Recovering Heroin Addict needs break from relationship - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information
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View Poll Results: Is this a temporary or permanent break
Why cut out the positive people in your life? 1 33.33%
What to spot in terms of an active heroin activity 2 66.67%
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Old 04-01-2014, 04:33 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question

Recovering Heroin Addict needs break from relationship


Hi, hello, and thank you for reading my post. I am new to the site and new to the world of substance addiction/recovery. I'm sorry if I may be posting in the wrong section. I made sure to read through the site to get an idea of what is expected and, in the process, I was very comforted by the information and insight and support contributors have shared on this site.

I started dating the most wonderful, sweetest, loving, tender and intelligent man a little over 7 months ago. Early into the relationship, he told me he had been addicted to heroin, was clean for 4 years and had a short relapsed just 3 months before we started dating. When I met him he was on the Subutex program. Being so u familiar with heroin and recovery, I didn't know what to look for, or if I even had anything to look for. He seemed happy and well adjusted. And in the ensuing months, I would learn about the side effects of his medication - the stomach pains, bowel problems, insomnia, nightmares, fear. And then, during the second month of our relationship, his exGF suddenly filed to have full custody of their kid, and only allowing him supervised every-other-weekend custody. This just built up his stress, causing some slight depression and a lot of anxiety. He would have his low moments and I was there for him. With me, he seemed happy. We had an active relationship, hiking, biking, camping, roadtrips, you name it. And when home, romantic nights, movies, intriguing conversations. I offered a "normal" relationship; no drama, no stress. That's just how I am. I remember when "Something About Mary" came put and my friends and family were joking that they must have based the character of Mary on me - just to give you guys perspective into my lifestyle and attitude. And then 4 months in came the first fight. Honestly, it felt like he was misunderstanding some things I would say, as if looking for something to fight about. It took awhile because I'm very even tempered, preferring to always rationally breakdown an argument without resorting to any attacking-like behavior. So he finally get a rise out of me and then and he would tell me that we need to break up because he doesn't think our relationship will work. I tried to figure out how it went from talking about what to eat for dinner to breaking up. I'd see that trying to get him to talk about it drove him tears, as if it wasn't something he really wanted to do. I would fix the situation as best as I can, calm him down and we would be good again. this happened again a couple weeks later about another misunderstanding and he would just go right to, "I don't think we are good for each other. I think we should break up." But I fixed that break up too. From then, we worked on communicating better with each other to avoid these misunderstandings and extreme reactions. Things proceeded forward. I had met his family and fell in love with them, and they with me, especially his mom and sister - the two he is closest to. Everything continued well on and it seemed we were finally on a good path. I was there for him when he attempted to get off Subutex at an inpatient place for a week. That was unsuccessful and he went right back on Subutex. His anxieties were getting even worse. But, we were okay and there were no shake ups in our relationship. We were happy and in love, or so I thought. A week ago, he told me that he needed to take a break from the relationship. He said that he needed to focus on his recovery and God. I couldn't understand why and he said he was afraid he was going to relapse again. I still couldn't understand. Why would our relationship cause him to relapse if we weren't having problems (2 misunderstandings in 7 months)? When we were together we were always having fun and enjoying each others' company. He kept telling me that he needs to do this and it's not that he doesn't love me but that he can't be in a relationship. He even admitted that he used once during our relationship. I was shocked and my trust just went out the window. All I thought about was what if I caught something from him because he was using. I didn't know if he was sharing needles or what. He said that he didn't shoot up because he didn't want any marks on his body that would reveal he had relapsed. But at this point in our relationship, I was already in love and I didn't want the break up. But he was adamant about it. He would say that he needed to take a break, and then he would later say that we shouldn't be together and that I would find someone better for me. Now that sounded permanent as oppose to just taking the break. He teetered between describing it as a permanent break up and a temporary break. Then, he would tell me how he's not good for me and that he would need to focus on recovery and get better first. He needed to focus on God, his recovery and his kid and couldn't be in a relationship with me even though he really loved me. I tried to get him to explain whether this was permanent or temporary and he would say he didn't know. because he needed to get back on track with recovery. I started researching and learned that he shouldn't have been in a relationship in the first place, for the first year at least. We talked again and I told him I understood and that in a year, we'll see where we're at, to which he responded that a year would be too long. So I'm still confused about whether this is permanent or just a break. And the last couple days he'd text me randomly, saying how he was just thinking about me or that he was looking at something that reminded him about me or how much he wishes he could be with me at that moment but has to fight it. Mind you, these texts were all him. I kept my distance and didn't respond except to text him that I hope he gets better. no I-Love-Yous or I-Miss-Yous, nothing. Sometimes I felt he just wanted to take a break. He tells me he basically has to let go of his feelings for me and focus on sobriety, and he doesn't know what's going to happen.

What I don't get is, why cut out something that is a good thing in his life? With all the negative stuff, why cut out things that are a positive in his life? And what could he possibly mean by telling me that he has to forget his feelings for me and focus, and then say something like a year is too long to be separated. Is this some behavior that is typical of recovery/use or just specific to him?

Any input would be greatly appreciated Thank You
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Old 04-01-2014, 04:50 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi and welcome to SR im sure youll find lots of support here. Im fairly new to the board myself but have made "some" progress since getting ideas/encouragement and some backup for me from others who have been/are where im at.

I dont know what program your ABF is working, mine is on the subutex and supposed to be doing SMART (but he didnt show up for his first session of a weeklong course so has to now wait for another offer).. i can relate to the side effects of the subutex, though AH outrightly denies these, the "on edge" when his dose starts to wear off, the stomach problems, the irritability etc. and what makes it worse, i am nothing like you and a pure reactor, so i react to his mood swings with mood swings of my own (but those are MY issues that i have to own).

I wish i could give you the answer.. but honestly, my AH's brain baffles me as much as your ABF's does yours. We too can go from harmlessly discussing where to get dinner from to a full blown, screaming, cursing arguement which invariably ends in AH storming off and "leaving me" (he knows that that triggers my ptsd and abandonment issues, so i think its cruel for him to play that card time and again)..

Maybe your ABF is relapsing and doesnt want you to witness this? maybe the subutex is playing up and his dose needs adjusting?

All i can say is, had i known what i know now, i would have focused on MYSELF a LONG time ago.. there are different approaches to dealing with an ASO... we had a long discussion about it on one of my recent posts and i found a "home" with a non 12step program, but lots of people find that 12 step programs really help them. In both approaches you learn to take care of yourself, to look after number one. For me, the bonus of the "alternative" method is that it actively works to help your SO into sobriety, you encourage the journey to being clean and play an active role if you wish to do that.. or you may choose that enough is enough and you are equipped with the tools to detach.

12 step programs are wonderful resource to get to know YOU better and to learn to improve YOUR life..

Whichever way you go, i would encourage you to get some help for YOU, maybe you can keep in touch with ABF's mom and sister?

Good luck
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Old 04-01-2014, 07:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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It would have made my life a lot easier if my husband was willing to take a break from our relationship to take care of himself. He's about 24 days sober from heroin. I had no idea he was doing it, it was going on about 6 months but became a constant in his life over the last couple. There was a serious opiate addiction before that, that I underestimated. We have a 2 year old and I'm 7 months pregnant. He wants back in our lives and says it's not his fault my life is hard from being a single mom, that was my reaction to his addiction. I called bs, him shooting up in our bathroom was not safe for me or the kid. Now I have to attend therapy & martial counseling & Alanon, and I am very resentful of the idea that I need a program to fix me because of the situation he has put us in. So....you have to choose what is right for you, but him wanting to focus on himself could be a very good thing. My husband is out of the house till I have some trust again to be able to live with him, so right now he goes to treatment & AA/NA meetings then hangs out with his sister or brother or sponser or goes ice skating or mountain biking or other fun things while I am working full time & mommy full time as well. To be fair, he has been coming over to our house & working on things that have needed done for a long time as well. Addiction is selfish. Early recovery is selfish. Good luck to you-This road sucks.
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Old 04-01-2014, 12:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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sadwife...so honest.
thank you
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Old 04-03-2014, 03:52 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you so much SadWife and LostHope for sharing your insight and experiences. It is comforting to know that I'm not going crazy. It felt like I had lost my inner compass and didn't which way was up and which way was down anymore. It has been such a difficult and heart breaking time for me, but I can't even imagine what it must be like to deal with an addict/recovering addict while remaining strong and functioning for a family with children. But both your perseverance is amazing and I hope that you will be gifted more than equal to the sacrifice you have both given. There is so much more I would like to say and share but I'm so exhausted from living day by day with the heartache, insomnia and crying. For the first time, I actually exhausted enough to sleep. Good night and stay strong.
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:56 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I've had quite a few relationships before I was married. One thing I've learned is that when one of my past bf's made up all kinds of excuses to break up, it meant he wasn't into me. For whatever reason he didn't want to give it to me straight. Perhaps he didn't want to hurt my feelings or he wanted to keep the door slightly ajar so that if he should feel lonely or need me I would be there? The man that was into me, (my present husband) never did these types of things. Is this the type of relationship you want for yourself? Is this the kind of treatment you deserve? Seriously think about what's going on here. You have a guy that is there for you during "fun" times. But that's about it.

It's so easy to use the addiction as an excuse for bad behavior. Its not. The picture you just painted of your ABF doesn't reflect this description. "I started dating the most wonderful, sweetest, loving, tender and intelligent man a little over 7 months ago."

The sweetest, loving, wonderful man wouldn't be picking fights with you over nothing, he wouldn't makeup excuses to breakup with you over and over again, and he wouldn't be picking up his DOC over and over again. You wouldn't feel all these hurtful emotions either.

Like the above posters mentioned, start concentrating on you instead of him. What are YOUR hopes and dreams? What are YOU looking for in a relationship? If you put the focus back on you and start thinking about your needs....your choices ..and your life you will see things much clearer.
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Old 04-03-2014, 07:13 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I'd see that trying to get him to talk about it drove him tears, as if it wasn't something he really wanted to do. I would fix the situation as best as I can, calm him down and we would be good again. this happened again a couple weeks later about another misunderstanding and he would just go right to, "I don't think we are good for each other. I think we should break up." But I fixed that break up too. From then, we worked on communicating better with each other to avoid these misunderstandings and extreme reactions.
What I don't get is, why cut out something that is a good thing in his life? With all the negative stuff, why cut out things that are a positive in his life? And what could he possibly mean by telling me that he has to forget his feelings for me and focus, and then say something like a year is too long to be separated. Is this some behavior that is typical of recovery/use or just specific to him?


Why cut something out of his life that is a good thing? In my humble opinion ... he didn't want you around so he could 1.) get the space that he needs to focus on himself and himself only 2.) to start using again and not hurt you like he has hurt everyone else in his life with his addiction.

You might not realize it now - because everything has been wonderful - but when someone is in active addiction they are evil and untrustworthy.

Also, using subutex doesn't mean that he can't use heroin. It's only a drug for someone who is serious about quitting the lifestyle. He may or may not be. It's up to him.

Being in a long-term relationship with an addict is a roller coaster ride... and until even after long-term sobriety relapse is always lurking... some people don't, and some people do. It's a roll of the dice.

I hope you can get clarity on your situation and you seek a non-addicted person for your future. And.. this is coming from an ex-addict. I use to be addicted.. it destroyed many things for me and hurt a lot of people. However, they didn't even know I was an addict. The behaviors associated with addiction are selfishness and untrustworthiness. I hope you get the clarity you are seeking.
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Old 04-03-2014, 07:18 AM   #8 (permalink)
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My husband recently left me because he needs to work on himself and his crack addiction. I think a lot of the decision to leave stems from guilt or initially, in my case, he didn't want to be held accountable and the family was interfering with his using. I am still confused about whether he is off still using or he's actually getting help.
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Old 04-03-2014, 03:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Well, I do understand where you're coming from, cleaninLI, and I truly agree with the whole "he's just not that into you" explanation, if this was a relationship absent the added dysfunction of addiction. But it is a relationship with an addict and that has made the situation much more complex, and what I've learned is that it does need to be a very selfish time for a person in recovery. I was invited to a meeting with him this morning to help me understand that this need to focus on himself is not about me and, even though I still have a difficult time understanding what goes on in the mind of an addict, like why he couldn't open up to me but was able to say everything I needed to hear in front of a room full of strangers, I am now finding a sense of peace with what has happened. His fear, shame, embarrassment, idea that he doesn't deserve to ask for anything, and so many other issues, is frighteningly intense. He could not bring himself to hurt me like he has hurt so many others in his life with his addiction, just as KeepinItReal has pointed out very clearly, and he saw this happening in his "over-reactions" to me. As I listened to him describing me to this room of people, as if I wasn't in the room, I was so touched by his conscious appreciation for all I've done, and for the first time in his life, he wasn't willing to take advantage of someone who loves him. He felt that he did not deserve to ask me to wait. I see now that despite the positive influence I am for him, I was also a difficult risk for him to take given his current emotional state and recent relapse and recovery. Because of this, I have been able to step away and adopt the motto, "If you love something, set it free." Topped by the many experiences shared here that mimics almost every event that has occurred, I have to give credence to the possibility that this is more about a need to focus on recovery as opposed to a cowardly attempt to break up bc of lack of interest.

In moving forward, I have accepted his need for space and need to focus all his energy on his recovery and staying clean and sober and not having to worry about being present and emotionally responsible when he simply can't right now. Im hopeful that the new program he will be starting on the 15th (already added Xanax for his anxiety and will be in twice-weekly counseling) will help, but I am warned it is all about his commitment and he can end up tripping up/stumbling through and this is why I need to focus on myself as well so as to not become codependent in the relationship. I guess the bottom line for me is that I just needed to understand better what was going on since I have never had to deal with an addict in my life and knew nothing about the effects on their lives and the lives of the people around them. All I ever knew was what I learned from being a kid in the 80s and the DARE program and what I see on TV. So it was all so confusing to say the least, which made the heartbreak all the more difficult to understand. Whereas in other relationships, there is anything from cheating to differing interests to lack of desire to help explain the end of a relationship.

We are no longer in an active relationship, as we both want him to focus on recovery. But now I have a better appreciation for his need to do this on his own and that it isn't so much cutting out positive things in his life but needing to not make the situation any more emotionally and mentally difficult for him so that he can focus.I can't believe how much I've learned about addiction and recovery in the last week. My mind is still absorbing everything
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Old 04-03-2014, 03:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by cleaninLI View Post
I've had quite a few relationships before I was married. One thing I've learned is that when one of my past bf's made up all kinds of excuses to break up, it meant he wasn't into me. For whatever reason he didn't want to give it to me straight. Perhaps he didn't want to hurt my feelings or he wanted to keep the door slightly ajar so that if he should feel lonely or need me I would be there? The man that was into me, (my present husband) never did these types of things. Is this the type of relationship you want for yourself? Is this the kind of treatment you deserve? Seriously think about what's going on here. You have a guy that is there for you during "fun" times. But that's about it.

It's so easy to use the addiction as an excuse for bad behavior. Its not. The picture you just painted of your ABF doesn't reflect this description. "I started dating the most wonderful, sweetest, loving, tender and intelligent man a little over 7 months ago."

The sweetest, loving, wonderful man wouldn't be picking fights with you over nothing, he wouldn't makeup excuses to breakup with you over and over again, and he wouldn't be picking up his DOC over and over again. You wouldn't feel all these hurtful emotions either.

Like the above posters mentioned, start concentrating on you instead of him. What are YOUR hopes and dreams? What are YOU looking for in a relationship? If you put the focus back on you and start thinking about your needs....your choices ..and your life you will see things much clearer.
I want to clarify that the description of the relationship was extremely general, because to detail every occasion would be a task in itself. That is why I have to disqualify the idea that he was only there for me during the "fun times" because he was definitely there for me when things weren't very happy for me either (death of friend, loss of career opportunity, etc). And as cliche as this may sound, his family has made it clear that I am the first he has brought home and introduced as his GF, something he hadn't even done with the mother of his child. Even knowing that has made me see how much more dysfunctional he had been in the past bc I can't comprehend the idea of his family never formally meeting his kid's mom until after she gave birth. It gives me hope that he is trying to get better (and I hope he does) but I have to let him do it the way he feels he can really do it, and if that is on his own, I am going to give him that and live my life.
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Old 04-03-2014, 05:58 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Imjoco - I hope you don't mind hearing from an addict's perspective, but your story caught my eye.

It sounds like he is really struggling with his early sobriety right now. I think it actually speaks for his character that he took you to the meeting so you could better understand his perspective. Like him, I also found it easier to talk to other addicts rather than those closest to me about what I was going through. Part of that is because I don't expect people that haven't been through addiction personally to completely understand what I am going through. It isn't a knock on non-addicts, but I think it is too high of a standard to hold a non-addict to. I know that for me personally, even if I could go back in time and explain the way things are to my pre-addict self it would have done very little good. If my pre-addict self couldn't understand it why would I hold others to that standard?

As far as addiction in general goes, and addiction to opiates specifically, one thing I would say to keep in mind is that once you cross a certain threshold it becomes a life of abject misery. Often times I get the impression from spouses / gf/bf of addicts that they think the addict is having the party of their life at their expense. That just wasn't the case for me. Sure, the beginning / honeymoon period was fun, but the magic faded years ago for me and I was left in a life of slavery. The drive to avoid getting dopesick is closest to the drive for water in my opinion. Sure, someone could probably go a day without water if they wanted to, but talk to them on the 2nd or 3rd day. The only difference with being dopesick is that you don't have the comfort of knowing that you will die at some point. At least with the prospect of death you know that there is a limit to your suffering. I used to literally get down on my knees and pray to God with tears streaming down my face that He would strike me down so that the suffering would finally be over.

As far as your question on the temporary vs. permanent breakup goes, I don't think he knows what he wants right now. In early sobriety I have dealt with a rollercoaster of emotions and questioned a lot of things that I took for granted when I was using. He may very well be being honest with you, feels that he may relapse and doesn't want you to suffer with him.

I hope this can add to your understanding of addiction. I was an active opiate addict for about a decade, and the last two years of that were a severe IV H habit.


KeepinItReal - I have to respectfully disagree with you regarding someone being evil in active addiction. In my active addiction I still held a job and provided for my family. My wife lost it months ago with a mental illness and I had to take care of her and both of my children while still actively using. On top of that I had to quit on my own and go through withdrawal while effectively acting as a single parent with two children under the age of 4 and a wife that was psychotic. Was I functioning at 100% of my ability? No, but even at whatever percent I was able to function at I never gave up, and I was a hell of a lot better than a lot of fathers/husbands that never took so much as a drink in their life. So, while a lot of addicts are "evil" I don't believe that to be a universal truth.
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Old 04-03-2014, 07:58 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Opio - you did a lot more than non-addicts have done. I was also a functioning addict for years - to the point... no one really knew. However, I lied, stole, acted badly, cheated... and I'm ashamed of certain actions I did. I cannot say it was or was not the drugs but I would Luke to believe I wouldn't have done most of those things... if I didn't put myself into slavery.. drug addiction. I initially quit coke and alcohol when I got pregnant. Relapsed when my daughter was 1 and also picked up a Vicodin habit. I quit the coke and alcohol... but the Vicodin habit lasted for years until one day I was taking oxide and pulled the plug. I services with suboxine for 1 week and never looked back. I have 4+ years.

Evil may have been too harsh a word but in my own personal experience me and my husband's addiction has been torture. I'm hoping my husband's sticks it out....
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:01 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I'm sorry if I was offensive.
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Old 04-04-2014, 04:03 AM   #14 (permalink)
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KeepinItReal - congrats on 4+ years, that is awesome. I went back and reread your post and my response, and I think I am the one that owes the apology. It wasn't fair of me to pick out a single word from your post and take a shot like that. You had a well thought out, helpful post, and I am sure there are plenty of times I have written things that could be picked at if someone got hung up on every word.

I do completely agree with the part about being untrustworthy. While I didn't lie about other aspects of my life, I would lie at every opportunity when it came to anything that would get in the way of my drug supply. I am definitely not proud of that part.
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Old 05-13-2015, 12:56 PM   #15 (permalink)
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needs break

Did you ever think that maybe he needs a break because he is seeing someone else and wants to keep you on the back burner so that he can come back when/if it doesn't work with his lady? This is what happened to me... read my post "boyfriend of nine years wants a break". Move on. You will get stronger each day and it will get easier. I promise.
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Old 02-21-2017, 07:34 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Reading your story brought me to tears because it's the same exact thing I am currently going through. It's the same story. My SO decided to break up with me to focus on himself during his recovery and I am devastated. I can't sleep. I haven't been eating. I can't focus at work. I am going to attend meetings but it's still so hard. This forum is helping me especially knowing I am not alone. Thank you for sharing this. I know you posted a few years ago. I am wondering how things have worked out for you now...
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Ann (07-23-2017)
Old 07-22-2017, 06:30 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I pray for you!

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Originally Posted by SadWife7 View Post
It would have made my life a lot easier if my husband was willing to take a break from our relationship to take care of himself. He's about 24 days sober from heroin. I had no idea he was doing it, it was going on about 6 months but became a constant in his life over the last couple. There was a serious opiate addiction before that, that I underestimated. We have a 2 year old and I'm 7 months pregnant. He wants back in our lives and says it's not his fault my life is hard from being a single mom, that was my reaction to his addiction. I called bs, him shooting up in our bathroom was not safe for me or the kid. Now I have to attend therapy & martial counseling & Alanon, and I am very resentful of the idea that I need a program to fix me because of the situation he has put us in. So....you have to choose what is right for you, but him wanting to focus on himself could be a very good thing. My husband is out of the house till I have some trust again to be able to live with him, so right now he goes to treatment & AA/NA meetings then hangs out with his sister or brother or sponser or goes ice skating or mountain biking or other fun things while I am working full time & mommy full time as well. To be fair, he has been coming over to our house & working on things that have needed done for a long time as well. Addiction is selfish. Early recovery is selfish. Good luck to you-This road sucks.
If you could have him dump you in the beginning because of his addiction would you want that, or would you still love him and want the situation you're in? I know you might say that you wish he never came into your life, but you had good times, no?
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Ann (07-23-2017)
Old 07-23-2017, 12:24 PM   #18 (permalink)
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The man is still active in his addiction, he is incapable of a good and loving relationship. He says he wants out...believe him, take the lessons this has brought you and begin your own healing.

It will be painful leaving this relationship, but it will be more painful to try to stay.

Good luck.
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