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(New to forum!) BF is a heroin addict.

Old 04-29-2007, 01:44 AM
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(New to forum!) BF is a heroin addict.

Hi everyone,

I'm so glad to have somewhere to talk about my situation, I can't even explain. I suppose I'll begin by telling everyone about what's going on.

My boyfriend is a heroin addict. When we met two and a half years ago, he only smoked pot, but his interest in substances steadily grew from pot to hallucinogens like shrooms, to cocaine, and eventually to heroin. I suppose the only reason it didn't concern was because that was the type of environment I was used to, a very high risk environment. Everyone I knew was using something, and no one was concerned about it at all, even me (I have never been addicted to drugs - I've done some experimenting but never enjoyed it). We were accustomed to addiction, illness, overdose, and death - for a long time, my best friend and I had a betting pool going, and we routinely bet on which one of our friends would die first. In retrospect, I've of course realized how awful that was. I would say, "Five bucks says John dies by September", and she would say, "Ten says Jane dies by August."

One day, after detaching myself from this community of addicts, I woke up and realized that my boyfriend (who was still my friend at the time), SPC, had a problem. His mother found that he had been using and thus began the cycling through various rehabilitation programs - counseling, inpatient, outpatient, meetings... all the forms of rehab. Of course, nothing worked.

In fact, he is in his first REALLY serious rehab program right now, although it has taken him many programs to get there. On November 27th, 2006, he left for a rehab a few hours away from where I live, where he relapsed after a little more than a month. I had not been able to contact him the entire time. I was not in contact with his mother either, so I had no idea where he was. I just assumed he'd been taken to a rehab program. After he was kicked out, he was sent to a Sober College program in southern California. This place was great. It is a sober school environment where the students are allowed to interact, essentially, like normal peers in a normal college - only it was monitored, there were meetings every night, and all the typical rehab aspects. He was doing incredibly well, getting along with all the guys in his house. He was able to call me frequently, and when he did, he sounded so happy and full of life. I hadn't heard him sound like that in over a year. When he called me for the first time since he had left home, I was actually STARTLED when he laughed, because he had never laughed before he went into treatment. He was always very somber, grim, lifeless. Now he was able to laugh, tell me he missed me, tell me little silly stories about his day, communicate his fears and hopes to me. It was truly beautiful, and I thanked whatever benevolent force was out there for giving him this second chance.

Three months into his treatment at the sober college, I became concerned when he didn't call me for two weeks. Finally, he was able to call me and tell me that he had relapsed after four months of sobriety, and had been sent to a wilderness program out of California. I was heartbroken. For some reason, I totally did not expect him to relapse because things were going so well for him. This was before I understood that relapse is part of the disorder. I have since taken the time to learn a great deal about addiction, relapse, recovery, etc. He is still in the wilderness program right now. He gets out on May 10th, after which he'll be going back to the sober college for another 3 months of treatment. He's not even coming home for so much as a day after getting out of the wilderness program. He's going straight to the sober college. He has the option to visit home for a few days, but he doesn't feel that it would be best for his sobriety, which, although it saddens me because I miss him so much and I would love to see him, I think shows tremendous discipline on his part. And I know it's painful for him too, that he misses me SO much, but he's doing what he has to do to stay sober, and I'm very proud of him for that.

Thankfully, I may be able to drive down to southern California (an 8+ hour drive) to visit him in June, which will make it easier for me to deal with him being gone until August.

The wilderness program is an incredible system. Patients go on weeklong trips into the wilderness, go on a minimum five-mile hike a day carrying 75 pound packs. My boyfriend says that he has heard it is an amazing spiritual experience. I hope it is for him. Unfortunately, these trips mean he can hardly call me at all, or even send me letters. I still send him a letter almost every day.

My main concern is if he will relapse when he will come home. Heroin resources would be readily available to him, should he decide to start shooting up again. I also think he will struggle with avoiding his old friends he used to do heroin with, because most of his friends are smack addicts. Granted, most of these addicts have since become sober and have been completely successful, but I am still concerned that they will all fall back into old habits as a community. Or, they would support each other's sobriety as a sober community - it could work either way, but it seems the former occurs more frequently than the latter.

Out of all the heroin addicts in this town, I think he is most at risk for relapse, besides his best friend, JC. I never really thought JC would get clean, although I have heard he is now on the methadone program. SPC has the worst history of addiction, and I am afraid that he will relapse. I am prepared to go to meetings with him, take him to counseling, and be very involved in his life... but relapse in unpredictable. But I am completely willing to do whatever it takes to help him... I realize that I can only extend MY help so far, and that much of it must come from his own end. The good news is, he is very emotionally open, and generally happy and stable. He was recently taken off of anti-depressants for the first time in around 4+ years and he's doing well. I think being emotionally stable will be a good tool in staying sober for him.

The main point of this post was just to release my story, which I haven't fully spoken to anyone about before. It felt wonderful to get that out, and I thank everyone who reads this. And if anyone has advice on who to approach dealing with an ex-addict who is freshly out of rehab, I would appreciate it SO much. I'd like to know what to expect if that it possible.

Thank you everyone!
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Old 04-30-2007, 03:11 AM
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Hi Littleclement. Welcome to SR it is a great place. As far as your boyfriend goes I really don't know what to say. Fortunately alot of other people will be along soon & I know some of them will be sure to have experience dealing with your situation.
The addict in my life is my 40 yr old son & he is addicted to coke. His addiction has ben going on for 20 yrs thanks to my 87 yr old parents enabling him.
I can tell you as you already seem to know that addiction is a terrible disease & relapses are the norm.
You should read the stickeys at the top of the page, they are full of good information. Face to face support groups like Nar-Anon are very good for people that love addicts.
Again welcome to SR, keep coming back. It is a safe place to get support & the people here are excellent.
Love,
Diane
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Old 04-30-2007, 03:37 AM
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Welcome Littleclement. It sounds like his program will continue for quite a while and I think it's good that he is focusing on his recovery and not everything else right now, but I have to say this begs the questions....what about YOU? Your post here tells me lots about him, but how is all this affecting you? What are you doing with your time while you wait for him to get clean and wonder if he will stay clean?

Sweetie, it's a long road, this addiction thing, a lifetime event because even the cleanest recovering addict knows that it's all one day at a time. There are no written money-back guarantees that they will never relapse again no matter how long and how intense the program. Some manage to stay clean forever, some struggle off and on for many years, and some die. As hard as that is to accept, it's a truth that those of us who are in for the long haul have had to face. My son is an addict who has struggled in and out of recovery (presently out) for over 16 years and is still struggling as I write here.

I think you are doing a good thing to read up on addiction, to come here for support, and to educate yourself and know what you can on this subject. Only you can decide if you want to live your life like this or if you want to run for the hills and live a life free of addiction. It's entirely up to you, and whatever you decide, we are walking with you all the way.

Take a read around and make yourself comfortable. There are many here who have been where you are who will also share how this worked in their life.

Hugs
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Old 04-30-2007, 04:58 AM
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welcome to sr, i agree with ann, what about you? how has this effected your life? what are your plans for a future with this recovering addict? is this the way you want to live out your life?

the addict in my life is my husband and hes been in and out of treatment short and long term the whole 21 yrs we've been married, we been off and on seperated the whole time too, more off than on. the choice to stay clean is up to the addict to decide, there is nothing you can do to help him stay clean, relapse can happen at anytime and sometimes without notice to you or to your addict. addiction is a life long process that progresses and will take a life time commitment to working a plan of recovery. there is no cure it can only be arrested, what you see now is possible what you'll get unless he continues to work on himself.

maybe its time now while he's in recovery to began to completely focus on you and what you want your life to look like in the near future. i'm sorry that you are going through all of this, recovery is possible but it is entirely up to the addict and there is nothing you can say or do/ not say or not do, to change his decision to use or not use. work on getting you better. here we also recommend alanon or naranon meetings for you, maybe you can check your area for some near by, keep posting and keep reading, keeping you and yours in my prayers
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Old 04-30-2007, 08:06 AM
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welcome! k
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Old 04-30-2007, 08:30 AM
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Welcome, littleclement

So glad you found us -- though of course it's a bit sad that you find yourself in a situation where you need to be here at all. We're glad you've joined the pack. There's an awful lot of experience out here with heroin abuse - husbands, boyfriends, sons, daughters -- and there will ALWAYS be someone here to tell your story, bounce around some thoughts & ideas, and just vent if you need to.

Your story is a familiar one. Heroin is such a horrible drug to get involved with. My sister was introduced to it by her next-door neighbor when she was 26, and used it recreationally for a while before giving into a full-blown, sell-the-jewelry, destroy-your-life addiction to it. She was a strong woman in every other way: she had left an abusive husband without looking back, she had raised a young daughter alone, she had put herself through school. But heroin was something she couldn't beat, no matter how she tried.

I remember how it felt to get letters from her in rehab -- letters full of laughter and hope. She joked once that she was learning to make one mean ashtray, and that she was becoming like Pavlov's dog, every time she heard one of the ward manager's keys she'd either feel like eating or going to the bathroom. But she made plans to change her life, move to a different state, completely clean up her act.

It's sad when they relapse....it's a horrible surprise, like the bottom drops out of your stomach and you just want to crumple to the floor and stay there for a few weeks. I write this on the twenty-third anniversary of my sister's death, and reading your post I can still feel that feeling just like it's happening now.

I have little advice. You cannot save him from his addiction, and I think you know that. You didn't cause it, you can't control it, you can't cure it. BUT I think you're really wonderful for supporting him while he's trying so hard to beat it.

Has he considered a change of scenery, so that he is NOT going back to his old haunts and old friends? You're right, this will be the hardest part. It will seem so natural for him to fall back into old habits, like rolling off a log. I know it probably seems impossible, but, if there is any way for him to go somewhere else when he returns from his programs, that would likely be the best for him. I know that, if my sister had gone directly from rehab to the living situation (in Hawaii, no less) that she had been trying to get to, the likelihood of her relapse....and the one after that....and the ones after that....would have been much less.

I am sending you all of the strength and hugs I can this morning. Remember: most of all, take care of YOU. Your life is the only one you can really control, and you're not doing anyone any favors by putting your own goals & dreams on the shelf so you can participate in the drama of his recovery. Remember to keep your eye on the prize: a happy life for yourself, no matter what he decides for himself.

Love,
GiveLove
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Old 04-30-2007, 07:52 PM
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Just wanted to Welcome you to SR. You have found a great resource of encouragement and support. Keep reading and posting, you will learn a lot.
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Old 04-30-2007, 09:04 PM
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Welcome, I'm glad you found us. Keep reading and posting. The best thing you can do for him is focus on you...Maybe some Naranon meetings... and let him focus on his recovery. It sounds like you have been very supportive...learnign what you can and writing to him all the time. Love and support...that's the bes thting we can offer the addicts we love. Hugs
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Old 04-30-2007, 10:01 PM
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welcome littleclement, i am glad you are here. you story is like so many here. we have all had our addicts come & go in rehab. i hope he makes it this time.it is all about people,places & things when he comes home.you have no control over him.he has got to stay clean for himself.keep coming back & work on your recovery.prayers for you both.
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Old 04-30-2007, 10:32 PM
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Hello everyone,

Let me begin by saying I am so grateful for the support you have all shown me, even though I am a total stranger to you. I had no idea how strong and connected this community is, I am in complete awe of all the unconditional warmth you have offered me. You have reminded me to think of ME, something I had forgotten to do for a long time.

After taking all your advice, I had decided to take a break from thinking about addiction. I have been singularly obsessed with researching addiction and supporting him. I've hardly thought about anything else, and it's taken a huge toll on me. I hadn't even realized until you recommended I look at what I need. So, I'll be taking a break from the forum for awhile, and taking a week or so to free myself completely from the environment, and just focusing on ME and relaxing. I think it will do me a world of good. I'm not going to read anything about heroin or addiction, and I'm not going to write him a letter every day. I desperately need some self-indulgence, so I'm going to take it.

There is much more I'd like to say, things I want to talk about like the way I am approaching the immensity of the commitment I may be entering when my boyfriend comes back from rehab. But, right now, instead of focusing on addiction and all its parameters, I'm going to go take a long, hot shower, read a little, and go to bed. I ESPECIALLY shouldn't be so obsessed with supporting him, when I can't even talk to him and he is in a different state. I should be taking this time to recharge and enjoy my life.

I had planned on going to my first NA meeting on Friday, but I'm going to wait another week before I attend a meeting. I'm going to spend my weekend free of the addict environment. On Saturday I'm going to my friend's new apartment and we are going to cook and paint and watch movies together, in a stress-free atmosphere, and I can't wait.

Again, thank all ofyou SO much for all of your advice and support. I am inexplicably grateful for everything you've offered me, and I only hope I can do the same for you at some point.

Many, many thanks to all of you, truly.

-Love and peace
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Old 05-01-2007, 12:22 AM
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Originally Posted by littleclement View Post
The wilderness program is an incredible system. Patients go on weeklong trips into the wilderness, go on a minimum five-mile hike a day carrying 75 pound packs. My boyfriend says that he has heard it is an amazing spiritual experience. I hope it is for him. Unfortunately, these trips mean he can hardly call me at all, or even send me letters. I still send him a letter almost every day.
My advice, and it is only advice for you to take or leave as you so desire, is to cut back on the letters. Please do not take that to mean stop the letters, cut back on them. Instead of writing to him, take some time to write for yourself. Either in a journal, here on SR or to another friend.

This gives you some time for yourself, and you help you start to adjust to your new life with new outlook!

Alera
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Old 05-01-2007, 01:45 AM
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I think your plans are terrific. I hope you enjoy this week & do exactely what you have said you are going to do.......focus on YOU!!!
SR will be here when you return.
Have a wonderful, relaxing week,
Love,
Diane
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Old 05-01-2007, 09:41 AM
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lc~

Sorry i'm a little late to your welcoming.

our stories seem very similar. my rabf is is a halfway house right now and i plan on visiting him in a few weeks for the first time since September!!!!! So i'm very excited!!

It took me a long time to do something for myself. your words sound like echos of mine. "i'll do whatever i need to do to support him"... i have learned in the past two years the best thing i can do for him is do for me. does that make sense?

anyway feel free to pm me anytime

enjoy your movies and painting

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Old 05-01-2007, 12:34 PM
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I won't be able to PM anyone until I have four more messages in my inbox But thank you for reading my post and replying. I've realized over the past couple of days from being on this forum that I need to focus much more on myself, and I have already begun to do so. I still feel heavy and it will take a little while to lift all this weight off my shoulders, but I'm already starting to feel better.

Have fun visiting your boyfriend! I can't wait to visit mine.
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Old 05-01-2007, 12:34 PM
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Thank you for the encouragement, Diane
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Old 05-01-2007, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Alera View Post
My advice, and it is only advice for you to take or leave as you so desire, is to cut back on the letters. Please do not take that to mean stop the letters, cut back on them. Instead of writing to him, take some time to write for yourself. Either in a journal, here on SR or to another friend.


Alera

Thank you for the advice, Alera. I've severely cut down on how much I write too him. It's started to affect me, writing someone letters every day and not being able to recieve any replies. It feels like talking to myself. Now, I talk to family and friends or I post on the forum, giving myself some attention instead of giving all my attention to him. I have been unhealthily attached and I've recognized that and begun to relax. Thanks again for the advice
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