Does anyone have experience with an addicted loved one?

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Addicted2love Posts : 7 Registered: 3/21/07
Does anyone have experience with an addicted loved one?
Posted: Aug 18, 2009 1:12 PM

Hello ladies,
This is my first post. I have been a member for a while now, but I am a lurker. I read from the shadows and take advice from people who don't know they are giving it to me. I guess I'm a little shy of posting (doesn't really make sense, does it? I mean, it's not like you know me or anything. But whatever, it is what it is.) Now, down to business.

I am wondering if anyone here has dealt with addiction themselves or has a loved one with an addiction? I am in need of advice. My FH has had a relapse. He is back in treatment, and going to NA nightly. We have had a very tough year and I am still fairly new to dealing with an addict. I am looking for support and guidance. Maybe a friend that can relate?

I know this is a difficult life I've chosen for myself, and yes, I am choosing it. I cannot give up on somebody I love because they have a problem. We have been together for over 5 years and we were supposed to be married this past June, but have canceled it with hopes to reschedule in the future when we have worked through all of this. It was a very hard thing to do, but also necessary.

I know that I have a slight co-dependency issue that I am working on as well. I don't get out as much as I could, but I am by no means a hermit. I have a tendency to connect my personal happiness to that of others around me. It is a bit too easy for another person's mood to effect my own. I am getting much better about this.
In an effort to keep this short, I'm going to end this here. I would love to find someone to talk with who understands where I am and maybe has some words of wisdom?

Thanks in advance.

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kennysoldwife Posts : 3,859 Registered: 4/28/07
Re: Does anyone have experience with an addicted loved one?
Posted: Aug 18, 2009 1:52 PM Go to message in response to: Addicted2love

Dear Addicted

I have traveled this road and it is a difficult one. My advice to you would be to find a Nar-Anon meeting. They will be of incredible help as you go through this. They will provide you the support you need as the loved one of an addict. They have been a huge help to me.

We deal with addiction everyday one day at a time. An addict is an addict he will always be an addict. If he is in recovery he is not in active addiction but believe me that little voice will always be there. Please don't ever believe he will get better he won't he will only learn to control himself and not use.

Also know you can not fix him, you can not keep him sober these are things only he can do. You can only take care of you. Always take care of you, work your program and let him work his that is the only way you will survive.

I wish you lots of luck. It is hard but not impossible. I do it everyday one day at a time.

 

 

 

Kenny and me perfect together, 10 years and counting

Sucks to be you, So glad I am me

Proud Member of P.O.O.P,  People Offended by Offended People

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Does anyone have experience with an addicted loved one?
Posted: Aug 18, 2009 2:51 PM Go to message in response to: Addicted2love

Dear A2L,


" I cannot give up on somebody I love because they have a problem. "

Oh, yes you can. I did.

I had a boyfriend who was using drugs, and I dumped him. I then started going out with a new boyfriend, fell in love with him, married him and am still married to him 33 years later. Dumping that loser was the best thing I ever did.

Here's another story.

My brother was married, but drinking too much. He had a "lost weekend". He did not come home, Friday, with his paycheck, and my SIL had two hungry little kids to feed, but no money. She called my mother (her MIL), and my mother came out and bought her a load of groceries. My mom sat down with SIL and said "Now, sweetie, you have to decide what you are going to do."

My SIL packed a bag with her husband's clothes and left it on the front porch. He came home Sunday, with no paycheck, no money and found his suitcase on the front porch. The realization that he was about to lose his wife and children sobered him up. Literally. He knew his wife had the strength of character to dump him and continue on as a divorced mother. He was right. My SIL is an amazing strong woman.

He has not had a drop of alcohol since. Brother and SIL have now been married 27 years. His children, now adults, have NO MEMORY of their father ever drinking a drop of alcohol. My brother does not even take sacramental wine with Holy Communion at church.

I'm going to tell you the same thing my mother told my SIL 25 years ago.

"Now, sweetie, you have to decide what you are going to do."

Continue with an addict?

Or dump him and find a man who does not have this problem?

Added later: I'm glad Kennysoldwife responded. I totally, 100%, absolutely trust her opinion on this kind of thing. You can take anything she says as solid gold.

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MsDenuninani Posts : 3,962 Registered: 3/16/07
Re: Does anyone have experience with an addicted loved one?
Posted: Aug 18, 2009 3:07 PM Go to message in response to: Addicted2love

I recently learned that a cousin of mine passed away of a heroin overdose. I never knew this relative that well, mostly because he is older (he is my father's 1st cousin) but I knew growing up that he was an addict. To my knowledge, he chose to be an addict, by which I mean, he never decided to pursue a life of sobriety,

His brother, a cousin I am closer to, is also an addict. He has been in rehab multiple times, most recently three years ago, which preceded his divorce. I know that he struggles with sobriety, and it is a constant struggle. I admire him for not giving up, as his brother did.

I cannot imagine what it is like to be in love with someone with this kind of chronic illness (and that is how I view addiction -- as a chronic illness). I have heard good things about Al Anon, a group for people whose lives are affected by alcoholics, and as kennys mentioned, there is a similar group for people whose live are affected by other types of addiction. I strongly suggest you find a group nearby to help you.


__________________________________________

"I'd hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, or insanity, but they've always worked for me." Hunter S. Thompson

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Addicted2love Posts : 7 Registered: 3/21/07
Re: Does anyone have experience with an addicted loved one?
Posted: Aug 18, 2009 3:58 PM Go to message in response to: MsDenuninani

Thank you so much to those who have responded. I take all your words to heart. I will look in my area for a Nar-Anon group. It is very hard for me to grasp that I can't really do anything to help him. I know that only he can do that and that I can only work on myself, but I keep wishing for a way to take complete control of the situation.

To Kennys:
I find hope in that many people are able to control their addictions. I'm desperately hoping that he has the strength to do the same. His entire family are addicts, but his Father and Step-Mom have 15+ years clean and I am trying to find strength through them. His mom used through her entire pregnancy with him. He has a tough road ahead. Almost everything and everyone important to him have let him down in the past and I can't bear to be added to that list. I would if I had to, I don't want to ruin my own life to try to fix someone else's. But I really just can't go down without a fight.
I will do what I can for myself and try to understand that this is his battle. I'm sure I will have plenty of my own as well.

To Aunt:
When I first found out he had relapsed I told him to leave. I did not accept any of the blame for what he had done and I made sure he understood that. It was hard to make him face it, to be ready to leave. I told him how badly he had hurt me through his actions. He begged to do something to prove to me that he wanted us more than anything else, to prove to me how sorry he was. He told me that I am most important to him and that he couldn't imagine ever having to be without me.
He has since fessed up to his Dad (a very hard thing for him to do. He looks up to him so much.) and gone to Narcotics Anonymous meetings every night. He shows me his keytags and has not been to visit his "friends" since I confronted him. He offers to show me his call log on his cell phone (I usually refuse to look. I know that if he wanted he could easily hide any calls he didn't want me to see) He has gotten a temporary concrete job with some guys he knows from NA and sends me texts during the day to check in and tell me he loves me. Aside from some very minor withdrawal symptoms at night, he is happier than I have seen him in a long time.


I know that addicts can be very manipulative and it can be awful to be so attatched to one. He seems to be genuinely trying though. Our relationship feels different. It is still very hard to shake the fear of being lied to, however. I know that I will need support through this as well. Thanks again.

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FrancieElaine Posts : 654 Registered: 6/26/09
Re: Does anyone have experience with an addicted loved one?
Posted: Aug 18, 2009 9:20 PM Go to message in response to: Addicted2love

I think the best thing you have done is to put off your wedding while you are working through these issues. The advice given here is very good. You seem like a very kind, compassionate person and I wish there was an easy answer. Of course, you know there is no easy answer. But you have made a good start... just by asking for advice. :)

Francie Elaine, The Bride Whisperer

www.bride-whisperer.com

http://twitter.com/BrideWhispering

 

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deansbride Posts : 220 Registered: 3/24/08
Re: Does anyone have experience with an addicted loved one?
Posted: Aug 18, 2009 10:03 PM Go to message in response to: Addicted2love

In your first post I got the impression that he had a relapse and is now "working" his program and is no longer using, is that correct? If that is correct I think that you supporting him is absolutely the right thing to do, but he needs to know that him relapsing agian is still not ok and could result in a break up. And yes please support yourself too-get some counseling and going to meetings would probably help you too.

If he is currently using you should not be supporting, that would be enabling and helping him to stay comfortable with his addiction. If he is using get out, please for your own safety and well being.

good luck

"When you are in Love you can't fall asleep because reality is better than your dreams."

-Dr Seuss

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Addicted2love Posts : 7 Registered: 3/21/07
Re: Does anyone have experience with an addicted loved one?
Posted: Aug 18, 2009 10:30 PM Go to message in response to: deansbride

In your first
post I got the impression that he had a relapse and is now "working"
his program and is no longer using, is that correct?

Yes, that's correct. I found his stash and confronted him about it. I told him I would leave if it didn't stop. He has been "working" his program ever since. I have already seen a change in him, but it's scary to know how he was able to hide it from me for a while. I don't have reason not to trust him right now, he is always where he says he will be and tries to provide me proof of having been there. He is putting his paychecks into our joint account and telling me when and what amount he will be taking and what he is spending it on. Most of this he is doing of his own accord. I do not try to controll him other than to say that I will stop trying when he does. When he is ready to throw in the towel and stop working toward recovery I will be ready to leave.

But again, it is difficult sometimes not to dwell on what has happened. To know that I am limited in what I can do in the situation. It can make a person feel helpless at times and it feels good to vent.
We are not focusing on anything wedding related at this time. My dress and all the things I had bought and collected are safely stored away for hopefully a better and brighter future date. We will cross that bridge when we come to it.

Thanks again for the responses.

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kennysoldwife Posts : 3,859 Registered: 4/28/07
Re: Does anyone have experience with an addicted loved one?
Posted: Aug 18, 2009 11:38 PM Go to message in response to: Addicted2love

A2L

How long since his relapse? How long was he somber before the relapse? What is his new clean date? I would advise you not to think about the wedding or any other major decisions until he has at least one year clean time.

Give him a chance to work his program. Take some time to get a program for yourself and start working it. Let me make this clear you have to work on you. Let him take responsibility for himself. Don't fall into the pattern of being his mommy. That is what he is trying to do.

I know it is hard you want to help him I understand that, I do November 27 Lord willing Kenny will have 3 years clean. I watch him struggle some days and it is so hard to watch. I want to jump right in and fix it but I can't he has to deal with life on life's terms and all you can do is watch.

I can offer a shoulder anytime but find a meeting, they are everywhere.

I wish you luck and strength.

 

 

 

Kenny and me perfect together, 10 years and counting

Sucks to be you, So glad I am me

Proud Member of P.O.O.P,  People Offended by Offended People

wedding websites

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RebeccaFazzio Posts : 323 Registered: 10/28/07
Re: Does anyone have experience with an addicted loved one?
Posted: Aug 19, 2009 10:47 AM Go to message in response to: Addicted2love

For 17 years I lived with addicts, my parents. It was mostly marijuana but I'm sure harder drugs were added every now and then. I went to school with my clothing reeking of pot every single day because even though I washed my clothes the smell does not come out. My father was a mean son of a bitch who ruined any attempts at a social life I tried to have and my mother was a weak minded woman who did nothing to stop his behavior. They constantly cheated on one another and I have an older half brother, a younger half brother, and who knows how many other siblings (from my father) My mother finally got the courage to cheat on him and got caught. They divorced and my siblings and I went to live with my mother. I stopped all contact with my father and have never been happier. I moved in with FH a few months after turning 17 and my mother continued in a down ward spiral. My brother moved in with my grandmother as my mom quit her job (technically they laid her off so she could collect unemployment but it was either that or fire her) With no job and living in a god awful trailer out in the country (we live in Mississippi) she gradually moved to harder and harder drugs until one week no one had heard from her (my sister was now living with my grandmother) It turns out that she was on crystal meth. She entered rehab for the very first time this january and since then has not touched drugs. She moved out of the trailer and in with my grandmother. She no longer is in contact with any of the "friends" she had before then and is working on turning her life around.

She doesn't attend NA meetings and we don't go to Nar-Anon (it's a funny story. Bunch of old ladies gossiping and bringing desserts like it was a social club) but I truly believe my mother is a changed person. It just took most of my life to get her that way.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that until your FH wants to get help there really isn't much you can do. I don't know how many times we've pleaded with my mother to change her life. That what she was doing affected us just as much as it affected her. Until she realized that she had hit rock bottom and might die from her addictions and not watch her children grow up there was nothing we could do.

Since getting out of rehab my mother and I have a much closer relationship. She's definately one of my best friends although she never was much of a mother to me. I also told her if I found out she had relasped she was not coming to me wedding and that I was drug testing her before the wedding.
 

To love another person is to see the face of God.

My wedding blog

 http://thenolabride.blogspot.com/

 


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Addicted2love Posts : 7 Registered: 3/21/07
Re: Does anyone have experience with an addicted loved one?
Posted: Aug 19, 2009 1:17 PM Go to message in response to: RebeccaFazzio

Rebecca,
Thanks for sharing your story. That must have been really hard for you
to grow up in a situation like that. I am really close with my mom. I
couldn't imagine what it woul be like to not have support from her. I
am glad to hear that you and your family seem to be doing well, I hope that it continues and that you are able to have her there on your big day.

Kenny's,
This has all just happened. Everything is still hugely fresh and
is like a whirlwind of confusion. His new clean date is August 8th.
Before this he had been clean for 5 years. I'm not sure exactly how long he was "out there". He has only told me it was "a few weeks". We had been going through some really hard times and fighting
allot recently and he was finding refuge in old friends and family. (
Only his Dad and Step-Mom from his side are clean. His Mother, 2
brothers, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins... they all use.)
He said he thought he would be able to control himself, and he did for
a while. But environment wins out in those situations. All it takes is a single weak moment. He said he didn't feel like he could come to me with this, that he was very ashamed. He said he didn't want to look me in the face and hurt me like that. That devastated me. When it was in the open he took
responsibility for everything. His choices and bad decisions were his and his alone. He has informed all friends that he will not be spending time with them unless it is at a meeting and keeping himself clear of the environment that he never should have allowed himself to be in in the first place.

I think your suggestion of waiting for his year mark is a good one. I hadn't really put much thought into exactly when but more so putting off such thoughts, just thinking of it as later.

I am being as supportive as I now how to be, I try to be very open. I want him to be completely honest with me. I have been trying to find meetings in my area. So far I have not found one close enough to me. I am going to call his dad who is very involved in NA and should know of somewhere that I can go locally for my own support. I have joined a few online support groups, but know that it's not really the same. I am trying not to be "mothering", I want him to be in charge of his own life. It is all so very recent that I feel the need to re-hash everything over and over again. Thank you for your words, it helps to know that others have gone through things like this as well.

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kennysoldwife Posts : 3,859 Registered: 4/28/07
Re: Does anyone have experience with an addicted loved one?
Posted: Aug 19, 2009 1:51 PM Go to message in response to: Addicted2love

11 days clean, that is very recent. While you are looking for meetings for you attend a few N/A meetings with him or alone it will give you an idea of what they are about. I hope he has gotten himself a sponsor he will need one. A sponsor just gives him an ear. Kennys sponsor has lived his story so he can relate.

Just because a person is an addict or has a loved one that is an addict does not mean they can relate to your situation. Everybody will find someone who has lived their story that is the person who should be your sponsor. It took me a long time to find a sponsor because a lot of people feel that if your guy is an addict you should leave him just end the relationship and move on. That is not so easy to do as you are finding now. The other thing for me in my meeting was most of the people who were there had parents or children who were addicts not husbands. They could not relate to me and I couldn't relate to them my children are fine and my parents are also.

Then I met a lady who had been married over 10 years who's husband was a heroin addict. He did all the same things Kenny did she was like me. She was able to offer encouragement instead of being negative. She gave me tools to cope with our lives. She helped me to see our lives for what they were and not what I wanted them to be. She helped me realize I was not the cause of Kenny's addiction and I could not cure him.

I just want to point out something for you and anyone else who might read this. All meetings are not for everybody. You have to find a group that will work for you. The format of the meeting is the same but the groups are not. Everybody shares their story they share a message of hope. They let you know that you are not alone and that you don't have to go through this alone.

It works if you work it, make it work. An addict who does not have a support group is likely to use again, no matter how much they may not want to. The best support is another recovering addict they understand.

 

 

 

Kenny and me perfect together, 10 years and counting

Sucks to be you, So glad I am me

Proud Member of P.O.O.P,  People Offended by Offended People

wedding websites

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Addicted2love Posts : 7 Registered: 3/21/07
Re: Does anyone have experience with an addicted loved one?
Posted: Aug 19, 2009 1:58 PM Go to message in response to: Addicted2love

After re-reading my previous posts I realized that I made it seem as if we cancelled the wedding because of the relapse. I'm sorry I wasn't more clear, My head has felt like mush lately. I wanted to clear that up because I don't want to add confusion to my post. The wedding would have been before His relapse, which is much more recent.

We have been going through some very hard times, I have a very expensive medical condition that sucks up most of our income. It is incurable and a big source of stress. Financially we took a dive this year and are having a difficult time making ends meet which I'm sure you all know is also very stressful. We had to move in with my mom, who we both love and are very close with, but living with other people is never fun and can cause strain as well. We began fighting allot and were not where we felt we wanted to be before getting married. It was a mutual decision, and one that made us both sad to make. We still wanted to be married, but in an effort to remove some stress and pressure we decided there was no rush and that we could get to a better place together before doing so.

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Addicted2love Posts : 7 Registered: 3/21/07
Re: Does anyone have experience with an addicted loved one?
Posted: Aug 19, 2009 2:28 PM Go to message in response to: kennysoldwife

Kenny's,

Your words are immeasurably comforting to me.

a lot of
people feel that if your guy is an addict you should leave him just end
the relationship and move on. That is not so easy to do as you are
finding now.

This speaks exactly how I feel. I do not want to give up on him because he has an issue. Because my life will be different than I pictured it would be. Life will throw you curve balls no matter how carefully you try to avoid them. I learned that years ago with a diagnosis that changed my daily life. I wonder what it would be like for someone to want to leave me because I can't do all the things that a "normal" person can. To want to leave me because it will be difficult and stressful to stay with me and my lifelong condition.

I know that things won't always go my way. I know what it is like to have to change daily habbits. To re-arrange my whole life based on one day that changed everything. It is not fun. It is not easy. But things that you would never expect can happen to anyone, at any time. It is a difficult lesson to learn that sometimes even the most basic things in your life can be taken out of your control and you will have no choice in the matter.

I guess I'm just upset that there are so many people who don't understand. I think I would have been one of those people even, if I hadn't been put into this situation. In a way it has opened my eyes to see the world differently. It is not as black and white as I had thought it was.

He has a few people that he can use as sponsors, but not any one designated person. Do you think that is a mistake? his dad has worked the program for a very long time and as been an asset to us. He has a large support network that he is introducing my boyfriend (we've reverted, I kinda hate when people are "engaged" forever with no real date set. We will start over from scratch.) to.

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Addicted2love Posts : 7 Registered: 3/21/07
Re: Does anyone have experience with an addicted loved one?
Posted: Aug 19, 2009 2:28 PM Go to message in response to: kennysoldwife

Double post.

Edited by: Addicted2love on Aug 19, 2009 2:29 PM

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