How Big A Part Has Hopium Addiction Played in Your Life?

20 Nov 2018

How do you know if you are, or have ever been, a Hopium Addiction? In this article, the time has come to revisit Hopium Addiction and look at the part that this damaging behavior may have played in your life.  As with any damaging behavior, it is important to consider  how to overcome this thing that nobody ever seems to talk about – doubtless because the consequences are not easily identifiable.

Unlike most other addictions, Hopium Addiction, as we shall see, does not undermine the fabric of society. Therefore Society does not make the necessary link between cause and subtle, long-term effects.

A working definition of Hopium Addiction

What is the definition of Hopium Addiction? A Hopium Addict is someone who puts their emotional needs – actually, their entire life – on hold, while they gamble on another human being to kick their own addiction to one or more of the following:

  1. a) alcohol
    B) gamling
    c) substance abuse
    d) abusive behaviors of any kind
    d) being a Narcissistic jerk.

The ravages of Hopium Addiction are only just starting to be understood.  The acceptable name for it is “loyalty”. An uglier name label that describes it with reasonable accuracy is codependency,

Like all addictions, Hopium Addiction works to the detriment of the addict but the benefit of the dealer – i.e. the abusive, narcissistic partner.

And here I want to make one massive caveat.  I am not a fan of the narrative that a victim of abuse has an “addiction” to a toxic relationship.

The investment in the Happily Ever After

Narcissists and abusers, in general, are heavily invested (and possibly addicted) to hurting and consuming those closest to them., Victims, on the other hand, are heavily invested in getting the outcome they want.  Their “addiction” – if such it is – is to their Happily Ever After.

I would be the first to say that I, for one, once had a thoroughly unfortunate attachment to my Happily Ever After. I stayed in my toxic marriage for 3 reasons.

  1. All the practical problems that leaving presented. These, as I eventually discovered, turned out to be more surmountable than I would ever have imagined,

2) My guilt that if I denied my child non-stop access to her (unfit) father, I would be failing in my duty as a mother (a belief as misguided as it is common.

3)  The narrative that I never stopped telling myself about the abuser that the wasband and I “could still have”.  According to this narrative, (she blushes furiously) all of the conflict and the torment had to be Going Somewhere – Somewhere Good. Destination Paradise on Earth. (But only after passing through all the stations of Hell.)

When I look back, I see the scenario like something out of a bank robbery movie. To be precise, an old-fashioned bank robbery movie without either humor or glamor, where the protagonists drill through massively thick walls and use dynamite to blow up the safe etc etc. Then they go off to live nice, affluent lives somewhere idyllic without a care in the world.

Denial and near madness

Now, when I write this down, it all sounds certifiably crazy – even to me. In the real world, I am no fan of criminality. But, on the other hand, the relationship had driven me to the gates of madness. The best sense that I could make of things, at the time, was that we (!!) were drilling through rubble to get somewhere better (!!).

Talk about the power of denial! I could hardly fail to notice the rubble. But I managed to tell myself it all served a bigger, better purpose.

When I eventually managed to winkle the wasband out of my home and my life, in my own mind, things still were not entirely over.

Like so many other survivors of domestic abuse, I still totally believed in the Get Out of Divorce Free card. I still thought that there was a – measurable – possibility that he would See The Light.

Hell, we all know that miracles are called miracles because they don’t happen that often. Plus, you have to be incredibly lucky to get one. But, hey, why not me? Why shouldn’t I get that little old miracle for once in my life?

I would have been perfectly happy to keep quiet about it.  The rest of the world would never have needed to know how privileged I had been.

Then came a fateful Sunday morning when I was flicking through a color supplement, in one of our less glorious papers. I distracted myself from my own misery and anxiety by reading an article about a companion-in-arms.  She was a newly single woman who had  finally given up on her alcoholic husband, after clinging to him, like a barnacle, for decades.

Her counsellor had told her that she suffered from “Hopium Addiction”.

Some of the best remote counselling I ever received

That was the some of the best remote counselling I have ever received.

Out of the blue, those words, “Hopium Addiction”  split my reality in two.  On the one hand, I did not believe that I could live without my Mr Nasty. But on the other, I was damned if I would go down the road of addiction for him.

That was the precise point at which I gave up on my Hopium Addiction.

I was prepared to love someone almost to the point of insanity.  I was willing to argue the toss over whether what I felt was love or co-dependency.  But an addiction? To that squalid little man who only ever fed me homeopathic doses of heavily adulterated “love”? ‘Not in a thousand years.

I discovered that I had standards. (Who knew?”)

Putting my life back together was not always easy. But at least I was over the madness of fixating on the Get Out Of Divorce card.

How hope turns to Hopium Addiction

I have shared my own story, in all its ignominious detail for a reason. The same Hopium Addiction plays out in the lives of so many other partners of abusers and Narcissists.  When you have been robbed of so much already, it is especially tough to have to let go of possibly the last dream that sustained you through years and years of lovelessness.

Maybe it all started with a lack of love in childhood. Maybe that lack of love generated the perfectly normal hope of, one day, finding someone who could fill that void and make you feel whole.Then, Life threw an unloving partner, or two, at you and you dug your heels in – as is only normal.  But, in the process, hope turned to Hopium Addiction.  Everything hinged on the impossible dream of getting that toxic partner to make your world right.

This is not to say that you should give up on hope. But there is a big difference between hope in a brighterfuture, and the blind, misplaced hope against all odds that flies in the face of reality.

If you are struggling with Hopium Addiction and need to beat it so that you can rebuild your life, then that is something that I can help you with. An emotionally abusive relationship is not going to rise from the ashes. However, you can – provided you get yourself clean.


Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery specialist and award-winning author of 3 books designed to help women recognise and heal from toxic relationships so that they can build healthy, lasting relationships with the perfect partner for them, blogs about all aspects of abuse, understanding Narcissists and how to avoid them and building strong self-worth. To receive Annie’s blog direct to your Inbox just leave your details here.

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