to it and through their lifestyle become diabetic….

          I can’t say don’t worry about it, because the truth is that this is one of my biggest fears too. I have a 2 year old son and a 4 year old daughter. My worst fear is that one or both of them will be addicts or alcoholics. All you can do is educate yourself, prepare them and educate them of the risks and keep your eyes open.

          I suggest you join Alanon or Naranon which is the 12 Step program for the loved ones of addicts and alcoholics. This will help you heal and also educate you about addiction.

          I wish you the best of luck Ayanda!

        • Jade says:


          Thank you for creating this website with the aim of helping other addicts.

          I think you are totally right when you said that the surest way to relapse is to get into another relationship before you are ready. It is like the saying goes: “If your cup isn’t full neigh overflowing, then you have nothing to give to anyone else without draining yourself”.

          I have personal experience with addicts and I can say that all the information on this page is very informative.

          I would like to see you address less serious addictions on your website too, such as sugar addiction. I think that would be a really popular niche!

          Thanks for the great article!


          • Lynne says:

            Oh Jade you have no idea! I am about to look at sugar addiction very soon! I have never had a problem with sugar or coffee…. BUT since I stopped smoking in October last year I have cross addicted into sugar, caffeine and snacks (yes chips!).

            I knew it was happening but decided to just leave it and get over the cigarettes first. Now I am drinking so much coffee and it is loaded with sugar (3 heaped spoons to be precise!). I am going to tackle this problem head on very soon and I will be sharing about it!

          • Allison says:

            I loved this page and I love your site. What a positive place for people to go. First let me say that I am happy to hear that you have such a wonderful husband and two beautiful children. No matter what, that is an amazing family to come home to. Secondly, your site is just so uplifting that I could stay here all day. I love your honest style of writing. You can really touch so many lives with your words. You just never know who needs to hear what you are saying. The road to recovery is never easy but so worth it once you get there. You’re right that addiction doesn’t have to last and congrats on being clean for over 7 years. Please don’t ever forget to be proud of that. You sound like such an amazing person. I wish you the best in all that you do and I will be back to read more from you soon.

            Thanks for sharing.

            • Lynne says:

              Thanks Allison

              I really love to get feedback on my website. This site is at the moment just a hobby, a place for me to throw out my stuff and of course this is done in the hopes of helping another addict. I am glad to hear hat you’ve enjoyed spending time here and listening to my ramblings!

            • Anonymous says:

              Thank you for your website. I found it when I googled “are all alcoholic relationships toxic”. While I largely agree with your post, I believe you are incorrect in your description of spouses of addicts. It is a very simplistic view, and it is incorrect. I unknowingly married a lifelong alcoholic that completely snowed me while we were dating. I didn’t have any reason to suspect any issues, I even told her I was running a background check on her before marriage, and she agreed. She served in the military, had two beautiful older kids, put herself through nursing school, and had a good career. Her managers and fellow employees loved her. She got pregnant immediately, which I had no problem with. As soon as she found out she was pregnant, it became a night and day difference in her demeanor, behavior, etc. She drank during the pregnancy and 31/2 years of breastfeeding. She swears like a sailor, and is severely abusive. I am not an abuser, I do not self harm or have any addictions. I am not codependent. What I do have is a little girl that loves her mother dearly and has had to grow up way too fast. She understands her mom’s maladaptive behaviors and does not repeat them. I had her mother removed from the house for 12 months and did the “tough love” thing. Her mother had six hours per week of supervised visitation. She simply couldn’t quit drinking. Olivia was more hurt about having her mother gone than living with her mother and I while her mother stayed drunk 16 hours a day. So, you see, sometimes situations are very complex, especially when you introduce a child into the picture. My daughter would rather see her mom arrested for DUI, removed from the house for medical care, removed for domestic violence, than not see her mother at all. That doesn’t mean I am an unhealthy person or any of the dark things you applied to me with a broad brush stroke.

              • Lynne says:

                Hi Anonymous

                I am so sad to hear about your experiences with your daughter’s mother, it is always so sad when there is a child involved.

                This post was never meant to offend anyone, to say anything dark about anyone or to brush everyone with a broad brush stroke. As is very clear you were unable to have a healthy relationship with the mother of your child proving my point exactly, you had to leave the relationship. An alcoholic cannot have a healthy relationship and this is where the focus of this post is.

                As you know from my blogs I am an alcoholic and a drug addict. I am not a dark, evil person. I am a person with a problem that is highly stigmatized and misunderstood. This website is an attempt to help addicts, alcoholics and all those affected by them.

              • Anonymous says:

                Thanks, Lynne. Yes, it is a very ugly disease when not managed and destroys many lives, not just the life of the alcoholic.

                • Lynne says:

                  Yes that it does. It wrecks the lives of everyone it touches. And I am truly sorry about your daughter, it is heart breaking. Especially where you said she just wants to see her mom no matter what the consequences.

                  I hope for family’s sake that she finds recovery.

                • Jayce says:

                  I have a question that I can’t seem to find online. I’m sure it seems stupid to ask but can a recovering addict be with an active addict (whom isn’t willing to stop) I’m married 3 small children (recovering pill addict ) he is (pill active addict) and basically has an excuse. I’m sure there are ways to make it work. I’m sure that I’m treading on thin ice but I’m just hoping that we won’t have to go down a road of pain and anger etc. just for it not to work.

                  • Lynne says:

                    Hi Jayce

                    It is not up to me to decide what is the right path for you, but if you are asking for my opinion I can only base it on the facts that you have given me… and my opinion is that you are not treading on thin ice, you are playing with fire 🙁 I am sure you want it to work and you are looking for any chance that it could work, but my belief is that a using addict and a clean addict is just not going to work, not ever. You are putting your recovery, and your children’s well being at risk.

                  • miki says:

                    thank you so much for your post! my chronically relapsing gf of a year just left me for heroin/meth and her abusive ex a month ago. she had a moment of clarity after she left and realized that she needed to be alone. she went to detox for 2 weeks and then left rehab to go straight into her abusive/addict exes arms. they are apparently together and ” happy” and “recovering together” right now, but I doubt it will go over smoothly considering their history. it took her leaving me for me to realize just how important it is for her recovery, and my recovery from my codependency, to be single. thank you for your article! very soothing and helpful. Goodluck to everyone on their road to serenity!

                    • Lynne says:

                      Hi Miki

                      I’m glad that you found this article helpful, and yes it is really important to spend some time being single, healing from your hurt and pain and to give yourself the time to work on yourself. Codependency is a topic I have not really had a chance to cover yet on my website but it really is such an important topic related to addiction. Stay strong and best wishes!

                    • david says:

                      I left my weed-cocaine addict ex 2 months ago – it’s hard as I worry about him but I know I did the right thing – his whole life is revolving around his addiction and I finally got off the rollercoaster after 1 yr 2 months together. I know that me leaving is the best thing I can do for the both of us. I finally came to realise his addiction is currently number 1 and I will always be number 2. I love him however I love myself more and realise this is only getting worse the more we’re together. I hope he finds the strength to come out of this but it’s tough love now. Addiction is the saddest thing I’ve ever had to witness and this will leave a scar forever!.

                      • Lynne says:

                        I am so sorry that you have been so badly hurt, you are right addiction is awful and it affects everyone that addict comes into contact with. You are so right to love yourself enough to get out of the relationship. It is hard but it will be the best for you and for your ex. Time does heal some of the wounds but yes it will have a lasting impact on you for sure.

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