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Ex-Boyfriend Relapses from his Alcoholism and Drug Addiction. I Feel Guilty - Why???

I have an ex-boyfriend who is an alcoholic who uses drugs while drunk. Drug of choice being cocaine. We lived together in an apartment - he lost his job - I understood and was supportive.

I bought a house and he moved in with me. His drinking became all night binges. Eventually, after learning he had stolen money from my debit card, took my credit cards while I was sleeping ... this list could go on and on ... ending with pawning my jewelry and other items, I asked and loaned him the money to move out.

I basically continued to support him while he was getting on his feet. So, fast forward to the worst 4 months of my life resulting in him finally checking into rehab. He wanted a relationship with me and begged ... I made it clear I would be there for him as a friend - extreme boundaries. He has been out of rehab for one month, still no job.

I bought him a TV so he would have some source of entertainment. I got a call last week from him that he had slipped up again ... and finally figured out he even pawned the TV I bought. At this - I FLIPPED out and told him to never contact me again.

I am struggling with sincere guilt now worried with what will happen to him - he has bills due that he cannot pay...I know - this is not my problem - but I don't want him to lose his car, his apartment, etc. Why do these feelings of guilt and worry persist when I clearly know I have done all I can?

I have searched high and low for literature on this - to no avail. I have no desire to ever be with him, however just want him to be "ok" Any advice??


Guilt is largely a conditioned response that's ingrained in us from an early age and permeates our lives in all sorts of ways, big and small. So it's something we have to unlearn and work very hard at eradicating from our lives, which will probably be a life-long battle.

So the first thing to realise is that what you're feeling is normal. But at the same time you need to maintain the awareness that your guilt helps no one - neither you nor your ex-boyfriend.

In trying to help your ex - all you've done is inadvertently further enabled his addiction. Because the only way he's ever going to achieve a life of sobriety is by taking total responsibility for the choices he makes and the subsequent consequences that come with those.

So if he makes bad choices he needs to fully experience all the negative consequences that come with them - and in doing so hopefully the realisation will dawn that if he's going to change the mess his life is in - he has to start making better choices and start seriously doing something about his alcoholism and drug addiction.

But if you don't allow him to fully experience the mess he's created of his own accord - by paying his rent, buying him TV's etc. - he will never truly understand the actual consequences of choosing a life of alcoholism and drug addiction. That's why it usually takes an addict to reach bottom before they're really ready to change - but you're not allowing that to happen.

Your ex's destiny is in his own hands and his life will unfold as its meant to. So remember these 3 key principles that always apply when someone you care about is struggling with an addiction: 1) You didn't Cause their addiction 2) You can't Control their addiction 3) You can't Cure their addiction.

Maintain that awareness and get back to focusing on your own life and needs. Whatever is going to happen with your ex will happen irrespective of what you do. But you'll actually be helping him a whole lot more when you stop enabling him and start allowing him to fully experience the consequences of living a life of addiction.

It's not easy but it's a conscious decision you have to make and stick with. Take Care and Good Luck.

Comments for Ex-Boyfriend Relapses from his Alcoholism and Drug Addiction. I Feel Guilty - Why???

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Mar 12, 2013
by: Anonymous

Hello everyone... I am someone who began a relationship with someone 8 months ago. At first,things were fine and dandy! Then all of a sudden, they changed!!!! This boyfriend came up missing for like 2-3 days and noone knew where he was. His brother,(who he lives with)called me looking for him and I was also calling him to try and find out what was going on...All sorts of thoughts went through my mind. My family as well as his were so worried. Finally after about 3 days the truth came out..He had relapsed on cocaine!!! I was truly devasted,angry,and hurt. I was also worried about him. By this time in our relationship, strong feelings were developed.

After that I don't know but things changed and I found myself not trusting him and feeling like I needed to be VERY CAUTIOUS! I shortly ended our relationship. Everyone may decide something different things for their various situation but for me, I knew that This was not the life that I wanted to live or expose my children to. As a child I can remember watchting my mother in a marriage to someone with a drug addiction and it was always tense and unpredictable in the house. We were scared for my mom because we saw how creepy he acted and his comments would make us feel like she was in danger! Although he (my now ex-boyfriend) has tried and tried to pursue a relationship with me and think that I'm stupid and don't recognize other signs since his relapse, I told him that I can only offer my friendship and nothing more. I do have hopes that eventually he will get it together,he cant be my priority! especially when he's still lying to me and dont't think that I know it. So now we dont see or talk hardly and when we do, it's brief and that's the way I want it. I said all of that to say this...SOMETIMES WE ALREADY KNOW THE ANSWER TO OUR OWN QUESTIONS!!! FOLLOW YOUR GUTT! And a relationship is not suppose to bring havok and unneeded drama to you or the lives of your family! There will be times when God may tell you to stay. There are also times when God is TRYING TO TELL YOU SOMETHING! I'm not a drug user, nor do I drink so I just prefer not to date one love or not. DO THE RIGHT THING!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sep 22, 2010
by: Anonymous

Thank you for your comments. I am a week into no contact which I requested. I still am sad and feel sorry for him - but like you have said...letting go completely and looking after my life is the focus. Thanks again for your words - they do help.

Sep 16, 2010
similar stories
by: Anonymous

Hello there,
I had been in a very similar situation with someone who only uses cocaine after drinking. He's mostly a binger not an everyday user.
We were on and off here and there for about 2 years and I used to feel guilty also and always said I didnt want to be with him again. But I always ended up back with him.
The best decision after a long crazy roller coaster with him was to completely let go, and let him fall as much as he chose to. And I would not help him at all.
Today I dont know what he is doing as far as using it, how he is doing at work, and survival.... but I did start taking better care of me, I even went back to school.
Feeling guilty is normal, but it is also a sign that you may not be totally over with him, and that could be a huge set back for you.
Concentrate on your own life, let him go completely.... if he falls, it may just be the best thing for him right now, because then he can make a decision to either stay active in his addiction, or seek help for himself, byhimself.

Sep 14, 2010
Sounds great!
by: Anonymous

Wow - they all sound wonderful after briefly researching. Thank you so much for the suggestions.

Sep 14, 2010
by: C-P

'Codependent No More' by Melody Beattie is a good one. Then more general self-help type books that are good for you own healing and growth 'A Return to Love' by Marianne Williamson, and 'You Can Heal Your Life' by Louise Hay. Good for learning how to deal with things like guilt etc. which is just another form of insecurity.

Sep 13, 2010
Reaading Recs?
by: Anonymous

Thank you very much for the response. It is all things I know yet have to hear again from an outside party to let it really sink in. Do you know of any books that can help me get through this process? I would appreciate any recommendations. Thank you again!

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