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Addicts can’t love you. I suppose that is a statement from the Dept of All Common Sense, somewhat redundant, but it so needs to be said anyway.

People in recovery can, people who are not actively using can love others, but those chasing the dragon simply cannot. They got one focus, one priority, themselves and their addiction.

It needs to be said because the motherlode of all deception is “friends,” drinking buddies, fellow addicts whom people want to believe they share some like mindedness with, some loyalty. It’s a painful truth to confront, but those “friends” will destroy anything that comes between them and their addiction. Misery demands company. You cannot get your life together in the midst of people whose whole reality and identity revolves around you NOT getting your life together.

Actively using friends will flat out dump your body down a ravine or leave you to die  in a parking lot somewhere. They don’t care. They can’t care, they don’t care about themselves, so they won’t be able to care about you either. I say this having watched a lot of betrayals, a lot of pain and suffering, a lot of people abused and some even left to die at the hands of addicts whom they thought loved them. It is just heartbreaking to see.

I think it’s so painful because I can see that hunger, that longing, that need for love, for community, but I also see the deception that actively using addicts offer, how no one cares about you like we do, how we’re your only friends in the whole world, and when people are hungry for love, hungry for connection and relationship, that is a seductive deception. Looking for love in all the wrong places.

Real friends will lift you up, they will celebrate your victories, they will inspire you to reach new heights, they will comfort you when you are not okay. They also won’t ignore or excuse your faceplants. They won’t pretend that it’s perfectly alright for you to chase something harmful and hurt yourself. Rather than encouraging you to give in to temptation and make everything worse, they’ll probably say something, they’ll probably confront you.

I guess I just need to say it, “addicts can’t love you,” over and over again, because so often we want them to be able to, and wishful thinking kicks in. For the mom who keeps giving her kid money, he cannot love you. For the wife who keeps believing his lies, he cannot love you. It doesn’t matter how beautiful his soul is, or the potential you see there, he cannot love you while he is actively using. And by “he”  I mean “she” too, as in girls are addicts too, and sometimes even more vulnerable to that lure and seduction of belonging, of fitting in, of following the herd.

I say this here in the 9th circuit of hell where addiction is rampant, where bodies really are being dumped down ravines and into parking lots, where there is such a hunger for community, for love,  but a good chunk of our community, is actively using substances and sometimes it feels as if the whole darn place is floating down a river of denial.

Every time someone over doses from drugs here, or gets killed in car wreck, I can’t believe how many “friends” show up, how many “friends” hold candlelight vigils, how many “friends” attend funerals, how many “friends” lament on FB. Over and over again, month after month, year after year, and yet the cycle remains unbroken, the changes that need to happen community wide, they just can’t come soon enough.


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