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17898435 tn?1461535277

loving a heroin addict

Hi, this is my first question. I found this site while desperately searching for some miracle solution to my problem, but alas, I don't think it's something that exists.

I have been with my partner for around a year and a half. I love him more than life, he is the most incredible human being I have ever met. He inspires me. He has truly helped me believe in myself and love myself, we have always been a team.

When we met, he was very honest and open with me. He had smoked heroin for around 20 years on and off (the longest sober period being 3 years). He was in recovery when I met him, 6 months in. He was doing brilliantly, livinf in supported accommodation & had support there all the time. I was living there too, (a hostel - one of the good ones). I have my own stuff, mainly depression & anxiety. No substance issues.

I understand that when I made the decision to be with him, that I was signing up to being a part of his recovery, and helping him through the difficult times.

He relapsed for the first time towards the end of 2015. I didn't know how to handle it. I was more concerned about his mental health and safety than I was about the drugs, I just wanted him home. I got him home, searched him(no drugs in our home - my line), and nursed him through the next 48 hours. First time smoking in so long absolutely wrecked his body.

Shortly after he moved out. I don't think he could deal with the fact that things aren't perfect, his coping mechanism has always been heroin so I honestly don't think he knows sometimes just how to handle it when things go wrong.

We now live separately, but after some time apart we got back together (me being under the impression that he was sober), after just over a month, of me feeling strange about the whole thing, and starting to feel like I was going mad, I woke early while at his flat, checked his phone, and from what I saw then checked his bin - used foil. Heartbroken.

I woke up, talked about it, cried about it. He agreed to try. I said I would stand by him, because I love him and see my future with him, but only if I feel like he is trying, only if he shows me that he wants to be sober. And takes steps towards him.

Now every two weeks(pay day) for 2 and a half months he has been going and scoring. Sometimes gambling for money. Then for a week after he's off his head. Inbetween he tries so hard, takes real steps, but he just keeps doing it.

Ny heart is breaking. I understand it, my brother is an addict, I know it's not a switch he can flick. But I suppose my question is, how long do I do this for? I can't do it forever, it will break me, the constant hope and the constant disappointment, and no security. I don't know what to do anymore.

I love him but this is so hard.
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3060903 tn?1398565123
\welcome to Living with an Addict Communiy :)

Are you living with your bf? You said that you lived separately, then didn't and i wonder how that happened exactly. Did you give up your home to live with him? You then mentioned being at "his" flat? So i'm a little confused about the living arrangements.

Also, I'm wondering about you. and how you're life is going. You mentioned depression and anxiety earlier, and i'm wondering how you are being helped with your own situation? Are you on medication and/or do you have a therapist.? Would you consider your illness to be managed well?

How is your career life? Are you working or going to school? Are you happy with your own career aspirations? Is the bf working or going to school and is he happy with his career?

The reason i'm asking about you is because it's vitally important that you are looking after you. I was concerned when i read "I love him more than life itself". Loving someone in a healthy manner happens when you have your own life put together. Otherwise, co dependence happens. And that's a really unhealthy place to be for both you and your bf.




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Hi, thanks so much for answering.

Yeah, I just wanted to get it all out there so I realise now I didn't clarify some important things.

We lived in the hostel together for 5 months, he had already been there for 2 months prior. We then moved out together, into our own flat.

In the hostel, it was like a bubble. Not the calmest one, but a bubble. We had people around all the time, a social life on the doorstep, he had harm reduction support literally in the room next door. A one to one counsellor, a support group, a foodbank he volunteered in once a week, and a holistic session once a week as well. He then started CBT.

I had moved out of a very difficult situation at home - mainly my brothers addiction. I had been trying to help him as much as I could, but he was dangerous & aggressive and he started scaring me. I couldn't do it anymore so I left and found myself with no-where to go.

The hostel was a relief to me. It, and meeting my partner, were like a breath of fresh air. I have serious issues with men, due to a rape that happened in my past, I knew my partner was special because I have never once felt wary of him or scared at all. I instantly felt more comfortable with him than I ever have with another person. I felt safe with him and it was wonderful.

I wasn't working at that time - I needed to be able to claim benefit for the hostel fees, or I wouldn't have been able to live there. He wasn't working either, he had far too much 'recovery work', he was right in focusing on that.

When we moved into the flat together, I think my depression & anxiety caught up with me again. Having a door I could lock and curtains I could close, I never needed to see anyone. It got quite bad but I stuck my head in the sand. Dynamics changed between us, but instead of talking to me about it or trying to help or make me see what was happening, he just pretended like nothing was wrong, until the end of last year. He said he wanted to leave and explained why, it made me then realise just how depressed I really was, we had a long night together and a break through for me. I made an appointment with the doctor the next day. It wasn't a miracle, but my attitude changed. Two weeks later he relapsed for the first time.

I blamed myself for a while, but I don't feel that way anymore. I wasn't well, and things happen. I understand how that must have affected him, but he also had a part to play.

We tried for a month after that, I was really trying to help myself, and him, he had finished with a lot of the support - just the sessions had come to an end. He clearly wasn't ready, so together we tried to set everything back up again.

He moved out at the end of that month. Just couldn't handle that the magic little heroin free bubble we'd lived in for so long was gone, I think.

He then got his own flat, and I stayed in the old one. He only lives one minute away from me though.

We broke up for about 2 months, and then got back together.

Now that I am on meds & back to my normal self, I have managed to find a full time job and have been there for 3 months. Hard work, but I am loving it. Financial security and independence is important to me, as it is something I have never had before.

My partner isn't currently working. The doctor has him on a sickline at the minute, due to the relapse. Because he's also very depressed about the whole things. He's not handling his 'failure' very well, if you follow. That's how he sees it.

I wouldn't say I'm dependent on him. I know that I can be without him, it will break my heart but I know I could do it if I had to.

I just love him more than I have ever loved anymore. I walk over broken glass to get him well and healthy, the hard part is knowing that he's going to have to do that himself, and I just don't know if he's in that place.

It's getting worse and I just don't know what to do. I have needs that just aren't being met but at the same time the thought of leaving him to deal with it alone scares me so much. I hate the thought of him feeling like he isn't loved or cared about.

He's had suicidal thoughts in the past, has self harmed & his cousin(best friend as well) killed himself over this poison three years ago, it just terrifies me.

And I also love him. I still see my future with him, y'know? I'd never bring children into this world in the current situation, but he is the man I want my children with, but I then have to think about the fact that, there will always be that risk. Relapse is a part of recovery as they say.

My head is just all over the place. I know that was a lot of writing. Apologies!
3060903 tn?1398565123
No apologies accepted friend. Anything you have the decency to write is well received. and appreciated , i assure you.

I appreciate that you have bonded with this man's soul and he with you. We can love all people dearly, but it doesn't have to mean that they are our best match. You've come a long way yourself, and you need to hold very tightly to the progress that you've made. Congratulations on your 3 months in at your job. That's the first milestone and therefore the most important one. In many union jobs they won't allow you in, until you've made 3 months in, if i'm not mistaken, so that milestone is a BIG ONE.

i'm glad to hear that your meds have been maximized and you're feeling good these days.

One thing about addiction, is that there is only a very particular type of person that is effective in aiding an addict. I know that you will be able to understand this. As you said, you're depression was not managed, and your bf allowed you to stay in this unhealthy mindset. This is critical. It is what the definition of a co dependent relationship. (You've probably come across this definition before) Codependent relationships are a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person's addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement.

He was not good for you, he was unable to push you to regain yourself and you wasted a years being reclusive in your home. The reason i'm bringing this up is because i want you to see that in addition to his not being able to help you in that year he may also not be able to support you other critical normal ways a spouse would. ie. progressing in your job, suggesting and supporting you to go to night school to stay progressive and competitive in your job market. ie. support/push you into doing the things that it is suggested that depressive's do. ie. the YWCA pool , the gym, a bike ride, walk in the park, a picnic, museum, library excursion, community involvement, music festivals, book clubs, knitting circles, learning how to crochet, etc. Someone that suffers from depression, NEEDS TO HAVE A CERTAIN TYPE OF PERSON IN THEIR LIVES. TO HELP THEM FURTHER THEMSELVES. You are a young lady that needs a partner to help them get used to doing the healthy things in life, and by doing so, preparing you to continue to be a contributing and happy member of society.

The reality is that both of you , because you have issues, need a certain strong influence in your lives, to be the healthiest and happiest you can be. It might be that you are able to get into doing the things that people do in their lives and in their community to prepare effectively to be a parent. but that he may never do what he needs to do to be a parent.

Should you both do without having those ties in your lives? Of developing that type of life? I don't think so.

I only want you to understand, that one person that has a weakness coupled with another person who is not weak, is unlikely to become co dependent. A fully healthy mate for you would be able to catch you immediately and set you on a path of returned health.

Another example. My current husband was separated when we met. He and i are both addicts, Now his ex, dropped him off at police stations when he relapsed. While i had to go through the steps of having him committed to a psychiatric ward, and then insisted upon a 90 day residential rehab. I had to be tough and stick to my guns, regardless of being lonely when he was gone, or thinking that he would be missing out on making as much money, or what have you. Since he went through the 90 day Relapse Prevention program, he's been consistently clean and sober. He was married for 12 years, and usually relapsed monthly, i think once he had close to a year. My point is, that he and his wife got married because they loved each other, but he and i are together after 17 years because not only do we love each other (yes it will happen again that you would walk on glass, or fire for your loved one). but , MOST IMPORTANTLY, WE ARE TRULY GOOD FOR EACH OTHER.

I think what you need to do right now, is to continue progressing in your life. The most you can do for him, is to be a good example. You are thriving, with your independence and your job. now, instead of focusing  on his problems, that as you say, you can't do anything about, focus instead on providing him with a healthy example of a person getting ahead.

Go out and join a YWCA pool and meet up with a healthy female that maybe is a young mother. Immerse yourself with folks that have healthy home lives. Become friends with healthy folks in your community by saving up your money and maybe taking an evening course to upgrade your computer skills. Do these things for you, stand back and let him know that you've made friends with a heroin addict and her husband , also an addict, that have 17 years sobriety and know the steps that it takes to stay clean and sober. Let him know about medhelp (if you're comfortable in case he reads your post) tell him it's a great forum for addicts to get sober (the addictions communities). LIVE , REALLY LIVE YOUR LIFE. MEET NEW PEOPLE AND MAKE GOOD FRIENDS,

It will become clear to you, in time,  if you ,and he are a healthy match, From now until then, what great friendships can you make? how can you become involved in your community? how can you be working towards your next move up the ladder at work.?

He seems to be in a "holding pattern" not going anywhere yet. just hovering. Don't let that influence you. You keep pushing to get that feeling that you've gotten by fighting for your health and a job and independence. Let your momentum carry you all the way, to friendships in a healthy faction of the community, so that you're prepared to one day fulfill some of your dreams of maybe having a family.

Do you see what i'm saying?

Are you living together now?

You cold use a therapist to talk to about your fear of his taking his life. You cannot make a good and decent healthy choice in a partner for yourself , while in the same breath saying that you're afraid that if you're not there the other person will take their life.  In order to be true to yourself, you have to know that the person you commit to spending your life with is the best man for the job, the guy that will push you to be your best, and want you to succeed in the community and at work, that pushes you to have close friendships in the community.

And please, keep it in mind, if a person is going to take their life, or fail, they will do so whether you give them your all, or not.

The best you can do for this loved one, is to be the best you , you can be. and that means you getting the best support structure for yourself you can get., by taking time to yourself to make other solid friendships and mentors.

Give some thought to discussing this with a therapist (maybe at the shelter they will have time to talk to you) I think you need that kind of support. Otherwise i'm always here for you dear child. Keep your chin up.

.
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