My Ex-Boyfriend Is Addicted To Drugs and It’s Devastating To Watch

During the midst of a busy Super Bowl Sunday, I was deeply saddened to hear the news that legendary actor Philip Seymour Hoffman had passed away from a drug overdose. He was incredibly talented, and to see that his life was taken from addiction was really tragic.

These kinds of terrible situations always remind me of a situation that hits too close to home: my ex-boyfriend, who I dated for almost five years, has been battling an addiction to drugs for almost six years now, and it is devastating to watch. Every time I hear about a celebrity (or anyone, really) who has died because of addiction, I think of him, and I feel horrible all over again.

Watching someone you care about become addicted to drugs is awful, to say the least. It leaves you feeling helpless, miserable and guilty. It’s not easy to deal with, but unfortunately, so many of us have to go through it. Over the past few years, I have felt so many different emotions towards my ex, from sadness to anger to frustration to that guilt I was just talking about. I’m definitely not saying I have it harder than my ex, I’m just saying that it’s difficult. Here’s my story:

I met D when I was 14-years-old, and I liked him immediately. He was funny, caring, charming, unique, charismatic, and incredibly smart. He was different than anyone I had ever known, and I was very intrigued by him. He liked me very much also, and after a year of confusion and messing around, our relationship became official. Things were great – until I realized that D was depressed (something I’ve written about before).

D wasn’t just a little sad sometimes. After a while, it became obvious that he was dealing with serious depression. He was suicidal, constantly getting very dark and talking about killing himself, and how death seemed so peaceful. Despite his charming and confident demeanor, D actually had almost no self-esteem at all. He was always putting himself down and talking about how awful his life was. I spent all of my time being worried about him. Drug addiction, alcoholism, and depression were common in his family. D was certain that he was going to end up the same way.

For five years, I tried as hard as I could to keep D stable and happy. Of course, I couldn’t – his depression was very real and serious, and not something an inexperienced teenager couldn’t handle on her own. Eventually, his unhappiness got to be too much and our relationship went really downhill. I had to break up with D, even though I cared about him and loved him very much.

About a year after we ended things for good, D started going down the wrong path. He was still seriously depressed when he started dating a girl who didn’t have a job or any ambition. Together, they spent all of their time watching TV and sleeping. This obviously made D’s depression worse. All of our mutual friends, my brother included (they have always been very close), told me how worried they were about D. I tried to reach out to him, but he never listened to my, or anyone’s, suggestions to get a job, get out of the house and try to have a life.

Fictional stories - like Jane's from Breakin Bad - always hit me hard.

Fictional stories – like Jane’s from Breakin Bad – always hit me hard.

One night, I got in a huge fight with D, and a little while later, got a hysterical call from his friend saying that D had locked himself in the bathroom and had taken a bunch of his dad’s pain medication pills (Oxycotin). He refused to come out, and when he finally did, he ignored his friends and got in his car. High on prescription drugs, D drove around Long Island like a maniac while his friends tried to follow him to make sure he didn’t get into an accident. He called me from the car, crying and telling me he didn’t care what happened to him. After a few hours, he returned home and blew off the entire incident like it didn’t happen, saying he was just upset, it was no big deal, and even laughing about it. That was just the beginning.

I wanted to get him help then, obviously, but he had no interest in doing so. I was trying to move on with my life, so I tried to let him go. He had always relied on other people, especially me, for help, and I thought he needed to learnt o be more independent. For a while, he seemed okay… but then he started dating a girl who was selling him prescription pills like Oxycotin and Roxys. Both are incredibly dangerous and highly addictive. D started taking them on a regular basis, mixing them with alcohol, and refusing to listen to anyone who tried to stop him. D’s parents were blind to the drug abuse because they were in denial. They refused to believe it was happening, or do anything about it.

Whenever he was high on prescription pills, D would write elaborate Facebook statuses about his depression and how many pills he took, obviously a cry for attention. One night, he took a lot pills and drank a lot of alcohol, then wrote a suicidal Facebook status. A friend from high school saw it and called the cops at 3 AM. They went to his house, and dragged him, kicking and screaming, to a rehab facility.

When I heard about it the next morning, I was devastated, but also a little relieved. I knew he needed to go to rehab and I was hoping this would be good for him. But after two days, he insisted he felt 100 percent better and his parents, who were still in denial, helped him get out of rehab. It was the wrong move – he spiraled right back out of control a few months later. He started going to a psychiatrist, who put him on more prescription pills for anxiety and depression… and he got addicted to those.

That happened five years ago, and today, D is still addicted to pain killers and who knows what other kinds of drugs. A few years ago, he got high on pills in the morning, then drove to work – and got into a car accident that resulted in a minor head injury. He’s been in different rehab facilities several times. He’s been arrested a few times for things he did when he was high. He’s lost all of his friends from the past and has completely alienated himself from everyone. He lost his job, he stopped going to college, he has totaled a few different cars. He has gotten sober for months, only to go right back to the pills and the alcohol.

demi lovato

Demi Lovato tweeted that we need to stop glamorizing drugs – she’s absolutely right. | Source: Helga Esteb/ShutterStock

The worst thing is seeing how different D is now. He has completely changed because of the drugs. When I fell in love with him, D was one of the smartest people I had ever met. He aced every class without studying, got a 3.9 with no effort during his first semester of college, and constantly impressed everyone around him. He could speak well and act confident. Now, it seems like D’s brain has gone to mush. Talking to him is incredibly difficult for me, because he isn’t the same person. He speaks very slowly, and repeats himself a lot (partly because of his head injury). He has no ambition. He is always alone, and whenever you talk to him, he’ll tell you how lonely and sad he is. It’s horrible. The last time I ran into him, a few months ago, I walked away from our conversation with tears in my eyes. It was like my old D was gone forever, replaced by this empty shell of a person who was completely lost.

I often feel really angry at D for what he is doing to his life. It’s hard not to – he had so much potential, and he threw it all away because of drugs. But when that anger fades, I just feel really, really sad. D is so miserable, miserable enough to become addicted to pills. There are few things I want more in this world than to see D clean, sober, stable, successful, and most of all, happy. A lot of the time, I feel guilty that I am happy and he is not. I feel guilty that I can’t be there for him, partly because it takes too much out of me and partly because I don’t think I’ll be able to help. D needs to want to move past his addiction.  I’ve moved on from D, but that has never stopped me from worrying about him.

Just recently, my brother told me that D was back on pills, and was supposed to go to a rehab facility an hour away from home for a while. I was hopeful for him, because I think he needs that. Unfortunately, a few days later, his brother told me that D had decided not to go. It seems like his addiction and depression are an endless cycle that he can’t get away from.

My worst fear is getting a call from someone telling me that D has overdosed and the situation was fatal. I don’t know what I’ll do if that happens. I’ve watched firsthand how drug addiction can completely ruin one person’s life, and I wish I didn’t have to. Addiction is a disease that is incredibly hard to get away from. Before you judge anyone with an addiction, or say it’s not a tragedy, please think about how devastating it is.

Do you know anyone struggling with addiction? Have you ever dealt with addiction yourself? How did you handle it? Tell me in the comments.


My friend got addicted to drugs and I didn’t help her

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  • Victoria McManaman

    My story I just woke up having a dream that my Dean is the way he used to be. Big Beautiful and Handsom. I dreamt he was happy to see his son and I and was asking us if we wanted something for dinner. He was acting proud of his accomplishments. I was so inlove with Dean from the first time I met him. But he always had a problem he was down on life. His mother kicked him out when he was 12 so he took to the streets. From there he he made street people his family. I guess he did drugs and drank to wash away all his pain. When I met Dean he only smoked weed and just a drink or two. But he always took his frustrations out on me by hitting. I stayed for 5 years untill I could not take the abuse no more. For five years I preached, I taught, I encouraged this man that he was truely Beautiful and that I truely loved him. Hes life went so dark. He is now so lost and living in a scum hotel. I call almost 10 times a week He never answers his phone. I am having good and bad dreams about him. His son is a splitting imagine of his dad. Iam just so sad to see this man that I truely stilll love go down the tubes like this. Dean looks nothing like he used too he is skinny his eyes stick out he smells badly he lost some teeth all his hair you can hardly see who he was anymore. I met Dean when he was 21. he is now 48. time has taken its toll on this man. It really does kill the person who has to sit and watch. He wont listen. So sad and I too worry I am going get that call.

  • LAC

    You will recover. The fact is that it is a devastating experience to lose the love of your life to drugs. Why doesn’t he want me? Why does he not come back?
    I have been there. Give yourself time.
    I know this sounds like a cliche, but you will eventually realize that for drug users, nothing is more important to them than their relationship with drugs, secrecy, dealers, etc.
    This is not a happy realization, but once you can put this behind you, you will be able to move forward.
    My relationship with my drug using boyfriend left me drained and unfocused. I loved him and tried to help him, but to no avail.
    This is not uncommon.
    You WILL emerge. It may take a while, but it definitely will happen.
    Good luck. I do not know if you have any spiritual practice, but if you do I highly recommend praying. Also there are countless youtubes available for free on line to listen to (just browse through them) that can offer positive suggestions for helping to move through and past the anxiety and disappointment that comes with loving a person who takes a lot of drugs or is an addict.
    You will see – you will feel better. Keep trying to connect with others who can help or have been through a similar situation. It may take a little time, but you will emerge and move on from this very perplexing emotional experience.
    I have been there too. Keep your head up, go to work, take care of your children. Drug users tend to drag their lioved ones down with them – whether either person realizes it or not.
    You will recover from this.

  • LAC

    This is such a sad story. Unfortunately I learned about this myself from an ex. He is a funny, smart, talented guy. I discovered after knowing him for 2 years (we were friends first) that he had hidden his habits from me and a lot of other people as well.
    I tried every way I could think of to help him (we are both @50 years old).
    I could do nothing to convince him to visit a doctor. He did what he wanted to do. After a while, he became very distant. I think he knew I was concerned about his health. He wanted so much to keep his habit going, he did not want to hear from anyone who suggested he should slow down to protect himself and safeguard his health and sanity.
    I have not seen him in over 3 years. The last time I ran into him on the street he would not even speak to me – as if I were his mortal enemy.
    I have no idea what he is doing now. In many ways I wish I had never met him because I threw my attention and affection into a unworkable situation.
    I learned a lot about drug addiction through this experience.
    When I meet people with drug problems, I run in the other direction. I did not “abandon” him, but I will never again invest so much energy into a person with a drug habit.
    It was a bottomless pit, and the person always chose protecting his drug use over his care for me. In the end – as I said – he acted as if I was his worst enemy. We were friends for 4 years. I thought we might get married.
    I learned a very valuable lesson.
    People who take drugs like drugs more than other people. I was so drained and disappointed at the end if this relationship. In the future I will run away from any person who tells me they “like” drugs. That is just the tip of the iceberg. It took a long time for me to recover from that relationship.
    Never again.

    • Nacy

      Thank you LAC for this comment, it’s word for word my experience. In fact the reason I googled this article today is that even though I left the man seven months ago, I am still in psychic pain.
      In the recovery community very recently, some specialists talk about why addicts need not continue to be stigmatized or shamed by society. Making addicts homeless or unemployed is not an answer to addiction and will lead an addict to use more to cope: The key to stopping addiction they say, is to offer more opportunity.
      These are recent comments due to a vid of a man telling his kid that the mom has died due to a heroin overdose has been all over social media.
      So I bawled my eyes out on the phone just a few minutes ago with my bestie, who herself was an addict 30 years ago.
      I slobbered away about how hurtful it was to read “opportunity” because with all my heart, I loved my man, I thought we might get married. He used behind my back, lied about using, would be gone for days at a time, awful stories about his behavior with women circulated back to me, I’d confront him, he’d yell that everybody is lying about him and I’m stupid to believe them, I’d call the cops because he’d start throwing things or throwing me in anger that I’d doubt him, the cops would come then arrest me, (I’m not kidding: He’d convince PD that I was on drugs), lather, rinse, repeat x 3.
      Meanwhile, he had every opportunity to stop as I offered to pay for rehab, took him to four doctors, paid the rent, cooked healthy meals, let him sleep for three days, listened and encouraged him when he’d state, “I’m going to die if I keep using, and I don’t want to die, and I love you, I don’t want to lose you” etc.
      I even experienced him looking through me as if I didn’t exist once in a public setting.
      Hence the sobbing on the phone with my bestie today as in, “I loved him greatly, gave him every opportunity to improve so why are these addiction specialists saying this about opportunity.”
      An addict is married to their substance of abuse. It doesn’t matter how much opportunity is offered: The addict will squander it then leave a trail of people who loves and cares for them behind, crying.
      K thanks for reading this reply and hope your life is improving.

      • LAC

        Hi Nacy. I am glad you read and replied to my comment. I hope you are doing better each day. It is good for people who have these types of experiences to share them with one another.
        I have never had the police involved. Think about that. Are you the type of person who normally has to get the police involved in your personal relationships? Is there any dramatic appeal to you to have the police involved?
        It is not something I would want at all.
        If you do not like having the police involved in your life then count yourself lucky for having gotten this man out of your life. I understand that you are hurt and disappointed. I too felt I was blindsided by these events.
        My life is much better now. I have made peace with the fact that I gave my affection and trust to a person who did not reciprocate in the same manner. It was a very confusing experience for me for a long time. So I am finally past it, realizing that I would never get what I really wanted and deserved from a man in that relationship. The tough part for me was being accused of wrongdoing and that is what really stalled me on this one! That is the nature of addicts. They may turn the situation around and very skillfully make it seem as is you (or I) am the one with the problem.
        My biggest problem was that I misjudged the situation and the other person. I was very uneasy about this for a long time and, quite frankly, it made me feel depressed. I think that is a fairly common reaction to this type of thing. I am bouncing back now.
        I asked someone “why was this person sent into my life?” She replied “so you could help him.” So I did help him, (and he helped me for a time) but there was a limit to what he would/could do because of his substance abuse issues. It is still a disappointment to me in many ways (why didn’t I figure this out sooner?). But I did love him at one time so I had a blind spot. I now see things much more realistically and am feeling very much better and freer.

  • Samantha B

    My now ex boyfriend is someone I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with. We were so passionately in love but he had a really bad addiction problem. He would smoke weed before school,after school, before hockey, and before bed. Every day. I let him go because I couldn’t deal with the lying and the constant need for drugs. I wish I could move on but it’s so hard when you thought you were going to spend the rest of your life with someone. Recently mutual friends told me he just got out of rehab after being there for 3 months. It makes me sad but I’m scared of I reach out he will suck me right back in.

  • Liz

    I dated a guy for 2 years and after a hard couple years of dealing with dating someone who was 21 with no job, no high school diploma, and no ambition who constantly spent all his money on weed and cigarettes, I ended things. It’s been 4 months now and I’m constantly hearing our mutual friends telling me he is addicted to narcotics and cocaine now. He was in the hospital a month ago for an overdose as well. And every time I am reminded, something inside of me crumbles. I tried to help him so many times and I did so much for him. I am devastated about who he has become. And I worry that it is only going to get worse. In 4 months he’s gone to, “I would only smoke weed, nothing else” to landing a spot at the hospital for a narcotic overdose. Everyday he consumes my mind and I am worried about him every minute that goes by. I am in no contact with him at all, but I would love to say something to him so much. But, I know what I say is not going to help. I’m glad I can read other stories and know that I am not alone, and we are all strong for not sticking around. We need to eliminate people like that from our lives. No matter how hard it is. It’s their choice, not ours.

  • Heather

    I’m not having problems with an addictive husband, but a husband’s addicted mother and father. When Brady was young, his sister and brother both experienced his parents life go downhill until they were drained of money and living with his grandparents. Very long story short, his mother quit the coke, but his father began stealing money and eventually got thrown in prison for a couple years.
    Now that his father had begun working again (he’s been out of prison for almost 4 years now) this year, he’s up to his old shenanigans again. My husband and his brother currently live with his parents and grandfather in a large house. We see them everyday. We know when this cycle started back up. We caught his dad running around the backyard with a flashlight a few times a night recently due to the paranoia the drugs cause and asked if he was high. He replied yes and that he’d talk about it tomorrow. Yesterday was tomorrow. We tried to get one of them up talk and his mom just sputtered some bullshit and ran back to her room to ‘get her husband’. She never came back out.
    I have never had to deal with an addict before. I don’t know what to watch for or what to say. All I know is that we are going to have to scrape by worth what little money we have and hold out until this school semester is over, then we’re moving. Neither of us want to watch the process start itself over. It’s sad. His mom started off drinking in private (tried confronting her about that, didn’t work), then they did pot, then meth, and now they’ve started on the coke again. It’s so sad and I’m not sure how to handle it. 🙁

  • M.

    I am living the same situation.
    My ex and i broke up (after 2 years of a complicated relationship) some months ago because he was very depressed and i was also getting sick.
    He always drank and smoke (cigarettes and weed) too much when we used to date but now he got more depressed and got in touch with cocaine.
    i am really desperate and kinda guilty for his situation.
    I dont know what to do, it really sad 🙁
    I am afraid to lose him forever.

    But it’s nice to know that someone had the same problem and overcame it. Thanks for this post!

  • Victoria

    I’ve been looking everywhere for something like this. I’m 21, and I met a guy before that and got in a relationship with him. I’d known all ready that he’s depressed and takes zoloft and has to see a social worker once a week. He didn’t have a job or car when we started dating, but he conviced me to give him a chance. He was convinced that I would be the love of his life and that I’m the best girlfriend he’s ever had — after a week of being official — and that he would never hurt me and if we didnt’ work out, he’d never date again.

    Well, five months later, after I help him get a great job and car, he says he needs space, and so we break up. He just called me today, and told me he got a promotion, but that he’s been smoking marijuana and taking pills and drinking, and just…everything. He’s partying every night, waking up hung over in god knows where, showing up to work hung. Yet he got a promotion? Anyway. He’s surrounded himself with people that are bad for him, and he’s only 20 years old. He’s self destructive and he knows it. He hasn’t said to me ” I want help” but he did ask if I’d hang out with him today, so he might drive out to me. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but he has no one. And it’ll be a trial, but I’m not just going to sit back and wait for him to hit rock bottom and hope he sees that he needs to change. I told his best friend that we need to gang together and help him, but his friend has all ready seem to given up, thinking that my ex can’t be helped. I convinced him to try, but I worry he won’t try as hard as me. My ex is SUPER brilliant, but he has dyslexia and really had acne and his depression gives him low self esteem, and just ugh, everything.

    I’m going to try to help. But I’m not getting back with him. 🙂

  • Jennifer

    I was with the love of my life for over 6 years and last year his dad killed himself. My x bf had been a former heroin addict and actively drinking a case of beer a day as well as smoked pot like cigarettes, valium and other pills his pill pushing dr prescribed.
    After his dad killed himself in another province the ex drove to that province but was pulled over by cops and thrown in federal prison for days, he said it was dui, but it had to have been more he was caught with if they put him fed pen. His dad laid like a veggie for 3 days until the ex got sprung from pen to ok the pulling of life support.
    Within a year, he went to 2 rehabs, first one he was kicked out of second one he completed as far as i know, as a junkie never tells the truth, but he was worse then ever before. I let him come home after 2nd rehab, tried to live life as normal, until i noticed his genitals smelled really bad and then i reviewed his credit card statements, he was up to 2 cases of beer, pint of hard liquor amongst the rest of the hard core drugs he was using behind my back. His mother was paying off his credit card bill every month as it stated on the statement the funds for payment was coming from a vip account. (his mother is wealthy & an alcoholic too) his credit card statements only had liquor stores on it, he visited 2 different ones each day.

    he has been out of my life for 5 months now and i miss him dearly. i pray he saved. i know i cant save him. when he moved out he begged to come back–i couldnt let him. i have a teen daughter who this affected and found out after i wouldnt let him come back he was giving her drugs. he has compensated “friends” to break & enter into my home(it is mine, i bought years and years before him) and they have stolen everything from me. they even stole my dog and have since found out he gave her away.
    i love him and will always love him but i also love my daughter and myself. we have gotten through some rough spots even though financially he has ruined me.
    they say to let addicts live one day at a time and give them the space they need and treat them like they are sick. screw that! i did that and look where it got me and my daughter. dont take shit from an addict, get rid of him. one day he may wake up or he may not. we as the people who love them need to let them go. they are sick and no rehab, doctor,etc can change that.
    always take care of yourself before the addict.

  • Maggie

    My ex his name J, He’s married to the drugs n we broke up 3 wks ago from today 05/21/14. he got high on pcp smoke weed n takes kolopian that he get’s from people in the street n his mom gives to him. I do really love him with all my heart. its to much to deal with? I’m mentally drain from him ask me to take walks with him so he can get high on the drugs. i was his babysitter. I felt used I felt he never loved me. Its hard to not to think J. So now I moved on got my own place go to work. but Im still sad n depress with out him. He made me laugh n haoppy to come home. but 1 hour later do have money, to wat buy ur shit. I kept telling him I not an atm machine or bank. I pray to GOD he get’s help. I text him 05/19/14 to tell him I miss him n also Love him n he text me n I LOVE U.
    I have to give him his space n he needs to get better. Im afraid he will overdose, drug is the devil n nasty disease.
    But, I have to move on n say Good Bye J. n God protected u.

  • Me

    Addiction took my house and white picket fence. It stole my daughters right to wake up everyday in a house with a mom and a dad. It changed our lives, two years later we still live with my folks, she has love she has balance. I have a better job, I try to be super mom, I’ve done the alanon, the counseling, the books, but late at night I’m still googling to help the guilt, the what ifs, the seperation the man from the disease. The loneliness of life without him, tired from wondering if he’ll be back, tired from hoping, and just so scared of that letting go. Two years like this feels like so much, I don’t know know what I’m commenting about, the hurt that never stops, the addict you can ever trust, or the hope you never lose starting the cycle all over again

  • Aria

    it’s awfull when friends or family are addicted to drugs, alcohol etc. my grandma and uncle were addicted to alcohol and they both died… it feels awfull, because you can’t help them and you can’t live your life without constantly feeling bad for them… it’s really sad. i made a promise to myself that i will ever drink, smoke or do drugs in my life.

    • Aria


  • Ria

    bless you! I look up to you for not giving up on him


  • Lauren

    I dated someone for 3 years, he was the love of my life. Unfortunately, addiction took control of his life and I had to end things. We still remained close throughout the last few years…my heart constantly breaking for the situation he put himself in. Almost exactly 5 months ago, I received a call at work that he was in a coma…he died 2 weeks later. I feel immense sadness every day, not for what I “could have done” but for how he completely gave up on himself and his life. This is a pain I carry with me daily, that really nobody understands. Addiction is a disease…just like diabetes or cancer. To quote Dr. Drew Pinsky, “separate the disease from the man. The man was a great man who succumbed to a terrible disease.”

    • Jessica Booth

      I’m so sorry 🙁