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My Ex- Boyfriend Has a Drinking Problem, Now Is Experimenting with Heroin, What do I do?

by Sarah

Me and my ex have been dating for 2 years, we are both now 19 and have recently ended our volatile relationship. When we first started dating we both drank on the weekends and did drugs, marijuana and ecstasy.

I decided to change my priorities around and stop doing drugs and focus on school, as I did that he began to drink and smoke weed very heavily. His drinking was out of control and he would become violent and destructive, never hitting me but would fight with strangers and punched walls and doors on several occasions.

He was arrested for possession and had to stay off drugs for a year, this sobriety only made him feel like he gave up something bad so he should reward himself by drinking more. It really killed me watching him be so destructive, I had to break up with him but just found myself terrified of him possibly being hurt or arrested or dead and would forgive him and try to keep him out of trouble.

I went to college a few hours away and we began to see each other much less, it let him hide how serious the problem really was especially once he was off probation and began smoking weed again and even did mushrooms and coke multiple times, particularly mushrooms a lot.

I decided to transfer schools and we were going to move in together when I did but as soon as that huge commitment was made he went on his largest drinking binge yet. I had to tell him I was not moving in with him and he ended up sleeping with a girl and told me about it.

At that point I knew I would never be able to continue our relationship, it's been 2 months and I'm still an emotional wreak, he calls quite often and is always drunk, talking about how he wants to die and about how he is driving and it breaks my heart because I'm torn between what's best for me (staying away from him) and trying to help him sober up.

Obviously my help hasn't worked in the past, but I'm really the only one there for him. All his friends get him messed up and his parents are alcoholics themselves and I know it tears him up. I'm no doctor but it's evident he had major depression issues and he did have a rough childhood, he started drinking at 13 and would drink a whole bottle of rum to himself at that age, eventually he got himself busy in sports and school and only drank on weekends as I said in the beginning.

He called me repetitively 2 days ago (as he does a lot, but answering usually just leads to a dramatic mess for both of us). I did answer after about 10 missed calls and he told me he did heroin, I begged him and cried to not do it again, but I haven't heard from him since and I know many of his friends do it.

I'm sorry for the long story but I don't know what to do with both the drinking and his progressing drug use. I don't feel safe around him but still love him so much even if I know I can never be with him again. I will be leaving in a few weeks and need him in knowing he will be ok.

A few quick notes, he tries to go to community college but keeps failing his classes and has pretty much given up, he lost his job recently, and he saw a therapist for a short period but although he made progress the therapist seemed too bad a poor match with him and he soon stopped going. Any help would be appreciated, the last thing I want to do is come back to school for his funeral, and at this rate that's what's going to happen. Answer

Hi Sarah

As much as you want to help your boyfriend (ex) - you can't. The only person that can help him - is him. And as much as you want to try and rescue him, all that does is further enable his addiction, and get you caught up in his toxic web.

Your boyfriend is playing on your emotional vulnerability by being highly manipulative so that you'll feel sorry for him. And it's working. That's what addicts do, because it means they don't have to take responsibility for their lives, and can so justify to themselves why they drink or take drugs.

So you need to remove yourself from the chaos and insanity he brings into your life. Entirely! Not only for your sake, but for his. Because when enough people say 'I'm not playing your games anymore and until you're ready to get help and turn your life around I want nothing further to do with you' - it forces him to stop blaming, making excuses and start becoming accountable for his actions.

Until that happens, there is no incentive or motivation to change. Too many people are feeling sorry for him or trying to rescue/help him that he doesn't have to take a long and hard look at himself. Your boyfriend needs to get professional help, i.e. ideally starting with rehab and then onto a drug and alcohol addiction recovery program. And the best possible chance of that happening is if you say 'enough is enough' - get help and turn your life around or I'm cutting ties.

Loads of people have had difficult backgrounds. It doesn't justify drug addiction or alcoholism. Your boyfriend can't do anything about his past, but he can take responsibility for his choices and whether or not he wants to change and turn his life around. And that's a decision he has to make for himself. You can try and influence him to do that, but there are no guarantees.

So unless he really wants to change and get help, you're facing a battle you can't win. That's why be careful not to let yourself get manipulated into thinking you can or need to help him. Because he will play that card. He has to want to help himself - and the best thing you can do is make that clear to him.

All the Best

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