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I'm in Love With a Heroin Addict.

I moved in with my boyfriend at the beginning of the year after dating for only a short period of time. His mother passed away a few years prior due to an alcohol addiction and since then he had been on a downward spiral; abusing drugs, not able to keep a job, home, etc.

Before we had started dating I heard he had messed around with heroin and I had wanted nothing but to help him. He didn't have any positive role models in his life and I wanted to be that for him. He flushed a bag down the toilet when I found out he was on it to show that he didn't need it. I wanted to believe that so bad that I didn't press the matter.

He lived at my dad's house with me for a few months after that incident in which I'm fairly certain he wasn't using. A few months after we moved into our apartment and I started to realize he couldn't keep a job for more than a month or two. He did struggle with drug abuse, constantly wanting to get high on something, anything. I found out he had cheated on me multiple times with multiple girls and I kicked him out. I was absolutely devastated.

He wouldn't give me the key and I came home from work to find him retarded on a handful of xanax. It got to the point where I had to have his sister come get him and take the keys from him. He wouldn't stop crying and calling me. It was one of the hardest nights of my life. It was also (or so he told me) the first night he ever shot up heroin. A few months passed and he got kicked out of his sisters with no where to go, no friends to turn to, no support system.

He was staying in his car which has been parked (broken) in my apartment parking lot. A heat wave came last month and I couldn't bare to let him dehydrate and suffer heat stroke in his car. I started letting him come upstairs during the day until it got to the point where he was staying with me again. We have been working on our relationship since, granted I want to wait before I make another commitment to him.

He started working full time two weeks ago and I thought he was doing really well. His sister texted me last week to see how he was doing and informed me that she found a needle in the couch that he was sleeping on at her house. This brought me to tears, having been the first time I had ever been shown proof that he shot up. I confronted him about it and he avoided the conversation.

I noticed, for the first time, track marks on his arm. It's amazing what we don't want to see when we're in denial. He told me they were old scars that he picked at. I may be naive but I'm not stupid. I decided to go through his car while he was at work yesterday and found a bag of syringes. Whether or not I wanted to face this hard fact, it smacked me right in the face.

Last night we had a long talk about everything. He agreed to be completely honest and tell me all the details of his addiction. He bought a few suboxone to help with withdrawals. He claims that the only reason he uses is because he can't sleep without it and that this medication will help with that.

Now my question is, what the hell do I do? I can't ignore the problem and abandon him. He has no one else. My mom is a recovering alcoholic so I know that a support system is crucial to recovery. Even though I feel we made a breakthrough last night, I feel he's inevitably going to lie to me in the future.

He told me that he doesn't want to be on dope anymore, that he doesn't need it, and that it's a disgusting life. I told him I will support any method of treatment that he thinks will get him off of it. What more can I do? Am I enabling him by not kicking him out? I'm so troubled by all of this and I have no one to talk to who won't judge him and call me an idiot for letting him back in my house. Answer

Unfortunately the way you have handled things up until has enabled your boyfriend's heroin addiction - because you haven't let him experience the FULL consequences that come with the life of a drug addict. And in doing so it makes it harder for him to ever become sufficiently motivated enough to do the work that requires change.

Don't confuse trying to provide a support system with trying to rescue someone who doesn't really want to be helped. His addiction isn't your responsibility - it's his - and it's up to him to take the steps necessary to overcome it. So whilst he might be saying the right things, which addicts are notoriously good at because manipulation is one of their strengths, don't take him on his word. He has to prove it to you through action - and taking the necessary steps to start turning his life around.

So while you think this may sound overly harsh - you have to be clear, firm and put strong boundaries in place to handle this. It's not your job to help your boyfriend - he has to want to help himself - and the best way to do that would be to get into an inpatient rehab program. Non-negotiable. And you have to insist on that if he wants to remain a part of your life.

Then you also have to make it clear that this is the final chance you're giving him - he goes for treatment, gets clean, and stays that way - or he's out of your life. Because if you don't, you're going to get messed around no end and he'll take advantage of your desire to want to help him.

You're obviously inclined towards codependency, and if you don't recognise that and begin to address it, you're going to end up being taken advantage of and end up losing yourself totally in all this. So tread with caution and remember the key principles that you can't cure or control a drug addict. They have to want it for themselves and be prepared to put in the hard work to make it happen. You can't do it for them.

Your intentions are no doubt good, but if you don't handle this right, you're going to end up with a huge amount of heart-ache and pain. You only have to read this story of another girl who was in love with a heroin addict and what it did to her.

So look after yourself and take care.

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