My ex-boyfriend is a Heroin Addict and it's Tearing me Apart
(Long Island, NY)
I'm 18 years old, and I live in long island New York. Its becoming a huge epidemic here where teens are using and over dosing on heroin.
3 years ago I met this amazing guy and we became the best of friends. Almost 2 years ago we started dating, and nothing ever changed, we stayed best friends through everything. Never had a bad moment together.
Before we started dating, I knew he had tried heroin and well I didn't really mind, because we were young and always experimenting with drugs.
His big sister is a heroin addict and a big part of his life. She's the one who got him into pills and helped get him heroin for the first time, which plays a big part in his addiction today.
A year and a half ago he was put on probation for fighting. Which meant he couldn't smoke weed anymore so he started doing heroin once a week.
Again, I didn't mind because I felt bad that I was still smoking and he couldn't. Basically we were huge potheads together.
I didn't notice him starting to get addicted until about 7 or 8 months ago, when he would sort of freak out when he couldn't get a bag on the only day of the week he could do it. So I starting doing my best to get him to stop, but ultimately I failed most of the time.
I'm not sure anymore how it happened, but months and months went by and he got worse and worse.
Eventually he got so bad that he completely changed. I noticed I was no longer his best friend, even though he was still mine ...
About a month ago he tried quitting again and starting smoking crack with one of my friends girlfriends. Soon after, he left me and started dating her instead. He turned her onto heroin, and I guess he liked it because he always tried to put me in that same boat with him, but I wouldn't join.
He used to do only use about a bag a day, but with this girl addicted now too, they were doing a whole lot more. But, since she's addicted herself she ended up leaving him a couple of weeks ago for her ex.
He called me up trying to be friends again and told me he's getting really bad and that he's started shooting up. It tore me completely apart. I started yelling and crying and he said he doesn't need this right now. So of course I changed my attitude and told him "I'm here for you, but you need help. You cant do this on your own," but he thinks he can.
A few days later I decided I couldn't be friends with him anymore. I was moving on with my life and I just cant take the pain. He responded and told me "How can you do this to me when I need you the most?"
So I came up with a plan. And that plan was to keep him at my house for the weekend while he got clean. and told him that if he fails, or leaves my house during the weekend, we aren't friends anymore.
He agreed, at first he didn't like the idea, but he called one night asking if I still wanted to do this for him, and I said 'of course.' Well, it's Saturday night and I haven't heard from him all day. It was supposed to start Friday night.
I'm really torn apart, I just don't know what to do? I don't know what to say, I don't know how to act ...
All I want is for him to get clean, I cannot feel better, and I cannot go through everyday without being depressed unless I know I'm doing the right thing to help him get better.
I've moved on, and realized nothing will ever be the same, and that I don't want him in my life. I understand that he probably won't get better. But I'm just so torn on what actions I need to take to get him better?
I wanna put him before my feelings. His best interest is all I care about right now, but I don't know what to do. Please help me out ...
I think your story is a perfect example of the insanity of addiction - how it's busy destroying your ex's life, yet even though he's starting to realise it, he's not prepared to do what is necessary and ask for help so that he can get clean.
When it comes to a drug as dangerous and addictive as heroin, play with fire, and chances are you're going to get burned - so hopefully in future you WILL mind if someone you care about starts using it, even if they only want to do it once a week to begin with.
Look I don't want to lecture you now because I think you've seen first hand how dangerous drugs can be, so hopefully you'll use this experience for the better in future.
So that comes back to what you can do for your ex. The truth is unfortunately not a lot. Until he is ready to take responsibility for his addiction and do what is necessary to get clean and stay that way, you're pretty much fighting a losing battle.
The best thing you can do is encourage him to get help, and hopefully that will help persuade him to eventually do so. The idea of having him stay at your house for the weekend, while a good idea, isn't a long-term solution because even though it might keep him clean for a weekend, there is a lot more to beating an addiction than a weekend of abstinence.
Overcoming an addiction requires a lot of work and change on the mental, emotional, spiritual and physical levels - and that's why the best thing you can do is to try get him into a drug treatment program
that will address all these things. But until he wants that for himself and accepts he can't do it alone, it's unlikely that anything you say will be able to convince him.
It may help to understand your role in someone else's addiction (the three C's of addiction): You did not Cause it, You can't Control it, and You won't be able to Cure it.
So I know you really want to help in some way, but unless your ex-boyfriend wants to be helped, you may just have to set him free, and hope that at some point he reaches his bottom, from which he will be prepared to surrender and admit his powerlessness to control his addiction, and thereby get the help he needs.
I wish you the best of luck and hope everything works out for the best.