Lessons I Learned From Loving A Drug Addict

Originally published on WCNC.

Author: Alicia Cook

Images: Added by Drem.


I am not an addict.

But try and love one, and then see if you can look me square in the eyes and tell me that you didn’t get addicted to trying to fix them.

If you’re lucky, they recover. If you’re really lucky, you recover, too.

Loving a drug addict can and will consume your every thought. Watching their physical deterioration and emotional detachment to everything will make you the most tired insomniac alive.

You will stand in the doorway of their bedroom and plead with them that you “just want them back.” If you watch the person you love disappear right in front of your eyes long enough, you will start to dissolve too.

Those not directly affected won’t be able to understand why you are so focused on your loved one’s well-being, especially since, during the times of your family member’s active addiction, they won’t seem so concerned with their own.

Don’t become angry with these people. They do not understand. They are lucky to not understand. You’ll catch yourself wishing that you didn’t understand, either.

“What if you had to wake up every day and wonder if today was the day your family member was going to die?” will become a popular, not-so-rhetorical question.

Drug addiction has the largest ripple effect that I have ever witnessed firsthand.

It causes parents to outlive their children. It causes jail time and homelessness. It causes sisters to mourn their siblings. It causes nieces to never meet their aunts. It causes an absence before the exit.

You will see your loved one walking and talking, but the truth is, you will lose them far before they actually succumb to their demons; which, if they don’t find recovery, is inevitable.

Drug addiction causes families to come to fear a ringing phone or a knock on the door. It causes vague obituaries. I read the papers and I follow the news; and it is scary. “Died suddenly” has officially become obituary-speak for “another young person found dead from a drug overdose.”

Drug addiction causes bedrooms and social media sites to become memorials. It causes the “yesterdays” to outnumber the “tomorrows.” It causes things to break; like the law, trust and homes.

Deadly Injuries
From Trust Of America’s Health Organization. Please note these numbers have since increased, especially in New York State. In the borough of Staten Island alone, 1 in 3 Islanders are addicted and overdoses are surging.

Drug addiction causes statistics to rise and knees to fall, as praying seems like the only thing left to do sometimes.

People have a way of pigeonholing those who suffer from addiction. They call them “trash,” “junkies” or “criminals,” which is hardly ever the truth. Addiction is an illness. Addicts have families and aspirations.

You will learn that drug addiction doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care if the addict came from a loving home or a broken family.

Drug addiction doesn’t care if you are religious. Drug addiction doesn’t care if you are a straight-A student or a drop-out. Drug addiction doesn’t care what ethnicity you are. Drug addiction will show you that one decision and one lapse in judgment can alter the course of an entire life.

Drug addiction doesn’t care. Period. But you care.



Continue reading Lessons I Learned from Loving a Drug Addict

3 thoughts on “Lessons I Learned From Loving A Drug Addict

  1. I know what it’s like to be addicted to the feeling that you can fix anyone and everyone. I’ve tried to fix mentally ill people which are the closest people to me….my best friends…. I can honestly say that it’s hard to break the addiction you have in wanting to save them. You feel that because you love them so much you have the power to save them but in reality you can’t change anyone that doesn’t want to change. I’ve shed a lot of tears, lost countless hours of sleep, stressed myself to the point where I thought I would never be okay again.


    1. True life Mimi. Prayers are with you and them. I found that the only one whose going to save me is me. The only person who will save them, is them. It’s sad to have to do it on your own, swim all the way and do the long stretch. But in the end, I’m all I have. You’re all you have. They are all they have.



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