An American Addiction Centers Resource

New to the Forums?Join or

When Is The Right Time To Leave?

Discussion in 'Helping an Addicted Friend' started by Rainman, Jul 26, 2015.

  1. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    Addicts hurt those who love them [emotionally or physically]. Many who are in such abusive relationships when they no longer can bear the pain . . .

    Do you think there's such a thing as an appropriate time for leaving an addict? Would it be when they've made it quite clear that the have no intention of changing?

    Or would it be better to stay and hope that the addict will change eventually?
    MrsJones and light like this.
  2. sonia11

    sonia11 Senior Contributor

    Part of letting someone hit rock bottom, which the only way they'll be motivated to change, is to show them that they can lose people. And it's not about what they need anymore. It's about what YOU need to do to survive physically and emotionally.

    I hate quoting advice from Dr Phil, but this is actually good advice. "Ask yourself, what is it costing me to be in this relationship? If the answer is your dignity, dreams, or happiness, the cost is too great."
    MrsJones, hoverman and light like this.
  3. light

    light Active Contributor

    It’s really a very difficult decision. You have the obligation to take care of yourself fist and then of a loved addict but when you feel pain and are down in your emotions then the best thing would be not to live with your loved addict who refuses to change. At least for some time, you should clearly think how you can help him to bring positive moments in his life again. I don’t agree that you abandon your loved one but maybe you can help him more if you stop living together for a while. It’s important to make yourself feel awesome and confident again. You can’t help others by being yourself in an emotional and physical pain
  4. JessiFox

    JessiFox Active Contributor

    I'm not sure there is a right answer here....there are so many different factors to consider. You need to feel safe and like your basic needs are being met. If those are met reasonably enough, and you *want* to stay then I think it's really important that boundaries are set and respected. Addicts need support and love- and you don't ALWAYS need to leave for them to hit rock bottom- but they also need to see that certain things won't be tolerated.
  5. lalacrazy

    lalacrazy Member

    There's a saying that goes something like don't set yourself on fire to keep others warm. If you are being hurt by this relationship it is ok to leave. You honestly have to put yourself first, you need to take care of yourself. I definitely agree with the Dr. Phil quote.
    LovesBigFool likes this.
  6. Tsky45

    Tsky45 Community Champion

    I have lived with a family member who was an addict. There have been times I thought it would never result in having to leave this home. The truth is a addict will steal from you eventually. I've learned never to live with someone addicted to crack they will steal. If this person won't kick there addiction, your in for trouble if you don't leave.
  7. Winterybella

    Winterybella Community Champion

    From where I sit the affected person is the only one who's going to know when "the right' time comes. Even here I have watched and listened to people who find it so difficult to leave an addict. The desire to see them recover is sometimes greater than their to protect themselves. I believe there comes a time when you should seek to save yourself, but I know it is often much easier said than done.

    I believe it calls for more strength to walk away than it calls for to stay.
  8. hoverman

    hoverman Active Contributor

    sonia11 presents an excellent framework for helping give yourself an idea for weighing up the worth of a relationship - and when to extricate yourself. In essence, the Dr Phil quote helps simplifies things.

    Ultimately, I feel the right time to 'leave', will be when you decide it is. I would imagine there are a million different reasons for, and against, leaving someone, and regardless of the type of relationship, there will be moments where it will be harder than others. No matter what framework, quotes or suggestions put here, individual situations are often so nuanced, that in the end, only the person undergoing this will really be equipped to make that call. Nevertheless it helps to be able to ask for advice!!

    I think however, a critical issue is to extricate yourself - correctly - and with the least amount of harm to you, and the other person. We are, and should, strive to be good people regardless.
    MrsJones likes this.
  9. amethyst

    amethyst Community Champion

    What a difficult question. I think there is no general answer for it. It all depends on the individual/s who are affected by the substance abuse. Some people can tolerate a lot more than others. And then there are those who would love to help more, but they can't because they get too drained. In the end, one has to look after one's self in order to help others. So, in my view, leaving when it all gets too much doesn't equal "abandoning" that person. There are always alternatives to help a person. You don't need to suffer endlessly in order to help a loved one, when there are professionals and organisations that are highly trained and willing to do so.
    MrsJones likes this.
  10. Mally

    Mally Member

    I would say leave when they've made it clear they don't plan on changing. When they have made the decision that they're not going to change and nothing else is as important then why should you have to suffer?
    Addicts only really think about themselves , it comes with the territory.
  11. Tremmie

    Tremmie Community Champion

    I think it depends on the kind of addiction we are talking about and also whether the person in question is trying to actually get clean. If someone keeps saying they will stop using, but it's all lies... and they keep doing it over and over, despite you investing time and money in treatment and detox centers. When the stress and anxiety keeps building up and you start to question a lot things in your life you had never questioned before... I think that is when it is time to let go.
  12. doatk22

    doatk22 Community Champion

    Each situation is individual and the person dealing with the other person's addiction has to decide when enough is enough. A person can only hang on for so long.
  13. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    If you are being abused already whether physically or emotionally or both, I think that is the time to leave. Specially if that person did not show any signs of wanting to change. There are some who needed to be left alone before they can realize the value of those who are used to be around them.
  14. L_B

    L_B Community Champion

    I think a person knows when they have reached a place where they can no longer tolerate the behaviour. When I choose to leave I didn't leave because I had given up on him or because I stopped supporting him. I still love him dearly and always will. I left for my own sanity. My nerves were shot and I was crying all the time, frustrated, scared and confused. I needed time away to clear my head. I will always be there for him and I will support him in any way that I can. More then anything I want to see him clean up his life and finally be happy. Some people choose to stay I just needed time.
    MrsJones and deanokat like this.
  15. GettingBetter

    GettingBetter Senior Contributor

    It is so hard to know when to leave. If you are thinking about it, it's very good that you are asking and exploring. Unfortunately you can't make someone quit, so it's a very personal decision as to when you have had enough. Definitely if you are being physically or emotionally abused it is most likely time to leave, or at least get help for yourself. It isn't easy no matter which way you decide.
    MrsJones likes this.
  16. Angelita

    Angelita Member

    When you are very close to that friend and your life has no reason without him/her you can’t leave. You fight every second to save him, to save yourself. They say that love conquers all. Maybe this endless affection gives you the force to endure, to support him, no matter what. Maybe you lose confidence in yourself, in others. But you keep going. Because there comes a time when you ask yourself “Have I done everything?”
    And when you reach that limit, when you can't go on, when you feel it's your life on the line, that's the moment to begin to think about leaving...
    MrsJones likes this.
  17. lexinonomous

    lexinonomous Community Champion

    Every situation is different, but they all share a common struggle. Staying with an addict can be damaging and has the potential to drag you down as well. In my experience, if they are not making the effort to change, it's best for you to step back and tell them why you're leaving. Sometimes this can be a wakeup call for someone that is struggling with addiction. If this doesn't serve as a wakeup call for them, it's best for you to not have any contact. People are not going to change unless they want to change. The best time to leave is when you realize there is no change happening.
  18. dyanmarie25

    dyanmarie25 Community Champion

    It's really difficult to leave someone who has been very special to you. But yeah, sometimes letting go is the only choice we have got to take. I think it's already time to leave an addict if he/she doesn't care about you, doesn't have anything to do with life, and doesn't want to get help from anyone anymore. That's already too much for me. You should never be the only person who understands, stays, and waits forever. You deserve so much better than that.
  19. Elizabetonth

    Elizabetonth Member

    It's so, so hard, particularly when you love the person. A lot of the time, though, if you try to help someone yourself, and if you don't have any training on what to do, they can end up sucking more and more out of you, even if they aren't consciously wanting to themselves. This doesn't really help them, and it definitely doesn't help you - you can end up being really damaged yourself, as well. Sometimes the best thing is to try to get them professional help, and then standing back, even though that can be so difficult.
  20. MrsJones

    MrsJones Community Listener Community Listener

    Good OP @Rainman. I agree with most that it's up to the individual to determine when it's time to leave. There are so many different reasons to stay but only one reason to leave -- yourself.

    The OP also brought to mind how a person show leave such an environment. Would one feel safe or not with leaving?