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My boyfriend is a heroin addict

Old 03-23-2012, 08:58 AM
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dear Pock,
take a deep breath, fear does not like breath...fear is holding breath until you're blue in the face.
I can so empathize with the place you are in. From the outside it looks like this:
you have constructed this sense of containment for your fears. You have set these conditions: A). (favorable option) he is in a sober house; B). (stated non-option) he cannot come to your house, and fearful option C). (fear filled option) if neither of these then he will use.

I think that part of this is your attempt to set healthy boundaries. You have set the condition that he cannot come to your house, probably because you are trying not to enable. You want him to stay at the sober house, probably because it makes you feel safe...that it will encourage his sobriety and thus you will not have to lose him. And C. the two of you have decided amongst yourselves that if he leaves he will use and even overdose.

I think that as codependents trying to recover and set boundaries we still have the desire to contain and control creep up. The desire to contain and control is based in fear...and of course it is! We don't want to lose the person we love, and when we start setting boundaries and conditions then we get fearful that we will have to follow through.

Recovery in codependency seems to have some conundrums. Self awareness can feel like blame, but how are we to be blamed if we "didn't Cause it". In the efforts you are making to seek recovery I applaud you!! You went to a meeting and you are coming here...keep doing the work! I know you went to your first meeting, I would highly recommend to keep going and get yourself a sponsor. A sponsor is like your personal pulse taker as you maintain your journey to being healthy and happy! A promise of al anon/nar anon is that we can and will be happy whether or not the person we love is using. Pretty wild promise, but I can tell you from experience that it is true. I make deeper discoveries into this truth every day that I make a commitment to my recovery!! AND the bonus is that I know, I truly know, that my recovery is the best thing I CAN do for the man I love.

I picture the demon of addiction as this nasty beast that feeds on fear. (It's diet is a smorgasbord of fear, insecurity, dark secrets, shame, abuse, etc etc etc. and it eats heartache as dessert) Right now your boyfriends addiction is probably pretty hungry...people in the house know it, they handle it. You, however, are still caught in the web...and yes, some of your intimate conversations with your boyfriend are him expressing his fear and worry, perhaps what feels like somewhat "natural" and intimate sharing, but make no mistake...you each have a demon and they are hungry (they may have different appetites) but do what you can in recovery to NOT lay out a tempting picnic of FEAR.

Keep turning to love and peace and well being. SR and Your Group/Sponsor will keep guiding you to do so. There are promises in the principles! Fear only begets fear.
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Old 03-23-2012, 09:03 AM
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"He told me last night that he's been having trouble taking the mandatory 3 drugs test per week (urine tests). He said he has trouble urinating if someone else is in the room with him.
He told me that he's afraid they will kick him out of the house because he can't do this."

My AS tries the same line. The "trouble" is that it's much more difficult to substitute clean urine when someone else is in the room. Of course he's afraid they'll kick him out because he knows his urine is dirty, and he's setting the stage with you now for when he's kicked out.
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Old 03-23-2012, 10:54 AM
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Thank you for your words. I needed to be talked off the ledge this morning. I'm quickly realizing through this whole recovery process that I have my good days and then I have bad ones.
I'm trying SO hard to keep focusing on myself. I keep thinking to myself that I can't control what happens to him, and I can't be dragged on this roller coaster ride that he's on.
I'm mainly trying to work through the resentment I have towards him...and frankly, towards everyone else. I find myself almost angry at some of my friends who have normal relationships. Normal meaning, they are not dating addicts. When they talk about a problem in their relationship that seems so small to me, I would LOVE to have only small normal problems in my relationship. I almost resent the fact that they get to wake up everyday and not worry, when I'm waking up everyday worrying if today will be the day my boyfriend will stick a needle in his arm again.
I know I will eventually have to move on from my resentment towards my boyfriend, and let go of the hurt I have towards him for all of the chaos he's caused in my life, and his. I feel like if I don't let it go, we'll never be able to move forward from this.
As of right now, he's being allowed to stay in the house.
Trying to take this one day at a time.
I'm a planner, I make lists, I always am one day ahead of this one in my thinking and planning for everyday life. So trying to slow everything down to think just one day at a time, just try to get through today before thinking about tomorrow...this is a big adjustment for me.
Breathing....just breathing.
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Old 03-26-2012, 11:24 AM
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Happy Monday, all.

I'm having a rough time today
. I keep thinking about the what-ifs, which always get me.
I keep thinking about the possibility of him being in a sober house and still using. I think the codependent in me is coming through heavy today. I keep thinking about what is going to happen if he gets kicked out of this sober house because he's using, or what happens if he comes home after months and months and uses again.
I know all of these things are out of my control and if he wants to get high, he will get high.
I'm just a ball of emotions today!
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Old 03-27-2012, 04:02 AM
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Pock
Sorry you are going through all this, I feel your pain, I sense your fear, you also seem very desperate for a lot of answers now.
Well... how you are feeling is exactly how I was a few weeks ago, I go to Alanon everyday right now because that's how much it really helps, when people share in alanon you get to hear their experience, strength and hope.
I don't know if you believe in a higher power, but I do and I choose to call my higher power God. I trust my God with all my heart that he will take care of my son, throughout the day I visualize me placing my son in Gods hands.
Its very hard to let go, trust me I know I just kicked out my 19 Year old son because he choose to keep using drugs, and I will not enable him.
I once heard in a meeting that us co-dependents can actually love our addict to death, we do that by trying to control them too much, we try to fix them, etc., when we do too much we get in the way of their own learning and suffering natural consequences. You have to come to the realization that you didn't cause it, you can't control it,you can't change it. It sounds very simple but once you really get a deep understanding of what that means, its a very freeing feeling. Give all your worries and fears and powerlessness to God he controls everything. My best advice is you might need to let him go its his journey, you should probably take a step back, and see what he does with his life in the next several months before you invest too much more in the relationship.
I pray that you will find peace and serenity and learn the gift of letting go
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Old 03-27-2012, 07:38 AM
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Pock, as a woman who has been in a long term relationship with an on again/off again IV Heroin user, take it from me.. this will likely not be his last relapse. If you choose to continue your relationship, it is going to be one very bumpy roller coaster ride. My fiance says he has been clean for roughly 2 1/2 weeks this time around.. For now, I am giving him the benefit of the doubt because for the first time in over a year he is actually taking real steps toward recovery and not just pulling the wool over everyones eyes and telling us what we want to hear(which really, when I say 'we', I mean ME, because I am the only person left who he will really let in about this anymore.)

The thing is, you really do have to let him focus on his recovery, and begin to focus on your own. You cannot even begin to help him or consider "helping" him until you have done so for yourself, and when it all comes down to it, we cannot help the addicts we love. We cannot make them break the ties of addiction, it is something they have to arrive at on their own, and they must take the steps to end it on their own. The whole ordeal is very hard to go through, both the active addiction and the recovery.. you pretty much always feel alone, and you may even begin to resent him no matter where he is in addiction/recovery. I have gone through most of these phases. I have found that meditation can help, exercise, things that make you feel good and can help get your mind away from the chaos at hand. Work on you and put him in the shadows for a while.. take some time to really think about your relationship and what you are willing to put up with in your life. You'll need to consider what boundaries you want to set with him, without them you will be stuck and he will do as he pleases and think that he can get anything past you. Like I said, take time to consider your life and where you want to be in it, and if he is welcome in it. YOU are the most important thing in your life, and addiction should not determine who you are or where you are going in life.
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:58 AM
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I'm confused by how I'm feeling. I think I should be happy and feel good because he's going through all the steps I wanted him to. He went to detox, got into a sober house, goes to 7 meetings a week, participates in everything the sober house does, is starting to work again. I feel like I should be okay and start feeling normal again and I'm not.
I worry all day and night that he's going to relapse. I don't want to live in fear, and that's what I feel like is happening now.
I'm sad and angry that any of this even happened in the first place. And then I feel annoyed with myself that I got involved with someone who has an addiction problem.
I want to talk to him about all of this. We really haven't had a long conversation about everything that's happened. I know he needs to focus on him, so I'm giving him a good amount of time before we have any sort of conversation about the future, or boundaries, or anything like that. How long would you all suggest I wait before talking about any of MY feelings, or MY expectations? I don't want to put too much on his plate. I think it's important he focuses on himself for a while, I just don't think it's healthy holding all of these emotions I have inside.
I don't know why things aren't getting better in my own mind, since things have gotten so much better with his recovery.
I'm going to another nar-anon meeting tonight. I can't wait to get there, I definitely need this meeting so badly.
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:20 AM
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In my experience, holding in your feelings toward the whole situation is bad for both of you. He needs to feel the weight of what you have been going through. I waited until just recently to "unload" everything I was feeling on my fiance. I wish I had done it sooner instead of waiting 2+ years. This has been going on for a while in my life, the constant worrying, etc.. and I'm just NOW(these past few weeks) turning things around for ME. I stopped worrying because I know there will be relapses in the future. Think of it this way: Why worry about how much he has on his plate, when he hasn't considered how much you've got on yours? When I told my fiance everything I've felt and the emotions I've had to deal with, etc he nearly broke down. He hadn't once considered what I was holding within myself and the weight that I had to bear on my shoulders, he only thought about himself and his drug.. nothing else matters in active addiction. In my situation I was the only person who knew he was actively using aside from his "friends", and I made a conscious decision(a poor one at that) not to tell anyone else because I did not want to put his family through all of the stress again.. and I had to live with that every day. I had to deal with the pain and the fear and the complete and utter loneliness that came along with that decision. NOW he knows that pattern will not continue and if I do have suspicions of a relapse that I will not keep it to myself this time around. Boundaries are VERY, VERY important now and always, no matter what stage of addiction/recovery someone is in. I can't stress that enough. That may even be why you are still feeling so blah and as if nothing has taken a turn for the better. You've got to take care of YOU and put your boundaries out there asap. If you still don't feel ready for it and he is working the 12 steps, that could be your opening to do so. I'd just put some thought into it. Holding back what you've gone through isn't healthy for you, and he needs to know what his actions have done to you.. it's going back to that good ol' "for every action there is a consequence." And yes, it is important for him to focus on his recovery at this time, but he needs to see the whole picture.. not just what his addiction has done to him and his life, but what it has done to those who are still in his life.
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:30 AM
  # 29 (permalink)  
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. I keep thinking about the what-ifs, which always get me.
I keep thinking about the possibility of him being in a sober house and still using. I think the codependent in me is coming through heavy today. I keep thinking about what is going to happen if he gets kicked out of this sober house because he's using, or what happens if he comes home after months and months and uses again.
I know all of these things are out of my control and if he wants to get high, he will get high.


I'm confused by how I'm feeling. I think I should be happy and feel good because he's going through all the steps I wanted him to. He went to detox, got into a sober house, goes to 7 meetings a week, participates in everything the sober house does, is starting to work again. I feel like I should be okay and start feeling normal again and I'm not.
I worry all day and night that he's going to relapse. I don't want to live in fear, and that's what I feel like is happening now
.


Hi Pock: Just from my own experience with an AS, what helped me a bit was allowing myself just for a little while, to "go there". I had to allow myself to go ahead and think the worst, to think about my son relapsing, using while in rehab, using immediately after rehab, sniffing the stuff, shooting it up in his arm, smoking it up, even allowed myself to re- live the times of my son lying on his mattress in his bedroom, barely conscious, and me getting up the courage to touch his arm or leg to see if it was going to be warm, or the icy cold of death from respiratory distress or overdose. I allowed myself to think it, grieve for it, cried, and then accepted it as one possible reality. Only then was I able to start letting it go. It wasn't magic, it didn't happen overnight. It's a process, this letting go. You know how children go through growth spurts? Like when you haven't seen a niece or nephew for 3 or 6 months and then it seems like they've grown so much in such a small amount of time? I think our spiritual growth process is like that, it happens slowly, sometimes in spurts, but it moves forward if we nurture it and allow it to grow. We may not know it while it's happening, but then we look back and see how far we've come and see we really have made progress from where we began.

Worry will still rear it's ugly head from time to time, I suppose somewhat like a recovering addict's cravings. But the worry decreases over time. When I find myself worrying, I have learned that I need to consciously get busy in order to re-focus myself.

And on a bright note, I had one of those normal problems yesterday that you were describing Went to place a small, light box on the top shelf in the laundry room and the whole shelving unit crashed! It was one heck of a mess! Know what? I laughed and called my husband, and we giggled like teenagers that finally we had a problem that didn't involve drugs, offspring wanting money or in jail, or drama from our so-called adult kids. Then made plans to have fun building a nice, new wooden shelving unit in there.

It'll happen for you, when you're ready.
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Old 03-27-2012, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Pock89 View Post

I want to talk to him about all of this. We really haven't had a long conversation about everything that's happened. I know he needs to focus on him, so I'm giving him a good amount of time before we have any sort of conversation about the future, or boundaries, or anything like that.
Boundaries and attempts to control other people are often confused. A boundary begins with " I will/will not..." An intent to control someone else usually begins with " you will/ will not...or else...". Attempts to control other people do not work. Controlling our reactions is more than a full time job.

I do get involved in relationships with people who do not take responsibility for themselves. I have no need to communicate this boundary to other people because it is mine to enforce on me. I simply remove myself from the situation.

Might you use this down time to determine your boundaries for yourself. What sort of behaviors are unacceptable to you and if and when confronted by such behaviors, what are you willing to do to enforce your boundry? This tough love stuff is really about being tough with ourselves.
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:08 PM
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I'm sorry and I know how u feel. After 13 yrs of marriage my husband became an IV heroin user. I learned so much here on this site as well as just looking up the effects heroin has on ur brain and body. Its pure evil!!! My experience with trying to help my x was, I felt as if I was trying to save someone who was drowning. He was holding on to me for dear life and I would only manage to take small breaths before being pulled under again. Then the moment came when I had to decide whether my children where going to lose both parents or one. It took 3years to let go but I did, it was the hardest decision I had to make. Be strong and take care yourself first when your gut tells u to be careful, listen. No matter how loudly your heart scream.V
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Old 03-28-2012, 07:59 AM
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What kind of boundaries do you all think is acceptable to set? And when is an acceptable time to talk about these boundaries?
I don't want him to think that I'm okay with this happening again. I don't know if I can emotionally handle another relapse.
How do you all feel about the saying, relapse is part of recovery? Do you buy that, or think it's just an excuse addicts use when they are feeling week and slip up?
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Old 03-28-2012, 08:31 AM
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Relapse is definitely part of the recovery process, and a huge learning experience but understand there has to be some recovery that took place to use that word….a few weeks, months not using, still very much in behaviors that show active addiction without taking the drug is different than time in where the changes are becoming obvious, blame has faded away, personal responsibility steps in, others feelings are taken in consideration, work is being done to make amends, clean up the wreckage … You can see the difference.
Other than that it can be an excuse, just like the saying progress not perfection can be used as an excuse just to justify one’s own bad behavior.

Your boundaries are about you. What you will not tolerate, what you can’t live within, places you won’t be going, lines you know aren’t healthy for you to cross…

And you don’t need to talk about them to him, just make them and stick to them. This is your recovery now, his is different. Work your side!
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:07 AM
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How do you learn to live with the possibility of relapse everyday? I find myself so fearful all the time. I feel like I wake up everyday and wonder if today is the day that he's going to throw everything away.
I know that it's out of my control, and I need to worry about myself and my life. But he's a part of my life. I know that just because he relapses, my whole world doesn't have to spin out of control, but how do I deal with the roller coaster of emotions? I get so happy when he's clean and working his 12 steps, and then he'll relapse and I feel so sad for him.
How do you cope day to day with the possibility of relapse always in the back of your mind? I find it to be very draining and stressful at times.
If I just push the thought out of my head, I feel like I live in an unrealistic world. I KNOW the possibility of relapse is always there, so I can't just sit around and pretend it's not.
But if I try to prepare myself for it, I just work myself into such a ball of emotions and constant worry which is unhealthy.
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:52 AM
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Relapse may, just might, may possibly be...part of the recovery of my ex.

Thus far, thank god, relapse has not been part of my recovery from alcoholism...I think that I relapsed EVERY day before I found recovery and started WORKING it.

I do NOT want relapse to be part of MY recovery in alcoholism...so I do everything I can to try to stay deep in the middle of recovery.

And I slowly discovered that I no longer wanted to live with crack relapsing.

I no longer wanted to keep going back to that relationship that kept proving it included crack. So I started making a concerted effort to quit "relapsing in codependency" which, for me, meant going back against my own boundaries. My boundaries simply state that I cannot accept someone who uses crack (and all of its accompanying behaviors like lying and manipulation etc etc) in my relationship.

So...relapse MAY be a part of your partner's recovery program. Who knows?

But relapsing of any kind does not have to be part of your recovery...you get to decide.

Personally I believe that the "relapse is part of recovery" is only there because if it wasn't we would lose all those people who keep going back out...it is there in order to keep welcoming back a struggling addict. It is also my humble opinion that my ex has almost come to believe that the suffering and pain of "relapsing" (for 20 years) is a necessary part of his growth.

In my recovery I have found that pain does often result in growth...but you know what? Practicing gratitude, prayer, doing the next right thing, learning to show up in your life, reaching out to others, being of service, practicing self care...(and so much more) ALSO offer up a huge amount of GROWTH. Relapse is an option, a painful, shocking, brutal, self abusing option. Doing the work and practicing recovery because you never want to use again and you would rather do the work of building your life...that is another option.

For addict or codependent.
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:44 PM
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I live in the possibilities of each day ... not waiting for some shoe to drop, that might never ... what a horrible existence.

In order to get on with things for me and work on myself, there was a lot of acceptance in the simple reality of it all.

My husband is an addict.
His using carried consequences, some of them horrible and yet all of which were his, including the possibility of death. And make no mistake they do know death is a possibility, and even in that there is an acceptance. They accept the risk of using.
I also accepted that I can not keep anyone alive, will them to live or be there will to live, they must live for themselves ... really it doesn’t work any other way.
Once I got this then the work was so much easier to do for me and on me. Peace was easier to find too.

You are going to have to let go, find some acceptance in the situation, and understand you have no control, even your boundaries aren’t going to get him well and if you set them with any reason having to do with him and what you think they would do to help him, or hurt him for that matter then you are cheating yourself.
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Old 04-02-2012, 07:51 AM
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A couple of days ago, I went to lunch with my boyfriend. It's been about 30 days that he's been in this sober house.

I asked him if he ever feels remorse for what he's done and he says that he doesn't really feel badly. He says that as he's working through the steps, the step about making amends to the people he has hurt is going to be the hardest one.
He said something like, "it is what it is, relapse just happened".

My question is, should I EVER expect an apology? Or is this just the nature of an addict?
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:03 AM
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Verbal apologies mean nothing...watch his actions, they will tell you the whole story.

So, what are you doing for yourself, how are those meetings? And, have you set your bounderies?
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:26 AM
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I'm struggling with the idea of whether or not I should expect an apology because I willingly put up with all of his addict behavior.
But it does worry me that he has no real remorse about what he's done and all of the lives he's affected.
I don't know if it's just too early in his recovery to be expecting some kind of apology, or to expect him to feel a certain way about what has happened, or if this is just how addicts are, and he's just doing what addicts do.

I'm going to another Naranon meeting tomorrow night.
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:47 AM
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Pock,

Just from my experience, my BF has a lot of guilt over things he did while he was using. *When I met him; he was clean. So I don't know how quickly those feeling came to him.*
But he did relapse after we were together.
I disagree in that a verbal apology means nothing; it does however depend on the sincerity behind it. My BF has sincerely apologized to me for the things that he did during his relapse; but he has also gone to great lengths to show by his actions how sorry he is; and then most important- he's been actively working on the issues that caused it in the first place.

I have also met some really great people here on SR that are recovering themselves, and while most have guilt, some struggle with saying I'm Sorry to those they have hurt; the whole confrontation and just admitting how deeply their actions did affect others. *

I would give it some time.*
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