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My Boyfriend Is a Functioning Opiate Addict, He Wants To Get Clean. How Do I Support Him Without Being Too Pushy?

by Rayla R
(Ventura, Ca.)

My boyfriend has been addicted to smoking opiates for 5 years. When we got into a relationship together, he mentioned it was part of his past but failed to inform me that he was currently using methodones and oxy's every now and then.

I knew something wasn't completely right with him, but aside from that he was an amazing guy, and we shared much in commmon. After 4 months we decided to move in together, and I slowly began to learn of his addiction.

He admitted that he had recently been using when he moved in, and that he wanted to kick it. So, not knowing anything about addiction figured it would be over, and our lives would start.

Because he was kicking it without any classes, counseling, meetings or any spiritual support, he was very moody, irritated, jealous, and hard to be around. Out of the 5 months we lived together, he would slip every 20-30 days, especially if things were not going right in our relationship, or with his mom. His mom has an opiate addiction also.

As the months went on, he revealed more and more things to me about his addiction, and he began slipping more often. I had to bear the weight of all the debt he had accumulated in the past, because we lived together now he was trying to catch up.

I encouraged him to seek help to help save the relationship. He had agreed to take his court ordered classes when we were living together, and agreed to see a counselor, which only helped somewhat.

I wasn't very supportive in the beginning because he wasnt completely honest with me about his addiction, and all the responsibilites he had ran away from. The fights were bad, and I was loosing my self living with him, because I hated it everytime he used.

I got him to move out, hoping he would work on himself, and me, work on myself, but it only got worse. I didn't know how bad it really was until he moved out. Once he moved out, he relasped hard, smoking heroin everyday. I had broken up with him twice because of it.

He says that he know he wants to be with me, and that I'm the woman he wants to marry and that everytime I break it off it devastates him. I now, have educated myself on addiction, and have been reading different recovery sites, and blogs.

He says being with me makes him happy and not want to use. I struggle with the things he says because I know that even when we lived together and fought he still used. He refuses to go to rehab, but agrees to go counseling. I've called clinics for him, given him phone numbers to call, and pushed him to go to meetings, church anything.

He says he wants it, but hasn't initiated anything consistent or longterm. He would go to a meeting here, a meeting there, but he'd go under the influence, and it would make me upset. He has a 3 year old daughter from his previous relationship, and the mom recently decided to keep her away until he decided to clean up his act.

He is only (25) and I'm (26). I decided to stay with him and support him because he says he wants help and support. I see him doing well in other aspects of his life: bills, work, but he fails to put much effort in recovery. I feel like I'm waiting for him to get going already and its barely even happening.

He already has a physical addiction and cannot function without taking something everyday. He is only taking methadones now. I love and care about him, and I feel like I'm waiting for a real healthy relationshilp to begin. He says he is getting really close to the point that where is going to want to kick it again.

His longest sobriety was when he was with his baby's mama, he did the dry sober thing for 4 months, he says it was a year, but his ex told me it was 4 only months. Since we don't live together anymore, I feel like my normal self, but I'm not sure if I should continue to support him and stay with him, or just cut it off.

We still fight, dumb pointless fights, cos he is jealous, or cause I don't give him enough affection. Its been 4 months since he has moved out, relasped, and is slowly trying to come out of it again. We've been together for one year.

I don't see much action on his part as far as recovery goes, and he fights me everytime I try to talk to him about it, saying he wants to do it, but the way I say it makes him mad, and that he wants to do it for him, not because I tell him.

Either way he hardly is doing anything, and I don't know how long to wait. Should I be patient with him, and allow him to find it on its own, or should I discontinue seeing him if it bothers me too much? Answer

It seems your boyfriend talks a good game and says all the right things about wanting to get clean and beat his opiate addiction - but clearly his actions are not supporting what he says and actions are ultimately what counts.

That's the thing with addicts - they know how to say all the right things and are highly manipulative so you want to believe them. And so you hang on and continue to hope that things will change, getting dragged ever deeper into the insanity and toxic energy that accompanies being in a relationship with a drug addict.

So to answer your question about not being pushy - why should that worry you? You're the one being messed around, having promises broken, being forced to put your life on hold in the hope that your boyfriend will eventually change - so your approach should be to accept no more excuses and give your boyfriend an ultimatum ...

'Get professional and get clean or there is no future for your relationship.' End of story. Because unless you do that all you're doing is enabling him. So give him the choice - you or the drugs. And no him telling you he's going to do it his way. You have to make it clear to him that its rehab and a recovery program to ensure he stays clean or that's it. And if he relapses once, its over, no second chances.

He might make the right noises and agree to what you're saying if he sees you're serious. But it comes back to actions speaking louder than words and you'll soon see if he actually is committed to changing.

The reality is that he probably isn't, and he'll continue to make excuses and manipulate you into thinking you should be patient and give him more time. So you should just walk away now and move on. To have a healthy, loving relationship based on trust and mutual respect is almost impossible with a drug addict - so you're just going to end up heartbroken and disappointed if you keep hanging on.

Hopefully your boyfriend does eventually manage to get clean and turn his life around, but you can't put your life on hold waiting for that to happen. He's responsible for his own well-being and happiness and the sooner he realises that, the sooner he's likely to make an effort to change, so leaving him could actually be one of the best things you do for him. All the Best

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