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dealing with a relapse

Old 03-25-2012, 02:12 PM
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dealing with a relapse

my boyfriend, whom i live with, went to a 30 day inpatient program for heroin after i told him i couldn't be with him unless he got help. the first couple weeks i was quite miserable, worrying that it wouldn't work, that he may leave me, that he'd realize he had only been using me, etc. i finally found this site and started focusing on myself, realizing that i too had a problem. long story short, things were great the first couple weeks he had been home. i felt like i was falling in love with him all over again, only this time it was the real him. this made the first slip up more devastating than i could have imagined. he had been sober almost 60 days. i could tell right away he was very remorseful and ashamed of what he had done. he told his sponsor and continued his outpatient and going to meetings so i was hopeful that it was just a slip up. unfortunately it happened again two weeks later and yet again last night. through reading threads on here, i realized that i am working harder at his recovery than he is. i drive him to his meetings, i nag at him to call his sponsor, i urge him to call people he's met at meetings instead of hanging out with old "friends." i was talking to my mother today, who is a recovered alcoholic, and at first i was asking questions like, should i still let him use my phone to call his sponsor? should i still take him to meetings? how will he get back on his feet without me? (i locked him of our apartment last night and don't plan on letting him back until he can prove he's sober) she asked me how he got money to get drugs since he's been out of a job since he came back from rehab. in all honesty, i have no clue how he managed to get high, but he had to have put a decent amount of effort into it. he has no car, no phone, no money.. i came to a bit of a revelation during this conversation. if he can find a way to get high, he can find a way to get to a meeting and to stay sober. right? i know i need to hold him more accountable and to stop trying to manage his recovery.. it's HIS journey. i'm just having a hard time detaching myself from the situation. a big part of me still feels he needs my help to stay sober. i know my thinking is incorrect since even with my help he's relapsed.. i would really appreciate the advice of others who have been in my position. thanks for listening
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wicked (03-25-2012)
Old 03-25-2012, 06:45 PM
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kat,

I lived with my ex too...and after two years, after "relapse" after "relapse" (really just spread apart using) I locked him out after the last one, and then asked him to pack his things.

I still love the good half of that man, and probably always will, I just simply could NOT stand having crack (and all of the behaviors that go with it, and I probably don't even know the half of it!!) in my life anymore. I couldn't have him without the crack because for whatever reason he couldn't/wouldn't really be done with it.

Over those two years I worked really hard, at my own sobriety, at his, and at my own codependency. This means that my way of "helping" kept morphing into more detached, healthier ways of interacting. I think letting him go this last time was the healthiest thing I could have possibly done...for him and for me.

I don't know what will happen in the future. All I know was that the using/reacting; addiction/despair; lies/intuition/fear/blame/shame/hurt/deceit/etc etc etc., wasn't working and was unhealthy for both of us. It has been 5 weeks since I said "no more" and every day gets lighter, brighter, better understanding, and better compassion for him too.

My advice? You can only know what you know when you know it. Instead of trying to "help" him you can put that effort into understanding yourself, read everything here, talk to people, keep loving yourself...and start to learn to trust: yourself.
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hopeful49455 (03-25-2012)
Old 03-25-2012, 09:44 PM
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Wow Kat, I think we are deff cut from the same cloth (if not seperated at birth-lol)! Long story short, I am in a committed long term (live in) relationship with an opiate addict. Just a short time ago I was (and still may be) a SEVERE codependent, chronic enabler... and am still working on my own recovery from him, whom I consider my drug of choice!

He recently (just short of 2 wks ago) entered in-patient treatment for the 2nd time. During the 1st go 'round I remember loathing the saying "relapse is a part of recovery". It was my biggest fear; and there was not enough Al-Anon, family therapy, SR posts in the world to convince me otherwise!

Before his decision to seek help (the 1st time) I spent every waking second living for him. I checked up on him constantly (amazing how far stalking has come thanks to modern technology), took off of work to stay home and try to keep him sober, plotted my plan of action if I walked in to a dead body on the couch after a 12 hr. shift, stayed up all night to make sure he kept breathing, etc.

The 1st 24 hrs of treatment #1 were a breeze! I felt calm and relief in being able to finally breathe. I knew he was safe and sober for the 1st time in years. Then came reality. I felt lost and empty without him. Started to 2nd guess our relationship. Severe paranoia and anxiety soon followed.

I now see that although he was actively dealing with his own issues, I failed to deal with mine! I was literally withdrawing from him and his addiction in those early days. I yearned to be needed; and as miserable as I was months earlier, it felt strange to go even 1 day without crying and screaming.

I started regular Al-Anon meetings, and attempted to "put myself 1st". Looking back now, I see that we BOTH made HUGE mistakes!!! From day one, he was there for US, not for himself. Although he learned so much in those 90 days, the end result was the same... Get through this, be cured, live happily ever after! I don't doubt that at the time we both thought we were doing all we could, but I now see the truth.

REHAB/RECOVERY/ETC. is really really REALLLYYY hard!!! For some addicts it only takes one try, and they do live happily ever after... But for most, it's a lifelong struggle! And for us family members, spouses, gf's, bf's enablers, codependents... It's just as tough!

This time around, we are both determined to do things differently! The 2nd time around, for me at least, is a bit easier... I know what to expect (to an extent), and see what I did wrong last time. I also truly accept that no matter how great things get, it could all go to S**T tomorrow. Either way, we are both 150% committed to our OWN recovery, regardless of whether or not we end up together in the future.

Just remember that everyone has good days as well as bad, and every situation is unique! I'm not advising you to stay or leave, just saying that just like your addict can only get better when he/she is truly ready... Only you can know if you're strong enough to stay, or fed up enough to leave!

Just know that you are not alone... And if you haven't already, check out Al-Anon. As scary as it is to walk through the door of that 1st meeting, the peace of being around people who have truly walked in your shoes is immeasurable! Good luck to you guys, and you're both in my prayers! Sorry for rambling with this pos, but it's impossible to avoid once I get going Just enjoy sharing my lil bit of experience regarding addiction and recovery... Although I feel the need to attach a disclaimer saying: "I am super new to recovery... Take every letter I type with a grain of salt!!!"
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SeekingGrowth (03-26-2012)
Old 03-26-2012, 06:02 AM
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Welcome Kat! I'm so glad you've found us.
I'm in a similar situation as you are. My boyfriend is a heroin addict. He was clean for 2 years when I met him, and recently relapsed. I've never been an addict so I don't really have any experience being on his side of things. He led me to believe it was just a slip up and he was getting back on track immediately.
Unfortunately, he wasn't done using yet. After about a month of steady using, he went to detox in the beginning of January, came home to a hero's welcome because he wanted help, and within days was back to using again.
He got really bad towards the end of February. He's in construction and was laid off because of the winter months, so income was very low for him. He ran out of money and was actually asking me to buy him drugs towards the end. I kicked him out of the house and told him the only thing I will help him with was a ride to detox. So I drove him there, he stayed for about a week, and is now living in a sober house about 30 minutes away from home. We're still very much together, we never broke up during any of this. I'm in love with this man and feel like I've been to hell and back again because I wanted to be loyal and wanted to help him and I felt like if I left him, I would have failed in my mission to get him clean. I felt like I had to save his life.
I'm a firm believer that you BOTH have to be in recovery. You have to let him work on himself. I know it's scary to let go, because it feels like you're going to lose your relationship if you stop fighting but he NEEDS this time to find himself. You don't have to break up, but just take a step back and give him space to allow him to pull himself back up again. And take the time you need to pull yourself back up again too. You'll be no help to yourself or anyone else if you don't concentrate on what you need and on your recovery.
Best of luck to you both.

Keep posting!
<3
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Old 03-26-2012, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by kat89 View Post

my boyfriend, whom i live with, went to a 30 day inpatient program for heroin after i told him i couldn't be with him unless he got help.
Ultimatums do not work.


the first couple weeks i was quite miserable, worrying that it wouldn't work, that he may leave me, that he'd realize he had only been using me, etc.

" It" never works unless one works it. Rehab is not a magic cure. Best case, it can teach a highly motivated addict some of the tools of recovery. It's up to the addicted person to use those tools or not/


i realized that i am working harder at his recovery than he is.

Most of us have resembled that remark at one time or another.

i'm just having a hard time detaching myself from the situation.
He's unemployed, has no money, no car, no phone and no place to live unless you enable him to sustain this fantasy life without responsibilities or consequences. He's clearly not helpless given he manages to find some way to fund his need for dope. Stealing, acting as a drug courier and/or selling drugs is the most common way to fund addiction to dope and end up in prison on a convicted felony judgment.

Can you separate your hopeful fantasy of who you want and need him to be and focus on the reality of his current behaviors?

Don't you deserve someone who takes full responsibility for themselves- works, owns a car, maintains insurance on the car, pays rent and bills- just the normal stuff adults do?
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Old 03-26-2012, 01:16 PM
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outtolunch, i appreciate the blunt response. i feel like i do know deep down that everything you said is true, i just don't want to accept it. i focus entirely too much on the fantasy. when you state the facts, it seems ridiculous for me to even love him. but i do. he wasn't a heroin addict when we started dating. i want that person back more than anything..

the landlord let him into my apartment this morning. not much i can do about that since his name is on the lease. thankfully he didn't argue with me to stay. he knows he messed up. and he even stated that it's probably for the best. (although he was probably just telling me what i wanted to hear) he knows he has to want to quit for himself. i told him i can't do anything for him anymore, that it's all up to him. it's scary to think of him being on his own knowing that he can easily fall back into a full on relapse, but i have to keep reminding myself it's his choice if he wants to be a homeless junkie or if he wants to really change. i'm just so afraid that he's never going to stop feeling sorry for himself and end up dead from an overdose. i feel like i could never forgive myself for kicking him out if that were to happen.

thank you to everyone for sharing your stories. it's comforting to know that i'm not alone.
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Old 03-26-2012, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by kat89 View Post

i'm just so afraid that he's never going to stop feeling sorry for himself and end up dead from an overdose. i feel like i could never forgive myself for kicking him out if that were to happen.
Since you appreciated the bluntness, allow me to persist.

Right up there with the hopeful fantasy of who you need and want him to be is the hopeful fantasy that you can control and cure his addiction. If love were that powerful, absolutely none of us would be here. There is only one cause of death by OD of heroin and that's addiction. He's likely going to use no matter where he sleeps. The more we impose ourselves between someone and the consequences of their behaviors, the less likely they are every going to consider alternatives.

Please know:
You did not cause this.
Your cannot control this.
You cannot cure this.

This is not personal. He's not using at you. It just feels that way, right now.
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Old 03-26-2012, 06:38 PM
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" i drive him to his meetings, i nag at him to call his sponsor, i urge him to call people he's met at meetings instead of hanging out with old "friends." "

I've tried stuff like this, I've even tried to get my addict to get medical care (he badly needs it) and other things that any normal person would do for themselves.

After a long time of this type of behaviour I had to give up, simply put, I have no control over what the addict does. it's my choice if I want to watch the addict destroy themselves of not. nagging is fruitless. Suggesting shows love, but what they do (or anyone does) is up to them and no amount of anything we do can change that.
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Old 03-27-2012, 03:12 PM
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hands off the addict. he will do what he will do & there is nothing u can do about it. concentrate on you & your recovery. read around, go to meetings for you & keep coming back here. we r here to walk thur this with u. prayers, hope
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:31 PM
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is it wrong for me to still talk to him? we've e-mailed back and forth a couple times since i've kicked him out and relief washes over me every time i hear from him. i get so worried about him that even a few words make it easier to sleep at night. i don't plan on enabling him in the slightest. we've talked about us both being unhealthy and that time apart is for the best. i know it's a slippery slope, and that by talking, it's just easier for him to manipulate, but i still haven't given up hope that one day he will have is life together. the seed has been planted and he knows what he needs to do.. and that he has to do it without me this time.
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