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How to talk

Old 08-19-2007, 01:33 PM
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How to talk

Since my boyfriend has admitted to his drug abuse problem and his depression, we have really only been able to talk on the phone. He is across the country from me stationed on a military base. When we talk on the phone he always sounds depressed he is tired and has a low frustration tolerance. He is seeking treatment within the military but cant get it right away due to other circumstances. In the interim I noticed I am having trouble keeping the conversation light, staying away from the issue of drug abuse, because I dont want our conversations to be just about that, and neither does he. I am met with silence usually if I bring up anything having to do with our relationship or if I am needing reassurance that he still wants to seek help (he has told me a few times he still does) I need some advice as to how to get the laughter back into him and the closeness back into our relationship. One of his coping mechanisms is to just not deal with things obviously or to push people away. How do i talk to him? He is very depressed waiting for possible discharge from the military and waiting for treatment.
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Old 08-19-2007, 03:59 PM
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Hi Graci,

Your care and concern for your abf comes across in your post.
"How do you keep the conversation light?"
If you goal is to make him feel better, then it's important to realize that feeling better is counter-productive to his recovery. If he's really facing his addiction, feeling the full force of those feelings can help him start the road to recovery.

If your goal is to make you feel better, like everything's going to be OK, it's time to examine why you need to feel that way?

I've been on the rollercoaster with my abf for three years. The best thing you can do is not sugar-coat the situation. In my limited experience, the military does a good job dealing with substance abuse issues - they have a lot of experience.

Give yourself some rest. You don't need to manage or control this situation. It's probably better for you and him if you don't. When my abf went to re-hab the first time, I called and begged his doctor to let me send his pillow from home because the pillow at re-hab wasn't comfortable for him (He went to the same facility that Kate Moss went to. The pillows were fine!). LOL. I was trying so hard to help. The doctor kindly but firmly told me to get some counseling to explore my need for care-taking. I thought he just didn't understand. He was right.

HUGS to you!
Molly


P.S. read the stickys at the front of the forum. They are very helpful.
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Old 08-19-2007, 04:07 PM
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glad you are here. with him in the service i do not think you or him will have a choice about where things will go with him.they may release him or they may give him treatment.just keep it postive with him & let him know you love him.there is not anything u can do for him but pray. keep the conversation & the focus on you. i will say a pray for him & you.
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Old 08-19-2007, 04:15 PM
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Graci-

Great advice before me.
I have to agree with lightquest. In a sense, it is not your responsibility to keep the conversation light- addiction is very serious and can ruin both your lives as well as end his.
In my experience, someone must hit a bottom and live in utter hell until they are ready to get the help that they need. His enduring the pain of this moment may be the best thing for him in terms of his willingness and ambition to recover and live a full and healthy life.
I know it is hard and you want to be there for him, but remember yourself.
I do not know if he has been open and honest with you about his addiction the entire time, but I know for me my abf hid so much from me, lied to me time and time again and deceived me to hide and use in peace. We all suffer from a loved one's addiction.

I always found myself telling abf what he needed to do, how much he deserved a bright future and how much I wanted us to be together in that future. I honestly believed our love was enough. Sadly, addiction is so much more powerful than that- a gripping, lethal force. I never thought I could loathe a disease- a non-entity so much.

I think it's pretty hard to keep the conversations light. I would encourage you to tell him you are there for him and believe in him. That is what I try to do and many times when I catch myself going off on some lengthy inspirational speech I have to stop myself and remember that nothing I say or do will matter unless he TRULY feels it and sees it for himself.

Feel free to PM me anytime- I understand. SR is here for you. This is an incredible forum that has taught me SO much.
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Old 08-19-2007, 09:54 PM
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((graci))

Keeping things light and getting that "spark" back can be difficult when your every thought is overshadowed by addiction. My advice would be to truelly talk to myself about my role in the whole thing. Have I truelly "let go" of his addiction. If not, I would work on that aspect of myself. Then, once I was comfortable with "me" in that department, I would be prepared before the next conversation with him on the phone. I would make a list of things to talk about. Something to fill in any blank areas of our conversation. Making the list in advance would give me time to make sure the subjects were light, maybe funny and had nothing to do with his addiction. Talk about you maybe, and what is happening in your life, things that have made you giggle.

Just some thoughts.

B
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Old 08-20-2007, 01:08 PM
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Thankyou all for your kind words. I speak with my boyfriend everyday. What I have the most trouble with is not feeding into his statements that I know in some way are said to get a reaction out of me. I react without thinking and then we get into this neverending circle, of the same argument over and over. For example last night in a conversation with him he said, I dont know ir I want to move back in with you if I get discharged from the military. i asked him why, and he said I want my inependence, I said you have lived with me for 2 years and have had every opportunity to have independence, I asked for rent and help around the house. His response was that "well I shouldnt have to stay home just because you have a day off" I said "you were goin out to do drugs, is that why you want to live alone so that you can go back to doing that without me knowing? His answer was "Ill smoke pot when and where i want to" (almost sounded like a rebellious child) Although he has said he will go to rehab because of depression and much harder drugs that he uses he still hangs onto his pot as the end all be all... I then go into trying to remind him how unmanageable his life had become when he was just smoking pot everday all day, couldnt hold a job couldnt pay bills spent all day with friends looking to buy weed and smoke it, and just wasnt the same person anymore. He says well I wouldve never had to hide it and lie and it never would have escalated had u just accepted it in the first place. So in I go in the same patteren as always "OH SO NOW you are blaming me!!!!! and around and around we went. i need to react differently, to try to stay out of these situations. Other things that I have trouble with .. He will make a so called joke.. "yeah I just traded firewatch with someone for a big rock of crack." (I know this isnt true, not where he is at) But he is saying it to get a reaction out of me, and Why I dont know. What do I do in these situations???
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Old 08-20-2007, 01:27 PM
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((((Graci)))
Given the direction the conversation seems to be going I'd be very tempted to cut him loose to think about his options, his choices and what awaits him should he be discharged.
I bothers me to see you waiting and wishing while he takes you for a ride around the block with his comments. I think its nasty, and inconsiderate to use you in this way.
Its no wonder you can't keep it light hon, he's stepping all over you.
Sadly, there's not much to be "light " about when dealing with this stuff.
JMO...
Tell him you love him, you're rooting for him everyday and you'll talk to him when he's able to work through some of this...himself.
Wishing you the best...I know its hard
((((Hugs))))
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Old 08-20-2007, 01:57 PM
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Part of me thinks that he hates himself so much for the situation that he has placed himself into and hates where he is at so he makes these comments to try to pick a fight so that he can feel better or just so he doesnt feel so bad
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Old 08-20-2007, 05:24 PM
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Graci,

I have to agree with cece on this one. You have been through so much because of his drug usage, and it doesn't sound like you've given yourself much of a chance to heal. He's made his own bed, and unfortunately, he's going to have to lie in it, at least until he can get the help he needs. It sounds like he is almost trying to pull you into this bed of misery with him, and that's not fair. You didn't cause his addiction, so don't let him drag you through hell over his mistakes. Maybe you don't have to cut him off altogether if you're not ready for that yet... but I can't help but feel that everyday is seeming like a bit much when he's acting the way he is. Maybe cut it down to once a week or so? That way you can have time to accumulate other things to talk about, if you so desire? Personally I think a clean break for the time being would be easier, but it's up to you. Either way, just remember to try to do what makes you happy.

*hugs and prayers*
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Old 08-20-2007, 05:42 PM
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im not ready to make a clean break of it.. And although sometimes he is not nice it isnt all the time.. Other times he just calls to see how I am doing and I think because he actually misses me. I miss him as well, atleast the part of him that I fell in love with. I need to have faith. I did tell him that if he is having a bad day woould he be more conscientious not to take it out on me or to pick a fight, he agreed so next time I feel he is doing this I will let him know and suggest that we hang up and that he can call me back when he is feeling better. Its a little step, but its a boundary and me letting him know that it isnt acceptable at least. And it would also keep me from feeding into him..
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Old 08-20-2007, 05:44 PM
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Well, hopefully that will do some good. Keep us posted
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Old 08-20-2007, 05:47 PM
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You're a smart gal Graci!

Lady & Cece offer, gentle, wise advice.

You're more wise to his addict behavior than you realize. You mentioned his comments about the pot escalation being "your fault," his picking fights with you, his sometimes childish behaviors - and how those behaviors shift attention away from the real problems. You are ahead of a lot of us who needed counseling to see that much.

Maybe a break or limiting the amount of conversation will allow you the freedom to step away from his "quacking" and notice what a wonderful, lovable person you are. I'm not suggesting you have to leave him, just give yourself a little room for air.

My grandmother used to tell me that whatever problems you have will still be there in the morning. A good night's sleep will help you see them more clearly. I think that was her way of saying you've got to take care of yourself before you can set anything right.

I'm sending prayers
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Old 08-20-2007, 06:02 PM
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Sometimes I think Im way too smart for my own good. Im a healthcare professional amd have worked in psychiatric hospitals, and ER. I see what happens to addicts and I see the lies that they tell us, I see them end up dead.. Sometimes I have this glimpse of understanding of what goes on in his mind (the mind of an addict) I relate it like this.. He wants to use, so he goes out and does it not caring who he is hurting if he is stolen or what the consequences are at the time, Its like tunnel vision. My own experience of this is I want him to be sober and clean, sometimes I have gotten carried away and have done everything in my power to try to make it happen not noticing that it is hurtim me, him, or others indirectly, its all I focus on. The 2 mind sets are very similar I think, although Im not putting dangerous substances in my body. The other thing that I know is that after a binge, he always realizes what he has done, feels shame guilt and shocked at himself realizing it isnt healthy, but will binge again unable to control the compulsion. Alot like myself I realize that what i am doing borders on paranoid, compulsive behavior, and have told myself many times Im not gonna enter this arena again, yet i do it, because in the instant that I think he is using again there is this overwhelming feeling of anxiety or panic and need to find out, to do something to make that feeling go away, so i give into my compulsions as well.. I guess thats my self insight for the day.. I keep asking why why why, well I think i know why. There are feelings at times that he is unable to deal with (boredom, low self esteem, people being dissapointed in him ) that create that same sense of urgency to not want to feel that way anymore, and bam he goes and buries it. Make any sense???
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Old 08-20-2007, 06:43 PM
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It makes all the sense in the world graci.
You have a lot of tools...tools that take many of us a long time to acquire.
If you're like me it takes a while for your heart to catch up to your head.

Take the time you need to focus on you, even if it means not talking for a while, or at the very least, ending the conversation if it starts to go south.
He can choose to speak with respect, and continue to communicate.
Meetings are a great way to keep the focus on you.
You're doing great
(((Hugs)))
Cece
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Old 08-20-2007, 08:50 PM
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One of the first documents I saw that helped me understand how sick and crazy I'd become because of addiciton was a chart that showed addict traits in one column and codie traits in the other....As you so accurately wrote, the descriptions were virtually identical.

Have you tried any Alanon or Naranon meetings? I found the face to face support to be extremely helpful. Hugs
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Old 08-20-2007, 11:04 PM
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I used this as my response for a long time, and it fits a variety of people and circumstances.

I love you so much
You're so smart, and
I know you're going to find your way.

It put the focus back on HIM and what he was doing. He knows I love and support him, but I 'm not going to participate in the drama or get a front row seat to watch the show. If he is going to get clean and sober, he'll do it for himself and not for anyone else. And he'll do it when it's his time, not on my time... Al Anon saved my life and showed me that I mattered, and that I could live a full happy healthy life no matter what HE was doing.

Hugs

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