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My Boyfriend Has a Drug Addiction

Authored By:
Joe Gilmore
Edited By:
Amy Leifeste
Medically Reviewed By:
Javier Rodriguez-Winter

Table of Contents

If your boyfriend is struggling with addiction, it’s important you get the right information and resources together before trying to intervene. 

Your first step should be making sure you’re safe, and that you’ve established clear boundaries with your boyfriend. Addiction can cause someone you love to behave in ways that don’t align with their typical character, and it can be easy to overlook bad behavior in an attempt to be there for them. 

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Need help getting addiction treatment?

After you’ve established those boundaries, you can start reaching out to treatment centers for help. An addiction recovery specialist can help you set up an intervention, get insurance squared away, prep travel arrangements, and more. 

For help getting your boyfriend into addiction treatment, call our friendly recovery specialists at 833.497.4481.

“I Think My Boyfriend is On Drugs”: 7 Signs to Look For

If you are worried that your boyfriend is an addict or dealing with some sort of substance abuse problem, there are a few telltale signs that you should look for that will help you understand whether you are dealing with an addicted partner.

Signs your boyfriend has a drug problem:

  1. Dramatic weight loss or weight gain: Depending on what type of substance addiction your boyfriend is dealing with, they may experience massive fluctuations in their weight. For example, alcohol abuse is generally associated with weight gain whereas meth or cocaine addiction is associated with weight loss.
  2. Secretive behavior: Are you noticing that your boyfriend doesn’t spend time with you as much and isn’t transparent with his behavior? Does it feel like they are not the person you once knew? This may be a sign that they are hiding their drug use from you.
  3. Finding prescription medications, bottles, or other paraphernalia: An addict’s life is chaotic and many of them will leave their drug paraphernalia out and about. If you notice an array of strange materials like pill bottles, needles, foil, empty alcohol bottles, or more it be a sign that your loved one is a substance abuser.
  4. Mood swings: Mood swings are a common problem for people dealing with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Abusing drugs leads to dependence, which, in turn, can lead to withdrawal symptoms. People struggling with withdrawal will often have bouts or anger, sadness, anxiety, and more. If you notice major mood swings, drug use may be involved.
  5. In some cases, domestic violence may also be involved. If that is the case, seek professional help from the domestic abuse hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
  6. Neglecting self care: If you notice that your boyfriend is neglecting to practice self care and general hygiene such as brushing teeth, showering, combing hair, or other things, there is a chance he may be dealing with a drug or alcohol problem.
  7. Drinking alcohol more regularly: While alcohol use is not always a sign that something is wrong, if you notice your loved one drinking more alcohol than normal or even abusing alcohol it may be a sign that their they are struggling with alcohol abuse. Often times, alcohol is used alongside other drugs which can increase risk of overall addiction.


These are just some of the common warning signs associated with drug or alcohol abuse. If you’re thinking my boyfriend has a drug problem, it may be time to look into treatment options and how you can help them get the recovery they need.

a couple talking representing drug addict boyfriend

How to Deal With a Drug Addict Boyfriend

If you’ve identified the problem or your significant other has told you they’re an addict, you may be wondering how to proceed. There are three things you can do to immediately stabilize the volatile situation of living with a boyfriend addicted to drugs

1) Educate yourself about addiction and recovery

By learning as much as possible about addiction, like learning why people get addicted to drugs in the first place, you’ll empower yourself to make better decisions regarding your boyfriend’s substance abuse, and you’ll also be able to help provide him with information when he’s ready to engage with treatment.

If you have no idea where to start, here are some ideas for basic research:

  • Find out about the best methods of addiction recovery

  • Learn the difference between inpatient and outpatient treatment

  • Discover how addiction is underpinned by biological changes – changes to the structure and function of the brain – as well as environmental triggers

  • Familiarize yourself with the terminology surrounding addiction recovery

You should also establish to what extent your boyfriend is struggling with drugs. Often, people grappling with substance use disorder undergo many internal experiences, but there are also many signs and symptoms you can more readily pick up on. These include:

  • Developing noticeable issues with memory and cognition

  • Appearing intoxicated more and more frequently

  • Disrupted sleep patterns and lethargy

  • Looking tired or unwell more often

  • Being deceitful or lying about substance abuse

  • Only attending social events where alcohol is flowing

  • Becoming intoxicated before social events

  • Getting angry or defensive when questioned about substance abuse

  • Stealing money to buy drugs

  • Problems developing at home, work, or school

  • Neglected personal hygiene and appearance

  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms if unable to use the drug in question

On learning more about addiction, you face your own challenging feelings about the situation, if that is the case it may be best to seek mental health treatment options for yourself.

2) Set and maintain healthy boundaries

If you want your relationship to weather the stresses caused by a partner with substance abuse issues, you need to establish and maintain workable boundaries. Boundaries are clear guidelines or expectations regarding behaviors.

Not only will setting appropriate boundaries to protect your wellbeing, but you’ll also be more likely to help your boyfriend stop using drugs and begin the process of recovery. Your relationship should also benefit from this.

Common examples of boundaries include:

  • No alcohol or drugs allowed in the home

  • Your boyfriend is not allowed in the home when intoxicated

  • No drug-using friends allowed in the home

  • No personal communication with your boyfriend when he is intoxicated

  • Refusal to lend money or possessions

3) Be sure not to enable your boyfriend and end up in a codependent relationship

One of the trickiest things about helping a boyfriend with substance use disorder is to help him without enabling.

Engaging in enabling behaviors is not only counterproductive to helping your boyfriend but can ultimately lead to a codependent relationship forming. Codependency is grounded on a desire to help and demonstrate life, but the help extended often enables the person to continue abusing substances unchecked.

Signs of codependency include:

  • Taking responsibility for the person abusing substances

  • Making excuses for the person abusing substances

  • Putting the needs of the other person before your own

  • Difficulty talking openly about your feelings

  • Holding onto a damaged relationship in preference to being single

  • Difficulty setting and maintaining reasonable boundaries

Even if your relationship doesn’t start out as codependent, this can easily occur when your boyfriend is abusing substances. If you’re struggling your boyfriends addiction problems, it may also be time to reach out to a professional counselor for help. Remember that taking care of your own safety boundaries should be your first priority. 

So, what can you do to actively help your boyfriend?

an image of a woman hugging her boyfriend after he got help for drug addiction

How to Help a Drug-Addicted Boyfriend

If your boyfriend is an addict, it’s normal to want to help him get sober. 

Unfortunately, many of the most effective ways to help a boyfriend with substance use disorder may seem not only counterintuitive but also unkind. This is especially true for codependent relationships. The best thing you can do is help them find an rehabilitation center, that can tell you how to help a partner with addiction, and will provide treatment as well as therapy to treat the root causes of addiction.

Keep the following pointers uppermost in mind:

  • Addiction is neither a choice nor a moral failing on your boyfriend’s part. Rather, addiction is a chronic and relapsing disease.

  • The relapsing aspect of addiction means you should pack plenty of patience, while also preparing yourself for a journey that may not be linear and may involve relapse – between 40% and 60% of all those who engage with recovery relapse at least once.

  • The importance of setting and maintaining appropriate boundaries cannot be overstated.

  • Ultimately, your boyfriend needs to commit to recovery. You cannot manage his addiction.

  • Encourage your boyfriend to get help. This is likely to include professional addiction treatment.

  • Help your boyfriend to find the right substance abuse rehab center specializing in treating that type of drug abuse as well as one that can help with physical and mental health.

  • Be supportive without enabling your boyfriend’s substance use.

When dealing with an addict boyfriend, it’s also important that you get outside help for yourself.

Consider a support group like Nar-Anon or Al-Anon. These peer support groups provide help to loved ones of those grappling with substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder. It is also worth noting that many support groups allow loved ones to be present, it may help your boyfriend be stronger if you attend the first few groups with him to help get the process started..

come to Renaissance Recovery for addiction treatment

Get Your Boyfriend Into Addiction Treatment at Renaissance Recovery

If you’re struggling to get your boyfriend the help he needs for his addiction, you’re not alone. Our friendly team of recovery specialists are here to help you set up an intervention, get insurance squared away, prep travel arrangements, and more. 

Our insurance-covered program provides world-class treatment for drug addiction, alcohol addiction, and co-occurring mental health disorders. We are a program that values human connection while in treatment, and prioritizes the health and wellbeing of our clients as they embark on their journey to recovery. 

Our treatment programs offer cutting-edge therapies such as:

  • One-on-one counseling
  • MAT (medication-assisted treatment)
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Motivational therapies
  • Holistic treatments
  • Group activities (beach days, surfing, cookouts, etc)
  • Aftercare planning 
  • & more

Call our friendly recovery team today at (866) 330-9449 to learn more and check your insurance coverage for free.

Authored By:
Joe Gilmore
Edited By:
Amy Leifeste
Medically Reviewed By:
Javier Rodriguez-Winter

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