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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.

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I let go
by: Lisa

I just let go today. He has been missing since Sunday, and the last time he did this to me was October, and I told him then that if chose to go on a "bender" he needs to take the things that matter most to him, because he was not allowed to come home this time. He took nothing and left Sunday when I was at work. Today I packed his things nicely in boxes and have them ready when he calls. I cant do this to myself anymore.
We have been engaged for 2 and a half years. It was his decision to go on a spree and he did. Its now Tuesday, no calls, no word. I checked everywhere. Now I need to be free from his addictions.

light in darkness
by: Iris

Hi anonymous,

I like the part about wanting someone to turn on the light again. It's very poetic.

I find myself in the darkness alot and in those times I escape into my imaginary world to write. It's great for my writing but not for my reality, which starts to deteriorate because ignoring reality will not make it go away.

Although I hate the word and concept, 'strategy' helps and reaching out to anyone helps too. Writing what you just did helps even though it may not seem like it does.

I want to go to NA meetings with my man and I want to change things within myself so that I can help in getting our balance back. It's all about balance but for an addict it's about refraining and finding strength. I'm a dreamer, nurturer and believer but at times I suffer from overwhelming doubt, which doesn't help our situation. So I'm looking at myself very, very closely and trying to see exactly how I react to things and how those reactions affect my relationship.

If your girlfriend can 'see' the good in you then it must be there so be kind on yourself and her and try your hardest to find the light inside your darkness because I promise you, it is there. It is within us all but it's not easy to find so don't give up. I'm not going to.

by: Anonymous

i am the addict living with the woman who is in love with me swears she sees the good in me iam jobless now mostly because i know that getting a job would require not taking drugs to pass a drug screen and that means a very painful withdrawal.i am not addicted to A drug i am addicted to all drugs or anything that makes feel better than what i do when i wake up.i am the real life story of a hard working at times very successful man who has found his self in his pajamas sitting in his girlfriends living room with the shades drawn and all the lights off talkin to someone or something i dont even know i guess im hoping someone or something will turn back on the light

Understanding is key
by: Iris

Thank you C-P. I am grateful for your understanding and for the tips on places to look for help. You're absolutely right. I need to find out what I'm grasping onto and let it all go. It seems like the closest thing to a solution, as well as practicing love and kindest on myself, him and others. One journey ends and another begins...

Time to Let Go
by: C-P

Hi Iris

Your story is another example of the sad and painful life of someone in love with an addict. I think we all wish that there was a solution, something we could do to help someone we love with an addiction. Unfortunately as you know - there isn't. Your probably know this - but it's worth remembering in your position: You didn't Cause his addiction, You can't Control his addiction, and unfortunately neither can you Cure it. I think you need to examine what you're holding onto and start letting go. Most of us have codependent tendencies in one form or another - except when in destructive relationships like with an active addict - that just gets multiplied a hundred-fold. So maybe you should look at attending groups like CoDA ( where you can begin working towards developing healthy and loving relationships. Naranon - for loved one's of addicts would help too. I think it's time to get your life back. Take care and good luck.

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