How can I get my boyfriend to quit his dope habit?

How can I get my boyfriend to quit his dope habit?

how to get him quit his dope habit post

I love my boyfriend, and we’ve been together eight years. All of that time he’s smoked dope every single day. I feel like I can’t really judge because I smoked it a few times a week too until I became pregnant. (I don’t anymore.)

We’re both really happy about the baby but his habit bothers me now like it never did before. He only smokes at night, not in the morning (I have friends whose partners wake up and reach for the bong and thank god he’s not that bad, but still). Since I’ve given up I’ve noticed more and more how it affects him. He has a good job and all, but beyond that has no motivation to do anything, and I worry I will literally be left holding the baby while he’s snoring on the couch every night. I’d love advice on how to tackle this with him. Used To But No More

Living with a chronic stoner can be hard. That lack of motivation, and the kind of self absorption that comes with any addiction, can shrink your world if you let it. That’s putting it kinda lightly, because I’ve seen dope cause quite insidious harm to the relationships of people I know. So I get how you’re worried about adding a baby into the mix. For stoners, it’s all about them and maintaining their ritual – which means the non-stoner parent will probably be left picking up more of the slack.

It’s time for you guys to talk, compromise, start the process. Are you willing? Is he? Would you be happy if he cut down but didn’t cut it out completely? If he agrees to cut back to the point where he’s only smoking on weekends, would that be a good first step for you? I know that’s easier said than done for someone who’s smoked every day for the past eight years. But you need to lay it all on the table. How you both want things to be when the baby arrives. What your expectations are of him as a partner and as a parent. Maybe it includes that he only smokes occasionally. That he shares the parenting load 50/50. That he’s present, sober, able to be left with the baby, able to drive your child to the hospital if there’s an emergency. Perhaps his habit just isn’t acceptable to you anymore now that you’re having a child together. Maybe you want him to get some help, or see a drug counsellor. Whatever your personal boundaries are on this, it’s time to start spelling them out.

You could also direct him to the info on this website, or read it yourself for an idea of the kinds of resources that are out there for people whose smoking has become a problem. You might want to see a drug counsellor yourself for some strategies on helping him. It may be a tough road ahead, and I wish you all the best with your pregnancy, and with navigating a solution on this issue together.

Love, reality chick

~ RC readers, what do you think? What lengths have you gone to help someone quit or cut down on substance abuse? What should the letter-writer expect going forward? Have you got any other strategies / advice for her?

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Freelance journo, blogger, self-appointed advice-giver and co-author of Get Lucky. If you've got a dating or relationship issue, feel free to ask a question. (PS. You can also find me at The Mama Files and Letter To My Ex).


  1. Firstofthe7th 8 years ago

    Leave him. Since he’ll be completely out of his life, it’ll be just as if he quit.

    • Firstofthe7th 8 years ago

      YOUR life, I meant.

  2. bron 8 years ago

    Personal opinion. If he can’t give up the dope now that you are pregnant, he is never going to. If he feels the need to escape from the world every night how is he going to cope with a screaming baby at 3am? If he’s stoned, he can’t help you look after that baby, he can’t bath it, soothe it or even safely pick it up. If there is an emergency, is he going to be capable of helping you?
    And far more importantly. Is he smoking in the house? Are you breathing in that crap? Remember, this. If you are breathing it in, you are passing it on to your baby.
    Time to think of the baby. If he can’t grow up, you have to.
    And yes, i’m harsh, but i have no patience whatsoever with the people who say that this stuff is harmless, a bit of fun. It’s a drug. An illegal drug.

    And for some idea of the future.

    Years ago, i took my kids to their half-sister’s birthday party. I didn’t really know the mother of this child, but i wanted my kids to know their sister. I tried to ignore the drunk 13yo, i tried to ignore the drunken fights. I went inside for a break from the drama.
    Then they all came inside and lit up. Not just the parents. The kids. The 11yo. The drunk 13yo. All the other kids pilled into the room and by the time i managed to gather up my kids and get out, the entire house was a haze of smoke. We haven’t been back to that house since.

    Is this the future you want for your baby? A house where drug use is normal and accepted and your baby inhaling that crap everyday? Having some quality time with its father at night, if he’s not passed out on the couch, could be your child joining in.

    It’s not so much a case of how to get him to quit. It’s what are you going to do when he doesn’t?

  3. AliBear 8 years ago

    How can you get your boyfriend to quit his dope habit? You can’t. Been there, like Darlo Lad (except my boyfriend was the one with the problem). I’m sorry if this sounds harsh but you need to get out – for yours and your baby’s sake.

    • Author
      reality chick 8 years ago

      Hey AliBear, thanks for your comments. I totally respect that some people just can’t live with this kind of thing, but I do know others who’ve successfully managed to quit not just dope addictions but other habits too – so it can be done. And with a baby on the way, the letter-writer really needs to consider all her options really carefully…

  4. Darlo Lad 8 years ago

    I really feel for you. I used to be in a similar situation, and found myself expecting that the relationship will get better once she stops smoking. But the reality was that if there wasn’t weed in the house then we didn’t have a relationship. I found myself dreading holidays because my weed-denied partner would be very difficult to be around. Weed was more important than food or rent. I never had the ‘it’s me or it’ talk as I knew exactly what she’d choose. It wasn’t even her choice. She was an addict. I was far too tolerant, and didn’t recognise the seriousness of the situation I was in.

    I spent ten years with a chronic marijuana addict. Morning and night, an ounce a week, hundreds of dollars a week. In all that time I learnt simply that you can’t make anyone do anything. What you can control is your life. Your boundaries. A therapist told me bluntly that addiction kills relationships. And she was right. My partner eventually got clean, but the energy and time she needed to devote to recovery meant that there was zero time left for us and the relationship. I thought that she’d be a better partner once she became clean, but turns out she became much worse as the numbing shield was removed. I went to MA meetings to support her. Hell, I even built that MA website that RC linked to as my way of saying thanks. I met many good, kind and strong people there, and saw first-hand how much energy and focus recovery from addiction can take. Addicts hate themselves for their weakness, and this anger can spill over onto you. Don’t accept it.

    I won’t tell you what to do. I’m still processing the situation myself. What I learned from the experience is that I should have defined my boundaries and held true to them. That talking ‘reduction’ to an addict is a waste of time. Make a plan for your life, spell it out, and have a timeline. Hold to it. Offer support but recognise your limitations. You are a spouse, not a therapist or a sponsor. You are about to go through a massive life change, and if there is addiction in the house it needs to be addressed with critical urgency. It’s not a question of blame, or of giving direction or absolutes. It’s just a simple fact. Define exactly what you want from life. Take any blame or frustration out. Hold to the facts. Yes it’ll be hard, but trust me when I say that the conversation will be had one day, so have it sooner and on your terms before you get ten years down the line. Show him that you are planning a life free of addiction one way or the other, and that his choices will define his life, not yours. There is only one thing harder than having this conversation. It’s not having it.

    • Author
      reality chick 8 years ago

      Hey Darlo Lad, thanks for your insight, it’s good to hear a male perspective on this one. I can’t believe you built that site I linked to! It’s a great one.
      I love the last line of yours: “There is only one thing harder than having this conversation. It’s not having it.” SO TRUE.

  5. Author
    reality chick 8 years ago

    Thanks for that extra info lovely – I’m sure the letter-writer will appreciate it! X

  6. Oh Goodness, I feel for you I really do. You have some really difficult times ahead and it’s better to get tough now rather than wait until the baby comes and hopes he comes to the party then.
    If he wants tp quit then you need to step on it and get him involved in getting some professional support. He needs help, he is addicted, and he will even perhaps need to stay in a clinic or something while they sort it out. There he can consult with professional psychologists too, often (not always) dope users are trying to mask symptoms of depression, and smoking dope certainly can add to the brain’s chemistry being a bit scrambled so it’s important he gets the help he needs.

    As it is for YOU to get the help you need with a new baby. Having a baby is mammoth, immense and both partners need to be able to support each other through it and really be a team. He is not an effective member of your team while he is stoned. As REality Chick says, what if you need to drive to hospital? What if you just need him to get up the third time the baby wakes up because you’re more knackered than you thought humanly possible and you feel like you might hurt yourself or the baby if you don’t get sleep now? WHat if you simply need to talk to him about the baby and he just isn’t ‘there’ saying something like ‘later babe’. There is no later when there’s a baby in the house.

    Don’t compare him to other stoners and say he’s not as bad as them, look at him and ask yourself is he the kind of partner I want to raise my child with, because I would think that you will start to resent him if he doesn’t pull his weight with the baby and lets both of you down.

    Also, last but not least think of the baby you are both responsible for. Babies are far more susceptible to SIDS if there is a smoker in the house (even is they smoke outside). You are responsible for another little human and he needs to step up and realise that.

    Talk to your GP honestly and get advice about what to do and how to help in the best way so he’s got the best chance of success (and so do you and bub).

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