To Fix or to Finish? My Seven Years With a Drug Addict ...
by Iris Brown
(Wellington, New Zealand)
About seven years ago I fell in love with a homeless, jobless and hopeless drug addict. I knew what I was getting into but love is blind. Our relationship was intense in mind, body and soul and we moved in together but everything changed for the worse after a year ...
I was ready for commitment but he was definitely not. He knew I was a good person but he just wasn't ready for 'good'. So I moved out and lived with my sister and he went on a very long bender with drugs, money, and women. My heart was ripped, sliced, and cooked having to watch him do this (I worked in a couple of popular social spots and he would come in a lot).
You could say that our cord of attachment was still there. For three years I was a wreck over him but could not stop having him in my life. It was through a mixture of fear, love, suffering and compassion that kept me available. After three years I couldn't take it any more so I made a big decision to go back to my home town and study. I wanted to do something for me and I was adamant that he could not follow me unless he sorted out his drug problem.
My first year into my degree he spent with his mother. He got clean and stayed that way so we decided to give it another go. New city, new start. I have never been one to go down the easy road but he spent a whole year drug-free. We were both studying and he found a full-time job. Things seemed to be going well and I felt like our relationship was becoming something real.
Then summer came and with summer comes poppies. He would complain about not knowing many people and wanting to have more of a social life but when it came to searching for those things he chose poppies over people, which ultimately leads into morphine, methadone and benzos. I just let it happen because I was so involved in getting an education and I trusted that he might be in control of it after being clean for so long. How wrong I was. That was nearly a year ago.
Our relationship now hangs by threads and threats, hatred and self-loathing. I go through feelings of acceptance to total indignation over how things have turned out for us. I don't know what our answer is and I'm not sure anyone will but there is no doubt that sharing my story has helped in the ever-long healing process. I just want to embrace this hopelessness and see what comes out of not having control and security and hope for a perfect relationship.
I have many of my own demons to face but having to face someone else's demon is one of the hardest things I have ever done. To paraphrase Pema Chodron (1997) in her book, "When Things Fall Apart": 'Bravery is being a coward but doing it anyway'. I recommend anyone going through a difficult relationship to read her book.