When Someone You Love has an Addiction

When Someone You Love Has an Addiction

The fallout from an addiction, for addicts and the people who love them, is devastating – the manipulations, the guilt, the destruction of relationships and the breakage of people. When addicts know they are loved by someone who is invested in them, they immediately have fuel for their addiction. Your love and your need to bring them safely through their addiction might see you giving money you can’t afford, saying yes when that yes will destroy you, lying to protect them, and having your body turn cold with fear from the midnight ring of the phone. You dread seeing them and you need to see them, all at once. 

You might stop liking them, but you don’t stop loving them. If you’re waiting for the addict to stop the insanity – the guilt trips, the lying, the manipulation – it’s not going to happen. If you can’t say no to the manipulations of their addiction in your unaddicted state, know that they won’t say no from their addicted one. Not because they won’t, but because they can’t. 

If you love an addict, it will be a long and excruciating road before you realise that there is absolutely nothing you can do. It will come when you’re exhausted, heartbroken, and when you feel the pain of their self-destruction pressing relentlessly and permanently against you. The relationships and the world around you will start to break, and you’ll cut yourself on the jagged pieces.  That’s when you’ll know, from the deepest and purest part of you, that you just can’t live like this any more.  

I’ve worked with plenty of addicts, but the words in this post come from loving one. I have someone in my life who has been addicted to various substances. It’s been heartbreaking to watch. It’s been even more heartbreaking to watch the effect on the people I love who are closer to him than I am.

I would be lying if I said that my compassion has been undying. It hasn’t. It’s been exhausted and stripped back to bare. I feel regularly as though I have nothing left to give him. What I’ve learned, after many years, is that there is absolutely nothing anyone can do to change him. With all of our combined wisdom, strength, love and unfailing will to make things better for him, there is nothing we can do. 

I realised a while ago that I couldn’t ride in the passenger seat with someone at the wheel who was on such a relentless path to self-destruction. It’s taken many years, a lot of sadness, and a lot of collateral damage to people, relationships and lives outside of his.

What I do know is that when he is ready to change direction, I’ll be there, with love, compassion and a fierce commitment to stand beside him in whatever way he needs to support his recovery. He will have an army of people behind him and beside him when he makes the decision, but until then, I and others who love him are powerless. I know that.

Nobody intends for a behaviour to become an addiction, and if you are someone who loves an addict – whether it’s a parent, child, partner, friend, sibling – the guilt, the shame and the helplessness can be overwhelming. 

Addiction is not a disease of character, personality, spirit or circumstance. It can happen to anyone. It’s a human condition with human consequences, and being that we’re all human, we’re all vulnerable. Addicts can come from any life and from any family. It’s likely that in our lifetime, if we don’t love someone with an addiction, we’ll know someone who does, so this is an important conversation to have, for all of us. 

The problem with loving an addict is that sometimes the things that will help them are the things that would seem hurtful, cold and cruel if they were done in response to non-addicts. Often, the best ways to respond to an addict have the breathtaking capacity to drown those who love them with guilt, grief, self-doubt and of course, resistance.

Loving an addict in any capacity can be one of the loneliest places in the world. It’s easy to feel judged for withdrawing support for the addict, but eventually, this becomes the only possible response. Unless someone has been in battle armour beside you, fighting the fight, being brought to their knees, with their heart-broken and their will tested, it’s not for them to judge. 

The more we can talk about openly about addiction, the more we can lift the shame, guilt, grief and unyielding self-doubt that often stands in the way of being able to respond to an addict in a way that supports their healing, rather than their addiction. It’s by talking that we give each other permission to feel what we feel, love who we love, and be who we are, with the vulnerabilities, frayed edges, courage and wisdom that are all a part of being human.

When Someone You Love is an Addict.

  1. You’re dealing with someone different now. 

    When an addiction takes hold, the person you love disappears, at least until the addiction loosens its grip. The person you love is still in there somewhere, but that’s not who you’re dealing with. The person you remember may have been warm, funny, generous, wise, strong – so many wonderful things – but addiction changes people. It takes a while to adjust to this reality and it’s very normal to respond to the addicted person as though he or she is the person you remember. This is what makes it so easy to fall for the manipulations, the lies and the betrayal – over and over. You’re responding to the person you remember – but this is not that person. The sooner you’re able to accept this, the sooner you can start working for the person you love and remember, which will mean doing what sometimes feels cruel, and always heartbreaking, so the addiction is starved of the power to keep that person away. The person you love is in there – support that person, not the addict in front of you. The sooner you’re able to stop falling for the manipulations, lies, shame and guilt that feeds their addiction, the more likely it will be that the person you remember will be able to find the way back to you.

  2. Don’t expect them to be on your logic.

    When an addiction takes hold, the person’s reality becomes distorted by that addiction. Understand that you can’t reason with them or talk them into seeing things the way you do. For them, their lies don’t feel like lies. Their betrayal doesn’t feel like betrayal. Their self-destruction doesn’t always feel like self-destruction. It feels like survival. Change will come when there is absolutely no other option but to change, not when you’re able to find the switch by giving them enough information or logic.

  3. When you’re protecting them from their own pain, you’re standing in the way of their reason to stop.

    Addicts will do anything to feed their addiction because when the addiction isn’t there, the emotional pain that fills the space is greater. People will only change when what they are doing causes them enough pain, that changing is a better option than staying the same. That’s not just for addicts, that’s for all of us. We often avoid change – relationships, jobs, habits – until we’ve felt enough discomfort with the old situation, to open up to a different option.

    Change happens when the force for change is greater than the force to stay the same. Until the pain of the addiction outweighs the emotional pain that drives the addiction, there will be no change. 

    When you do something that makes their addictive behaviour easier, or protects them from the pain of their addiction – perhaps by loaning them money, lying for them, driving them around – you’re stopping them from reaching the point where they feel enough pain that letting go of the addiction is a better option. Don’t minimise the addiction, ignore it, make excuses for it or cover it up. Love them, but don’t stand in the way of their healing by protecting them from the pain of their addiction. 

  4. There’s a different way to love an addict.

    When you love them the way you loved them before the addiction, you can end up supporting the addiction, not the person. Strong boundaries are important for both of you. The boundaries you once had might find you innocently doing things that make it easier for the addiction to continue. It’s okay to say no to things you might have once agreed to – in fact, it’s vital – and is often one of the most loving things you can do. If it’s difficult, have an anchor – a phrase or an image to remind you of why your ‘no’ is so important. If you feel as though saying no puts you in danger, the addiction has firmly embedded itself into the life of the person you love. In these circumstances, be open to the possibility that you may need professional support to help you to stay safe, perhaps by stopping contact. Keeping a distance between you both is no reflection on how much love and commitment you feel to the person, and all about keeping you both safe.

  5. Your boundaries – they’re important for both of you.

    If you love an addict, your boundaries will often have to be stronger and higher than they are with other people in your life. It’s easy to feel shame and guilt around this, but know that your boundaries are important because they’ll be working hard for both of you. Setting boundaries will help you to see things more clearly from all angles because you won’t be as blinded by the mess or as willing to see things through the addict’s eyes – a view that often involves entitlement, hopelessness, and believing in the validity of his or her manipulative behaviour. Set your boundaries lovingly and as often as you need to. Be clear about the consequences of violating the boundaries and make sure you follow through, otherwise it’s confusing for the addict and unfair for everyone. Pretending that your boundaries aren’t important will see the addict’s behaviour get worse as your boundaries get thinner. In the end this will only hurt both of you.

  6. You can’t fix them, and it’s important for everyone that you stop trying.

    The addict and what they do are completely beyond your control. They always will be. An addiction is all-consuming and it distorts reality. Know the difference between what you can change (you, the way you think, the things you do) and what you can’t change (anyone else). There will be a strength that comes from this, but believing this will take time, and that’s okay. If you love someone who has an addiction, know that their stopping isn’t just a matter of wanting to. Let go of needing to fix them or change them and release them with love, for your sake and for theirs.

  7. See the reality.

    When fear becomes overwhelming, denial is a really normal way to protect yourself from a painful reality. It’s easier to pretend that everything is okay, but this will only allow the addictive behaviour to bury itself in deeper. Take notice if you are being asked to provide money, emotional resources, time, babysitting – anything more than feels comfortable. Take notice also of the  feeling, however faint, that something isn’t right. Feelings are powerful, and will generally try to alert us when something isn’t right, long before our minds are willing to listen. 

  8. Don’t do things that keep their addiction alive.

    When you love an addict all sorts of boundaries and conventions get blurred. Know the difference between helping and enabling. Helping takes into account the long-term effects, benefits and consequences. Enabling is about providing immediate relief, and overlooks the long-term damage that might come with that short-term relief. Providing money, accommodation, dropping healthy boundaries to accommodate the addict – these are all completely understandable when it comes to looking after someone you love, but with someone who has an addiction, it’s helping to keep the addiction alive. 

    Ordinarily, it’s normal to help out the people we love when they need it, but there’s a difference between helping and enabling. Helping supports the person. Enabling supports the addiction. 

    Be as honest as you can about the impact of your choices. This is so difficult – I know how difficult this is, but when you change what you do, the addict will also have to change what he or she does to accommodate those changes. This will most likely spin you into guilt, but let the addicted one know that when he or she decides to do things differently, you’ll be the first one there and your arms will be open, and that you love them as much as you ever have. You will likely hear that you’re not believed, but this is designed to refuel your enabling behaviour. Receive what they are saying, be saddened by it and feel guilty if you want to – but for their sake, don’t change your decision.

  9. Don’t buy into their view of themselves.

    Addicts will believe with every part of their being that they can’t exist without their addiction. Don’t buy into it. They can be whole without their addiction but they won’t believe it, so you’ll have to believe it enough for both of you. You might have to accept that they aren’t ready to move towards that yet, and that’s okay, but in the meantime don’t actively support their view of themselves as having no option but to surrender fully to their addiction. Every time you do something that supports their addiction, you’re communicating your lack of faith in their capacity to live without it. Let that be an anchor that keeps your boundaries strong. 

  10. When you stand your ground, things might get worse before they get better.

    The more you allow yourself to be manipulated, the more you will be manipulated. When you stand your ground and stop giving in to the manipulation, the maniplulation may get worse before it stops. When something that has always worked stops working, it’s human nature to do it more. Don’t give into to the lying, blaming or guilt-tripping. They may withdraw, rage, become deeply sad or develop pain or illness. They’ll stop when they realise your resolve, but you’ll need to be the first one to decide that what they’re doing won’t work any more.

  11. You and self-love. It’s a necessity. 

    In the same way that it’s the addict’s responsibility to identify their needs and meet them in safe and fulfilling ways, it’s also your responsibility to identify and meet your own. Otherwise you will be drained and damaged – emotionally, physically and spiritually, and that’s not good for anyone.

  12. What are you getting out of it?

    This is such a hard question, and will take an open, brave heart to explore it. Addicts use addictive behaviours to stop from feeling pain. Understandably, the people who love them often use enabling behaviours to also stop from feeling pain. Loving an addict is heartbreaking. Helping the person can be a way to ease your own pain and can feel like a way to extend love to someone you’re desperate to reach. It can also be a way to compensate for the bad feelings you might feel towards the person for the pain they cause you. This is all really normal, but it’s important to explore how you might be unwittingly contributing to the problem. Be honest, and be ready for difficult things to come up. Do it with a trusted person or a counsellor if you need the support. It might be one of the most important things you can do for the addict. Think about what you imagine will happen if you stop doing what you’re doing for them. Then think about what will happen if you don’t. What you’re doing might save the person in the short-term, but the more intense the addictive behaviour, the more destructive the ultimate consequences of that behaviour if it’s allowed to continue. You can’t stop it continuing, but you can stop contributing to it. Be willing to look at what you’re doing with an open heart, and be brave enough to challenge yourself on whatever you might be doing that’s keeping the addiction alive. The easier you make it for them to maintain their addiction, the easier it is for them to maintain their addiction. It’s as simple, and as complicated, as that.

  13. What changes do you need to make in your own life?

    Focusing on an addict is likely to mean that the focus on your own life has been turned down – a lot. Sometimes, focusing on the addict is a way to avoid the pain of dealing with other issues that have the capacity to hurt you. When you explore this, be kind to yourself, otherwise the temptation will be to continue to blunt the reality. Be brave, and be gentle and rebuild your sense of self, your boundaries and your life. You can’t expect the addict in your life to deal with their issues, heal, and make the immensely brave move towards building a healthy life if you are unwilling to do that for yourself.

  14. Don’t blame the addict.

    The addict might deserve a lot of the blame, but blame will keep you angry, hurt and powerless. Addiction is already heavily steeped in shame. It’s the fuel that started it and it’s the fuel that will keep it going. Be careful you’re not contributing to keeping the shame fire lit.

  15. Be patient.

    Go for progress, not perfection. There will be forward steps and plenty of backward ones too.  Don’t see a backward step as failure. It’s not. Recovery never happens in a neat forward line and backward steps are all part of the process.

  16. Sometimes the only choice is to let go.

    Sometimes all the love in the world isn’t enough. Loving someone with an addiction can tear at the seams of your soul. It can feel that painful. If you’ve never been through it, letting go of someone you love deeply, might seem unfathomable but if you’re nearing that point, you’ll know the desperation and the depth of raw pain that can drive such an impossible decision. If you need to let go, know that this is okay. Sometimes it’s the only option. Letting go of someone doesn’t mean you stop loving them – it never means that. You can still leave the way open if you want to. Even at their most desperate, most ruined, most pitiful point, let them know that you believe in them and that you’ll be there when they’re ready to do something different. This will leave the way open, but will put the responsibility for their healing in their hands, which is the only place for it to be.

And finally …

Let them know that you love them and have always loved them – whether they believe it or not. Saying it is as much for you as it is for them. 

450 Comments

Leila

The article above really resonates with me. I have been with my partner for 13 years now. We have 2 children together, aged 7 and 11 and, looking back it is clear that he has always had a need to ‘get wasted’, usually with alcohol.

He was always a heavy drinker and smoked weed regularly. I also enjoyed a drink and to relax but his use was always excessive.

The relationship has always been turbulent and he has a nasty temper but at the same time was loving and supportive.

The problems started shortly after the birth after my daughter in 2013. He became very depressed and started ordering drugs on the internet. I had no idea what they were, but some kind of Benzo based product and clearly very dangerous. He would be a dribbling wreck and unable to talk, it was very alarming.

Things started to improve after he saw a GP and was prescribed Mirtazapine which is antidepressant. However he has never really been right. Things have just got progressively worse.

I feel like Ive been a living a lie and he’s continually tried to manipulate me when I’ve told him I want to leave him.

About 3 years ago, he developed a fixation on our neighbours, we owned a semi detached house in a quiet residential area. He stated that he could hear their conversations and that they were talking and laughing about him. It was all very specific to him. He believed that many of the neighbours were conspiring against him. He believed that they were causing damage to his van and going into our garden and causing damage there. He went as far as throwing his own shit over the fence and stockpiling piss to squirt over the fence!! He had a listening device against our bedroom wall and I was no longer allowed to have normal conversations in my own home for fear that they would be overheard by the neighbours. He spent hundreds of pounds on CCTV cameras but nothing was ever picked up. There has been no evidence to back up his accusations.

Needless to say, we moved address to rented a accommodation to another area.

Prior to our moving, and unknown to me at the time he had not only been ordering Codeine and other benzos from an encrypted website but also ordering and taking Ketamine. There were several occasions when I thought I needed to call an ambulance as the visible effects are very distressing to see but he stopped me as he said he has done K and was ok. This also happened during the day when we were just watching TV with the kids!

The move into rented accommodation did not change anything as within weeks he started to accuse our new neighbours of stealing his tools/paints and damaging my car and his van. Once again there was no evidence to back this. He had promised me not to do Ket anymore after Xmas just gone but he continued to use it, thinking he could get away with it.

I asked him to leave about 2 weeks ago. I feel exhausted. He has been very nasty to me. He does not seem to have any close friends anymore who can help him so he is staying hundreds of miles away in Devon with his parents.

He is now being very nasty to me and texting my 11 year old son telling him that I dont want him to have much contact with him, which is untrue. He has continually deflected onto me telling me that I have mental health issues because I ‘lose it’ now and again. He is a master at gaslighting and making me feel unsure of myself and that it’s all my fault. He has even said that he takes drugs because he’s so unhappy with me and that I dont show him enough love.

He has been demanding to see the children and saying that he is delighted to be getting on with his life. However, this week the police came around to our new address looking for him as some of the Ketamine that he’d ordered had been intercepted at border control. He was very lucky to get off with an out of court disposal and has been humble since.

Due to the police coming around I have asked to him to come off the tenancy agreement as I did not want him just coming back to the property whenever he wanted and felt it only right that I protect myself and the children from the consequences of this irresponsible behaviour. He agreed but is now demanding his share from the proceeds of the house sale. I have always paid the mortgage and my dad has helped him out financially in the past so I explained to him that I would naturally have to deduct these amounts however he is threatening me saying that he will involved solicitors. All he seems to care about is getting his share. I am no hurt at the way I am being treated, not just by him but by his family. I have been made to feel guilty because I am separating the children from their dad. I don’t think I have a choice in this?

I know this is lengthy but I just needed to get this out. Has anyone had any experience with dealing with someone with not only drug addiction but psychosis?

Any thoughts welcome.

Reply
Victoria

I’ve been dating someone for 6 years. I knew going into this relationship that he was an alcoholic. But I really thought he would stop drinking for me. He then started smoking pot… and the two combined have taken our relationship for a nose dive. I truly believe he drinks and smokes too numb the pain of missing his daughter and a bad relationship with his brother. He is not financially stable… I’ve loaned him money to help pay some of his bills. I know that I am an enabler… the last two years have not been good. He gangs around with people who drink and smoke like he does. He thinks that I’m judging him… we’ve never have had sex in 6 years… i think because of all the drinking and smoking. I love this man so much but I just can’t do this anymore

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Colleen P

Been with the same guy for 8 yrs but didn’t know he was an addict until two yrs into the relationship because he didn’t use every day , not even every weekend or month. It would be like every 6 to 8 months , at least that’s when I noticed.
It was approx 2 yrs into the relationship when he decided to go fishing overnight with his son and I never heard from him all night nor the next day.
I thought it was because they were in an area with do phone service.
The next day , still no calls and I couldn’t reach him. That just wasn’t normal beche always called me when he was away.
To make a long story short , he called the next day , very scared . Told me where he was so I went there to meet him and he was a total wreck.
I thought he was drinking all night because I’ve never been around anyone who did hard drugs, so I took him home , told him to shower and get some sleep and that we’d talk later.
That’s when he confessed that he was an addict and that he relapsed.
This continued to this day.
The lies , disappearing, turning off the phone, excessive amount of spending and even losing his car for drugs.
I did everything in my power and he’s even come to me telling me that he felt that urge , that need to use so I thought that was a huge step coming to me and admitting he wanted to but didn’t.
Unfortunately it didn’t last long and then there were more and more lies. While I worked , he’d go for coffee ,, a very long coffee. He’d tell me he just went for a long drive but it wast just a drive.
It just escalated more and more lies.
Then about two weeks ago I went to work while he headed to his grandsons birthday party and never returned home.
I knew , I just knew.
His phone turned off and that was when I knew that I just couldn’t live like this any more.
The next day his son called me and said that his dad showed up there , no vehicle but was dropped off by some guy.
He was high and a mess. Thought there were people were upstairs talking about him , thought me and Jaxx , my dog were there, couldn’t put his jacket on right and his lips were purple.
So his son let him stay become, will it’s his dad and he couldn’t see him in the streets .
All was going good for almost two weeks when he got his cheque .
He disappeared for another night or two, until he had barely any money left. Returning to his son’s to find that he was no longer welcomed there unless he had no access to his money, no access to his car keys (because he bought an old car).
He started begging me to let him come home but I couldn’t do it this time. I said this is the last time , way too many times , like for 6 yrs I’ve been saying it.
I don’t hate him, I hate his addiction and what it’s doing to him but he’s pushed me over the edge.
I’m 58 and I just can’t live like this anymore. I can’t continue to enable him and by letting him come back after every time he relapsed meant I was enabling him.
I felt bad at first but it called tough love .
He suppose to go to detox next week and then rehab for 28 days.
I don’t know enough about this so can someone please tell me , is 28 days really long enough ?
I wish him all the best and hope this all works out for him.
I’m mentally and physically exhausted.

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Anonymous

Hi guys,
Please help me. I am so lost.
My boyfriend is dealing with an addiction to some sort of dating site. It’s called bigo, he spends so much money on the app and it’s been making us fight a lot. He says he doesn’t talk to girls on the app but he just supports them financially. I don’t want to lose my trust for him and so I told him I wasn’t comfortable with him being on the app. We are in a very long distance relationship. I’m in Africa and he is in the US. He gets all defensive when I talk about it. I one time had to make him choose between myself and the app and he got really furious saying he’d never give me an ultimatum, but I did that because I was just really frustrated and tired. I told him “I don’t want him going on the app” anymore and he said I was controlling and ordering him like I was his mom. I apologized afterwards to him. I’m just very confused because this addiction is really talking a toll on our relationship and it makes me really depressed. I really love him and I believe he does too, we are like best friends and we tell each other everything. Also, we have been together for almost half a year. I wish there was some way I could help him. I am so Lost. We haven’t been talking as much as we used to and I really miss him.

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Jeff

Let me start by saying how grateful I am for this article. You have hit all the points of struggle that my family and I have been dealing with.

I am the father of a 26 year old daughter. She is struggling with addiction and stability in maintaining relationships with family and friends. She is incredibly bright and intelligent. She is also a manipulator and a liar. I have set boundaries and am maintaining them. I still have immense feelings of guilt but I am slowly learning to accept my feelings.

It is absolutely true that we are powerless to change the addict. I fear that her rock bottom will likely be the grave. I can only hope this is not the case. I encourage anyone reading this to reach out and not feel ashamed of anything you think or feel about your situation. We are only human. As co dependents we need support. Stay strong.

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Nicola

My husband was the love of my life everything I ever wanted in a man until November last year he started smoking crack . I have never seen someone change and deteriorate so quickly. His attitude towards me changed immediately, he was verbally aggressive almost immediately after he started smoking crack . He was disappearing at night , telling constant lies . I was convinced I was going mad at first . Eventually I found out he was having an affair with my cousin who is a prostitute and he has been having crack binges with her for days on end . He disappeared for two nights once and spent £2500 on crack with her and another prostitute . Once the crack was gone he came back to me threatening me to give him the money to pay his £2500 bill . He’s had me thinking I’m loosing my mind with the lies and cheating he’s put me through , he’s been aggressive towards his 90 year old father , me his attitude even changed towards the dog . I’ve had him threaten to stab me , I’ve also had him put a gun to me head when he was cracked up . I got sectioned because I had a mental breakdown with everything he put me through in the space of the three months on crack . My husband is now locked up and I am now out of the psychiatric hospital. I have to accept that you can’t help someone who won’t help themselves. I put up with all his nonsense and heartache convincing myself he was trying to give up and the person I fell in love with and married was coming back . But he never did . Being in love with someone with addiction is the worst pain I’ve ever experienced it rips your heart out .

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Ashleigh

My name is Ashleigh, i have known my husband since i was around 12 or 13 but we have been together 12 years married 9. We both had two daughters each from previous relationships but both got on brilliantly with each others children. Since then we have had 2 children together a boy 8 who worships his daddy and a baby girl who is just 8 months. I had his youngest live with me on and off. He started snorting cocaine a few years back but it seemed he could manage it and would never do it in the house. Things started to take hold and he began doing it more and more. He took so much his nose is damaged and he began smoking crack around new year. He started arguments with me and would accuse me of having affairs and sneaking out of the house etc. Iv never gave him a reason to think im in any way like this. He has a blury video in his phone which looks like a child had recorded nothing only the phone moving around. He says its me sleeping with another man. He said he seen me gettin out of another mans car one day i walked from my mums two doors away. Hes accused me of having a secret phone and searched me and the house a few times. He kept saying he could hear it vibrating and seen me hide it in random places even accusing my daughter of hiding it for me. I have proved him wrong so many times iv lost count but there is no changing his mind, hes totally convinced that he is right. He walked out about a month ago. We were texting and he called twice to see the children for around 10 mins each time. Two weeks ago he stopped contact and blocked my number. Without drugs he is my world hes amazing generous handsome and would do anything for me. Im lift with the children and feel totally lost and devestated. I cant stop worrying about him and im devastated for the loss of the relationship we had planned. He is living in a relitives house now on his own so im assuming hes taking it all the time. I can only hope and prey he sees what he is doing before its too late

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Anon.

This article was so helpful to read.

I was with my husband for ten years and he was always an addict – everything you’ve described rings true.

We had two children together (now four and five), and it all became too much so I told him we needed a divorce. He died of an overdose three months later. Felt like it was inevitable but the guilt is too much sometimes.

Working hard with the kids every day to keep his beautiful spirit alive.

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RP

I am so glad I came across this article and reading all your comments… I mean, wow :-(.

I wondered if anyone could give me any advice on my situation. I’ve read so many articles online but cannot find anything specific on what recovery does to an addict emotionally and how it affects their behaviour with a partner so I can understand if what I am currently experiencing is part of the process or if this goes beyond his addiction and there’s actually a problem with us

I’ve been with my partner for 6 months – we are both in our mid-30s. When we met, he was happy, very loving and attentive both emotionally and physically, was always full of compliments, kept in touch throughout the day just to let me know I was on his mind, etc. He made me feel so special as I did him and we fell in love very quickly. We basically met, he came round my flat and just never left, lol!

He was very honest with me from the offset, that he had struggled with drug addiction since he was a teenager, starting with weed then progressing to class As in his 20s (not heroin but MDMA, ecstasy, coke, etc.). He was dealing drugs at this time too around normal 9-5 jobs but by his late 20s, he had a full-blown cocaine habit. None of his family or friends knew about the addiction aside from his girlfriend at the time who was using too and basically living off his drug money. Their relationship was toxic, especially in the last 3 years of it – he had made the mistake of cheating on her one night but told her straight after as he knew it was wrong and it never recovered. She withheld sex from him for 3 years, racked up a huge debt in his name then started a 6 month affair and left.

A few days after this, he was caught by the police dealing weed which is when he had to come clean to his mother. The shame of having to admit this all to her, the woman who raised him single-handedly after his dad walked out when he was young, and fear of being sent to prison was enough to shake him into sorting his life out. He attended Cocaine Anonymous, removed himself from society as he knew it for a year, did his community service, got healthy, found a new sports hobby to replace his addiction and paved a new career for himself in the trades. That was 6 years ago but every so often, he would have a relapse of cocaine for up to a week, or weed for a few months (as he states, with coke being an upper and weed a downer, if he smokes weed he doesn’t see the point in doing coke), then get clean again for a number of months. He had a few relationships in that time but kept his battle with addiction quiet from them, his friends and family as he was so ashamed. Girlfriends would assume that his lack of interest in sex, being withdrawn or his disappearances were because he was cheating, but he wasn’t – he was thinking about or doing drugs and keeping it a secret.

After 7 months of being single (and surviving the first UK lockdown of 4 months), we met and he told me the lot, knowing that if he wanted a long-standing relationship, he needed to be honest about his struggles to give it the best chance of working. I respected his honesty and accepted this as I found him to be a good man, with good morals, who worked hard and would do anything for his friends and family, who hated who he was in the past and just wanted to love himself again. The first couple of months of our relationship were perfect but within that time, he started smoking weed again – the odd spliff a few days apart to then up to 5 spliffs a night consecutively. I could feel him withdrawing from me, that that’s all he was thinking about – I felt almost invisible.

We stopped having sex and when I asked him why, he explained that since getting clean, it wasn’t as an important factor to a relationship for him as it had been when he was younger, that it went hand-in-hand with his addiction (so when he was feeling good about himself, he had more libido and when he was using or feeling down about himself because he had used, he couldn’t bring himself to), and that the experience of both the girlfriend I mentioned earlier and his wife before that berating him for wanting sex and withholding it for years (but were both cheating behind his back) taught him to go without and now he cannot shake it. There is more to it than this but when I try to get him to open up about it, he shuts me down, clearly in a lot of pain. He is very much someone that doesn’t deal with emotions and chooses to bury and not address them. I believe he also has a lot of unprocessed pain about his father, again a subject where he will talk up to a certain point then shut down and ask if we can stop talking about it.

I took his withdrawal of physical and emotional intimacy really hard and personally, having gone through a 9 year marriage myself that ended due to my ex-husband’s infidelity, and multiple dating disasters since then where again I had been cheated on, left for an ex or ghosted – that’s a lot of built-up insecurity I am constantly working through but at the point I met him, I had been alone for 7 months and was starting to feel a lot more confident in myself. This all went out the window and I started getting tearful and depressed about the situation, but we would openly talk and he would always reassure me that he loved me and wasn’t going anywhere.

At the beginning of November, the UK announced it would enter another lockdown for a month. My partner uses his hobby sport as a vessel to channel his coke addiction – it’s something that makes him feel happy and really good about himself, and keeps him clean but with a second lockdown on the way, this avenue would be closed to him. He was particularly quiet the weekend that was announced and my intuition told me something bad was about to happen. He took the Monday off work and offered to run some errands for me then go to his sports centre to get his fix before it shut for a month. I didn’t hear from him all day which was very unlike him and started to get worried. He finally text and said he was fine, had been to the centre and was now going to see a friend. It didn’t add up to me and based on how withdrawn he had become in the last couple of weeks, my insecurity set in, I thought perhaps he was with someone else and then it hit me… what if he’s had a relapse and can’t bring himself to tell me? Well, that’s exactly what had happened. He bumped into a friend he used to deal with when out doing my errands, gave him a lift home, was offered coke and without knowing why, he proceeded to do coke all that afternoon. He lied to me, for the first time, and I was distraught – not about the drug use as I understand relapses happen but with the lie. He text me that evening to confess, said he was ashamed and so sorry, and that he needed a little time to sort himself out before he came home. I was supportive, told him I loved him and to come home but yes, I was hurt. He was very sheepish when he got back and when I confronted him about the lie, he was very defensive, almost to the point we argued (again, something we had never done before) so I let him sleep it off.

We had a good chat about it the next day, I truly understood then how little he thinks of himself, that he doesn’t understand his addiction and how much of a daily battle it is even now. He said he wanted to get help which is massive for him, so between us we looked at different avenues. He was very against speaking to a therapist, and didn’t want to do Cocaine Anonymous again as he didn’t want to be in a room full of addicts feeling branded, so instead we contacted a local drug support service and he had an initial consultation over the phone where he was told he would be assigned a key worker who would contact him regularly to check in, provide support tools, etc. He was still smoking weed for 3 weeks after the coke relapse but just before the end of November, he decided that was the day he was going to stop and be clean of everything once and for all. We had to chase and chase for his key worker to get in contact then when she did, he said it just felt like she was trying to rush him off the phone and didn’t really care, so after two calls with her, he decided he would try to do it alone. He was pretty withdrawn and then moody the first couple of weeks without weed but then lockdown lifted and he was able to do his sport hobby again – I started to notice a change in him, he seemed happier and was beginning to be a bit more attentive with me. We got to Christmas and the first month of him being clean then the UK went into another lockdown and we’re still in it. Again, he is not able to do his sport so he’s regressed back into being withdrawn but has stayed clean for nearly 3 months now.

Throughout all of this, I have been up and down, getting emotional at how distant he has become and the lack of intimacy (kisses and cuddles are less, no sex for 4 months, and it’s a struggle just to get a back rub), and become depressingly clingy as I’m not getting my needs met. Don’t get me wrong, he doesn’t treat me badly, he comes home to me every night, spends all his free time with me, tells me he loves me, but I no longer feel special or wanted by him. He talks about his plans for the future and I’m in them, but it’s like there’s a massive wall between us that I can’t penetrate. Now when I get upset, we still talk but he’s now so emotionally unavailable that his reassurance isn’t convincing. It’s more of a ‘if I didn’t want to be with you, I wouldn’t be’ than a ‘I love you so much, you mean so much to me’. It’s like he doesn’t know what to do – when I’m crying, I just want to be held and to feel safe. He used to, now I have to ask him.

As of 3 weeks ago, he has now taken a job in which he works away during the weekdays, meaning I now only see him Friday night to Monday morning. It’s a massive pay increase for him and will enable him to save the money he needs to pursue his dreams which is why he agreed. Again, I took this personally, thinking he was just looking for an excuse to be away from me but he reassured me that wasn’t the case – that being away from me sucked but how he would feel at getting closer to his dreams would help his sobriety and our relationship in the long run, and that he needed to do this. He explained that if he doesn’t stay clean, he knows the relationship will fail (even though I haven’t said I would leave him if he did fall off the wagon), and that it’s really hard for him staying clean at the moment when he doesn’t have his hobby sport as an outlet but he’s fighting through it.

I am so proud of how far he’s come in his recovery but I cannot help feeling sad about our relationship. I hoped that by him being away on the weekdays, it would strengthen our bond, make him realise what he has with me – someone who loves him more than anything, looks after him and supports him, and accepts everything – and it would increase our intimacy but so far no. I get one text from him in the mornings (because I asked him to) and then a call at night. He says his misses me but I feel like he’s only saying it because I have. I send him compliments and silly videos, let him know I’m thinking of him and there’s no reaction.

He said with his addiction, he’s like two different people and I see that now. He says he knows it’s hard to be with him, that he couldn’t be with an addict. He says he hates how upset he makes me and that he just wants me to be happy but he doesn’t leave, he says that’s my call, and of course I won’t because I love him too damn much. He says there’s nothing wrong with me, that I don’t need to change, to stop apologising for who I am. That he wants to be closer to me, to be intimate, to meet all my needs, but that he can’t bring himself to at the moment because of how he feels about himself. He’s stopped taking care of himself. He washes once a week when he used to shower every day. He’s eats crap then moans he’s fat when he has the physic of a God. He hates how he looks, hides his body. When he’s home, he’s lazy, he’ll sleep in and stay in bed until midday, he’ll watch silly videos on Facebook or gambles on occasion (replacing one addiction with another) then suggest we do something like watch TV or play a game, then not be able to sleep until the early hours of the morning. He talks about his work a lot but when I talk about anything, it’s rare I feel he’s interested. It’s like in a way, he’s given up until he can do his hobby again and he said just as much, that right now he feels static, can’t move forward, can’t move back.

I have put so much work into myself to counteract how I feel about the situation – I’m working the Nar-Anon steps, I’m having counselling, I started a new business, am now healthy eating and exercising to lose weight and feel better about who I am but he is always on my mind. I am addicted to him and a co-dependent, I know this. I need his love to validate me and I know it’s wrong, I’m fighting it all the time but just can’t seem to fully shake it. I take everything that happens or doesn’t happen so hard. He can feel it I’m sure and my behaviour with him must contribute to his distance. He says he’s trying but I can’t see it, my thought distortions are so strong. I obsess when I don’t hear from him, checking to see if he’s online then when he is, I’m hurting at the thought that he could be talking to me and he’s choosing not to. He doesn’t have much in his life, it’s his work, his hobby and me really. He has friends but they only text or see each other on occasion, same with his family.

I just want us to be happy, within ourselves and together. I’m desperate for us to get our strong connection back, to have the intimacy we once had on every level return. I have so much doubt in myself now. When we first got together, I was confident and happy. I wasn’t insecure or needy because I knew I had his love and had many other focuses in my life. With his addiction coming to the surface and the lockdown stopping me from having all the things in my life that make me ‘me’, keeping me contained to my flat, he has become my main focus and now I’m stuck.

Can anyone else relate? Do you have partners who are in recovery and how are they, what is their behaviour like towards themselves and your relationship? Is this normal? How do you cope? What is the best thing to do for yourself, them and the relationship? Do I distance myself and hope he comes back when he’s ready? Do I continue to support him, put my needs on the shelf for now and stop getting upset around him? Should I leave?

Please, if anyone can help, I would be eternally grateful as I just don’t know what the right thing to do is anymore.

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DR

Great article.

I made the tough decision last year to walk away from two addicts in my life, one my father who has numerous relapses during recovery with his drinking over the years and the other of my ex who has a gambling addiction.
I hope one day both will be able to overcome their addictions however for my father it is has been like watching him slowly kill himself with drinking that I could no longer take.
The pain of watching people you care and love destroy themselves is heartbreaking but also you have to remember you and your self care matter.

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YM

Hi – I found this article really useful and it resonates with everything I have been going through for the last 2.5 years.
What is doesn’t mention is how to cope or deal with the scenario if your partner (the addict) leaves you.
I had been with my partner for 2.5 years and he was using drugs on and off the whole time. He went to rehab and was sober for a few weeks. It got more and more frequent in the pandemic and lockdowns in England. But recently my partner walked out on me and took all his things. He told me that he couldn’t handle the stress of a relationship and he needed to get better. Which confused me because other than when he was using drugs our relationship didn’t consist of “stress” when he was sober things were great. He is now living back home with his parents which isn’t a great environment but I am told that he is taking his therapy seriously and having counselling sessions everyday. What I don’t understand is why when we ere in a relationship and living together he didn’t take his recovery seriously and was abusing drugs but now he is apart from me he has the motivation to get better?
I have helped him so much through the years. I created a home for him to come back to after rehab. I spoke to someone whilst he was in rehab and they explained to me what the article mentioned about stop being an enabler and be there as someone to help and support. I just don’t understand why he couldn’t get better with me?

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Gayle

I said goodbye to my boyfriend upon discovering he is actively addicted to opiates- fentanyl and heroin. He’s so angry at the idea I’d suggest he’s using, the denial is that deep, he raged at me and told me he never wants to speak to me again, and kept saying how stupid I am, that I don’t know what I’m talking about, etc. He’s highly intelligent. But this? It’s something I can’t wrap my head around. He is a lifelong addict, had lost everything a few times to drugs, and he’s about to lose everything again.
He’s always said how stupid people are to become addicted to heroin, that he’d never do that, he’s lost people to OD, and yet, at almost 51 years old, this was a decision he made for himself.
Mind blowing. I understand there’s zero I can do, I already live by that mantra in terms of everyone has their own autonomy, makes own choices, and the idea I can change his isn’t one I ever thought.
So, that’s it. I’m healing over this huge surprise, that actually, considering his history, shouldn’t be all that surprising.
Apparently, there are more opportunities to lose everything, more opportunities to recover.
I won’t be there, but I wish him well.
Xoxo

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Maria

I met him when I was 15 he was 16. we were great friends and at some point I had a crush on him. At that time I was in a relationship with another guy we both were friends with, so that crush kind of faded. I saw him in other relationships with other girls and I thought, while I liked him, I could never date him, he was possessive and needy and self-destructive. But he was also funny and charming and caring. So fast forward a few years later I was 23 and we reconnected again and started having a romance. He said all the time he was deeply in love with me and in the beginning it was great. Full of adventures. We had fun. Drugs were something that both of us would experience in parties, socially. but then alcohol started becoming a problem. He just wouldn’t stop and when he got to that place he would start a spiral of neediness “Do u love me?” and had this ´save me´ look on him and I got mad and worried and ashamed to be in that situation that years ago I saw and thought I would never be in. Gut then he would apologize on the next day, things would be better and then it would happen again. this cycle, with breakups along the way, lasted for 4 years . we even moved in together. the day that I kicked him out was a day I was sick with a fever, he got out to drinks and he came back really late. I locked myself in a room because I didn’t want to argue I just wanted to rest, and in the morning I went to the bathroom and he was sitting on our bed, peeing on the floor.
Even after he moved out we always got back together. I believe my addiction is him 0 his love, his obsession, this toxic relationship. I’ve now been not seeing him or been with him since September 2020. I still worry and I still feel trapped. he sometimes still calls me in late hours. and texts me saying suicidal stuff. This manipulation that still gets to me. I still love him and that’s the worse part because it makes me sad just to think of it. Why do I want this pain, why can’t I fall in love with someone else. I didn’t like myself most of the time when I was with him. I was aggressive and paranoid and cut off most of my friends. I was hurt and alone. I’ve since done therapy and became more aware of what is missing in my life for me to think that this was actual love but sometimes I still just want to be with him. Like an addict, I think this will be forever.

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Erika

Where to start. I met him and everything was perfect. I knew he was an addict but he had been clean for a few years and he was hardworking and all about me and my 3 kids. He introduced me to his family. He was hardworking, responsible and I felt like I was in a dream . That was until he lost his job. And so did I. I never knew what were the signs when someone uses….He ended up relapsing , he was on pills. But before I even knew, I notice how he was sick alot and didnt want to go out, we didnt have sex either. When I was home he wanted to be out with his friend. Till I had it and confronted about the way he was acting. And he came clean but I can tell he was high as he was telling me. I was completely heartbroken. And I never recovered . I dont trust him at all. I want to because the man I fell in love with is still in there. Fast forward 2 years I know hes doing it again. I found a needle cap, and an empty cigarette box full of empty . wax folds. He denies it and makes up excuses that he doesnt know how it got there. Or that a coworker must have dropped it. I’m tired of the lies. He only works here and there and doesnt really help me. Hes constantly asking me for money, and he never pays me back . I’ve told him I’ll help him if he is using and offered a test but he feels offended I would even bring it up. But everything has led me to this. I feel depressed, I dont want to do anything. I’m not happy anymore. He disappears and doesnt tell me where hes going. I feel terrible telling him to leave because he has no where to go. But I cant keep pretending everything is ok, and my kids love him but it’s not good for them to ever know hes using. I feel lost,helpless. Nothing I do will change him and it hurts he doesnt realize how hurt and broken I am. I need to leave him but I cant find the words…

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Heather

I’m going through same thing. There dragging us down. I been going. Threw this for 13 years.Im done I wasted many years on him. Im breaking up with mine. IM TIRED of the Rollercoaster ride.There better men out there.This total abuse to go thru this treatment by the drug user.im over it.Its time too move on. he stealing from you.Thats time to find someone that will really love you.. that’s not love. Good luck stay safe and don’t waste years like I did.

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Louisa

Not really sure where to start.. when I met mt boyfriend nearly 2 years ago he seemed like the perfect man. He was outgoing, funny, gorgeous and loved ME. He got on with my friends and family I was so happy.

A few things didn’t really amount up as he started disappearing when we first met. Some excuse that he went up north and forgot his phone.. then he stopped speaking for another week and said his work friend had passed away and wasn’t feeling too great. I started to wonder if he wasn’t interested in me or worse off had a girlfriend.

Then he introduced me to his mum qnd then not long after asked me to be his girlfriend! Things were amazing and then I noticed he liked to do gear at parties and when I would tell him ‘thats enough’ he was fine with at first but then he started going out and getting more whilst I was asleep or wanting to get it every weekend when we had a drink. This is when I realised he had a problem. He then started persuading me to do it with him.. occasionally I agreed just to shut him up but then I realised, im just making things worse.

Things kind of got better for a few months and the relationship was good. We put everything behind us and he moved in. As soon as he moved in, was when it got worse. He stole money from me in the night and was doing coke whilst i was asleep, he would dissappear out for hours whilst i was crying and ringing him begging to come home.. the only time he would answer was when he needed money or was stranded. Half the time I didnt know if it was the truth as he wouldn’t stop ringing and i wanted so much for him to just stop! I didnt know if he was dead or alive! When I went on works events he would call me up and ring me for money , then made me feel like I made him worried and it made him do it.

Our first christmas he disappeared on christmas eve, done it and done it right through to boxing day. The first time I was due to meet his dad I was getting my nails done and when I finished he picked me up in my car and was using… at 11am?!

He had lost his job and now was depending on me.. I made excuses up for how maybe I made him that way for being angry at him, maybe I made him depressed and that’s why he feels the need to use? Is he unhappy in our relationship? I thought of every excuse in the book and asked myself why would you CHOSE to do this to someone who loves you so much?! Why doesn’t he CARE how I feel? I would never do this to someone.. I felt like maybe he was with me for somewhere to live as I soon found out from his mum that his addiction had stemmed from over 13 years ago. She infact had kicked him out which I didnt even realise… how was I so blind to not realise what was going on in front of me.. or did I chose to ignore it because I thought I found the man of my dreams?

Was I too scared to tell others that I was with an addict and that I can’t bring him out no more because of the drugs he might take from someone. I ended up telling my friends why I wasn’t going out no more and why I was so quiet all the time.. I pushed my friends away and my boyfriend kept using, I kept crying and he kept saying sorry. This happened every month for another 6 months. I called the dealers numbers and got them to block him on their phone but he would buy sim cards and start ringing them off of it. I reported the dealers to the police but the numbers are still in use! The real problem was when he asked me to look after his money so he wouldn’t spend it but I ended up giving in because he wouldn’t stop harassing me, he looked desperate and it made me so sad.

Another day he disappeared again, I cried, I rang, I turned my phone off and I said.. thats it. He turned up at my door at 2am, I said go to sleep and we will talk in the morning. I was due to go out to an appointment in the morning and I noticed he was drinking.. he was throwing up and I thought oh this is another plan for you to try and worm your way back in. I came back and the paramedics were there.. I still didn’t believe him.. I thought he was lying! This is how much he lied to me and how good he was at lying that I didn’t believe my own boyfriend was actually in pain. Guilt hit me hard when I found out that he had an emergency operation to have his bowel removed. I cried again, I was up all night wondering if he was OK, I forgot everything he had done and I just wanted him to feel better and be OK. He was in hospital for 2 weeks and I told him that it would be best for him to recover and his mums. I didnt feel it was right for me to pick up the pieces after what had happened.

After being at his mums for just 2 weeks, he managed to persuade me to come back home. The relationship was alright when he came out he was clean.. he had lost lots of weight but he body was drained of any drug from his body. He seemed positive and I thought… maybe he’s hit rock bottom and after the op he’s realised that he’s killing off his body.. oh boy I was wrong. The night before I was due to see my friends he disappeared and I couldn’t believe it. By now I stopped crying, I stopped worrying I was full of dissapointment.. I went out wirh my friends and turned my phone off so that he would stop ringing for money. In the morning I received a horrible call from his mum that he was in hospital and tried cutting himself. We then made a decision that he would go and live back with his mum full time and I said I would support him from home and give him the time he needed to focus on himself. He found a great group called cocain anonymous which kept him clean for 2 months, he was really excited about it at first and I really believed this would help him to recover.

He’s relapsed 3 times since then and that brings us to now. He relapsed last on 22nd December and made excuses and lies to what he was doing, he spent a few days on and off coming back.. wanting money to pay off debts, stealing money out my savings jar and said he ‘borrowed it.. in desperate hope to find out what was going on in his head, I read some of the work and letters he wrote during his recovery and I read that he had sold the watch I bought him last year for Xmas for drugs! He then came back Xmas morning at 2am and i spent my Xmas morning in tears, sat round his family opening presents when I could tell he wasn’t interested..I ask myself what was the reason this time? I’ve learned to realise that there never is a reason or a ‘trigger’.. its money to fuel his high.. he always says why would I want to do this to myself?.. I don’t know. Why would you?

I went to my mums on Xmas day when we were supposed to go together.. I took his work phone and all his keys so he couldn’t drive anywhere.. New years he was still getting over the massive bender he was on and being in lockdown it was just us to so I wanted to make the most of it but he was just tired. Roll on to today, we were out getting something from the shops and he said he had a call from his boss and he was concerned, rushed back home and said his boss asked him to work and that he was the only person who could do it and wasn’t very fair his boss was putting it on him like that.. but he said that’s all in the contract! Anyway he left at 4pm today and it’s now 1am.. he hasnt contacted anyone and I realised he took my Xmas money from my drawer which he probablynwill say he borrowed too..

I just dont know how much more I can take of all these lies… when he’s sober and straight he loves me so much but I always question that he’s such a good liar is his love for me real? If its so real then why does he continue to drag someone down so much after everything they’ve done for them.

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Jordan P

Reading this has quite literally brought tears to my eyes, it’s almost as though you’ve described the last 3 years of my life. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in how I’m feeling, but it’s so difficult to know how to move forward when the person you love is so destructive. I stand by you and whatever decision you come to with your boyfriend and I truly hope things eventually improve as I hope for myself too.

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Tracy P

This breaks my heart for you . I thank you for your story . It’s got me crying. I met a man and he didn’t tell me he was addict till after 5 months. Then wanted to detox 5 weeks of hell . Then he relapsed 2 . I had to let go . He still wants us together but goes missing. I can’t tell if he on drugs again . I have children. I popped up at his home and it was terrible he looked terrible and disheveled his house was messy snd unclean and he let a guy who does nothing
Move in . Visitors popped up every two hour. It was unsettling. I left !

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Gillian H

I can’t believe what I have just read… I could have written it. Even down to the dates like my boyfriend has been AWOL on benders each Christmas. I’m beside myself. Same as you I keep asking myself is he just using me. I’m so sad.

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BB

Thank you. It is so heartbreaking, while also so comforting to read someone articulate exactly what you’ve been going through. I feel at a loss constantly, and I have no idea what to do. I keep promising myself that I’ve had enough and I have to let go, but I’m still here after 2 years being stuck in the same cycle. I’ve lost sight of our future together. I’ve lost sight of who I am.

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Linda

Louisa,
Your boyfriend is an addict. It’s a disease that takes control of him. I’ve been with my husband for 45 years. He has PTSD, alcohol and substance abuse and a few other issues. He went from alcohol to pot then coke now it’s crack. It never ends. He will all ways be an addict. I will tell you to leave since you don’t have a lot of time invested in this relationship, unless you want to go through this on and off the rest of you life as I have. It’s not an easy life. As I write this my husband has been gone for three days with no contact what so ever. I don’t know if he’s dead or alive. Think very hard about this.

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Katie P

I have a similar experience, I almost thought I was the one writing this. Thank you for sharing

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Laila

Louisa,
How are you doing now? Parts of your story and feelings resonate with me.
Laila

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Charly

I feel like your story is almost exactly like mine. I’ve just left my boyfriend and he has promised me the world and thought of an elaborate plan to get clean. I keep finding myself almost giving in and saying okay let’s try again but I’m so scared he’ll be in a cycle of getting clean and then relapsing again. Like your ex he’s stolen money from me etc. He owes me £2600 from bailing him out with dealers, rent etc. I just don’t want my life to be like this. I’d love if his plan worked and he got clean but what’s to say it’ll last? I don’t want to have kids with someone who could relapse at any time. I’ve given far too much of myself and it’s broken me down. I love him so much but this is so painful and uncertain.

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Lucy

Omg you poor woman going through this! My story is very similar to yours but been going on for a lot longer.

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Niki

I’m so sorry. I can relate to almost everything you’ve said; the manipulation, the lies and wondering what is the truth is anymore. It is such a difficult situation and I don’t think that people understand the nightmare until they experience it.

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Clara

I felt every word of this my life is exactly as you’ve described when do you give up and say enough is enough 🙁

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Kristel

Hello Louisa.
I encourage you to attend an Al-Anon meeting, it’s for people who love an addict/alcoholic. Everyone there has been through the same madness as you, it’s a great place for helping yourself.
All the best

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Sarah B

I don’t know if you have already managed to out some boundaries in place. If you haven’t, contact an organisation called Drugfam who will be able to help. Also, there is a book by Andrew Proulx MD about how to help an addict and keep your sanity. Buy it, read it and follow it. It helped me hugely get some much needed distance from my addicted loved one. I know how heart wrenching it is to be in love with an addict. Start being kind to yourself.

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Alice

Hi there,

I was in a relationship with an coke addict for 8 years. Your story seemed to really resemble mine and I hope by now you have found peace. My ex would do the same, lie and sneak around. When we lived together he was using almost every other day. The sound of him walking around and blowing his nose really haunts me. I’ve kicked him out about 3 months ago, and have decided that the best thing to do was cut off all contact. Trust me, it’s not easy, and believe me I cry almost everyday. The thought of our love story being taken away because of a substance really just stabs my heart. I am in the grieving phase but know ultimately it’s time to let him learn about consequences. No matter how hard it is, no matter the endless emails of guilt trips he sends me, I have to set a firm boundary. I often just think of his potential, and how great he was. But addiction really is a terrible disease and I hope you are able to walk away, and take care of yourself mentally and physically. I feel your pain, and hope in a few months I can come back and update this post with not heartache but an update about self love and respect. Best wishes to you

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Tara

When he is good to you and living to you it is called lovebombing. To make you question your own self. You star doubting what you know. This puts you in cognitive dissonance from all the gaslighting. I lived this life for 13 years. My drug addict was a narcissist. Blame shifting, games, manipulation. They have to live bomb you to confuse you so u keep staying. Get out of this cycle before you waste your life. It will never change till they have to. They live in denial. You are becoming codependent on him. I myself are codependent. The last thing my ex said to me before he blocked me and gave me the silent treatment for 3 months was “if I’m so bad then why do you want me” he left me and would always come back for his drug supply but he had to keep me believing he loved me to keep his foot in the door. Don’t do this to yourself. You are worth more than this. You have a life to. It is just as important as his.

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Sad Momma

This has been a sad yet refreshing thread of comments. I just gave birth 5 days ago and have an 18 almost 19 month old with a cocaine addict. We’ve been together for 3 years and his addiction was under control until the pandemic hit. I literally didn’t even know he had an addiction until he couldn’t hide it anymore and started to come in my sisters house where we stayed high as a kite. I thought he was cheating because he’d take my car and be gone all hours of the night until I finally stopped allowing him to use it.

His addiction surged this March and he stopped engaging our 18 month old son and my son just chases behind him looking for approval and love. He’s so mean to him now and refuses to do anything with him or help around the house. All we do is get into yelling matches and I keep telling him get out of my house and leave me alone so I can move on with my life and care for my kids but he won’t go away! Everyone keeps telling me to put a restraining order on him and I don’t know why I feel guilty about doing that. He also has special needs and mental health issues from birth so something about that feels really cruel but what he’s putting me through is really cruel. I feel like he’ll end up dead so I don’t put him on paperwork.

Our sex life was non-existent for most of my pregnancy and again I thought be was cheating because we went from sex every other night to sex 1 time a week, 1 time a month or none at all and I’ve been so unhappy with that I’ve thought about being unfaithful. It’s so hard on me because now I’ve told him he can’t come in the house with the kids and I if he drinks or uses drugs and he hasn’t been doing it but now I’m stuck with a newborn and a rambunctious 18 month old who is so high energy that I’m stressed the hell out.

When I tell him to get the 18 month old he starts to go to the bathroom to pretend he’s on the toilet so he can leave him on me while I also hold the 5 day old. When I leave him no choice and literally put
the baby in his arms, that’s when he suddenly needs to go to the store to get cigarettes and ends up gone for hours. I put my phone on silent and ignore his calls as he’s locked outside but eventually I allow him back in the next day.

I developed pre-eclampsia so I had to deliver our 2nd son 3 weeks early and now my blood pressure is still so high I’m on meds and he doesn’t have the capacity to care. I can’t believe this is the man I fell in love with 3 years ago and got so excited when I would hear his car coming down the block. His mom has been an addict for 24 years now after his father was murdered and I don’t know if he’ll ever change because she hasn’t and he acts JUST like her. I am so saddened and feel sick to my stomach that I’m gonna have to walk away but I’ve grown to hate the sight of him and just want to be free of his mess.

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Timmy

While I acknowledge “lovebombing” can be a tool of narcissistic partners-especially addicts, it saddens me to think many will misconstrue a guy’s (or girl’s) love and dedication with being anything otherwise.
I’m an addict – since May of ‘21, after a nursing lady friend recommended and administered IV meth. It grabbed me from that first time.
Before acquiring this monster, I was “The perfect guy”(ex-fiancé’s words). She left me after much heartbreak, and I think she stayed longer than I deserved.
But I can say my expressions of love were just that: love.
It’s been two months since she’s spoken to me. She set boundaries. Very painful, and I lashed out and then attempted suicide resulting in a stroke, but I would never attempt getting clean if not for boundaries. But I digress.
I guess I only the girls-poster too(and dudes) to know that sometimes one really just “loves the hell outa ya” 🙂
And guys: remember a lady deserves only love and utmost dedication/honesty. Don’t ever take them for granted.

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Linda v

I’m 57 years old and I find a great man,he is funny, giving,a gentlemen,can cook all good. But his addiction is his dark side,mood swings,I mean u can’t please him and he certainly is not trying to be nice to you. I quickly realized I need to bow out to give him time to deal with his addiction.The addiction thing pissed me off,here u have this sexy,sweet guy and the addiction will not let us have a chance at love. But I love me,as well,so this relationship is gonna be based on lies and deceit. I really hope he sees that he can make some happiness to someone n leave the drugs alone and get clean

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Keith

leave him ,I’m talking from experience, only when u leave he might stop!! you are hurting him more then helping him.

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Sally

How do I get someone to admit to their addiction. Nothing I say works. They say I’m crazy or I am the problem but the signs are there.

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Amy

Thank you for the article. I have recently ended my 4 years relationship with the person I viewed was the love of my life. He was everything I wanted. He’s always liked drugs and as long as he was honest with me didn’t hide it or touch one of the hardest drugs to come back from I didn’t mind. Then that drug happened and he told me straight away. I was so disappointed, to have the intention of doing that drug is one thing but to actually do it know how I felt about it was completely disrespectful but I let it slide. 2.5 years later after being a full blown addict I walked away moving to a different town, eventually we got back together and now 18 months on I have completely ended it for me. The disrespect he showed towards me and my house after supporting him and his daughter in every way I work full time and come home to strange people in my house again that leave as soon as I get home? I just couldn’t do it anymore. I stopped my life for this amazing man I wanted nothing but the best for only for his addiction to continuously disrespect me my safety my boundaries my home. Addiction is the hardest with you deal with for anyone especially addicts be we also have to have the respect for ourselves to know when enough is enough. I will always love the man I fell in love with and for allowing his child to be such a huge part of my life but not I need support I pushed everyone away for him and I have been left along and behind to pick up the pieces. I still have myself my goals and dreams and that’s what keeps me focused. Dealing with this isn’t going to be easy but it will be worth it when I find myself again.

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Elizabeth

I can empathize, Amy. I’ve been with same man for seven years. It is a Dr Jekyll/ Mr Hyde situation. I’m successful. I’ve stood by him and his child for years and shared many memories. This last year became too much. I’m devastated. Addiction won. I’m left with really no closure. Just feeling as if I were thrown away with no care at all. It’s really unbelievable. Tough to share with friends/ family. I’m not sure anyone can understand unless she/ he has loved an addict.

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Kayla

I’m going threw something pretty similar and it’s killing me to not have anyone to talk to😞 my boyfriend was doing good for a year and just this October once we decided to get married everything back fired ! He will
Do good for about a month and mess up again . It’s so hard to love someone so much and then hate this other person they become on drugs just as much . He has never be violent or anything like that but the lying is just becoming over Bearing .. do you walk away from someone you love or do you stay and put your foot down and try and help them get clean !!? I just don’t know anymore

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Babs

Thank you for writing this.
I feel that most articles written on this topic are about heavy addiction. When a partner is using drugs but still functions well, takes care of the kids, works and so on.. How to deal with this. I feel its unfair that I have to deal with this. With drugs. I don’t want it to be a part of my daily life. I’m not against drugs but I feel in our case its putting something between us. The only way is that I accept it and stay together. Or I have to leave the relationship. My partner says I should see it as a flaw. And if I love him that I should try to accept this. I get stuck in my mind on this topic. I’m curious to hear about stories of others.

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Emmcee

thankyou so much for this. i’ve experienced everything for loving an addict. I’ve lost myself over and over again , hoping that he’s gonna changed . but it’s been two years and its still the same and its getting worst. I loved him so much ,its really hard, but I can’t keep him manipulating me . its sad.. I know I need to let him go, but my heart says no..I should stop communicating with him , he doesnt care about me anymore and his kid. He didnt even come home anymore. I hope one day he realize everything. 😢

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Catherine

So true. Too late for me though. Wish I didn’t try to help my son with rides and managing his money. I was an enabler for many years and he overdosed at age 50. Wish I knew then what I know now. Hope your article helps others.

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Sb

Ccatherine, just read your message, not sure how old it is. I have dealt with addicted children for many years. A son an daughter. My daughter now at 45 seems to be trying to get her life together. My son I’m not sure if he is doing heroin any more at 46 but he seems now to have a gambling addiction. Every week works but doesn’t have gas money on Monday or Tuesday. I know I continue to give him food and money. I know just so I can rest a minute in my heart and mind, again today a let down. I just now stopped crying out to God to help. I wish I had strength. I am so sorry about your son. My heart breaks for you. I don’t think I could take it. God be with you

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H

I’m so sorry for your loss… Truly. Addiction is a beast, it holds no prejudice against anyone: destroys as much as one is willing to surrender to it.. Never intentionally, nievely under the impression that this beast is capable of grace. It is not. Prayers to you, hope you find peace & comfort in your heart 🤍

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Patti

Hello
I’m very sorry for your loss of your beautiful son. I’m going through similar situation. I had to kick my adult son out of house. Just couldn’t live with him anymore. Just don’t see how it can get better unless he accepts help. He’s had an opiate addiction for over a decade. And now has started abusing adderal. He’s living in his car. I carry a lot of guilt thinking about him in his car on these cold nights. I do give him food. No money. Truly heartbreaking.

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Pablo

This is a great article.
I ended a new relationship after 3 months. The signs were there, I ignored them at first but realised I was losing myself. I ignored my gut until one morning I had a dream about an ex-colleague who died from cancer. She denied her smoking was making her ill.

I feel guilt, anger, love and passion for this person. I have had no contact for three weeks and it feels like withdrawal. You become addicted, you start living the lie, it entrances you, takes over your thoughts and feelings. I empathised, I fell in but managed to get out before I became entrenched and drowned. My gf is a highly paid professional (I wonder if it’s true), living a lie. It is all a lie, they are dishonest with themselves, the pain is to great to confront. They will continue to kill themselves than face their fears, pain, shame and guilt.

The desire to change has to be greater than the continuance of the behaviour. There has has to be more at stake staying the same than changing. I never thought that at 53, as a counsellor I would be manipulated, hypnotised and mesmerised.
I woke up, it was a close escape, however, I have used this experience to resolve my own inner pain and started a journey of healing my own wounds. I hope all of you people out there find peace and serenity and make a decision that ultimately is of benefit to you. My advice, work on your self-esteem, work on loving you and those affected by the addicts behaviour. It is like grief, ambiguous grief – the person is still alive but, there isnt a fully alive person there. They are unfortunately, comfortably numb and thats what they value.

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P.S.

This article on loving a person with an addiction is just what I needed to hear, in the place of such brokenness and heartache. Thank you for sharing this wonderful insight.

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Kirsti

I have stumbled across this article and thankfully so, after yet another sleepless night wondering where my husband is, will he come home? Is he alive etc..? After reading this, I have realised that I do too much for him, I enable him, I protect him from all the destruction his addiction leaves behind, I pick up all the pieces, I try and shield the family from the destruction, and I am finally at the end of my tether. I have nothing left emotionally or financially. I used to think, if he sees how much I love him then that will be enough, if I don’t sort this mess out something bad will happen, but how wrong and naïve was I. Now 12 years on and I am a shell of the woman I once was, I get blamed for his drug use ‘I make him feel like s**t for what he has done’ and ‘No wonder he goes off for days on a bender when he lives with someone like me’ the list goes on and on. I don’t even know how I am not ready to leave him yet, but I just can’t, so now I am hoping to find the help I need for myself to either get me to a place where I can detach myself from him. Maybe in doing that there may be a light at the end of this very long, dark tunnel, if not for him then for myself.

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AH

Thank you for sharing. It is hard, I just went through having to evict my ex after his addiction got out of control. Just know that you deserve more than a life of wondering what is going on, your home should be a place of peace. I went through many sleepless nights wondering what was going on with him. Now I wish I would’ve listened to my intuition sooner. I hope you can find the strength to make some tough decisions. It’s a tough road but will be so worth it. Your future self will thank you.

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NACO1234

Dear Kristi,

Thank you for taking the time to comment. I’m really sorry to hear what you are currently living through and can totally empathise your feelings. It’s brilliant that you’ve taken the time to sit back and reflect on things that you can do differently (ie. stop enabling etc). But more importantly making sure that you are looking after yourself in the process.

This isn’t his fault, nor is it yours – addiction take over peoples personalities and they are not the person you love standing in front of you. They’re evil, diseased fuelled demons who overtake our loved ones relentlessly.

Please do reach out if you ever need to talk, advice or just the vent.

I believe in you.

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Fizz

Hi
I got to the end of my tether and asked my husband to leave after nearly 30 years ago. His behaviour had started to affect our teenage children and I am in a lot of debt.
I spent years covering up for him, lying to my children to protect them. Saving him after one disaster after another. I stopped liking the man I once called my soulmate. I normalised his behaviour for so many years. I felt dumb.
I asked him to leave and for once I told him not to come back.
Now. The house is calmer. We leave out purses out. My children’s tech stuff is not in danger of being pawned. It’s awful but I have no regrets. I feel sorry for him
But other than that I’m not sure what I feel as he is not the person I loved anymore. One day I think reality will hit and when I start crying I may not stop. But I am beginning to know what living in peace feels like and beginning to dare to enjoy it.

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Jess

Kirsti,
I know your story too well. I realize everyone is different but I hope your situation does not turn out like mine has. I won’t go into it (because I could write an encyclopedia sized book!) but just know that I have dealt with the pain, heartache, disrespect, manipulation, embarrassment, and toxicity of my husband for 23+ years. It has been a nightmare in many ways. I have no idea who I was before this because I have always always always focused on him and his addiction. I am beyond exhausted! I am angry, bitter, depressed, and resentful beyond belief!! All I have ever wanted is to be happy, have a “normal” marriage and a “normal” husband. But my life with him has been a chaotic disaster. I have tried everything and I mean everything!!

About 7 years ago, I finally left him thinking if he loses his wife, his house, his bills being paid for, etc then he will HAVE to change! “Hit rock bottom” as people say. Totally and completely made it worse!! His addiction became worse (I didn’t think it was possible because it was always so bad)! He went into a deep depression and instead of being happy to finally be out of the disaster of a relationship, I was miserable!! I worried MORE (never thought that was possible) but I worried more because I wasn’t there to at least TRY and stop him, slow down his use, raise enough hell and “babysit” him, take his keys, etc. I have ALWAYS felt responsible for him, his choices, and the consequences that came along! I know, now, that is an “issue” of mine, not necessarily his , but all I could think about was he would overdose and it would be “all my fault” because I left him!

I’m saying all this to say…. I do not have a solution but please don’t waste your life like I have mine!

In my situation things have still not changed and I don’t want you or anyone to ever be in a relationship like this! I just want you to think about it… do you want to be in the same situation as you are right now and feel the same way you do now (after 12 years) in another 10 or 20 years?

I wish I would’ve thought this way a very long time ago. Maybe it would’ve helped me see, nothing will EVER change (in my situation) no matter how many “promises” he gives.

Stay strong and make permanent changes!!

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Jill

I left my partner of 15 years recently after I couldn’t take anymore of his gambling addiction. It is the worst pain at not having him in my life but I know it will either help him realise he has a major problem or he will continue to do what he wants without me having to watch his self destructive behaviours . I have found a lot of support for myself in the love over addiction podcasts and now have joined their program and support group. Have a listen to it you may find it helps you too. Take care

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Dianne

I used to think all of the same things. My husband and I have been married almost 16 years and together 17 1/2 and I should be getting the final documents for our divorce any day… my breaking point was a couple of things. One, he had me completely fooled about just how much he was drinking and what substances he was using and how often. Then he started to get really short and angry with me and I had caught him in several little white lies. I started to see a counselor to help me find the strength to end things and when he found out about my husbands aggressive behavior and that he had been suicidal in the past he told me I needed to remove any weapons from the house. While looking for one pistol that I knew or thought we had from his grandfather I discover a ton of paraphernalia and a unfamiliar loaded gun laying on the floor by his chair in the man cave. If this wasn’t enough the last straw was the emotional scaring I felt had been done to our kids. I asked him years ago to be more involved with our family and cut back on his drinking (before I knew he was also using) or I wanted a divorce. He continued to distance himself more and more and I lost more and more of myself everyday. I went on strike and did the bare minimum because I felt like if he wasn’t going to put in any effort why should I and I blamed myself for a lot of things just like you are but when it came down to it I still did more then he ever did, I gave more then he ever gave even when I stopped trying out of frustration. I have lied to his boss for him, his family and our friends. Him becoming verbally and emotionally abusive towards me was the last straw, and finding the loaded gun so easily accessible and all the paraphernalia in our house. At that point I couldn’t trust him or feel safe anymore.
Since confronting him he denies using and hasn’t been verbally aggressive like he was. I did offer to help him seek and pay for treatment if he would go and he declined saying there was no point since I was divorcing him either way. If he had stopped 3 years ago when I first asked him it might not have come to this but he didn’t. You have the strength within you to walk away. It IS NOT easy! This was the worst Christmas but I know next year will be better. I don’t have any regrets and on the days I do miss him and think maybe he is capable of change he always says something to remind me of why I filed in the first place. We are still living together. He refuses to help me get our house ready to sell and spends his money on alcohol and drugs so he can’t afford to move out and get his own place and he is to lazy. He is about to learn the harsh reality of me not feeding into his addiction anymore.
Keep your head up and stay focused. When you’re ready you will have the strength to end things and you too will realize what I did, love isn’t always enough. Good luck. 2022 will be a better year.

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IRENE M

KRISTI,
YOU SAYING ALL THE RIGHT WORDS, BUT NOT WALKING THEM. ASK YOURSELF, WHEN IS TOO, TOO MUCH?? OH NOT YELLING JUST EASIER FOR ME TO SEE WHEN I TYPE.
KRISTI, AS A FORMER ALCOHOL PERSON, I WOULD USE EVERY EXCUSE TO JUSTIFY MY “RIGHT” TO GET AWAY.hECK, I WOULD START AN ARGUMENT, THEN BLAME ME BAD BEHAVIOR ON MY SIGNIFICANT OTHER BY JUSTIFYING THAT IF WASN”T FOR blablabla. I CAN TELL YOU THAT IT WOULD WRITE DOWN EVERY EXCUSE YOUR HUSBAND MAKES FOR DISAPPEARING AND BLAME IT ON YOU OR SOMEONE, YOU WOULD BE SO SURPRISED, HOW MANY OTHER ENABLERS ENDURE THE SAME LIES. mY QUESTION TO YOU IS SIMPLE,”WHEN IS IT TOO??

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Jennifer

I’ve been with my bf for 2.5 years but we have been long distance for a little over a year. The plan was that he would be to be with me, we had all these plans. On every occasion that he was supposed to move, something would come up to delay the move. I would see him about every month to 6 weeks for a few days. And we talk and text every day. This distance is way harder of me than him. He started having anxiety and panic attacks about 9 months ago and sought treatment but the doctors just pushed pills. He still takes an anti-anxiety medication when he has a panic attack which are quite frequent. Since we don’t live together he’s been hiding his drinking for some time. When we are together we do have some drinks but not excessive. His latest plan to move was this past Monday, and Sunday he called and out of the blue got mad and broke up with me and confessed his drinking problem. He wants to go to rehab and get clean which is great and he has started the steps to make this happen. What I don’t understand is why I am his partner in life and he breaks up with me. He can’t really tell me why he suddenly made that choice but it’s due to the addiction. He wants to make it clear to me that I have don’t nothing wrong in all this, he has demons that he needs to face. I agree and I told him that I am going to support him through the process. At first we was very distant and now we are able to have honest conversation but he still wants to not be in a relationship other than best friends. This article is really helpful for me to learn how to love and support him the right way and not enable him or cause more stress and in turn make him drink more. I think that I definitely need to try a meeting and be able to talk to others that may have already been through it have helpful tips on what to do and what things I need to stop doing.

I feel so completely lost in this whole process. I agree that I fell in love with a different person that he is now and I keep thinking he’s the same person and he is not. I pray that we have a great future together but the first step is his treatment and the fact that he is the one that wants to go and has already started the process is a great thing. I get to avoid the hard part of convincing him he needs some help. So I am hopeful for him and need to learn how to love him the right way in the process without completely losing myself in the process.

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Kim

Wishing you well. I have been there before and recently too. Be strong like very strong be prepared like your going out into the woods of Alaska because things may take many turns and I don’t want that to break your heart I need you to know if your this war battle with your significant other make sure you understand the war this is and be positive but lots of boom but candles take deep breaths make sure you get sunlight on your face every day Atleast for 10 minutes. Hang tight my prayers are with you and k hope god can make a miracle for you. Stay strong…….. you need to have a back up plan without him needing to know about it, you need to plan ahead for worse to come you will need to remove yourself completely during a relapse. And if that doesn’t prove to you that there’s nothing you can possibly do to change him then maybe taking time away from him and letting him run loose if that’s what he wants. You need to take yourself back and take control. Your loosing yourself trying to save someone else who will be lost for a long while. It happy to me and currently. You still got this chance woman! You can do it! Grab those ovaries like a woman and give him the tough love and move forward day to day. I pray for you and prayer works I hope things turn out better than you expect and I got god has some miracles set up for you guys and your family!!

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Jenna

Finally, an honest review of life with an addict. So much content online is created for the money grab addiction centers that are proven to not work. They all tell you to do more and think it’s okay to tell humans that someone gripped by evil has a life that is more important than yours. They say you must put all your life energy into saving this person from addiction. They tell you it’s something you’re doing and to do more. It’s all on YOU. But it’s not. They profit off this mentality and rehab centers do not care about what the danger in this message. ( Unlike this article- which promotes healthy self love and realism.)
People have wasted their entire lives and wasted those around them by following advice created by private interests-rehabs are big money. I’m going to say it- forget the intervention. Forget the rehab. Do you have 100 years to spend on all the relapses? Do you really think you can throw money at a problem like addiction? No.
Unfortunately this internalization of false responsibility happens to a lot of women , men too.
Sadly, All attention goes onto the evil, and as the saying goes, “what you focus on expands. “
You want it to leave, not expand.
So not only are you wasting your life trying to “save” someone from a problem through a company, but you’re investing financially and emotionally in a lifelong process. By doing so, you are losing your own life’s purpose, and hurting everyone around you who is devastated you gave up your entire short life for one person destroying 20 others in the process, leaving the world without your unique life, and using the gift of life and Gods unique purpose for you on ..evil. ( If you have ever lived with a coke head you cannot call it anything else but evil- as charming as crackheads can be! They are consumed by escapism and they choose the dark side every time)
Listen, some people get to sobriety on their own. It doesn’t mean it was you or the rehab center. They decided to change. Others cannot get there on their own because they aren’t able to decide cognitively , we’re raised to seek instant gratification, or are too far gone and never had the personality to care about others)
I wasted 20+ years with an alcoholic and coke head. I tossed away careers and homes and friendships and hurt a lot more people in the process isolating myself and hurting myself to try to save just one person. It meant I couldn’t be strong for people who were good in my life who needed me, people worth the love back. Please don’t do it. Choose the path with less harm and maximum potential for a good impact on others and leave. Your responsibility is to live the life God gave you and help as many people as possible, not just one person consumed by evil, and believe me-it is evil. Because if you choose one person you are hurting 100 more, and denying the world of your light. Thanks for writing this article ! I needed this today.

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Unknown

Wow Kim. Thank you for writing this whole entry.

I won’t be forgetting this line:

“Be strong like very strong be prepared like your going out into the woods of Alaska”

This is such helpful energy. Bless you.

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Cali

There are other support groups that encourage the family to step in and even force the user or addict to go to rehab. The sooner the better. The longer you leave it, the more damage done. I don’t know what to do.
About a decade ago my sister got involved with a meth addict. She always expressed loathing for his addiction and said he was awful to her when he was binging, and she got him to give up for seven years and they got married. Shortly after, he relapsed.
Four years ago my 58 year old sister was a successful artist. Then because she wanted to boot him out for his addiction, finally, he apparently overdosed her against her will and she went into full blown mania and had to be committed for a few months. She is utterly changed since then. Can’t work, can’t control her rages, doesn’t remember much about her previous life, has lost her once brilliant human insight and logic. She follows you around wherever you go so its hard looking after her, and for years she spoke only of the terrible depression and desire for death. I cared for her six months, my other sister cared for her for over a year. Then she went back to him, and they went to a tiny village very far away. I think she’s started using methamphetamine, as she’s become more aggressive by the day. I feel if I loved her I would go in there with the full cavalry and take her out of that situation. I asked her recently if she’s using and she screamed at me: ‘You can’t save me !’ From time to time I’d like to commit suicide as the pain of seeing her so destroyed is too much.

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Shelley

Thirty years ago I married a man who appeared to have everything anyone would want in a husband. I now look back and see the red flags, but the overall picture at the time was a good one and I was quite happy. Because he functioned so well in his profession and was a good provider, he appeared very successful. The problems that remained hidden for so long was his hard-core drug addiction(he a binge user) and pathological lying. Because I’d never experienced deceit from anywhere during my childhood and because I never had had a need to deceive others I was not emotionally set up to recognize it when it was right under my nose. I just assumed someone I loved, who also loved me, had honorable intentions. Little did I know… For the first 10 years of our marriage things were quite happy. And then my one and only child was born and the proverbial you know what hit the fan. I’ve been involved with mental health services for a long time as has he sporadically. In recent years he was diagnosed with narcissism comorbid with borderline personality disorder and an addiction disorder. Any of you who has had a loved one with this diagnosis will know what this means. Enough said! My daughter is now 20 and I love her with all my heart. Her childhood for obvious reasons was traumatizing, but despite that she is doing fairly well. Or, maybe, to put it another way, she could be doing much worse. She has learned to cope and do quite well in college despite a learning disability. She spends a lot of time thinking about her mental health issues and taking slow steps to get better. What is getting in her way if a very successful life is her heavy pot addiction since the age of fifteen, when my husband began giving her pot because he has the mentality of a teenaged delinquent. I am not one of these people who is deluded into believing cannabis is a harmless and non-addictive drug. All the recent research has shown just the opposite. It is now known via advance brain imaging technology that cannabis damages a teen brain permanently after only one or two uses. And that it is in fact worse for a teen brain then occasional alcohol use. It is also known that smoking during the teen years changes a rapidly developing brain into one that is prone to life long addiction. And that it dramatically increases one’s chance of developing to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Everyone I know who is bipolar smoked pot heavily during the teen years. For those of you who don’t believe this, do a five minute Internet research and you’ll find the same. What is causing me the most grief is the way my child’s brain has slipped into the disordered thinking of an addict. Of course, lying and manipulations are part of the stages of addiction. There’s nothing more self-absorbed, selfish and self-centered than an addict and learning to say the right thing, to “be nice“, to appease a loved one is something she learned to do to with me to make her life easier. After 30 years of living with a personality disordered addict I’ve never fallen for it in her. I’ve always seen it all. But it isn’t getting easier for me knowing that addiction is at the helm of her ship. And 30 years of living with the pathological lying and deceit of a personality disordered addict has caused cause complex PTSD, for which I’m receiving treatment. My husband and I now parallel lives and his emotional impact on me is minimal at the point. But my daughter’s manipulations continue to impact me so dramatically that I feel as if I am slowly being poisoned by the person I love most in the world. Lately, I have begun to dream about living on my own and breaking ties with her completely. It would be the hardest thing I could possibly do but I know my survival depends on it. I just cannot live the rest of my life with the people whose intentions are to deceive me. Where there is lying there is never love. That being said, life without her would be a kind of death. When a fox is caught in a foot trap it will chew it’s on foot off in order to survive. For me, it would not be the foot. I would be chewing my heart out in order to live.

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K

My God Cali, what an awful sad situation you are in having to witness what has happened to your sister. Your story scared me as I just found out my boyfriend is hooked on meth. He told me he’s been using it for a few weeks, he had done it in the past but wasn’t on it when we met 6 months ago. He’s planning his detox from it soon where he can take days away from his work. It makes him work and focus, he’s not violent at all on it. I’m trying to support him but dear god I don’t want to end up in anything near what your sisters gone through. He’s only 30, I am 41. I am going to give it one chance but knowing you can relapse years later is terrifying. I should probably move on from this. I’m not that attached or dependent or even too in love with him at this point although I’m very attracted to him. Ugh.

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Lynn

Iv had a boyfriend for 7 yr he had a crack addiction we have been off anon for the past two years not sexually and he has told me that he’s been with other girls sexually when he gets high I am literally exhausted and I have argued with him I’ve raised my voice I told him I’m the thorn between his rose and rose is the drug he said yes I am heartbroken and I have found myself who played around the house for two days and not been able to function because I am literally exhausted and disgusting over the whole situation and putting up with this for as long as I have not yet know why do I still care

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zane

Hi ,

I am Rose,I have the same experience with u guys.
I had a bf whom I loved the most.He is an addict.He used drugs and he might stop when both has no money which is kind a better?…We both play and gamble in casino.He is a nice person but I just notice one thing ,when he has money he can lie and lie and don’t even bother me.
I am the one who supported him from his food,needs ,bills etc.He is jobless since i met him.BTW we first met at gambling area…
When I have extra we both gamble.I noticed he lied many times about his winnings?Got one time he won and I asked him he said he won 100 dollars only.When he went out people are talking he won actually 600 dollars.Why he needs to lie?That made me realised that he wont change no matter what good I do for him.I texted him to pack his stuff and leave.Now we are not commucating at all for 7 days.I just pray he will love himself back.Its not yet too late to change for good.

Reply
Sandra

My boyfriend has a crack addiction. We’ve been together for 10 years. For the first four years I didn’t notice anything abnormal in his behavior. Well, he had all my trust, so I never doubted anything he said or did. In 2015 crak almost killed him. 2015 and 2016 were the worst of my entire life. He was getting arrested all the time. He was mean, it seemed like he enjoyed disrespecting me and making me cry. It’s just too long of a horror story to write. Well, he ended up going to a rehab center. The time, when he was at this place I fell in love with him, even more than before. He was such a loving and caring man. Sadly, that peace and happiness i was feeling, when I was with him, didn’t last long. Gradually, he started to walk on that same path of self destruction. I believed he was going to change. I was ready to work together as a couple, to fight against crack addiction. I trusted he was going to communicate with me if he was feeling tempted to play with fire again. I feel like I’m the biggest idiot in this world. Of course he didn’t tell me he was consuming that drug again. Last November, I crashed emotionally, mentally and even physically. I found out he stole money from my bank account. He cheated on me, basically for 10 YEARS….. From the start, he’s been also involved in weird sexual activities, where besides girls, there were guys too, plus so many other lies. Right now I don’t feel strong enough to do anything. Right after he knew I found out everything I ” was not supposed to” according to him, he became a cold hearted, cruel, selfish person, who doesn’t do anything but ignore me, unless he needs my help. I can’t be myself. I have to watch if what I say or do is not going to bother him. I just can’t find the courage to break this circle of insanity. Right now, he’s gone partying with who knows who. I think don’t care about that anymore. I just want him to call me or text me every three hours or so, to tell me he’s still alive. PLEASE, I DESESPERATELLY NEED ADVICE. THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ THIS, WHICH IS NOT EVEN ONE QUARTER OF MY NIGHTMARE.
GOD BLESS YOU ALL

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Our children and teens can feel anxious, and do brave - but they don’t need to do it all at once. They can happen in tiny brave steps, one after the other. 

Start by encouraging them to notice the difference. Some things that feel scary will be best avoided - dark alleys, snakes, walking alone at night. Sometimes though, those things that feel scary will be growthful and important - exams, school, trying something new, approaching a challenge, taking a safe risk, separating from you when there is another loving adult who will take care of them. These things are scary, but safe. For sure, they might come with failure, or humiliation, or they might not work out as planned, but they are safe. 

Part of living bravely is having the confidence that even if my ‘what if’ happens, I’ll be okay. I can take safe risks, because whatever happens, I’ll be okay. I can do hard things, because whatever happens I’ll be okay. And we know they will be. Actually they’ll be better than okay because most times, enough times, they’ll shine.♥️
When children are in big feelings - big anxiety, big anger, big sadness - it will be really difficult for them to bring themselves back to calm without us. This is because the part of the brain that can calm big feelings isn’t quite built yet. Until it is, they’ll be looking to us for a hand. Even as adults with fully developed brains, we sometimes need the loving presence of our special person or people to help us through those big times. 

When children are in big feelings it’s less about what you do and more about who you are. They are looking for an anchor - a strong, steady presence to help bring their their world back to steady. When you calm your breathing, it will calm your nervous and let you guide theirs back to calm. 

This is NOT rewarding big behaviour. In fact, it’s doing the opposite. The brain learns from experience, so the more we guide them back to calm, the more they develop the capacity to do it on their own.♥️
Brains love keeping us alive. They adore it actually. Their most important job is to keep us safe. This is above behaviour, relationships, and learning - except as these relate to safety. 

Safety isn’t about what is actually safe, but about what the brain perceives. Unless a brain feels safe and loved (connected through relationship, welcome in the space), it won’t be as able to learn, plan, regulate, make deliberate decisions, think through consequences.

Young brains (all brains actually) feel safest when they feel connected to, and cared about by, their important adults.  This means that for us to have any influence on our kids and teens, we first need to make sure they feel safe and connected to us. 

This goes for any adult who wants to lead, guide or teach a young person - parents, teachers, grandparents, coaches. Children or teens can only learn from us if they feel connected to us. They’re no different to us. If we feel as though someone is angry or indifferent with us we’re more focused on that, and what needs to happen to avoid humiliation or judgement, or how to feel loved and connected again, than anything else. 

We won’t have influence if we don’t have connection. Connection let’s us do our job - whether that’s the job of parenting, teaching - anything. It helps the brain feel safe, so it will then be free to learn.♥️
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#parenting #parentingforward #parentingtips #mindfulparenting #neurosequentialmodel
Children are born whole and with the will to do good, but none of us are born knowing what to do or how to do when things feel big. That comes with time, lots of practice, and the loving leadership of adults who have been there before.

It can be tempting to hurry their development, or measure our own parenting by how well our children behave but development  just doesn’t work this way. Like all good things, it takes time to be able to manage big feelings or unmet needs enough so they don’t inflame big behaviour. Even as adults we won’t always act in adorable ways. (Oh don’t I know it!)

Learning how to manage big feelings without sliding into big behaviour is like anything hard we or our children learn - how to play tennis, play the guitar, read, cross the road. None of these are learned through punishment or harsh consequences. They’re learned with practice and the steady guidance of adults who ‘do with’ and take the time to show us how. The time it takes and the bumps along the way are no reflection on the adults doing the teaching, or the children doing the learning, but a reflection on the magnitude of the challenge. It’s big!

The more we take it personally when our children don’t behave as we (or the world) would like, the more likely we’ll move into shame and judgement (of them and ourselves). Ultimately this will impact our capacity to actually give them what they need, which is patience, trust in our leadership our capacity to guide them, and our strong loving presence.♥️
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#parenting #positiveparenting #mindfulparenting
When we punish, or do anything that drives emotional separation (shame) or physical separation from us, it teaches our children to avoid us, or please us. It teaches them that failure, falling short, or making a mistake is shameful. It doesn’t teach them anything about what to do instead, or how to learn, or how to deal with things not going to plan.

Rather than, ‘What punishment do they need to do better?’ try, ‘What support do they need to do better?’ What they need - what we all need - is someone who is calm, strong, loving, and who can handle them enough to stay when them and guide them through the tough stuff. When we focus on the relationship, it opens the way for us to guide behaviour.♥

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