Love & Addiction Quotes on Understanding Addiction 

Sometimes when things are hard, a few small words can help get you and your loved one get through a difficult day. Whether or not the author knew these quotes would be applied to addiction and love, their wise words carry insight for those struggling. If you or your significant other struggles with addiction, these love and addiction quotes will help you better understand addiction, motivate change and inspire you to seek help. 


1. “Addictions … started out like magical pets, pocket monsters. They did extraordinary tricks, showed you things you hadn’t seen, were fun. But came, through some gradual dire alchemy, to make decisions for you. Eventually, they were making your most crucial life-decisions. And they were… less intelligent than goldfish.”   – William Gibson

Gibson does a great job of explaining how the rush of drug abuse can go from enjoyable to a full blown addiction that controls a person’s waking thoughts and actions. Just like in a bad relationship, at the beginning, using drugs and alcohol may feel good. Love and addiction can have this in common. However, at a certain point, it becomes difficult to achieve the same initial high. As the body builds up a tolerance, increasing amounts of the substance are needed to feel the desired effects. At the same time, many begin to develop dependence, meaning without the drug, they will feel negative physiological and physical effects. These factors combined can lead to addiction. Things can quickly turn destructive as getting drunk or high becomes a priority.   

Some try to recreate the feeling of the first time they used, struggling to recognize the level of control that alcohol and drugs now has over their lives. On a personal level, the costs of addiction are steep. Losing relationships, financial stability, personal freedoms, loss of custody of children, overdose and even death can be common outcomes for many.  The societal costs of substance abuse are great at over $532 billion a year. This estimate includes costs from disease, premature death, lost productivity, theft, violence, law enforcement, prosecution, incarceration, and probation.

If you are in a relationship with an addict, you may struggle to understand why your partner continues to use, despite the negative consequences. Unfortunately, by the time a person exhibits symptoms of addiction, it may be too late to simply stop using. Drugs and alcohol can actually hijack important areas of the brain including the prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain that helps us recognize the dangers of addictive substances and make decisions.


2. “The worst part about anything that’s self-destructive is that it’s so intimate. You become so close with your addictions and illnesses that leaving them behind is like killing the part of yourself that taught you how to survive.” -Lacey L. 

This quote has become quite popular in 12-step and recovery communities, and for good reason. Although it is difficult to track down who exactly Lacey L is, her insight helps explain why so many cling to their addictions. Those who haven’t dealt with addiction struggle to understand why simply stopping is so challenging.If you love an addict, you may be frustrated by their self-destructive behavior. Despite best efforts, they continue to use.  

For many, there is also an emotional aspect to their addiction. Using drugs and alcohol may temporarily protect the addict from feeling pain, allowing them to “manage” their emotional issues for a short time. Getting high and drunk may become a means of survival: physically, by avoiding symptoms of withdrawal, and emotionally, providing a form of escape. Nonetheless, neither the underlying pain nor the deep-seated issues will go away through substance use. They will only be compounded. Despite the negative consequences, many addicts depend on drugs and alcohol to survive and feel better temporarily, making them feel a sense of closeness to their addiction.  However, clinging to one’s addiction provides little benefit in the long run. In order to keep the addiction alive, there are deep financial, physical and emotional costs. 


3. “She goes from one addiction to another. All are ways for her to not feel her feelings.” – Ellen Burstyn, American actress

This love and addiction quote is true on many levels. It is common for addicts to struggle with multiple addictions–for instance, polydrug abuse. Some may be able to curb their substance abuse, but without fully addressing their underlying issues, they develop another addiction such as pornography, gambling or overeating. In essence, the new addiction becomes just another way to avoid core issues. 

There is also an important emotional element that Burystn addresses. Many addicts use drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism to avoid difficult emotions and trauma. Child abuse, maltreatment, neglect, mental health issues and having substance abusing parents are all risk factors for addiction. This means a person who has experienced one of these issues may be more likely to develop an addiction. Drugs and alcohol can help a person numb feelings associated with these difficult experiences. 


4. “Addiction, at its worst, is akin to having Stockholm Syndrome. You’re like a hostage who has developed an irrational affection for your captor. They can abuse you, torture you, even threaten to kill you, and you’ll remain inexplicably and disturbingly loyal.”  -Anne Clendening

It can be difficult to understand why an addict continues to use drugs, when they may have destroyed that same person’s intimate relationships, family, friends, finances, and life overall. Stockholm Syndrome is a great way to describe the control addiction has despite the devastation it causes. Although this is not one the love and addiction quotes that directly refers to romantic relationships, it can provide insight to a loved one on why it is not so easy to just quit.

To some, it may feel like being held hostage, but in biological terms, a bit more is happening.  Addiction is a complex disease. It is defined by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) as a “chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences.” Although the initial decision to use drugs or alcohol was voluntary, as the addiction develops, a person’s ability to exercise self-control becomes severely diminished. Long-term drug and alcohol abuse can create changes in the brain which may even persist after a person stops using. 

On an emotional level, many find themselves trapped in shame spirals, blaming themselves for their addiction and then continuing to use to escape their guilt. They have tried to get sober on their own and then felt hopeless when they were unable to do so. Like any other disease, the best way to deal with addiction is to seek treatment from trained professionals. If you are feeling trapped by your addiction, take the first step by asking for help. If your partner struggles with addiction, you cannot force them to seek help. However, you can let them know that there are treatment options available, even if they are not yet ready to begin their recovery.


5. Drugs take you to hell, disguised as heaven.” – Donald Lyn Frost

Does this quote ring true to you? Using drugs and alcohol can feel like the perfect way to escape life stressors and other difficult issues. When a person is drunk or high they may experience positive and euphoric feelings. At the same time, substances can dull emotions and make painful feelings disappear temporarily. For this reason, many people  end up using substances to cope with emotional pain, bad memories, poor sleep, guilt, shame, anxiety, or terror.  

Unfortunately, those moments of escape are only temporary and come with many consequences. When you become dependent on a substance, it can feel harder and harder to face reality without it.  Additionally, once you are physically dependent, your body can quickly go into withdrawal without the substance, causing immense pain and cravings. Finances, relationships, and personal wellbeing all get sacrificed, while the underlying issues the person was struggling with tend only to worsen. The escape substances provided are temporary, but the costs can be permanent.  The “cure” for the internal pain, actually creates a much worse problem. In other words, what seemed euphoric and like heaven, can quickly become a personal hell.


6. Addiction is the only prison where the locks are on the inside. — Unknown

What makes addiction so challenging?  The disease creates an internal battle that people with substance use disorders struggle with on a constant basis. Many addicts desperately want to stop using drugs and alcohol. At the same time, they struggle with physical and emotional compulsions that lead them to continue. The thing they want to get away from also provides temporary relief from the physical and mental challenges it causes. It can feel like being imprisoned, with your mind and body at war with one another.

This quote highlights the pain of wanting to be free from addiction, but feeling unable to control the urge to abuse substances. Of course, no one chooses to be addicted to drugs or alcohol. For many, dependence develops as a coping mechanism that allows users to numb their negative feelings and escape traumatic memories temporarily. When they stop using, these feelings and symptoms of conditions like PTSD may return. So, despite the many negative consequences, addicts and alcoholics can feel trapped, believing they need substances to cope with their underlying conditions. This is one way that the addict part of the mind distorts a person’s thinking. Treatment programs like Liberty Ranch’s helps participants manage and address their underlying conditions in healthier, more productive ways.  Moreover, treatment helps clients deconstruct current ways of thinking and learn healthier ways to respond to difficulties, while providing structure and support. 


Love & Addiction Quotes on Self-care and Avoiding Codependancy


7. “I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.” -Audre Lorde

Remembering to take care of yourself is important for anyone, but especially for addicts and those who love addicts. For the addict, caring for yourself means taking a hard look at your current situation, recognizing that you do in fact have a problem and accepting help. Facing addiction is truly an act of survival. 

This also means recognizing that addiction is in fact a disease, not a moral failure. Rather than blaming yourself for your addiction, be kind to yourself. Do not feel bad if you were unable to achieve sobriety on your own. You may not yet possess the tools to do so, but treatment you can develop these tools. Treatment offers structure and accountability, increasing the odds of remaining sober. Moreover, programs teach healthier ways of coping, dealing with conflict, and responding to triggers.

Self care is equally important for those in dysfunctional relationships where addiction is a factor. If you are in a codependent relationship with an addict, it can be especially hard to focus on your own needs. Some even describe this relationship dynamic as addictive in nature. In codependent relationships, the addict’s needs are prioritized over those of the other partner. That partner may take on the addict’s problems, attempting to keep them safe, cleaning up their messes, providing them with financial support, and bailing them out of legal situations. However, in reality they are enabling the addict’s behaviors by removing the consequences of their actions.

If you are the romantic partner of an addict and are looking for love and addiction quotes, this truly applies to you. For the partner, the first step is recognizing that you cannot “fix” your significant other’s addiction. You also cannot force them to accept help, but you can care for yourself by creating healthy boundaries and seeking support. Addiction takes an emotional toll on those closest to the addict. Self care includes seeking therapy and attending recovery support groups such as Families Anonymous and Nar-AnonCreating boundaries with your partner, and allowing them to be responsible for the consequences of their addiction is a big step. In some cases, caring for yourself implies knowing when to leave a relationship. 

Love & Addiction Quotes on Seeking Treatment 


8. “Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step.” -Naeem Callaway

Many blame themselves for not being where they want to in life. If you are in a dysfunctional relationship, you may feel like it is impossible for things to get better. If you are struggling with alcoholism or addiction, sobriety may feel like it is thousands of miles away. If you are dealing with both, you may feel even more hopeless. It is easy to get caught up in negative thought patterns or to feel like you aren’t capable of leading a healthy, addiction-free life like those around you. But focusing on those discouraging thoughts only prevent you from moving forward. 

Small actions build over time, and taking that first small action will help you gain momentum to keep moving forward. Even if you are afraid that you will be unable to remain sober, the act of seeking treatment can change your life. If you or your loved one is struggling, take inspiration from these love and addiction quotes and make a change. Start by reaching out to a treatment center like Liberty Ranch that offers evidence-based programming to learn more about next steps.



9. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”– Nelson Mandela, South African political leader, philanthropist and revolutionary

Nelson Mandela truly understood the importance of facing insurmountable odds head-on. As an addict, the disease of addiction may seem unconquerable, but you will never truly know what you are capable of until you actually try.  Although your drug of choice may have caused you a great deal of pain, the thought of not having it may seem even scarier. Addiction creates physical and psychological dependence. The body now requires drugs or alcohol in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Many individuals do want to quit, but struggle with the painful symptoms. 

As impossible as the withdrawal process may seem, it is a necessary obstacle to overcome. For instance, intense heroin withdrawal symptoms usually last for about 5 to 7 days, although others may experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome in the following weeks and months (PAWS). You should also keep in mind that detoxing alone can be dangerous. You or your loved one may require medical support depending on the substance and the severity of the addiction, so it is always best to speak with trained professionals rather than going “cold turkey” alone. Facing this first obstacle is a necessary step to getting clean. The only way you will be able to recover is if you continue forward despite how impossible the end goal may seem at the moment. 



10. “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” – Mark Twain

Changing your life for the better is not easy. It is normal to be afraid. However, too many people allow their fear of failing to stop them from trying in the first place. If you let your fear stop you, it is certain that you will never succeed. Recovery can be a scary process, and it is okay to recognize that. It will force you and your loved ones to get to the core of what caused the addiction in the first place, allowing for healing. This may mean digging up painful memories and addressing issues you or your loved one have tried to avoid for a long time. 

Dealing with the problems that you have been avoiding is difficult, but worthwhile and necessary. Although the thought of recovery may seem daunting, don’t let that hold you back. Instead, recognize your fears and address them through treatment.  A good recovery program will provide therapy, family counseling, life skills training, and other services to help you through this process. It is important that both the individual dealing with the addiction and their loved ones participate in this process. Treatment provides an opportunity for the addict and their families to move beyond their fears and learn how to address painful issues and conflict in a healthier way. 



11. “It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop” – Confucius

The process of recovery is not short, but it is rewarding. Whether you are seeking treatment, have already completed a program, or are supporting your significant other on their recovery journey, time and commitment are required. Struggling with sobriety is normal and sometimes relapses do occur. However, it is important to focus on the daily goal of remaining sober, rather than getting stuck on past failures. 

This is true for the addicts, alcoholics and their loved ones. As the partner of an addict, you too play an important role in the recovery process. Some days you may struggle and feel as though your partner is not making as much headway as you would like. It is important to maintain healthy boundaries during this time. Avoiding criticizing them or pushing them to progress faster. Also, do not blame yourself. There are many ways in which you can offer support, while avoiding codependency. Allow your loved one to take ownership over their sobriety and recognize their small victories. Recovery is a continuous journey and some days will be harder than others, but do not stop. 



12. “The way to measure your progress is backward against where you started, not against your ideal.”— Dan Sullivan, THE GAIN AND THE GAP

A pitfall that many struggle with while in recovery is feeling like they are not where they want to be. However, addiction cannot be solved in one day and becoming sober is just one step in the recovery process. The urge to simply “get better” can create feelings of shame, hopelessness, and even result in dry drunk syndrome or a relapse. Some even begin to resent others who don’t struggle with addiction. It is easy to focus on what you haven’t achieved or how far from your goal you are. But rather than judge yourself for a lack of progress, think about how far you have come. 

Comparing one’s progress in recovery to that of others will only distract you from improving your life. Make an effort to congratulate yourself and recognize your progress. Or, if your loved one is in recovery, support them by letting them know how proud you are of their bravery and progress. Try and recognize their accomplishments, no matter how small rather than focus on the negative. Sometimes a few positive words can go a long way. 

Quotes to motivate your sobriety

Getting sober quote

13. “When I got sober, I thought giving up was saying goodbye to all the fun and all the sparkle, and it turned out to be just the opposite. That’s when the sparkle started for me.” — Mary Karr, American poet

Getting sober is scary. It can feel like losing a piece of yourself.  Likely, you have experienced many negative consequences as a result of your addiction, but there also might have been something seemingly positive that drugs and alcohol provided. For example, if you suffer from anxiety, maybe drugs and alcohol helped to quiet those anxious, self-deprecating thoughts. Studies show an important link between generalized anxiety and substance abuse. Abusing substances might have allowed you to feel more comfortable around others and release your inhibitions. In fact, many subconsciously believe that they need to be high or drunk to be accepted by others. Some even feel like being “the drunk or high person” is part of their identity. 

While using substances may take away our inhibitions and anxieties, it also dulls wonderful parts of ourselves. Drugs and alcohol become a central part of an addict’s life over loved ones, careers, personal interests and other passions. Recovery gives us a chance to learn to live without substances while embracing what makes us unique. Rather than putting a bandaid over a gaping wound, recovery helps us address these issues head on and heal. Those in addiction recovery work to accept the parts of themselves they may have obscured with drugs and alcohol. This can lead to wonderful things and many new adventures. When we are able to accept ourselves without relying on substances, we have the opportunity to learn who we truly are and what we want in life.

Quote on reasons to get sober

14. The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” – Alice Walker

So often we feel powerless in this world. Experiencing trauma, injustice, neglect or abuse can make a person feel like they have little control over their own life. In fact, a recent study found that individuals who have experienced stressful childhood life events are more likely to lack a sense of autonomy and self-connectedness, which can lead to several negative consequences, including emotional challenges and difficulties managing new situations. One way people cope is by turning to drugs and alcohol. For some, when they feel powerless, abusing substances provides them with the illusion that they have control over something. In the long-run, however, addiction makes a person feel even more powerless then before. 

As one becomes physically and emotionally dependent on a substance, quitting can feel impossible. Some believe their addiction is just another example of their powerlessness in life. But this is not true. Although we can’t control everything, each day we make small but important decisions that, summed up, affect the trajectory of our lives. Realizing this can open your eyes to the fact that recovery is possible. It starts with recognizing that you have the power to choose recovery. Contacting a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center to find out about treatment options is a first step in regaining control over your future.


Why to get clean and sober quote

15. I got sober. I stopped killing myself with alcohol. I began to think: ‘Wait a minute – if I can stop doing this, what are the possibilities?’ And slowly it dawned on me that it was maybe worth the risk.” ― Craig Ferguson

Giving up drugs and alcohol is one of the most difficult things a person can do when they are physically and emotionally dependent on substances. However, recovery is about much more than just getting clean and sober. In recovery, participants work to develop personal capacities, build life skills and confront challenges head on. Each day in recovery, one’s commitment and capacities are tested. Participants in recovery programs learn to break large goals down into small, achievable actions; to focus on change they can affect; to recognize when they need support and to ask for help when necessary. Inner strength accessed during this process serves a person in all facets of life. The persistence, commitment and resilience practiced in recovery can be applied to achieve one’s personal, educational and professional goals. 


Drug addiction sobriety quote

16. “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” — Chinese Proverb

It’s easy to reflect on the past and get stuck on what you should have done differently. Sure, there are constructive lessons to be taken from past failures. However, hyper-focusing on what you wish you could have changed can lead to unhelpful negative thought patterns. You may think “Had I never tried heroin, I wouldn’t have gotten addicted”. Or “If I had gotten sober ten years ago, my life wouldn’t be such a mess”. Sure, that’s a possibility, but this way of thinking causes unproductive shame spirals, paralyzing us from taking action now.  Although we can’t change the past, we do have a say in what our futures will look like. Focusing on what you haven’t done will only draw you away from accomplishing new things. Don’t let your past stop you from getting help today. There is no better time than now to invest in a better future. Contact a treatment center to learn more about recovery options. 


Inspirational recovery quotes on remaining committed


Inspiration recovery quote

17. “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

This wonderful quote from Emerson touches on a line of negative thinking that prevents many alcoholics and addicts from seeking recovery. If you struggle with a substance use disorder, you may truly believe you cannot change your life. Emotional and physical dependence on a substance can feel like a permanent sentence. 

Moreover, hardships, experience and previous failures may have led you to believe your current path is the only one available to you. If your parents were dependent on drugs and alcohol, for instance, you may believe you were destined for the same future. And while children of parents with substance use disorders may be more likely to face the same struggle, they are also capable of recovering from addiction and living a fulfilled life. Recovery challenges a person to examine their current ways of thinking and open themselves up to new possibilities. Choosing to recover from addiction is one example of the power you hold in deciding your own destiny.


18. Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out. – Robert Collier

This quote reminds us that recovery does not happen all at once. A key element of recovery, particularly in 12 step groups, is focusing on what you can accomplish today. Once you get sober, it can be extremely tempting to make big plans for the future. Though it can be exciting to set large goals and fantasize about huge life changes, sometimes this can also cause a person to feel overwhelmed and become demoralized. Projecting too far into the future can bring up additional worries and anxieties about never being able to use substances again. 

Instead, a helpful approach is to take things step-by-step and focus on making good decisions today. This way, you can achieve many small wins. Over time, these small wins build up into larger gains. Think about the positive things that you can accomplish today. Adopting this mindset can also be beneficial to those with loved ones in recovery. Once your loved one stops using drugs and alcohol, you may expect them to simply “get better” overnight. However, recovery is a process. Bearing the weight of others’ expectations can actually be counterproductive to one’s recovery. If your parent, significant other, daughter or son struggles with addiction and you want to support their recovery, rather than adding additional pressure, help keep your loved one focused on the present and provide positive reinforcement by recognizing what they have accomplished thus far. 


Ford inspiration quote for addiction recovery

 19. “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

With this famous quote, Ford refers to how self-fulfilling prophecies and limiting beliefs shape our realities. So many wonderful things can come to fruition when a person believes in their own abilities. If you believe that you are capable of achieving a goal, even when things don’t go as you’d hope, you won’t let failure stand in your way. Instead, you will remain focused on the objective, seek solutions and persist. The opposite is also true. If you believe you aren’t capable of doing something, it will be much harder for you to forge ahead when things get rocky. Failures, big and small, will simply validate your belief that the goal is impossible or that you are incapable. So many achievements come from persisting in the face of obstacles.

Ford’s words very much apply to recovery work. Recovering from addiction is not easy. There are many ups and downs. When one is learning how to navigate life without drugs and alcohol, they are bound to make mistakes and struggle. If you view these difficulties as learning opportunities, they will strengthen your resolve. However, if you look at these struggles as evidence of failure, it will be much harder to remain committed to your recovery.  

Each day, addicts and alcoholics must choose their own wellbeing over using substances. The decision to stay clean is a repeated one, and some days are harder than others. Unfortunately, sometimes relapses occur.  But, if you believe that recovery is possible, even when obstacles and triggers appear, you will seek support and solutions.  If you have struggled with addiction for many years, changing your mindset may take time. But start by opening yourself up to the idea that recovery is an option for you. Consider contacting a treatment program that will support you in this journey and help make recovery a reality for you.


Addiction and alcoholism recovery quote

20. Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising up every time we fall.”- Oliver Goldsmith

This quote reminds us that as humans, we all fall down sometimes and experience failure. But it is how we choose to move forward that matters. Making the decision to participate in a recovery program in itself is a perfect example of how a person can rebound from a fall. Yet, even when a person gets sober, they will likely struggle with failure.

Sometimes, the risk of failing can hold us back from taking action and moving forward. It is easy to become parlyzed by a fear of failure. Some are so scared of relapsing, that they don’t fully invest themselves in the recovery process. Others have already relapsed and as a result, don’t believe they are capable of healing from addiction. Although using substances after getting sober can be extremely dangerous and increase the chances of overdose, like in the case of Demi Lovato’s relapse, when one does occur, it’s how you respond that matters most. Learning how to respond to losses in healthy ways is a big part of recovery. Empower yourself by getting back up instead of allowing failure to defeat you. Work on constructive ways to approach potential failures. If you are afraid of relapsing, educate yourself on how to recognize signs of relapse, build a system of support and learn what to do in case one occurs. Although we will all experience failure, it is our resilience that determines the outcome.


Alcoholism sobriety quote

21. “Never underestimate a recovering addict. We fight for our lives every day in ways most people will never understand.” — Unknown

This quote highlights the inner strength that addicts and alcoholics working to heal from addiction possess. Recovery requires a person to take a deep look inside and confront their darkest fears. Recovering addicts learn to recognize personal weaknesses, rebuild damaged relationships, develop communication skills, ask for forgiveness, build trust and take accountability for their actions. Many people will never understand the daily work one must do in recovery. 

Whether you have been sober for a few days or many years, it takes a great deal of strength to admit that you have a problem and address it head on. Remember to acknowledge even seemingly small accomplishments in recovery, because they only provide further proof of your courage.