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.