Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Seeking advice about repressed homosexuality and addiction
Before I begin, I think I should lay out a little of the groundwork:
• It's my "companion" who is the person with an addiction to substances – I am the requisite codependent (although I have been working on those issues diligently for the past two years in NarAnon and with a therapist). I'm writing in this forum because I have some questions that relate specifically to addiction and sexual identity.
• We are both male
• We are in Argentina – I am from the US and he is native Argentine, from a very poor, rural region in the north. Homosexuality in that part of the country is simply denied – like it doesn't exist, an impossibility.
So, here goes:
For the past 4 years, I've had someone in my life whom I love deeply and with whom I have a very confusing relationship. This person began using substances 7 years ago, before we met, but I was 100% ignorant of anything regarding substance use at the time that we met. It has been quite an education, and quite a journey, to say the least. I've experienced many of the things that are discussed on these boards, both in terms of the behavior of someone who is addicted to substances (him) and the behavior of someone who tries to change another person (myself). A year and three months ago he asked me to take him to a rehabilitation community, where he currently is today. [It would be interesting to have some dialog about treatment in Argentina/South America versus the States, but I'll save that for another day.] His recovery has been difficult, for both of us, which is why I started this thread.
Here's the thing: he struggles with his sexuality. At times he wants me, wants to grow with me (and tells me that), and seeks my love, affection, and sex. At other times he completely denies any type of relationship with me, denigrates me for my sexuality, and blames our relationship for fueling his addiction. It wasn't like this in the beginning – it simply arose and got worse and worse as his addiction progressed. Many of the things he said and did can be attributed to the affects of substance abuse, but they came from the underlying problem that he categorically cannot accept that he's gay.
Like any true codependent, I put up with it because I had a "goal" of getting him into treatment. Whether or not that was healthy for me is my issue to deal with, but I still feel that there is a deep love between us and I am at a crossroads right now, seeking advice, shared experiences, wisdom, etc. [I should also make it clear here that our relationship was/is much more than sexual, and that I have been accompanying him during his treatment, as well as working on my own recovery. He's basically without family, so I felt/feel that it was right for me to continue supporting him... although it hasn't been easy.]
About 5 months into his treatment (last March), during our weekly visit, he started to talk about "us" and let me know that he no longer "did those things", that he was "a new person" and that he didn't want a sexual relationship with me. I said that was fine, but that we could no longer live together and that a lot of what we had talked about in the past could no longer be. He then became very agitated and went 'round and 'round, saying the same things, but in different ways, trying to get me to change my response.... He even said, "But we get along so well – why can't we be together???" Needless to say, it was a very frustrating visit and I left feeling anguished.
From that point, I opened a dialog with his psychologist and the directors of the rehab. To make a long story short, pretty much everyone there is in agreement that his sexuality is severely repressed, that he loves me deeply but cannot accept it, and that all this is a strong component of his drug use (although there are other very important factors involving a whole lot of childhood abuse that also affect him). However, they told me bluntly that the focus of their treatment was addictions, and that acceptance of his sexuality is something that can only come with time (which I understand). They also said that while he's in the treatment community, it's very unlikely that he'll ever accept his sexuality, since the other patients are mostly other young men and that the whole issue of homosexuality is taboo amongst them – this is a macho, latin culture, in general.
Anyway, since March, he has been trying, time and time again, to get me to change my response, and with each visit the anguish level would rise for both of us. I am certain that if he returned to live with me, my life would be a battleground for the fight going on inside of him over his sexuality, and I simply cannot let that happen again. [All this time, I never demanded that he "accept" who he is – that he's gay – I simply said "You can live however you like, but it cannot be with me. That would be torture for me." And he invariably retorts, "But we get along so well!!!"] And with each visit since, his attitude towards me deteriorated: he became more distant each time, angry, and completely self-absorbed. Also, with each week that passed, he began to act more and more uncomfortable with my presence, obviously very concerned about what everyone else was thinking. I told him straightforward that if he wanted me to continue visiting then he needed to check his attitude, and then I warned his psychologist and the directors of the community that I couldn't take much more.
Then we had a blowout: a month ago he had his birthday and he had asked me a few weeks prior if I'd be coming to visit on that day, so I went to the community loaded with some cakes and stuff for everyone to share. When I arrived, he outright rejected me. Told me he didn't want any part of it. It was humiliating and anti-social what he did, and so I left and I have had no contact with him since... This is a shock to him and the rehab therapists are telling me that he is depressed and has isolated himself and recommend that I maintain my distance as part of his therapy. I have said that I will not move one inch towards him and that he needs to undergo a profound and lasting change before I can consider having contact with him again.
SO, that's how things stand right now. I apologize for writing so much, but I wanted those who may respond to this thread to know what has happened. I am not asking for a critique of my codependent behavior (although I cannot control anyone who may feel a need to rip me a new one) – what I am asking for is any comments about the relationship between denied sexuality and addiction –– your own experiences or of others close to you.
Like most gay men, I struggled for years for self-acceptance and so I know what that's like. [And I need to reiterate that this relationship with my companion did NOT begin with such evident self-hate and destructive attitudes toward himself -- that grew over time, weirdly enough. I would have never started down a path of intimacy with him if I had known what I know now.] What I don't know anything about is the addiction, in terms of how his internal struggles with his sexuality affects it, and how the addition affects his struggle. I obviously still love him, and I obviously am hoping that he changes, otherwise I wouldn't have written a friggin book here, but I'm also in the process of accepting that I probably just have to move on, even though we "get along so well."
One last thing: in a meeting with the director of the rehab, he used an Argentine saying to explain to me how he feels about what's going on. He said "You are expecting that your companion will come back home and enter through the front door. I'm pretty sure that he'll go back home to you, but he won't enter through the front door – he'll come in through the window."