I am at a crossroads in my relationship and I don't know what to do


#1

(Content warning: discussion of suicide attempts and self-harm)

I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for three years, having lived with him for one in January. He was 14 months sober from alcohol in July of this year (I have since discovered he was using other drugs in this period) and he had a significant relapse in July lasting two months. Over summer he was admitted to hospital for a medical detox from alcohol (a very rare offering nowadays on the NHS - I’m from the UK) and a very short voluntary stay on a psychiatric ward. He has long-term mental health problems and suffers with depression and anxiety.

He relapsed again in November - nowhere near the level of last time with regards to risky behaviours, but still a significant relapse. His behaviours were extremely manipulative and he made attempts to hurt himself when he didn’t get what he wanted (this sounds really awful, but I don’t believe these attempts to be genuine - but when he video calls you to show you the blood from a cut on his neck, you panic). He got sober again a few weeks ago, but has relapsed three times since. I came home from work tonight to him sitting on our settee, drooling and difficult to rouse.

The local drug and alcohol team gave him an opportunity to stay in a detox centre for three weeks and then rehab for three months, fully funded by the NHS - he was drunk at the meeting, so turned it down and walked out. They may still consider him for a rehab stay, on the condition that he engages with the team and completes a few courses, but this could take months to arrange and thanks to government cuts the NHS cannot meet the needs of everyone so he may not get it at all - and that’s if he even truly wants the help.

My mental health is completely shot. I live an hour from my family. His family are very supportive of me but they’re not my family. I’m a mature student and am increasingly falling behind with my studies. I have to balance this with working as many hours as I can. I am currently having EMDR therapy but I’m finding it difficult to practice techniques when I remain in such a stressful living situation. My family don’t like him for what I am going through at the hands of his disease and I don’t tell my friends what is happening for fear of judgement, so I withdraw. I feel like an idiot every time he relapses that I haven’t spotted the signs. I feel like an idiot that I have remained in this situation willingly. I am scared he is either going to ruin his life and lose everything, or that he is going to die.

I am feeling increasingly isolated and despondent about my future in this relationship. I cannot bear the thought of leaving him. We had our life planned out before us. I love him deeply but I hurt so much. He is the kindest and most thoughtful man I’ve ever known - when he’s sober. I think I am at a crossroads in my life. Is the fact I’m even considering this mean I have answered my own question? How on earth can we move forwards from this? I’m at a complete loss. I am losing him and myself to this disease.

(Sorry for the long post! It’s 10.36pm here and I’m sitting alone in my bedroom, I needed to get it out.)


#2

Thanks for sharing with us @louisecb I think a lot of us can relate to feeling hopeless at times against a loved one’s addiction. But I want you to know that change is possible. It takes time and effort but it can be possible.

It sounds like you’ve identified that you need more support for yourself and it’s great to be aware of that. Can you take a break and ask someone else (maybe someone from his family) to step up their support of him while you take a break.

We can’t help from a depleted place so you’ll be doing yourself and your loved one a huge favor by stepping out to take some self care. Can you ask your family to support you at this time?

For any suicidal or self harm support please reach out for specialty support via crisis text line: Text HOME to 741741 in the US

And please remember you are not alone in this and these feelings will pass. Sending all the love across the airwaves. I know how tough this can be but it can get better. Especially when you are taken care of. Keep going, keep sharing with us and now is the time to take care of you <3 Please do! We’re all here rooting for YOU.

Stepping out to take a break and take care of you will only make you stronger.

We also have Erica our Village Coach who you can book a call with HERE or if you’d like to join our weekly meetup this week (Wednesday 6pm EST) we’d love to have you join us - a sense of community may be really helpful. Just message me and let me know <3


#3

Thank you for your kind reply, Jane. I definitely agree that I need to take some time away for myself. During the November relapse I stayed at my mother-in-law’s house, so perhaps I should go back to my own parents’ house over Christmas. Only his mum will be able to support in my absence; his twin brother stepped away since having a baby in October, his sister is too distressed to speak to him currently, his dad is an alcoholic himself. I think part of his siblings’ motives in stepping away is also to try to make him to see what he has to lose - a house, a lovely family, a beautiful niece.

Thank you for also sending me the crisis number - I should add that he is under an NHS mental health team and is currently receiving counselling for his mental health problems separately from support from the alcohol team (part of the problem in accessing support - one team will say the addiction is a behavioural problem, the other will say it’s a symptom of mental health issues). We have emergency contact numbers for our local team and we can present at A&E here in a mental health emergency.

I will have to try to stay up late for one of your weekly meetups!


#4

Where are you based? We’d love to have you join our meetup - come next week! We are here for you!

And yes please take care. Let your family know you need them!


#5

@jane I’m based in the UK so it will be about 11pm here I believe - but I’ll fight through the tiredness the next day!