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Enabling is not helping! The secret to helping an addict

How many of us have asked ourselves: “If I stopped helping my addicted loved one, what would happen to them? Would they fall apart, would they starve or, even worse, overdose?”  

If you question whether your help is really hurting an addict, this article may help you understand more regarding enabling and addiction. We review enabling behaviors and how to end them here. Then, we invite your questions or comments at the end.

Are you helping or enabling?

Have you ever said…

“I don’t understand why he can’t stay sober, I do everything for him, pay the bills, take care of the children, all he has to do is focus on his recovery.”

Q: There is a fine line between helping and enabling. But how do you know that you’re enabling a drug addict or alcoholic? And what are some examples of enabling behaviors?

A: Anything a person does that makes life easier for an addict to use drugs is enabling. For example, taking on extra chores at home or overtime at work for extra money to make up for what the addict is not doing is enabling. Taking care of your children because your spouse is high is not enabling, the welfare of your children come first. However, coming home to an unmade dinner and the house a wreck, cleaning up and making dinner for the addict to eat is enabling.

Trusted Helpline
Help Available 24/7
1-888-882-1456
PRIVACY GUARANTEED

So, how can you stop enabling an addicted husband, spouse, or partner?

The secret to helping an addict

The secret to helping an addict is NOT HELPING an addict! You might be asking what this means and how can you differentiate between which actions help and which actions do not help. The lines may become blurred, especially when children are involved. However, one thing is very clear: if you find yourself doing anything more than your share for the sole reason that an addict is getting high, you are enabling.

Helping an addict husband, spouse, or loved one is really no secret at all, it just seems that way because no one really takes the most appropriate approach to dealing with an addicted loved one. People seem to do the opposite and try to help the person they love by taking care of them. This natural instinct is acceptable in other circumstances but not when someone is deep into addiction and when that addiction is (and it almost always does) destroying your relationship, home, and family.

Doing nothing

“So I should just sit by and watch my spouse fall apart and do nothing?”

YES. But it is not that simple.

Every morning, I ask my ten year old to make her bed and every morning she does not do it and I go in and do it for her. My husband asked me why she would ever do it herself when she knows I will.

If you apply the same theory to an addict, an addict gets high and they know their spouse or partner will pick up the slack. Even if they endure anger, screaming or the silent treatment, why would they ever get clean? They can get high and have the responsibilities of life taken care of for them. They might apologize, but they do it again because they know they can.

More effective help

No one is saying that if a loved one is struggling with addiction that you should just get up and walk away. When an addict is struggling, it is in their best interest for you to create boundaries with them and abide by them. Taking the SAFETY NET away from the addict allows them to decide their life is unmanageable and make a change or go deeper into addiction, to a place where they will need to decide, at some point, that enough is enough.

You will know when it’s time to help…

When it is time to help an addict, it will become evident. When an addict – on their own and of their own volition – asks for help to get sober, that is the right time to help. The promises of getting clean will not be for next week or next month but right now.

You’ll know it’s time to help again because the addict will want to get help right away because they will no longer be able to go on living as they are. This is a good time to step in and assist them into a recovery program, tell them how you feel about their sobriety, tell them how much you love them while still keeping those boundaries. The best way to help an addict is to let them know you are there to help them as long as they are in recovery.

An addict may relapse but as long as they go back into recovery and chronic relapse does not become the norm, your love and support are still warranted.

Photo credit: geralt

Leave a Reply

47 Responses to “Enabling is not helping! The secret to helping an addict
Anon
4:07 pm July 24th, 2015

Thank you very great advice. I am currently using this method and way of interaction with him and I can see it working. I have read up on addiction and I feel I am armed with knowledge. i am ensuring he feels the true consequences of his addiction not because I wish to hurt himbut because I want him.to see the drugs don’t really make his life feel better it was actually me :) and the only way to be with me is through the recovery process. I must day it is much easier when you actually know you are dealing with an addict it has taken a lot to figure it out. Now I know I’m right there’s no mercy coming from me now… in a good way!

marissa
1:10 pm August 5th, 2015

Hello. I need help. My husband is an addict and he doesn’t think he is. He is ripping this family apart and I dont think he even realizes it. And I dont know what to do.

Amanda Andruzzi
11:29 pm August 6th, 2015

Anon,
Thank you for sharing your perspective. I am glad this article is of help to you. Boundaries are really important in dealing with a loved one who is actively using. If things do not turn around, it is up to you to decide how long you will wait for them to enter into recovery. Good Luck. 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/

Amanda Andruzzi
11:40 pm August 6th, 2015

Marissa,
If you know he is an addict then he is. You don’t need him to admit it because if he did, he would probably have to think about what he was doing, and not be doing what he was doing. Addicts are not going to admit they have a problem. You may have to create some boundaries with him and when they are broken, you will have to stand firm. For example, if he is irresponsible because of his drug use, then you are leaving and then you have to leave or have him leave. The more you entertain his addiction and allow him to try and deceive you, HE WILL. It is as simple as that. You need to make the change. Good Luck. 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/

William
9:34 pm August 10th, 2015

To Marissa: I usually read Addiction Blog’s posts and get a lot from them. When it comes to learning how to live with addiction in the household, I agree with your suggestion Amanda on not enabling the person using. However, I think that there is a crucial point missing in the suggestion. As an Addiction counselor, I always recommend that individuals and families seek professional help. There are some serious safety risks when dealing with Addiction in the household. Marissa, I would recommend seeking help through one or more of the following resources in you local area for assistance in dealing with your husband’s Addiction:
-A behavioral health facility or hospital
-An Interventionist
-A mental health counselor or therapist (specializing in or familiar with Addiction processes)
-An Alanon support group for you and your family

You are not alone in wanting to help your husband and family with recovery. That said, there are some productive ways of doing it and some nonproductive ways. I hope this also helps.

Fawn
10:18 pm August 22nd, 2015

My daughter is a heroine addict she has three children I need help I don’t want to be and enabler she doesn’t have insurance and has mental illness she always get help. For her mental illness but never her drug addiction and uses her illness as why she uses I need help on helping.her and not being and enabler

Stephanie
1:42 pm September 5th, 2015

My husband is addicted but is in denial. I have done it with him in the past but i didnt like it. I have tried to cut ties between him and dealers but nothing helps. He has had 2-3 day binges leaving me with no money or car. I want my happ y family back but i dont know how to get it back. Ive given the ultimatum me or it with no luck. Im a stahm so i really have no means to just up and leave with 2 small children…please any advice is appreciated

10:44 am September 7th, 2015

Hi Stephanie. I’d advise you to call the helpline number displayed on our site to get in touch with our trusted treatment providers to help you find the best and most suitable treatment approach for your husband.

1:40 pm September 8th, 2015

Hi Fawn. In situations such as this is when family counseling is very helpful. You learn what you should do and what to avoid, and the same goes for all family members who may be enabling her addiction without even realizing it. But, she will need dual-diagnosis treatment program where both, her mental illness and addiction will be addressed.

anon
2:07 am September 19th, 2015

My alcoholic husband has stopped working. He only cuts a few peoples grass to get money for beer. Meanwhile, his truck is in my name and I’m stuck with making 500 payment or turning it back in and suffering consequences of reposession. Am I doing the right thing turning it in?

Amanda Andruzzi
1:16 am October 6th, 2015

Anon,
If you are struggling and the car is an issue that can be resolved by letting it go, then you should do what makes your life easier even if that means it does not help your husband. The truck is an issue but the real issue is getting your life back even if he is not working, contributing to your household and actively using. Paying for a truck that he uses to cut grass for beer and probably drives drunk in is definitely something that enables his addiction. You need to focus on 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/

Aubrey
7:44 am November 7th, 2015

My husband is an addict. He will admit to this but says God is trying to teach him a lesson and he will get sober when he needs to and be there for our family when he needs to. I kicked him out 4 months ago and am 7 months pregnant with our first baby. He refuses to acknowledge the effect this has had on me or anyone else and says it is just my “perception” that his actions have had negative effects. He is currently living with his mom, and from what I am told, who knows if it’s true since he lies all the time, is only taking suboxone which is also addictive and of course he doesn’t get it from a doctor just some other guy who takes it. He refuses detox or treatment saying “no one can help him” and “whatever happens is meant to happen”. He is totally in denial. I have a counselor, sometimes attend al anon and have kept my boundary of not allowing him home. I feel like I need to set more boundaries though as the baby is coming and he shows no signs of being motivated to do things differently. He wants me to “forgive and forget” and let him come home and learn whatever it is he’s supposed to learn. It is incredibly sad and frustrating and I feel like I have lost the love of my life. We have scattered, unproductive communication and I just feel lost. I know I need to take care of myself and am trying but I don’t want to completely give up on our marriage. Advice, please.

Julie
10:26 pm November 14th, 2015

My boyfriend is addicted to synthetic marijuana. I kicked him out but then pushed him into outpatient rehab and let him come home. It lasted 2 days. I kicked him out again. He has lost his job. His phone is on my acct as well as his car insurance. I don’t want to cut off his only way to contact me if he decides he needs help but maybe I’m enabling him? I’d appreciate any advice. I told him I’ll be here if he decides to get help.

Amanda Andruzzi
3:09 pm November 18th, 2015

Aubrey,
I give a lot of advice and usually people will post when they have just had enough but then I do not hear back from them. I keep posting because if it helps one person then I have done some good. I was married to an addict and 12 years and one child later I realized I was the one who needed to make the change because I couldn’t change him. I hope once you see your child that you will know that you do not want this life for him or her. If you are unhappy now, dealing with addiction as a parent makes it even more difficult.
Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict
View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

Amanda Andruzzi
3:15 pm November 18th, 2015

Julie,
Yes, you are enabling him. If you really want to help him and yourself, you will let him go and be responsible for his own life. If he can find a way to get drugs then if he needs help, he will find a way to get that too. Remember how resourceful an addict can be when he wants to use, so if they are truly wanting help, then they will be able to get it. You have to let him fall and realize for himself he needs help. Shut off his phone and cancel his insurance.
Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict
View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

Maria
3:19 am December 3rd, 2015

I started dating my now husband 4 1/2 year’s ago. He was in a previous marriage and his exwife didn’t let him see his kid’s for 4years. 2 year’s ago he admitted he has a problem and asked me to help him besides the drug’s we’re great together. Unfortunately I started using with him off and on, we’ve made horrible choices engaging in sexual behaviors with others, every 4 to 7 days we get a motel and use again. He tells me he’s done he knows he’s an addict and he’s going to stop but there he goes again and I follow. A year ago he left, told me he needed his space he came back 3 months later the cycle started up again.we recently got married and now he tells me he doesn’t know why we did, he doesn’t want to hurt anyone he wants to move closer to his kid’s and that we have grown appart he holds resentments towards me because I went to his brother and a friend of mine which recently threw it in his face lied to him told him I said he couldn’t perform in the bedroom and that I cheated on him. I know I’ve been an enabler but I don’t want to lose him he works too much and doesn’t have time for counseling, I want us to work this out he has 5 kid’s and I also have 5 from a previous marriage and we each have 1 grandchild I don’t know what to do.

Sarah44
11:14 am December 3rd, 2015

Dear Amanda,

I am filing for divorce from my husband of 9 years since he has been abusing marijuana since we married and gradually moved onto harder drugs, like ecstasy followed by cocaine and meth.

We have a 4 year old daughter who we both love terribly and it’s excruciating to make her suffer through my husband’s stressful inflictions on me. I do, however remain in two minds up until this day when I have spent enough on a lawyer, moved countries and am in the final stages of finalising our divorce conditions before we file; I miss him, I miss us being a family. He is the only man I have ever been with, the only scent I know of a man.

It started off with marijuana when we married. Ours was a love marriage where he fought with his parents to marry me. They didn’t love my family and thought the match would not work because of that. Through the years, our immediate families quarrelled, my mother disrespected my husband plenty and we had a lot of rough patches. Six months after my daughter was born, my husband was detained in the Middle East for smoking marijuana in a country where it’s illegal. He was sentenced to 4 years but was pardoned in 8 years. I went every week while he was detained with my daughter to see him in the prison. I stuck by him like his own despite finding out at the time that he was even having an affair with a colleague. I found a love letter in his car.

Two years later, he suffered haemorrhoids and somehow started sitting in the bathroom for hours. This continued for 6 months where twice a week he would sit after work from 7pm to 3-4am at times, until one night he suffered seizures naked on the bathroom floor that later turned violent with him still on the floor but yelling “fuck you” to me while clenching his fists. I picked up my daughter and stood outside the house while the police was called by neighbours fearing domestic violence. Eventually my sibling who came to the scene prevented the cops from getting in. I told him then there will be no drugs and he promised the same. But it continued. Every Sunday, he would disappear for a few hours. The cash withdrawals started increasing until he admitted to doing cocaine every weekend saying I stopped him from marijuana that’s why he did the hard drug so I wouldn’t find out from the smoke smell. Eventually I left him for 3 weeks, he begged for us to return. He cried calling me every other night saying he can’t live without me and my daughter. I moved back after 3 weeks.

Fast forward to 3 weeks later, he locked himself in the house and didn’t open the door on me and my daughter as we waited outside at 10pm. When the locksmith opened the door for us, my husband said someone had called him and shown him my marriage certificate and that he can’t believe I was married before. Two days later he admitted he was doing cocaine and made up the story since he was scared I’ll call the police. He next told me since I had now involved his family that he wanted a sit down with the both families and wanted to ensure my family never interferes in our marriage since he’s tired of them making our decisions. I told him that only happens when he puts our life in their hands losing a job or going to the prison. My mother has been very disrespectful towards him through the marriage and he said he is tired of that too. So we planned a family chat for the weekend following this incident while my parents stayed at mine. A day before the chat he once again disappeared all night while messaging me at 11pm that he has left for home. I knew that night it’s enough.

Meanwhile, his twin sister also sent me a very rude message saying his family won’t ever desert him and that it was my fault too that the marriage had reached here. I felt hurt and helpless, here I was after all these years of protecting him and being loyal, and making a strong effort to be accepted into his family, and the first chance they get of ridiculing me they jump to use that. I just felt I had enough.

We are now still in the process of what should go in the divorce papers. He doesn’t want drugs mentioned, he wants no spousal maintenance and wants to pay not even 1/4 of his salary which is quite a lot since he has a well paid job at a financial institution.

I am happy for him to stay in touch with my daughter since I believe that’s my daughter’s right despite initially saying that I would like him to do a drug test before he beers her. I even agreed to Skype when we are not in the same country, as is the situation now. I agreed to no spousal maintenance and omission of drugs on the papers so it doesn’t affect his job in any way which is his biggest fear, to lose his job and have to go back to his home country. But I’m not willing to come down on the child maintenance. I also allowed only supervised visits with my daughter in the child custody papers.

We are still going back and forth. He says he wants to be in his daughter’s life financially and morally. He says he wants to meet her before we relocate though we have already relocated and won’t be going back. He knows we are out of country but doesn’t yet know we won’t be back.

Here I am, thinking I wish this wasn’t happening. I wish he could be with my daughter and she could be with him. I wish we could be a family again. I know I’ve moved countries ad in two weeks achieved a lot through my parents help. I’ve bought a car, rented a place etc but I still have thoughts of leaving all this and not letting the marriage end by some miracle.

Sadly my husband’s parents though initially said we should only separate are now sort of enabling him. They are with him and helping him move to a new place. I know if I call him today and suggest we don’t separate he might also want that but there’s been so much damage between the families and us that it’ll take a while to undo this mess.

I just don’t know how to unlove him. I keep thinking what if he stops and remarries, how lucky will that woman be who will get the best of him while I got the worst. I miss his affection towards me, he was always very romantic. I miss our friendship.

I have a few days to stop this divorce and I’m wondering if I should go against the world to do it or stay here in my peaceful world far away and move out of the stressful relationship that is full of financial debt, medical worries (my husband suffered a nerve compression in one leg recently, fell of escalators twice spraining his feet – I got him all the appointments to get himself checked, and stood by his side).

What is the right decision? I wish God could speak to me. This loss bleeds everyday. I miss him like madness.

Amanda Andruzzi
5:02 pm December 3rd, 2015

Maria,
If you have five children and are using drugs and sneaking to hotel rooms, who is watching the children? I have always been very honest and upfront with people unlike people were to me when I married an addict because coddling you won’t help you. You are enabling each other. With your drug use, I think the first thing you should focus on is getting yourself into recovery, next, work on yourself, and parenting your children, then perhaps a relationship. It sounds like you are lost and I hope you find your way but this relationship does not sound like it. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

Amanda Andruzzi
5:17 pm December 3rd, 2015

Sarah44,
Since you are about to do something you may regret either way, I urge you to do two things; click on my name and read all the articles I have written here and then read my book, Hope Street. My memoir is a very real depiction of life with an addict and will help you to be inspired and know leaving is the right decision. I am not the religious answer you are looking for but sometimes God works through signs and I believe I was meant to answer your dilemma. Addiction is very selfish and addicts are extremely manipulative. You never know where you stand and recovery is a gamble. It may take him years, decades or death, and if you are willing to sacrifice your life and your daughter’s for brief moments of his affection, then I say go back. But you should know there are other men out there, my ex husband was my first and we were together for over 12 years, leaving was the hardest thing I ever did but also the BEST thing I ever did.
Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

Sarah44
4:36 pm December 4th, 2015

Dear Amanda,
Thanks for your timely reply, it made me climb one step up towards recovery. I’ve slowly come to the realisation though with a heavy heart that moving on, separately, is the only logical next step for me and my daughter. It’s difficult in numerous ways, I dislike being financially dependent on my parents and brother who have helped me tremendously at the time but sadly I have a very difficult relationship with my mother, and her presence at this time is not helping me move forward. In a way, I guess since I grew up around her with her stresses, I somehow put up with my husband’s issues and whilst they were terribly hard, they were not least as emotionally unsettling as my mother’s constant issues that I had been raised through. I just didn’t want to go back to that. At the moment, she is around and her presence is I guess what was making me doubt if this is the right step. Any moment though that I have with my daughter and father alone, I do feel peace.

It’s a complex situation that I was in. My mother has always disrespected my husband and his parents, even before the drugs started. She doesn’t meet her own family and is quite rude to say the least with my father too. He has put up with her, I guess since he too wasn’t too sincere early on in their marriage and now at the age of 55/60, he has sort of given up. She is all he has, and vice versa.

Soon my parents leave and I am looking forward to that when I can be alone in my apartment with my daughter and be at peace – I can cry when I want, be myself.

I do think back often about how there was immense love between me and my husband at one point, and how his parents detested every affection he showed towards me. I feel like they won, and I lost. Our love lost. That feeling makes me sad.

I also wonder should I let my daughter have contact with my husband, via Skype if we are in different countries. What should I tell her, where is he? She is only 3.5 but has started asking me so many questions about him, including that she misses him. Yesterday I was talking to a gentleman in the queue and she asked me if he is a new daddy.

One day at a time, I will come to peace with being alone and knowing that my daughter is more at peace now.

I took her ice skating yesterday, something I have been wanting to do with my husband since I married but never got a chance to. It made me feel happy. Something very small, but it showed me I was in control of my life and my happiness, our happiness.

Amanda Andruzzi
6:04 pm December 4th, 2015

Sarah44,

You can eventually extricate yourself from your mother when you become independent and can take care of yourself. I too, was in a smiler situation with my 4 year old daughter. It sounds like there was a lot of dysfunction growing up and it makes more sense why you chose your husband and why you tolerated his behavior for so long. You need to uncover the reasons why you are stuck and how your childhood aff cited your choices. We all do what we know and all we know is our environment and if it is not healthy we tend to repeat that when we grow up.

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

Wife's turmoil
9:45 am December 16th, 2015

Crappy advise. Husband wanted help, actually had a moment of clarity, and openly discussed how his disease has effected both his children and me. Unfortunately, his sobering moment happened over Labor Day weekend. He asked for help on Friday, willingly spoke with a local rehab on Saturday, totally committed to going, but had to wait until Tuesday for insurance benefits to be confirmed. By Monday, things had changed. Instead he choose to continue the path of destruction.

Helena
4:33 am December 29th, 2015

I am with a woman who I love deeply we are gay . I have been a crack cocaine addict many years ago. I first met her 12 years ago and have recently starting a relationship with her. There is no way I would give up on her no matter what. I have the strength to pull her through alone as she is not A lost cause. I m showing her love attention and have bags more .i just want some words of life’s shadows that darken her life that I know would shine

Waseela
4:13 pm January 7th, 2016

Help

My husband is an addict. He has been to rehab for the first time this year and has now relapsed twice this year both relapses were after two months of being clean. I believe that I am his enabler . I don’t want to be. I want to leave to show him that there’s consequences for his actions . Is this the best way?

Amanda Andruzzi
9:38 pm January 8th, 2016

Wife’s Turmoil,
Just because an addict aks for help does not mean it will stick. My other articles here will help you to figure out a way to move on with your life. There are no guarantees with addiction and once you have realized enough is enough, then you can also walk away, 99% of my articles here are on how to do that. Unfortuneately walking away is not what people want to hear, they want to hear how I can help them, help the addict get clean and that is not anyone’s job but the addict. You can only support someone if they are willing and able and still the odds are not entirely in their favor.
Please try and be positive and not use statements like “crappy advice” here. I try to keep this as an inspirational place and place of hope for people who love an addict and feel hopeless. I want to keep the negative commentary out so that people feel safe to post and there is no hostility here. Most of us who live with an addict have hostility and anger on a daily basis, so this is a place to get away from that negativity.
Thanks, Amanda

Amanda Andruzzi
9:49 pm January 8th, 2016

Helena,
I am glad you are in recovery. I am glad that you realize that an addict can recover but I hope you realize that yoru girlfriend has to be willing and able. She has to want to be sober. The only advice I can impart is that you need to make sure you take care of yourself or you are no good to anyone. Unfortunately, I cannot help you, help someone else but there are resources here that will help you create boundaries and allow the addict an opportunity to get help and support. Click on my name, Amanda Andruzzi, next to my picture and go through the 35+ articles I have here.
Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict
View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

Peggy
6:51 am January 9th, 2016

Crack cocaine is my husband drug of choice. He can’t hold a job because of his mental illness and I don’t want to enabler him but I have to work and take care of the house hold so we want lose everything. He get help for his illness but not the addiction. He is in and out of jail. He express that the drugs help him better than the medication. I have being going to NA meeting to get more understanding from an recovery addict. I have been praying. I set some boundaries by putting him out, when he calls cussing I hang up and text to let him know I will not be talk to like that. He say sorry and we talk. Some boundaries I fell at. I beleive he takes my love for granted. I have no support from his side nor my side of the family. I am all alone but I do have GOD who I turn to. He is deep in his addiction to were he has cheated for drugs. All I have is my faith that GOD will deliver my husband from his addiction. I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel but I believe GOD is able to do anything. I pray that my will is in his will. I need help on helping.him and not being and enabler but I look to the hills for my help, guidance and understanding.

Peggy
11:22 pm January 18th, 2016

I am dealing with an mental illness to were if things don’t go his way he try to use manipulation to were it is another man because he is not giving me what I need from our marriage or he will kill himself. He threaten to commit suicide and he did buy taken five bottles of pills but he knew once he took them I was going to call 911. I love my husband and I don’t know what to do. He left me and our daughter. He is staying with some other addicts so his needs are being met. I have to take care of the mortgage and other bills because his illness will not let him work. He can’t sit still long enough to get SSI to help. I am taking care of the responsibility by myself while he enjoy the good like of an addict.

Amanda Andruzzi
12:42 am January 19th, 2016

Peggy,

You have to help yourself before you can help anyone else. If you’ve lost your life and are struggling every day how can you help take care of someone else. God gives us what we can Handle but also God gives us a choice and it’s called free will. We can choose to make changes happen for ourselves or we can sit by and just take it. God wants you to make the best out of your life and you can only change yourself and help those who are open to change. Enabling will not help him or 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/

kristy
9:07 pm February 13th, 2016

I told my husband to leave because He left our kids unattended one night while I was at work He’s addicted to crystal meth and has been living on the streets and in and out of motels I was gonna hire a P.I. to find him so I could bring him home what should I do?

lb
7:22 am February 17th, 2016

I am heartbroken. I am deeply in love with my husband of almost 3yrs. He’s relapse 6 times since 3months after we married after being sober 5years. The 4th time he promised me he would never do it again after I filed for divorce. We agreed that “IF” he did it again, he would walk away from me and stay out of my life because he didn’t want me to continue to go through this. He also put a gun to himself and I called the police and he went into a 24hr watch. I knew then that things were going to change for better. I realized I would rather fight with him than never see him again and I took a lot of the blame if not all of it. I showed him more love and he was on antidepressants and he had a really good attitude about everything and especially his recovery. He accepted that I took the blame and he fed off of that. Well, 3months later after a trip to his daughters wedding he was the happiest I have ever seen him. He made me laugh like he did before we married, I went to work and he disappeared for 32hours. At that point I filed for divorce again since I didn’t follow through the last time I filed. I made up my mind 60days and I was out. The week I was going to finalize he convinced me he was going to change all his ways and mostly the financial hole he put himself in. A week later he was back working lots of hours and expecting a good check to catch up on bills. Friday came along and I found him in the crack neighborhood. He knew I was looking for him so he hid. I had no purpose to find him but I wanted to feel the reality that he was no longer relapsing but he was a user and the problem was more than I can or want to handle. This was this past weekend, valentine’s weekend! He left to work out of town on Sunday (truck driver) and he’s back in town tonight expecting to come home. I’ve changed the locks and I packed him a few things and I reminded him of our discussion and agreement when he did it the 4th time. He being more aggressive with demands that I let him in the house because he paid half the rent but I am going to stick to it and not letting him back in. He’s different this time or maybe I am but I do feel strongly about separating myself from him right now and since I did mentally on Saturday when I saw his car parked in front of the crack house…oh, did I feel a big lift, free until this very moment as my phone rings from him calling. I’m not at home, I am at work and I am afraid he will find a way in the house while I’m not there. Once again, I don’t know what to do!!!

Amanda Andruzzi
3:11 am February 24th, 2016

Kristy,
Have you tried an intervention with a counselor or recovering addict? You did the right thing by asking him to go. An addict around children is not a safe environment. If not I would involve family and try to find him to give him the opportunity to get help. What happens when you take him home? Do you think it will stop? I know you want to help and support him but there is only so much you can do. I know you want to grab him and shake him and tell him to stop and protect him from his own behavior but you can’t. I tried this for 12 long years with an addict and I learned they will get help when they are ready and no sooner. But you can offer your support to get him into recovery. If a family member can reach him or look for him, I would suggest that instead of spending money on a PI, but if that is what you want to do, I would have a plan for when he is found.
Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

Renee
4:40 pm March 24th, 2016

I need advise on how i can help my fiancé. As of today, we’ve been together for 5 years and living together for 3 years. we have a 10 month old son and is the light of our lives. we both have great jobs and have little to worry about. however, my fiancé is using cocaine while hes out with friends or maybe in our bathroom. ive caught him couple times via texting his buddies about “fronts” and finding short straws with powdery substances in them. he admitted he was using and promised both times hed quit. at this point im ready to leave him for a good time for him to come to his senses, as ive heard that works sometimes. but i cannot wait for a day that might never come.how can i help my fiancé onto the road to recovery? can i suggest he use medical marijuana instead? i spent so much time and effort trying to keep us a family. i want my son to grow up with his father. what options can i give him that will help him recover?

Amanda Andruzzi
4:25 pm March 25th, 2016

Renee,
You will start to learn the more you push the subject, the more he will push back or simply detach and do what he wants anyway. Why would you recommend medical marijuana? Do you want him to replace one addiction for another? The only thing you can do is control your own environment and situation. You can let him know that you do not want to live this way anymore and that if he does not change you are going to move on. You have to be ready and prepared to actually leave or he will know that it is a revolving door. I want to help you understand that you cannot make an addict change, you can only create boudaries to protect yourself and then if he decides to change, you can help him in the recovery process.
Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

Steph
2:25 am April 9th, 2016

Amanda, I purchased your book and couldn’t put it down. I can relate to so much that you went through and it really helped me to realize my life will get better and that going through with divorce is the best choice for me and my children. I met my husband when I was 18 and he was 22. We did our fair share of partying when we were young. Once we married, 3 years later, I was done with all of that. We have 2 children together ages 15 and 10 and my life with him has been a total nightmare. So much drug abuse from ecstasy, Xanax, cocaine, and now the new troubling drug spice. It has been a roller coaster my entire marriage and I even left him for a year and he begged me back and swore it would be different but never was. He couldn’t keep a job for more than 2 years straight our entire marriage and would lie about working or when he would loose his job. I would find out when the paycheck didn’t come in and I would struggle to make sure bills were paid. He even resorted to stealing from me and out children numerous times. iPods, video games, gift cards, cash anything you could think of would disappear and he would completely deny tanking it. I would find pawn receipts sometimes which confirmed what he was doing. After being with this man for almost 19 years, I finally realized that the bad totally outweighed the good. I have known this for so long but always had hoped he would change and loved his family enough. He is also a pathological liar. He lies about anything and everything and doesn’t seem to care who he hurts. Even his own children. Your book really gave me hope and I see things so much more clearly now! Thank you so much for sharing your story. He really did help me. My divorce will be final May 2016 and I know there is something better out there for me. I have hope!

Amanda Andruzzi
2:58 pm April 15th, 2016

Steph,
Thank you so much for commenting and letting me know the book helped. I wrote it for that very reason and I am so grateful for it helping anyone. You are not alone and you can do this. There is a much better life for you, just the lack of that sick feeling in your stomach, the crying, begging and pleading will free you. It takes time, please read my most recent article because it is all about the process after you leave and I think it will help. keep me posted, 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/

Lynn
9:18 am April 17th, 2016

My partner of three years is an alcoholic. He has been drinking for 30 plus years, he went to detox, but started drinking again after a tragedy in family. Stopped again, then tragedy struck again, that took me away from home for a long hospital stay with my son. His drinking increased greatly to the point of esphagus bleeding , died 3 times, but was revived, in the end he went to an in house rehab. Was doing great, started staying at the hospital with us. Then I seen his face and knew he had a drink, I told him 30 days is not going to erase 30 years of a problem, just have to pick up and start again. We are home now, and the drinking is back (he tries to hid it, but I always know) he gets so depressed without us around , the worry of death is heartbreaking if I make him leave. He’s never been abusive, but it’s killing him, I just cant watch it. He believes he’s drinking only effects him and if he dies so be it, and there is no convincing him any differ. He hates that he drinks, its like the drink is stronger than him, and he feels there is no hope. The love is so deep,I have ordered the book, hoping it’s here soon. If I make him leave it’s a death sentence for sure, but if he stays, it’s slowly killing me.

danni
3:51 am April 21st, 2016

My 30 year old son is an addict. He recognizes that he is, but refuses to go to rehab. Says he can do this on his own. His significant “other” and I have had him legally committed 3 times but once he gets out he goes back to his drinking. We have realized that this was probably not a good thing but at the time (and actually still now) we were concerned about him risking his life (blood alcohol level of 460). He was a functional alcoholic but now he’s not. He doesn’t have a job (3 months now) and his significant other is talking care of all their bills including the mortgage. He has a beautiful 4 year old daughter and a woman that loves him. Boundaries have bet set: he cannot live at home unless he decides to go to rehab and bring home a paycheck and he cannot live with me. He has found a husband and wife with two teenage daughters ( that have their own issues) that allow him to sleep on their couch and provide him his alcohol. So…he says he can do it on his own…he gets sober for a couple days then the cycle starts all over again. We just don’t understand his logic when he says that he can do it on his own when history should show him he cannot.

Amanda Andruzzi
6:07 pm April 22nd, 2016

Lynn,
I understand that pain you are experiencing. Watching someone you love destroy themselves eats away at you. It is important though that you read more articles I have written here and the book will be extremely helpful to give you the insight and tools you will need to help you move on. You cannot save him but you can save yourself. He has to want to get help and stop drinking and nothing you do will ever change that, it has to be his choice. To protect yourself from more pain and suffering you must start focusing on yourself, find support in any way you can to help you find strength. Keep reaching out and find groups that can help you understand that there is a way to do what you need to do and be happy again. Please keep me posted, 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/

Amanda Andruzzi
6:22 pm April 22nd, 2016

Danni,
Take logic and reason out of this equation. He is past the point where he can choose sobriety any more. His addiction has a hold on him and without proper treatment, dual diagnosis, long term aftercare and dedication, it won’t work. He may need medication to help him deal with underlying mental issues that he may be self medicating for. The tricky part is that for it to work he has to hit rock bottom and want help. I know how hard this is to watch but you are doing the right thing. Supporting him is only enabling him, it just makes it easier for him to use and he will just lie to you.
Lynn,
I understand that pain you are experiencing. Watching someone you love destroy themselves eats away at you. It is important though that you read more articles I have written here and the book will be extremely helpful to give you the insight and tools you will need to help you move on. You cannot save him but you can save yourself. He has to want to get help and stop drinking and nothing you do will ever change that, it has to be his choice. To protect yourself from more pain and suffering you must start focusing on yourself, find support in any way you can to help you find strength. Keep reaching out and find groups that can help you understand that there is a way to do what you need to do and be happy again. Please keep me posted, 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/

larita
5:00 am April 28th, 2016

Me and my guy have been together for 9 months I knew he was an addict in the past but was incarcerated for 3 years and it enabled him to become sober…When I stated dating him he was out of jail for 3 months….we started a relationship very fast and had a wonderful time together we moved in together and I have found out he relapsed I saw all the signs…..When I confronted him he denied it. I later caught him high he still tried to deny it but I was insistant because it was so noticable…he finally owned up to it and I was devastated he said he didn’t want to lose me and would never do it again aboit a week later he is noticably high again I explained to him before that if he didn’t stop I would leave…. I feel so much resentment now because of all the timed I defended him and believed him…I feel I have been a co addict and do.not want this in my life…I was with a. Addict an undercover affict before and when I found out I left him. This is different in more ways then one…I love this man and see the goodness in him..I’m in love with him the anger that I feel is so strong we live in the same house we came to talk to me and I broke down like a baby expressing all my hurt and pain…he was not consoling and said since he created the pain it would be phony for him to console me….I am overwhelmed and devastated but take fault because I have seen signs for months and didn’t want to believe it….. my trust for him is now gone I don’t believe him and I trust him….he now has to enter rehab as a condition of his parole he was calling but not reporting because he knew he would drop dirty until the parole agent threatened him with a warrant now he is being forced into a program….honestly I have no faith in the man and fell angry we have 1 year left on this lease….I am not willing to unpeace my life over his addiction but I love him…..I resumed almost all.the financial responsibility for the apartment because he works infrequently. … we stay in two different parts of the house he sleeps in one room and In another I feel he has ruined our relationship and a. Becoming increasingly angry….I’m sure if I asked him.to leave he would….honestly I just don’t know what to do I don’t want to be his crutch and will have to take o. Extra hours at work just to make ends meet I’m very angry about that… I am not willing to pay the bills on my own but that’s exactly what I’m doing….I need help. He said he made a meeting today I don’t believe him. Where can I turn….

Amanda Andruzzi
8:49 pm April 28th, 2016

Larita,
Have you read Hope Street? You need to turn to the mirror and focus on you and learn the tools and steps to let this man go. I highly suggest asking him to leave and doing what you need to do right now to get through this period. Enlist friends, support, a therapist, join al-anon to learn why this is an issue for YOU and why you can’t let go. You can love someone so deeply, I know this, but you have to say yes to you and NO to them because when something is so toxic it is only going to hurt you. It sounds like you want to be happy and I can assure you, you won’t find it where you are looking.
Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

Danielle
7:25 pm May 1st, 2016

Reading all this has made me feel better, to know I am not the only one going through something like this.
My boyfriend drinks everyday. In the 2 years we have been together, he has not had a day without alcohol. He does not get drunk every day, but he does have to drink. When he does get drunk, he is very verbally abusive, suspicious, and angry.

Recently he got black out drunk on a Sunday after drinking a 26oz bottle of vodka a day all week, and was still drunk in the morning. He didn’t go to work in the morning, and when he did show up (we work together)it was with a Micky of vodka in his cranberry juice. After stomping around in a foul mood for a bit, he verbally assaulted me, a coworker, a customer and our boss. And was sent home. I got more of the same when I got home.

I left and spent a few days with a friend, and told him I would only come back when he stopped drinking all alcohol. After a few days of telling me I was the problem, he finally agreed. I moved back in, however, he wouldn’t let me get rid of the alcohol in the house.

Of course, after 3 days, all the beer starts to go missing.. Then the cider, and then the hard alcohol, one or two shots at a time, and in support of him, I stopped any drinking as well.

He now leaves work to come home for lunch, or goes out without me all the time, and comes back with alcohol on his breath. I had no idea if I should confront him about it or not, so I stayed quiet.

Last night he spent the day at the shop and came home falling down drunk, and passed out.

This morning he acts like nothing happened, but asks me why I am so quiet. So I tell him I was upset because he told me he was going to stop drinking, and last night he came home drunk, and has been hiding his drinking from me. He gets angry and tells me it is my fault because I don’t sleep with him any more.

I do have a problem with intimacy and trust. The first few times he got drunk and verbally abusive, I began having trust issues, and when I would tell him no because I wasn’t feeling comfortable, he didn’t listen. He would call me a prude and keep doing whatever I asked him to stop doing. After that our sex life dropped off considerably. I have had a hard time rebuilding that trust because of how unpredictable his behaviour was.

I am reading all these stories, and wondering if I am part of the problem. I have never sought therapy because I have never had intamacy issues with anyone who was respectful of my boundrys. When I leave him he tells me I am abandoning him in his time of need, and that I need to work to be part of the solution too. I want to help him, but I don’t want to be stuck in another abusive relationship. I am confused as to what to do, and if me staying to help him is enabling him, or if I really have the problem.

Amanda Andruzzi
2:01 pm May 5th, 2016

Danielle,
Have you read Hope Street? If not, please do. This situation is why I wrote the book. I can only help you if you understand that I too come from the same experience you are having. You are insecure, feel like you might be the problem and that something might be wrong with you. That is the tricks addicts play so the attention can be taken off of them and the fact that they are the addict and they need to change. That does not mean that you do not have to change, but the change you need to make is not to help him, but to help you. The problems of intimacy you are having make perfect sense, why would you want to sleep with someone who is drunk all of the time, lies to you, verbally abuses you and is out drinking most of the time? That is not your problem, it is a normal response to an abnormal and unhealthy situation. You are right though, you need to change because your behavior is enabling and it is not helping him and it is definitely hurting 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/

J
5:41 am August 5th, 2016

My fiancé of 2 years is an addict. She had been clean for like 7 years then had major surgery. It started with dilaudin then went to Heroin and now OxyContin. She’s in methadone no. For thee last 14 months and still slips. She has taken money out of my account and pawned nearly everything of worth that we have. She told me tonight that she’s sick and needs to get help. She plans on calling tomorrow, but tonight? She wants to sell the tv in our bedroom to the dealer for OxyContin. For the first time, I put my foot down and wouldn’t give her the car keys. She tried it to kick me out of our apartment. I’m still not on the lease. So I suppose if she called the cops, I’d be out on my ass tonight. I think it’s the end of our relationship or close to it. I love her but I can’t take much more. I don’t know what to do. I have nobody to talk to about any of this.

Amanda Andruzzi
3:11 pm August 8th, 2016

J,
Thanks for sharing with us all here. None of this is easy but you need to know about addiction to understand what your fiance is doing. Drugs come first and they always will as long as she is not in recovery. Taking methadone is not recovery, it is a bandaid. You can’t make her get the help that she really needs but you can stand up for yourself. You can love someone but the relationship is not healthy and you have to let them go. Her toxicity will eventually take you down too. She is in the grips of addiction and a false reality but you can choose to face the reality that she needs to go down this road and that you don’t want to.
Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict
View the video book trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

LaQuinta
4:58 pm September 19th, 2016

Hi my husband has been on cocaine for 12 years now we have separated 3 different times.. he has took from me and the kids.. their games.. money rented out my car had to find a way to work for a whole week wrecked my car..can’t hold a job..when pay day comes by he won’t go to work . I’m just fed up I finally gave him a ultimatum if he didn’t stop what he was doing..( you’re gone) he said okay as if he agreed..he took my kids PS3 and didn’t help me with the rent..so I had my locks changed and didn’t let him in..he claimed I just needed to take a bath then I’ll leave..I didn’t even let him in I’ve seen all of that before..I packed some of his things and gave it to him and he left..2 days later he’s begging please help me..I need help.. I can’t do this.. I didn’t reply because he never wanted help when he was home..he would ignore me or walk in another room if the conversation would come up about him getting help..do now he’s in jail blowing up my phone..I’m done..it’s been 2 weeks now it’s not easy but my life is a whole lot better..I don’t have to hide my keys and money every night. .I just pray for God to strengthen me everyday and he’s doing that and taking care of me and my three kids..

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About Amanda Andruzzi

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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