Why Do Drug Addicts Always Choose Drugs Over Love?

If someone you care about is struggling with addiction, you may be hoping that love will help them win this battle. In reality, however, drug addicts always choose drugs over the people around them. They simply cannot help themselves. While you might think that overcoming addiction is a matter of using willpower, it’s actually about far more.

Addiction is currently recognized as a mental health disorder. It is a complex disease affecting the brain, the brain’s chemistry, and the brain’s structure. Once a person is addicted to a drug, they no longer have the power to control their decisions or behaviors. Understanding addiction makes it infinitely easier to deal with the challenges of having an addicted spouse, family member, or friend. Until people are willing to seek and accept help for themselves, their top priority will always be getting high.

This goes beyond avoiding the uncomfortable physical withdrawal symptoms that most substances cause when a person abstains for too long. Addiction is characterized by uncontrollable and obsessive drug-seeking behaviors. Thus, when your loved one breaks promises, fails to come home, and fails to quit getting high, this isn’t a reflection of you or your value. Instead, it’s an indication that they desperately need treatment.

How Addiction Impacts Families and Personal Relationships

There are many risk factors that make people more predisposed to drug addiction. These include:

  • Having one or more co-occurring disorders
  • Having immediate family members who suffer from addiction
  • Childhood trauma

Factors such as unprocessed emotions, low self-esteem, and unmanaged physical pain can contribute to addiction as well. Addiction is often referred to as a family disease. That’s because everyone in the home is guaranteed to be affected by it. Family members of addicts tend to suffer from high levels of depression and anxiety. Drug use can also cause a tremendous amount of financial distress.

Some people respond to the pressure of living with an addicted loved one by becoming the black sheep of the family, using humor to alleviate tension, or simply keeping to themselves and quietly tending to their own needs without support. Others engage in enabling behaviors that allow addicts to continue abusing drugs without facing the full measure of the resulting consequences.

They regularly make excuses for the addicts in their lives, cover their mistakes, clean up their messes, and take care of things that addicts are perfectly capable of handling themselves. Although genuine love is unfailing, forgiving, and ultimately unconditional, addiction certainly takes its toll. There is only so long that relationships can bear up under the weight of an addict’s behaviors.

The good news is that there are ways to continue offering compassion and support to an addicted family member without sacrificing yourself and without overlooking your own mental, physical, and emotional well-being. It is rarely possible to force an addicted loved one into treatment. More importantly, rehab only works when addicts are ready to commit to recovery.

However, it is possible for family members of addicts to start therapy of their own at any time. You and everyone else in your household can work with a counselor to start addressing the trauma that your loved one’s addiction has caused. Family therapy also makes it possible to identify enabling behaviors and put them to an end. This allows addicts to reach their personal “rock bottom” where they’ll likely begin considering their options in treatment.

Many family therapists encourage people to practice loving detachment. With loving detachment, you never take your love away from addicts, but you do begin separating yourself from their actions and behaviors. When lovingly detaching, families frequently stage interventions where they express how addiction has impacted their lives and offer access to structured addiction treatment. Until addicts choose to seek help, their families eliminate or minimize various forms of support, and they make a firm commitment to focusing on their own well-being and health.

In loving detachment, addicts always know that they can reach out for treatment when they need it, but they can no longer expect their loved ones to turn a blind eye on their harmful behaviors. If you or someone you love is struggling with drug addiction, we can help. Call us today at 833-497-3812 to find the right rehab program for your needs. Our counselors are always standing by.