Why Addicts Always Choose Drugs Over Love

drugsIt is difficult to be in a relationship with an active drug addict.[1] They love you, but steal from you, lie to you, and manipulate you.1 They often continue to use drugs even though their children are being neglected and the love of their life is threatening to leave.1 This leaves their loved ones to wonder, “Why is he/she choosing drugs over me?”1 Many believe the love is no longer there—but that isn’t true.1 Love is just not strong enough to overcome addiction—a chronic and devastating disease.1

When it comes to love and drugs, to be honest, the addict isn’t choosing anything.1 Their behavior has become reflexive and automatic, based on both a physical and psychological need for a substance.1 In fact, drugs flood the user’s brain with dopamine, which trains the brain to rely on the relief the drugs provide and assign greater value to drugs than any other thing the person needs for happiness and survival.1 Over time, the addiction even changes the chemistry and function of the brain, taking away the user’s control over it and their possibility of choice.1 Therefore, only one relationship biologically matters to an addict: the relationship with their drug.1

All of the addict’s decisions are based on their need for the drug: they don’t see anything but the drug and don’t even realize it.1 As their lives cave in around them, they still believe they are in control and do not have a problem.1 Therefore, loved one, it isn’t personal.1 Drugs ultimately don’t matter more than you—they matter more than everything: career, reputation, financial stability, religion, and even food, water, and shelter.1 The addict isn’t trying to hurt you, they are trying to fill a need they are no longer in control of.1

Many loved ones spend a large amount of time and resources to “save” their addict.1 However, they do not have the power to beat someone else’s addiction.1 Lecturing, blaming, criticizing—they all push the addict closer to their drug.1 This leaves the loved ones fed up with the lies and empty promises and worried about their future.1

You may not have control over the addict, but you do have influence.1 Often an intervention, ultimatum, or refusal to enable leads the addict to take the first step towards recovery.1 Loved ones should follow suit.1 Taking care of yourself, attending Al-Anon or Nar-Anon meetings for support, and seeing a therapist can help keep you a healthy and whole person.1

Addiction wouldn’t be addiction if choice was involved.1 Addicts do not choose love over their drug, but with the right influences, they can make the journey towards sobriety where they can become the person that you used to know and love.1

[1] Anonymous. (2014). Why Drug Addicts Will Always Choose Drugs Over Love. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 30, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/addiction-recovery/2014/05/why-drug-addicts-will-always-choose-drugs-over-love/

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