Feeling extremely lost

recovery
alcohol
relationship

#1

My partner and I have been together for 3 years. When I met him, you would never know that he was 10 years recovered from opioid addiction. He can make friends so easily and is incredibly smart, but he also has a long history of depression, hence the addictions. The current state of affairs of our world are making it even worse for him, and consequently for me. We have been tackling his addiction to alcohol for the last two years after he got blacked out drunk and ended up getting a stranger pregnant. And here I am still with him, absolutely still in love with him, but now faced with him turning to heroin.
I have been to alanon meetings, I have read the books, I know I have no control over his addictions and that this is a lifelong disease, but I can not help but feel that I failed. That maybe if I just keep cleaning the apartment, keep cooking us good meals, and keep him distracted with camping/hobbies he loves, that he wouldn’t go searching for the high. Not only do I feel like I failed at keeping him away from his addictions, I am sacrificing so much in my life to be in this relationship, but have chosen to stay. I know that he and I will never have children, that our marriage plans will keep being postponed, that my hobbies and life interests might continue to be placed on the back burner…I just feel like I am going crazy and don’t have an outlet during this pandemic. I feel heartless if I focus on myself for even a second, feel that I need to keep some control over the situation through cleaning or organizing and am having my own panic attacks and depression come back full force.
How do I stay with a man I truly love and who is now seeking the rehab treatment he needs, but also maintain my sanity and my passions? I am torn between wanting to hold his hand through this and wanting to scream at him, and don’t know which action is right! Is there even a right or wrong way to go about being the partner of someone with addictions? I could read as many discussions on here or the countless books on this, but none of it ever prepares me for when the good times roll into the bad or when I am waiting for the other shoe to drop when times are good.


#2

Oh I am so sorry you are going through this. You are not alone. I have been in relationships with addicts for 15 years. First with my husband of 10 years and now my best friend/partner for the last 5 years. Loving an addict is and was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. I will say in my experience getting angry and screaming and holding resentments only ruined my marriage. With my new partner, I don’t get as angry. I still do, but I get sad more these days. I am not sure if it’s because I understand things better now, I’ve set up better boundaries, or if I’m numb to it all. I also think I held my husband to higher standards because he was the father of my children. But getting angry only causes the addict to feel more shame and guilt. And from all that I’ve read and experienced, they already have a ton of anger towards themselves. That being said, you have a right to feel however you feel. Anger lets you know something isn’t right or you fear something or a boundary needs to be set.

Honestly, the one thing that’s helped the most is setting boundaries and self-care. I’m getting better at it, but I’m still a huge work in progress. What kind of boundaries do you have in place so you can protect yourself during difficult times? What are you doing to take care of yourself? Here are some examples of boundaries I have put in place:

  1. I only can be around my partner when he is sober.
  2. He must be seeking recovery for me to be in his life.
  3. I will not take my S/O to stores or other places when he is drunk.
  4. I block him on the phone if he gets verbally abusive.
  5. I will help with his finances only when he is actively seeking recovery.
  6. My ex husband still lives with me under the agreement that he may not be drunk or high around me or the kids.

These are just a few Examples for me personally. Mine may sound harsh, but the addicts in my life have been abusive to me when under the influence. And they are ways I can keep my life as peaceful and calm as I can. I definitely do not always follow them to tee, but I sure try. I’m a work in progress too. And Only you can decide what boundaries are best for you.

For self care:
I read a lot of self-help books, see a therapist, try to keep up with hobbies, keep friends around, I engage in Alanon and recovery Dharma, exercise , cook, etc. this site has helped me tremendously! I do allow myself days to cry and lay around, but I try to snap out of it with some of the above methods as quickly as I can.

You are not alone. I get very depressed too. It’s not an easy road loving an addict. Only you can know in your heart what to do. Sending lots of positive vibes your way.


#3

Thank you Jess for your response. On someone’s post about podcasts, I saw your response about Recovery Dharma and that is on my list for this week to join one of those meetings!
My self care at times feels fake… Like I am not fully into it because I am still so consumed by the sadness and feeling so numb by his addictions, that I just feel like I am turning to my self care as a way to block it out, but it doesn’t feel right.
Thank you for showing me, though, that some days just laying around is okay because I have needed those days and not to feel guilty about that. Our exercise routine is out of wack with the pandemic, so walking is the only activity I am getting in and it really isn’t enough. Going from “gym rats” to I can’t work out from home because I am doing everything from home now. But. I have picked up baking and meetings, and trying to read (but now I have too many books to read! )
My boundaries have shifted, but I need a lot of work on them:

  1. Our marriage plans and future depends on his commitment to recovery, regardless of the slip ups
  2. If I can’t hold a conversation without being angry, I ask him if we can table it or to give me space until I am ready
  3. Being more honest to him about my feelings, no matter how brutal it is, so that I can be heard and not only focusing on the addict
  4. That I know my limits with how much I can help him with his addiction and that he respects that- that I am not a care giver in the sense of enabling him or parenting him, but that I am a caregiver as a partner and with unconditional love.
  5. That there is complete honesty with me in regards to relapses, no matter how hard it is

But as you can see, my boundaries need to also try to include more of myself in regards to how I take care of me.
Honestly, I think I am just scared with all of this. My life has constantly been a push for me to care for others and not care for myself. Now I am at the point where I know what I want to do in life, go back to college for that, and know I want this man in my life. But feeling afraid of being pulled over and a cop finding a stash I don’t know about, or getting a call that he got into a car crash or killed himself is terrifying to me… Right when my life feels on track, it is being derailed by a disease that I have no control over. And being in control has been a problem of mine. Either way, I need to somehow find way more time for me within my boundaries, within my every day life


#8

I feel this so much girl! My BF has been going through detoxes and rehabs and normally, I would be able to cope a little better. Right now, I feel like it’s near damn impossible to cope because of how the world is. I feel super depressed and down even though I know he’s supposed to be there. I was in a good routine while he was using to take care of myself and focus on myself to distract myself. Now that he is away, all I can focus on is him being away.

There’s no right or wrong answer for how you are feeling though. I feel like its normal to experience a roller coaster of emotions. The one thing I have learned and still continue to remind myself is that I didn’t cause my BFs addiction and you didn’t cause yours either. Their addiction is just that, it is “theirs”. I suffer from depression and anxiety and I always remind my BF that no one can get me out of it except myself. Seeing it this way helped me understand his addiction a lot more and reminds me to stop putting pressure on myself to “fix” it. No one can fix anyone except for themselves!

xx
Sending good vibes.


#4

I like Dharma because in some ways we become addicted to helping others. At least in my case. Dharma uses Buddhist practices of meditation and is for all addictions including co-dependency and process addictions. I believe they have one specific to co-dependency, but I just attend regular ones. Due to my co-dependency, I have a history of using drugs and alcohol to numb myself from what was going on around me. I was never addicted, but used it in inappropriate ways to control the addicts around me and numb myself. My S/O also went to dharma together which was a nice way to combine our recoveries.

It sounds like you are definitely seeking out ways to help yourself. I know the feeling of trying to do things just to do them. I still have days where I just don’t want to do anything too.


#6

@Tlee22, What a response! I am so glad I am not alone with feeling that my self care really isn’t all there. My self care really does look more like a distraction to me in a not so positive way, but to others I have everything under control. That word “should” is such a powerfully negative one and I am finding myself using it almost daily, such as “I should read my book instead of napping,” or “I should go for a walk.” I am even finding my partner using it and realizing that it is really contributing to his self destructive behaviors. It’s one of those things in our vocabulary that needs to go away, like saying sorry all the time. In a very weird way, I am almost excited for him to be going to treatment because that means I get to spend a little more time realizing what I love to do and not just this half-assed self care! I am so glad you all are on here. I am feeling more connected and that’s what I was needing.


#5

Wow @jlynnshare, I feel this, even though I never thought of it in this light. When I started opening up to others about my husbands drinking, people commented on how well I took care of myself and engaged in self-care, but it was so half-assed. I did things because I had to do them (exercised so I could fall asleep at night, read to distract myself, went for walks to get out of the house) but even though I did A LOT that looked like self-care, I realize that was just a requirement to keep myself functioning. When he went to rehab and I really had time to pay attention to how I spent my time, I realized how different that actually looked. SLEEP was, and is still, such a big one. And permission to rest, instead of telling myself what I “should” be doing instead, which has been very difficult for me. Living with a person struggling with addiction can be traumatic and for me, I needed a lot more love than I was giving myself.

I love that communication is one of your boundaries. I learned a lot about positive communication from this site and it drastically changed my interactions with my husband and knowing your limits is HUGE too.

I’m glad you’re here :heart:


#7

Ugh, yes, “shoulds” are the absolute worst! I hope you do find ways to enjoy your time when he’s in treatment. I found that it was a very healing time for me and I hope the same is true for you!


#9

I am definitely feeling this on a very personal level!! So sorry you are going through it! I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. My boyfriend is currently in rehab since the end of February. He’s the love of my life. I just made my first post the other day. So I’m new at this so bare with me lol… . My bf was on pretty much any drug besides meth at one time or another. It was crazy how when I first found out he was using, I had never even seen a real drug in real life then finding blackened foil pieces, tiny plastic empty bags with knots, then I found ultimately heroin and then ultimately the worse, fentanyl. Idk how he survived but he did. Through the grace of God. Even after snorting pure fentanyl daily. We went through numerous detoxes, upon other things including the US Marshall’s going through our home due to a warrant he had that he didn’t even know about from when he overdosed last year. They charged him with possession. Thankfully the charges were dropped. It’s crazy how going from never seeing a drug to holding a foil filled, palm full of fentanyl in my hand once (before flushing down the toilet!) became something that I got numb too. I can tell you through ALL of this, I loved him like he’s never been loved. I stopped enabling him and demanded he go into rehab. It took time, but he finally agreed. You didn’t fail him and if anything you may just be keeping him alive. I am absolutely positive that my bf would be dead hadn’t God brought us back together. I never want recognition for that but sometimes it helps when I sometimes felt like maybe if I had done this or that- he wouldn’t have used. He used bc he’s a little broken. But there is a light. God gives us the people we need, when we need them.
-My bf in rehab… I literally have been having bad anxiety and panic attacks bc it’s such a roller coaster. I won’t sugar coat it. It’s hell here at home. Not only do I miss him so much but he’s very loving then very distant. Then I question if he even still loves me. But he says he does and still wants us. I have to just trust in that. His passes keep getting denied bc of the corona virus. We haven’t touched one another in almost three months. It takes a toll in that alone. But he’s there, he’s safe. He’s not using. I am just now starting to refocus on me. Bc I’ve done nothing but go crazy thinking about him in there and my mind was consumed with keeping him alive when he was out. Now, it’s quiet at home. How do I settle this mind now? . But, I love him. And I think love is meant to be unconditional, as long as we can hold on to it. I hope and pray we make it through and your relationship can survive and then thrive!! Sorry my post was a mile long! It just feels good to interact with people who understand that we are just people who love amazing people who are just a little broken and need help and not just worthless, drug addicts.


#10

You’re post was perfect! Be proud that you made your first post because it’s the first step to reaching out to those who care and are in the same position as you. I am so sorry to hear that this virus has made the rehab visits even harder. The pandemic alone is very depressing, but to add substance abuse to it makes it unbearable.
I really relate to your post where I never saw someone take hardcore drugs in my life to catching him with a blackened foil the next. It’s very off putting and you start questioning every single happy moment of your relationship, every time he said he was okay when he wasn’t… It’s a true roller coaster ride for sure.
Do trust when he says he wants you and the relationship. Trust that when he says he loves you, he does. But right now he may not be able to give you his 100% as he needs to give himself that. And you also need to give yourself attention too! Give yourself unconditional love just as much as you give to him. We will all make it to the other side of this, regardless if that tunnel is a spiraling track or a straight shot.


#12

@jlynnshare Exactly! I think everyday you have to set intentions with yourself and give yourself those days to cry and be upset as well. I recommend getting the Al-Anon’s Courage To Change book, it’s a little reader that really uplifts me everyday and reminds me it’ll be okay. When my BF goes away, I also feel like it’s my time to put in the work into myself that I might have otherwise forgotten to.

This pandenmic doesn’t help at all, but the little things we can do like taking care of our hygeine, reading, watching TV, spending time connecting virtually, can get it through it.


#13

Yes! The courage to change book is quite great. I mean, there are so many fabulous books on this subject in general (I highly recommend “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” by Gabor Mate).
I think, in general, I need to be putting work in to myself constantly, whether he’s away or here. My thoughts, feelings, likes and dislikes, hobbies, and activities, are all equally valuable and important all the time, not just when SHTF.
Thank you for your kind words and wisdom :slight_smile:


#14

@jlynnshare and @stayhopeful244 thanks for the book ideas. I’ve been watching Gabor’s videos. Very good stuff.


#15

I started reading a book my BF had lying around called The Life Recovery Workbook. https://www.amazon.com/Life-Recovery-Workbook-Biblical-through/dp/1414313284

It goes through the 12 steps and asks you different questions. I started writing down my answers to the questions and think I will continue each day. I just started it , but it is so helpful for a time like this! I definitely recommend it and think it’s good step work for ourselves to look within. It has some Christian based values, but even if you just focus on the questions, it is very good.


#11

Beautifully said! As I have reminded him as well, no one would turn their back on someone with depression and I am not turning my back on him through his mental illness with addiction, but we all have control of getting ourselves the help we need. No one can fix anyone but themselves… so right! As mentioned though, this pandemic makes it all that much harder to care for ourselves. I am finding more and more a need to hide from the news, from the world, from the substance abuse going on in my home. But I can’t hide, I can’t just hop on a plane and end up on a beach somewhere. I have to be home and somehow have to make this new “normal” work, including adding time for myself to get the help I need and incorporating the help my partner needs into my schedule.
Thank you, love, for your post and stay strong!