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The wedding is off...

Old 04-13-2015, 11:42 AM
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Unhappy The wedding is off...

Hello,

I am really struggling and hoping that there will be someone who reads this that understands the situation and can share some insight. I have been with my fiance for 3 1/2 years. He has had periods of use (heroin) and periods of sobriety, but never complete sobriety - he would still drink alcohol and inevitably fall back into using heroin for awhile, and then get clean again, but still drink.

Last year, he began using heroin heavily and I told him I couldn't handle it anymore and kicked him out. He ended up in the hospital after intentionally overdosing and chose to go to inpatient rehab. He completed 90 days inpatient and then 90 days intensive outpatient, and it changed him in so many ways. He asked me to marry him in December of last year, and I accepted, but we both knew the risks that come with recovery/relapse.

After being completely sober for 8 months (something he has never done - no alcohol, no other substances at all), he relapsed with heroin. He used for three weeks and I suspected but he denied. I had also gained tools while he was in rehab last year and felt peace, knowing I couldn't control him or change the outcome. He was finally honest with me last week about his use and has been withdrawaling since.

I have called off the wedding (it was supposed to be in May) and am devastated. I knew that relapse is a risk but the pain is still the same. I am now at a point where I have to decide if I am going to stay with him and be a support while he pursues recovery again, or if I am going to call it quits. Part of me feels like it's time to call it quits and that perhaps he needs to feel a devastating consequence like that. Another part of me knows how great we are together and has seen the incredible progress he's made. I feel like he's so close to getting this right. I love him, and I'm sad to walk away.

Has anyone had an experience similar to this? We live together and the one thing I know for certain is that the wedding is off and may or may not be reevaluated at a later time. However, I feel there are still choices to be made: 1) Do I have him move out and, if he can be sober on his own for a year, we'll see where we're at and if we want to try again at that point, or 2) Do I stay with him and be a support while he pursues recovery again.

I don't know what is best and would appreciate any insight from users, past users, those affected by use, etc. Thanks so much.
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Old 04-13-2015, 11:45 AM
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Hi j2014, welcome to the forum.

I haven't any experience or advice to give you but there will be people along who can help and been in similar situations
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Old 04-13-2015, 11:49 AM
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I'm very sorry to hear of the pain you must be experiencing. Have the both of you seen a counselor together? Perhaps it's something you should look into.
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Old 04-13-2015, 11:53 AM
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Welcome to SR, though I am sorry for what brings you here.

Originally Posted by j2014 View Post
...or 2) Do I stay with him and be a support while he pursues recovery again.
You've been with him for while, 3 1/2 years, and I assume supporting him. So how has that been working? Not to good, huh?

So you need to remove option 2, or come up with a new one.

Personally, I think you've dodged a bullet. And even though I am sure it doesn't feel like it now, you will be glad you didn't marry a heroin addict. We have an active friends and family forum. Pop over there and read what married life with an addict can be like:

Friends and Family of Substance Abusers - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information
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Old 04-13-2015, 11:57 AM
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Hi j,

In terms of having the two questions at the end of your post answered, I can tell you that the Friends & Family forums here would be the best place to seek input.

There is a F&F of Substance Abusers and F&F of Alcoholics forum.
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Old 04-13-2015, 12:02 PM
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Hi, welcome to the forum. I'm sorry you are in pain right now but I agree with Carl that you've dodged a bullet. I say that not to be mean but as a woman who married an addict ten years ago, knowing he was an addict. He was sober at the time. Over ten years he has cycled in and out of sobriety. I'm exhausted. And we now have two children. I'm basically a single mom. You've been with your boyfriend 3.5 years. Imagine five years, ten? What if he never gets it?

You can ask him to move out and still support his efforts. You may need this time to yourself to evaluate yourself and what you want to see happen.

Definitely go to the family and friends of substance abusers section. All of it is so painful. I wish you peace of mind.
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Old 04-13-2015, 12:21 PM
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I agree with the previous posters when they say that you have been with him for 3 1/2 years and have been supporting him all this time. You might be doing him the biggest favor of his life by leaving him and moving on. By staying with him you might be enabling him. It is a very hard decision but you have to do what is best for you. He will never change until he wants to...

I'm so sorry tha you are in this predicament...
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Old 04-13-2015, 12:24 PM
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That really is the toughest part. I left him last year and that was the point he chose to go to rehab, which was huge. I feel like it's probably best that, at the very least, I ask him to move out. I have set up so many things to protect myself, but living with him is too painful. I really appreciate everyone's comments and will head over to the Friends & Family forum as well. It helps so much to connect with other people who understand the situation, as you do.
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Old 04-13-2015, 12:26 PM
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Ruby notes - "You can ask him to move out and still support his efforts."

I think you are wise to stop the wedding. Entangling yourself legally while you're both still catching your breath from a major relapse would not be a good choice.

However (and this is my little spark of optimism speaking here), it is not as though your boyfriend had spent these last 3.5 years in and out of recovery. The way I read your story, he was doing his "own version" of moderating for most of that time, until he finally went through in-patient and out-patient treatment. That makes this his first official relapse.

Everyone's recovery looks very different, but there are plenty of people with years or decades of sobriety who did relapse at some point in the process. He is not a hopeless case. His intent and follow through in completing that amount of concrete treatment is laudable; he is definitely making an effort, although not entirely "successful."

If there are aspects of this relationship which are important to you, and if you are not yet ready to be "done," then I think you need to be self-protective and intentional with how you sculpt its form. For me, that would mean strict separation of finances (and probably living space). I wouldn't marry someone (or share a financial or legal future - ie. having children, buying a house, etc.) until they had considerable continuous full sobriety under their belt. As you know, even considerable sobriety is no guarantee, so any major decisions will have to be put through the "do I want this for myself and can I handle it entirely alone if that's how it turns out?" evaluation.

You can ask him to move out and still support his efforts. You can ask him to move out and still enjoy his company. You can ask him to move out and simply see what happens next - for you and for him.

If you want a marriage or partnership which does not have these constraints and limitations, he is probably not the best candidate, and you might have to let him go with love and best wishes.

You get to pick what you are looking for in a partner. For lots of people, marriage or children are not something they want or care about. If that is the case, there is a little more flexibility in what the relationship looks like.

It has been very useful to me to really spend some time thinking, journalling, and talking about what I'm actually looking for. A year ago I would have said that I wanted to get married. After a fair amount of thought, I realize that I'm open to a relationship that doesn't culminate in marriage. For me, marriage represents financial safety, which was a goal long ago. I'm secure financially through my own efforts at this point in my life. As we change, the things we want and need from the world change also. Make sure you're not fighting for a model that isn't actually that important to you. And if you discover that this is important to you, then you can filter your decisions about who to be in relationship with through that deep and conscious necessity.
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Old 04-13-2015, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by heartcore View Post
Ruby notes - "You can ask him to move out and still support his efforts."

I think you are wise to stop the wedding. Entangling yourself legally while you're both still catching your breath from a major relapse would not be a good choice.

However (and this is my little spark of optimism speaking here), it is not as though your boyfriend had spent these last 3.5 years in and out of recovery. The way I read your story, he was doing his "own version" of moderating for most of that time, until he finally went through in-patient and out-patient treatment. That makes this his first official relapse.

Everyone's recovery looks very different, but there are plenty of people with years or decades of sobriety who did relapse at some point in the process. He is not a hopeless case. His intent and follow through in completing that amount of concrete treatment is laudable; he is definitely making an effort, although not entirely "successful."

If there are aspects of this relationship which are important to you, and if you are not yet ready to be "done," then I think you need to be self-protective and intentional with how you sculpt its form. For me, that would mean strict separation of finances (and probably living space). I wouldn't marry someone (or share a financial or legal future - ie. having children, buying a house, etc.) until they had considerable continuous full sobriety under their belt. As you know, even considerable sobriety is no guarantee, so any major decisions will have to be put through the "do I want this for myself and can I handle it entirely alone if that's how it turns out?" evaluation.

You can ask him to move out and still support his efforts. You can ask him to move out and still enjoy his company. You can ask him to move out and simply see what happens next - for you and for him.

If you want a marriage or partnership which does not have these constraints and limitations, he is probably not the best candidate, and you might have to let him go with love and best wishes.

You get to pick what you are looking for in a partner. For lots of people, marriage or children are not something they want or care about. If that is the case, there is a little more flexibility in what the relationship looks like.

It has been very useful to me to really spend some time thinking, journalling, and talking about what I'm actually looking for. A year ago I would have said that I wanted to get married. After a fair amount of thought, I realize that I'm open to a relationship that doesn't culminate in marriage. For me, marriage represents financial safety, which was a goal long ago. I'm secure financially through my own efforts at this point in my life. As we change, the things we want and need from the world change also. Make sure you're not fighting for a model that isn't actually that important to you. And if you discover that this is important to you, then you can filter your decisions about who to be in relationship with through that deep and conscious necessity.
heartcore, you think similarly to me. What you wrote is nearly exact to what I have chosen to do up until this point. There is a lot of self-protection and sculpting of the relationship. I don't know how this will turn out, but I want to say thank you. It is so helpful to hear from people who have opinions and experiences with both sides. You have given me some peace. Thank you.
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Old 04-13-2015, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by j2014 View Post
Part of me feels like it's time to call it quits and that perhaps he needs to feel a devastating consequence like that.
I'm not sure if you should call it quits, but if you do, I think it's very important to do it for yourself. In my opinion, you should not call it quits in hope that he will feel a specific consequence.

I'm sorry that you are going through this and the pain that you are feeling.
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Old 04-13-2015, 12:49 PM
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I can't answer you and I can't stop myself from answering. My sister is married to a heroin addict. He has stopped using, supposedly, and our entire family has stopped using, supposedly. We are all in attempt, I guess.
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Old 04-13-2015, 01:33 PM
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Welcome J2 nice to meet you
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Old 04-13-2015, 06:46 PM
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Welcome to SR, j2014.

I'm a recovering alcoholic; the story I have isn't mine but that of a close friend.

Only within the last year has she confided to me that years ago, on the morning of her wedding, her parents begged her (not for the first time) to call it off. Beyond that, they approached her intended and asked him, as nicely as possible, not to marry their daughter.

Neither I nor others in our circle from college had met him until their wedding day. We didn't know what she -- and her parents -- knew. He was an alcoholic. He remains so to this day.

Their marriage lasted about 17 years (no kids, though she reared his son from a previous relationship). She's struggled with self-esteem for a long time -- she acknowledged marrying him and staying in the marriage out of fear that she'd never find anyone else. In the end, he was the one who was blunt about the fact he had no intention of changing. He was the one who asked for the divorce, something other friends and I had urged her to initiate for years. Watching her put on the "happy face" when we knew the truth was painful.

That's not much of a life. She's doing better now, finally, but 17 years is a long time. And no matter what the circumstances, life gives us no do-overs.

I hope you make a wise, albeit difficult, decision. Take good care.
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Old 04-13-2015, 08:27 PM
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J, I will at least speak for myself. I was in a relationship and I was not honest about my booze and coke usage with my girlfriend. I knew that as long as my gal was there for me, I wasn't going to ever stop using 'for her'. I could always think of a reason or event that I could get high. I don't think I ever would have stopped if I stayed with her. She would always 'forgive' me and accepted me in all my imperfections. Frankly, there was not any major motivation to quit altogether, just periods of 'doing really good'. An addicts mind is always going to weigh consequences during those tough decision making times. What is the consequence he is thinking about before he gets high? Another long talk with you? For me, that wasn't even enough to second guess my decisions. Like Venecia said, no do-overs. If your parents knew he was an addict, would they be having the same conversations with your and your intended?

In my opinion (and only mine), move on. I know its a tough call, but what is next after the marriage? For me, marriage only meant that she would definitely be there no matter what when I sobered up. Likely he will think the same way.
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Old 04-14-2015, 04:00 PM
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Save yourself. You are at a cross roads where you get to choose between two different lives. One is very difficult and very sad and the other can be anything you make it. There will be other great loves if you allow it. It sounds selfish but it is not your job to take care of him. My apologies if this sounds harsh ...
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Old 04-14-2015, 06:17 PM
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You question if you should stay and be a support. Didn't he have 3 1/2 years to utilize his support from you? And yet here you are, dealing with yet another of his relapses.

The question you have to ask yourself is, does being with him help me to grow both emotionally and spiritually? Will he be able to support me on those levels for the rest of our lives? If the answer is no, then you know what you should do.

I wish you the best!
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