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Addiction & Relationships-How to let go of an addict

Posted by @msmelissalc in Brain & Nervous System, Jan 26, 2012

Last August (2011) I found out that my boyfriend of 2 years had relapsed into an opiate addiction in May of the previous year. I had previously confronted him, but he denied it and lied to my face, or became defensive, etc. I finally asked to see his arms, he fled our apratment, I tracked him down, found his stash ( roxies, oxies, meth, coke, name it) and met with him and his family. Flying blind on where to send him for rehab (he said he didn't like 12-step programs, he had been in one before and "it didn't work for him" and he left after 30 days. His dad spoke to a Narconon rep who convinced him to send him to Vista Bay, in Watsonville, CA. It ended up being a rehad facility based on the works of L. Ron Hubbard, where they didn't focus on the past or drug addiction, but only on "staying positive."
Well, he was suspended for running his mouth after five months. He is back, and I broke up with him last night after he told me that I was less important to him than I was before, no fun, that he didn't have time to work on the relationship or seek further counseling right now. I feel so used and taken for granted after supporting him through rehab, trying to help him with his "deep depression" before rehab and then being told that even though I am the "most important person in his life", this relationship was not worth his effort. What did I do wrong?

Tags: mental health, Other, healthy living


Posted by @kk, Jan 26, 2012

If I may, you did nothing wrong. Addiction to those substances is so strong it will take your life and soul and anything associated with it. My family has felt with the same issues. The addicted person hates the fact that he chooses drugs over anything else, but quite frankly, he has no control over that choice. It seems strange to a sober person, but that is how powerful addiction is. DO NOT BLAME YOURSELF


Posted by @msmelissalc, Jan 26, 2012

Even after he's sober though? While in rehab, he told me he couldn't wait to get back and show me what a better person he was and make it up to me, and now he is back and just, what, doesn't care I guess? It's so confusing.


Posted by @kk, Jan 27, 2012

sorry it took so long to get back. Even though rehab is done, trust me, he is still craving those substanses. He may view you negatively, like you stood in the way of his using. He would never admit that, but coming from experience, one who lost his family, including the one i loved the most, that is what he is thinlking. He doesnt want to lose you,but he will hold you accountable for getting sober, until his obsession to use leaves. That obsession to us is there for some time, its difrerent for everyone. Unfortunately, your relationship could tske years to repair, if it lasts. I know it sounds bad but that is what those drugs do, they destroy anything that is good or pure.


Posted by @bcollier, Jan 30, 2012

I've been addicted to hydrocodone i.e. Lortab, Lorcet, for almost 20 years. I have been taking methadone for 6 years which is substituting one for another. The only difference for me is this: the very first dose of methadone that I took changed EVERYTHING about my addiction. For me, I can remember the exact day that I took the first pain pill 20 years ago. I was in a horrible marriage (thank God we had no children together) but he was not faithful and that had consumed MY life. I had been dealing with the unfaithfulness for 6 years and it was the very first thought in my mind every single day! That was MY fault! I had a horrible headache that day and my daddy had been to the dentist that day too. When I saw daddy I asked him and my mama if they had anything for a headache? He gave me one Percocet. Within 20 minutes I felt the best I had felt in 6 years!! I actually felt relief, happy, no worry; just a warm fuzzy happy feeling. Within 3 hrs. I was back for another one. Then another. Then another, etc. etc. So I figured it out. I went to a neurologist for migraines, got a rx for Lortab and I was on my way. On my way to a life of addiction! For 20 years that was my first thought in the morning and my last thought of the day. Sick! I went to rehab and went through withdrawal cold-turkey. I walked those halls for 3 days and 3 nights. Finally, after the worst of physical withdrawals, I told my counselor that "I felt funny or weird." She told me that I was feeling normal! It had been so long since I felt "normal" it felt "weird"! I went home after 6 days, went to 12 weeks of outpatient therapy, didn't miss one day and I went to 90 NA meetings in 90 days! I didn't miss ONE meeting! After I quit the meetings I started using again. I went to rehab again 6 or 7 years later. This time they were using Mepergan(?) shots to ween people off their drug of choice, which mine was still pain pills. I stayed 5 days, went home and used. After 4 or 5 more years of using I heard about the methadone clinics and started going. I took my first dose that morning, after seeing the doctor and talking to my counselor, and I did not even THINK about a pain pill the whole day! I still can't believe it. My life had been a life of running down pills! I was tired, depressed, broke, and spiritually broken. I do know that I have exchanged one narcotic for another, BUT I don't spend $100 a day on pills, I can keep a job, I can make better decisions but most of all I FEEL BETTER THAN I HAVE FELT IN 20 years and I never ever think about hunting down my next pill! I do not take any kind of pain pill at all and I don't even think about it. I do understand how his addiction is affecting you and I DO KNOW THIS: It is NOT about you! No matter what you say, do, promise or threat, it won't work. Addiction is not about Will Power! Addiction is absolutely "physical". It is a diagnosed disease. Like I was told in rehab...."people don't ask to be diabetics, they just have the physical body make-up to be one." The same applies to addicts. God knows I never wanted this! I will keep you and your friend in my prayers. Please don't think I'm advertising for methadone, I'm not. This is just my truth.


Posted by @msmelissalc, Jan 30, 2012

Thank you for helping put things in persepctive. I completely agree that it is a physical disease, dianosis and all. He doesn't. He says he isn't an addict, he is a "former drug user." I know rationally that it isn't about me, but emotionally it is difficult. I can't seem to get it thorugh my thick skull that no matter what I say, it won't affect him or change anything. However, I'm cutting him off, painful as it is. My God, this has been the most difficult thing I've had to go through. I would not wish it upon anyone.


Posted by @roxie43, Jan 30, 2012

Addiction robs a person of so many things including self worth and it takes a committment and consistent work to recover and it is possible. Sometimes a person needs to hit rock bottom before they become willing to do whatever it takes to stay clean. As for you, you sound like you have done your share to be supportive but you should never work harder than the person with the addiction. I would advise you to make sure you are being good to yourself and sometimes this means taking a step back and focusing on self. Your partner needs to accept his illness/addiction and make the proper choices for himself.
Nothing is impossible in life and I know of many former opiate addicts who have been in recovery for over two decades and work in the field and give others hope.
Be good to yourself!

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Posted by @msmelissalc, Jan 30, 2012

Thanks. I'm trying to be good to me, it's just hard. I'm still working harder then him, and that's a slap in the face, but no more of that. I just feel like he is still living in denial. I've focused on him for so long, it seems I've forgotten how to focus on myself.


Posted by @roxie43, Jan 30, 2012

Hi Again,
You have to take care of yourself first. Being in love and in a relationship is not supposed to cause so much pain. I am a huge advocate for person with illnesses and addiction is a disease but it is a treatable disease when and if the individual wants the treatment. He may not be ready and that is ok but you should not put your life on hold waiting for him to seek help. And, he has to seek help for himself. Again, the best you can do is love yourself and take measures to protect yourself. I know how it feels to love someone who simply loved his beer and did not see that a beer for breakfast was a problem. I was in my teens and I had to let him go. We are both in our forties and his beer is still part of his life but my daughter and I are not. Sometimes we have to make difficult choices in an effort to have a drama free life.
You would benefit from a support group or counseling because the fact that you are suffering is not good.
Take care & god bless

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Posted by @stardisc, Feb 6, 2012

You did nothing wrong if you stay it will destroy you. don't look back but do seek help for yourself so that you do not fall into codependency and choose a dysfunctional man again. good luck


Posted by @drcarol, Feb 18, 2012

I agree, you did nothing wrong. The tragedy of addiction is that it becomes the most important thing in their lives - friends, family, girlfriends all take second or third place. You should not feel guilty about this, because it's not your fault, and probably not his, either. It doesn't mean he doesn't find you attractive anymore - you have just become irrelevant compared to his need to take drugs.

It's all about his relationship with drugs, not his relationship with you.

Once you have developed an addiction, all your values and ability to make rational choices gets damaged. You can try and support loved ones, and try to get them to accept help, but if they constantly refuse, there's no reason to blame yourself - it's the nature of addiction, not you.

Sometimes, it's only when people with an addiction are abandoned by their loved ones that the true reality of their situation becomes clear to them. It's tough to do, but if it's destroying you, and not having any beneficial effect on him, you must step aside until he either reaches out for help, or ends up in the courts where he will probably be put into rehab by force.

That can still result in recovery, even though it's not voluntary. That's because the main goal of rehab is to change how people think - to get them to realize that recovery is possible, and that it's a good thing to achieve - a much better choice than continuing to be controlled by their addiction.

Good luck - I think you did the right thing.

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