My Boyfriend is a Heroin Addict. I Think it's Time to Leave Him but Not Sure I Can
Hi. My name’s Sarah. I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for about 5 years now. Little did I know when I got involved with him that I was getting involved with a drug addict.
He managed to hide his addiction from me for pretty much the 1st year of our relationship. I did wonder at times why his persona would suddenly change and why he would ‘disappear’ for stretches that sometimes would last a couple of days and at other times for up to a week. Little did I know ...
I just figured he needed space and didn’t want to become the nagging, clingy girlfriend so just let it go. That’s until one day I walked in on him in the bathroom and caught him smoking what turned out to be Heroin.
Suddenly all his weird behaviour and prolonged absences made sense. Of course we had a big row, he promised to quit and everything seemed fine for a while. But soon he was at it again and I started recognising the signs when he was high.
Anyway, as you can imagine – the last 5 years have been hard to say the least. The problem is I love him. But I’m not sure how much longer I can deal with the constant lies, stealing and mistrust. I can’t imagine a bigger nightmare than being involved with a heroin addict - I fear daily he might overdose (he has long since moved onto injecting), I’m sick of the broken promises to quit (he’s been through rehab 3 times) and I’m just about out of tears (and I’ve shed plenty).
So what should I do? I’ve tried everything – getting him into rehab, taking him to NA, begging, pleading, you name it. I’m also pretty much all he’s got. He’s had a hard life and doesn’t really have much in the way of family to take care of him, but I’m not sure I can anymore ...
My heart absolutely goes out to you. I couldn’t imagine a more difficult and painful situation to be in. Let me ask you this, if things keep going as they are, what then?
Is your boyfriend likely to stop using heroin, to change for the better? From what you’ve told me it doesn’t seem likely. Things have gotten progressively worse since you’ve known him, not better, despite you having been there for him and loved him all this time.
The big thing to realise is that there is nothing you can do to change an addict. It has to come from him. You can sometimes help facilitate that change, but if he doesn’t want to change, there is absolutely nothing you can do.
It sounds like you’ve developed a codependent
relationship with your boyfriend, which isn’t healthy for either of you. And it seems like you could, despite all your best intentions no doubt , be enabling his behaviour - because with you there for him to constantly fall back on he never has to really experience the consequences of his using.
Like you say, you’re not sure you can carry on with things as they are - but it's easy to feel like you’d be deserting or betraying your boyfriend by leaving him. You need to realise though that the biggest act of love can sometimes be to walk away. That might just be the push your boyfriend needs to take beating his heroin addiction seriously. Of course there is no guarantee of that, but there is nothing else you can do.
Take comfort from the fact that you’ve tried everything. Your well-being is also at stake here and I’m sure the last 5 years have taken their toll on you. You need to make time to find yourself again. No one can tell you what to do, but trying to make a fresh start for yourself right now sounds like the best thing for you to do.
Be strong and God Bless