How do I help him?


My best friend/boyfriend is struggling with herion and I so desperately want him to want to go to rehab after detox in 7 days, but I’m afarid he won’t and I don’t want to be his scapegoat and allow him to keep doing this and thinking I’ll just pick up life for him. I love him with all of my heart he is the Best man when he is clean but what can I do to help him and let him know I’m not playing games? I can’t allow him back in the house if he can’t commit to trying for himself . I want to support him in everyway I can and I want to see him at his worst and see him at his best but how do you do that with healthy boundaries? Why do I feel so sad for feeling this way why does it feel like I’m being torn apart for loving someone so amazing but so lost at the moment.


This is so hard and I’m sorry you’re dealing with it. The most important thing I’ve learned about boundaries is that they’re for protecting myself and not for punishing anyone else or manipulating them into anything. Basically they communicate “If this action is taken and it violates my boundaries/sense of self/safety, then I am removing myself form this situation in XYZ way.” I think your statement about not letting him into the house is a good start, as that’s clearly where your head already is. I had a partner who lived with me and I told him my boundaries for continuing to pay the rent so we both had a place to live included him going to meetings, going to outpatient, having a job, and going to therapy. When he stopped doing these things, he had to move out and he did. I’m currently in a relationship with someone who had a different substance abuse problem and the boundaries for us living together are similar. When he relapsed, I was in a similar place to where you are, wondering what my role was. I told him that when he was ready for help - which to me meant enter treatment of some kind. - I would be there but I couldn’t see him until he made that choice for himself. I asked him one night if he was ready for help and he said he was and we’ve been on that journey for 90 days. But I also knew that all my begging and pleading wasn’t going to make a difference if he wasn’t ready and I wasn’t going to keep subjecting myself to him in that altered state because it wasn’t healthy for either of us.

Neither of these situations felt good. I hate having to do what feels like putting limits on love. I hate having to remove myself from situations where I feel like I am necessary. What I have learned is that my health and well-being are not more important that an addicts, they are JUST AS important and I have to treat them as such. I’ve also learned that the more I try to control, the more out of control things feel. Both of these men might be sick with addiction, but they are also both capable, smart people who can take part in their recovery. They can ask for and accept help. They can do things for themselves that I once thought only I could do for them because they were too sick. I know my care and support has been crucial, but I also know that I am only one person and that the journey is theirs to drive. It sounds like you’re already there in a lot of ways, not wanting to enable maladaptive behavior and wanting to set healthy boundaries which are important for both of you.

I would also note that “treatment” or “rehab” can take a lot of different shapes. There’s inpatient, outpatient, group therapy, individual counseling, medication, etc. There are options. In your discussions with him, it might be helpful to present him with choices or ideas. It’s an overwhelming thing for both of you.

You aren’t alone in the pain you’re feeling. Everyone in this community has experienced that to some degree. This community is helpful. Smart recovery for friends and family and al anon are both incredibly helpful. Support is crucial to his recovery and also to yours, so connect with the resources that work for you.


Still a hopeful heart I went to the detox center today and spoke with his counselor and he has now decided that he does not need inpatient treatment and my heart is completely broken. I feel like too huge semi trucks have attached themselves to my insides and are trying to tare me into a million pieces because knowing my love my desire can’t fix it, this is a disease and has to be his choice and no matter the amount of Love or fear or hope I have for him nothing I do is going to make a change for him.
I had a great talk with his counselor and I know that I have to put my foot down and not allow him to come home I just wish that it didn’t hurt so bad I’m completely devastated I really thought that this time was going to be the time, I really thought that with everything that led up to it to this point of him going to detox would make him see how bad he needs to change and heroin is a hell of a drug it has stolen a Good man… I would never wish this not even on my worst enemy… I fear the unknown and knowing the patterns and knowing what we’ve gone through before if he doesn’t go to rehab and doesn’t start to see he’s dying and I don’t know how to save him and I know I can’t save him I just wish he would go and be able to how loved he is, not just from me either… I love him so much that I can’t be his safe place while he chooses to not take this gift. I’m in thousand million pieces and I wish we could force people to see they’re worth… this is not the life he deserves but I understand it’s the life he is choosing… I still have hope that he gets out and say he doesn’t go to rehab he doesn’t come here to live till he proves he can be clean and stay clean get a job take care of his life. I don’t know maybe some genie will come and grant me 3 wishes and one will be for him to live to his potential and never want to do these type of drugs and heal his hurting heart and show him how wonderful he is … But again, wouldn’t that be nice delusional thought I know but we all can wish…


I’m so so sorry you’re going through this; it is absolutely brutal. I went through a decade of addiction, relapses, and sobriety with my partner. He’s currently a few months sober, but we are no longer together. Heroin is a nightmare. The cycle was devastating for me. It sounds dramatic but it almost killed me—I worked too much to support him, raised my children with very little participation from him, and ended up drinking too much myself. I was exhausted, brittle, depleted, depressed, and angry by the time I got into recovery. It’s so painful when our loved ones can’t see their worth, but I had to start to believe that I had worth, too. I tried to save my partner so many different ways, but eventually I had to turn the focus to myself. And taking better care of myself (and finding community in Al Anon) has been the only thing that’s ever truly helped me.

It’s great that you had a good talk with his counselor. I’m sending positive thoughts and lots of understanding.


I know you love your addict but truly, there comes a time when you need to put yourself first. You’re worth more than constant worry, stress, sadness. You deserve your own life.


I have no idea how to help my son or myself.


@AirialBrown - Hold on to hope. Hold on to truth. It’s a devastating, painful situation to love someone actively addicted to heroin. I’ve watched my husband turn into a complete stranger. It’s like there’s this dark demon constantly waiting around the sidelines of our life, eager to jump on any opportunity to destroy us. But there is light, too. It’s within us, we just have to unleash it. We are capable of helping our loved ones through this, but we have to work on ourselves, too.

That’s great you have been able to talk to his counselor. Have you considered seeing your own counselor or therapist? I started seeing a therapist when my husband was in active addiction. I also started identifying parts of my own life that I had to work on, realizing that my own happiness and well-being couldn’t depend solely on my marriage. I needed my own friends, community, support. Al-Anon helped me a lot. Finding community and hope through this space, and even places like Instagram. Making new friends through new interests.

Sending love your way. Recovery is possible.


@Sfurst - I’m so sorry to hear this. It can be so overwhelming to think about how to help our loved ones. Take it one moment at a time. What’s something good that’s in front of you right now? What’s the next right thing you can do for yourself?