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Update: My Drug Addicted Ex. Need Closure Because Still Feeling Guilty

I originally asked a question about feeling guilty over the death of an ex-boyfriend who was addicted to drugs and alcohol. I became very depressed over finding out about his death and needed to find out what the cause was.

I recently got in touch with a close family member of his and found out that in the year prior to his death he went downhill very quickly. He died of organ failure alone in his home.

I thought finding out this information would give me closure and make me feel better since nothing has but it just left me back at square one--depressed and consumed with a bunch of "what-ifs?" I feel the same way when I first heard of his death, extremely guilty.

Maybe if I stayed he would still be alive today? It hurts me most to know he was alone, that's the worst feeling. I really, truly loved him and this has been the hardest thing I ever had to face. Any advice? Words of encouragement? Answer

As was advised before, you're taking on responsibility for something you had no control over. We can't control whether or not someone else uses drugs and the choices they make with their lives. So as tragic as your ex's death is, you couldn't have prevented it no matter how hard you tried.

Grieving is a natural and important part of the healing process. But taking on unjustified responsibility and guilt is not healthy and something you're going to need to get help with. You should look at going for therapy to help you process this, so that you can deal with your feelings in a healthy and appropriate manner.

This may or may not have been mentioned in answer to your previous question, but there are three things you need to remember in relation to someone you love suffering with an addiction. You didn't cause it, you can't control it and you can't cure it.

Remember and hold onto those three principles. But I think it's important you go talk to someone and deal with the feelings you're facing because you don't want them to consume you and take over your life. You wouldn't have been able to change what happened and it's important you reach a point where you really accept that.

God Bless and Take Care

Comments for Update: My Drug Addicted Ex. Need Closure Because Still Feeling Guilty

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death of an ex, when I thought I grieved him
by: Anonymous


I am suffering with the same pain, I don't know what to do with it. It seems worse because he was an addict and he did so much damage to me and my children in the ended. He traded us in for his addiction. We were together for 20 years. My children loved him like a father. He was clean and sober when we met, as I was. He relapsed after 10 years. And was on and off drugs for 10 years. I couldn't take the abuse of drugs and me, so I left about 3 years ago. My children still kept trying to have a relationship with him because they loved him so. He became very ill after a recent relapse and never came out of it. He was in the hospital for a month in a coma. He had gotten engaged to another addict 3 months previous..When he passed it was all so odd. We were in his life for over 20 years. Barely anyone paid condolences to my children or grandaughter who adored him.. they all paid condolences to his current fiance. I can't wrap my head around, It seems to me. Loved ones and family of addict suffer a fate worst then grief. Because of the hidden addiction and the addict people surrounding the addict. Anyway I can't even put it in to words. The pain and confusion me and my family.

Issues with drug addicted ex
by: Anonymous

I'm going through a similar issue.

When I was 18 started a relationship with a guy who was an IV drug user. I knew he took hard drugs but I was very naive back then and thought I could change him. After 2 years he went from being a charismatic, happy go lucky guy to a stick thin druggie who would leave used syringes around the house, go out for all hours and come home off the planet. At the end of the relationship he was so bad he had head lice and couldn't hold an conversation. The hardest thing I did was leave him and I was so stupid I got into a relationship with his best mate and went between them for about a year before I stayed with his best mate for 7 years- he successfully gave up drugs and to this day is clean.

I'm happily married now but everyday I wonder whether or not he's still alive. I stillI carry a lot if guilt because I never really loved the guy I left him for I was just desperate for a way out. I would like to know if he managed to get off drugs or whether he still takes them. I don't want to contact him just want some closure.

Reading some of these comments make me feel better because I realise that I'm not alone. I'm not in live with him anymore, that part of my life is finished but I still care about him and hope he is living a better life now.

Handling grief of Ex Boyfriend
by: Anonymous

It's good to know I'm not alone in this experience. There isn't anyone I can talk to about the grief I'm feeling and I've been struggling to understand how to deal with it.

It's been 28yrs since I first met my ex boyfriend. We were together for 3yrs filled with highs and lows. I knew nothing about the world of substance abuse that he lived in and often wondered how or why our paths crossed. But I've come to believe we both had lessons to teach one another. In the end it couldn't last but even in the worst of times I knew how much love he had for me and me for him. What I didn't understand then was why love wasn't enough. Why addiction was stronger than the love for anyone else. I know now how naive it was to think it was enough. Maybe the real problem was how little he loved himself.

After we broke up I heard from him for about 5yrs until I became engaged. In the end there wasn't anger, bitterness or blame on either side. Just saddness that it couldn't be and that as hard as I tried I couldn't help him (my codepent self speaking I suppose).

I learned recently that he died a year ago of liver failure from years of abuse. From what I've pieced together his life was a series of struggles after we broke up. The abuse escalated and there was ongoing legal trouble.

I guess intellectually I know I did all I could for him, but I still feel that old helplessness, that maybe I could have done more or if I'd known he was sick I could have helped him in some way. Grief that I couldn't say goodbye and tell him how much he'd meant to me. That I always saw his heart and that addiction wasn't all that defined him.

All these feelings even though my life moved on. I've been with my husband for 25 years and have a good life. So it's hard for me to understand the intense grief, and because it was such a difficult relationship none of my friends or family would understand it or have much empathy for him.

He had small children that were with us for a time. I would like to contact them to share my pictures and memories and maybe find some closure but I'm not sure if it's appropriate. And to be honest I'm a little afraid to. From what I've learned it appears the cycle has continued in their lives and I'm not sure of what I'd encounter.

Thanks for listening and for any advice you can share.

by: Anonymous

Both of the above stories sound very similar to what I am going through. My ex-boyfriend(first love) and I went our separate ways over 15 years ago. He was struggling with addiction and depression back then(although I did not realize it at the time). I basically walked away from a toxic relationship even though the love was so strong. I felt the need to escape from the chaos and the pain that he was constantly causing me. I went into a mode of self preservation. I went on to meet my the man I married and have been married for 17 years. But I always thought and worried about my ex over the years. My ex went on to become addicted to meth and a drug dealer. He ended up in prison for 4 years. When he got out, he tried to get his life back on track. He even sent me a letter apologizing for how he treated me and asked me to forgive him. I accepted his apology, but kept it short. I wished him well and asked him to take care of himself. He said he would take care of himself. But now he was taking too many prescribed drugs... antidepressants, xanax, etc. He got a dui because of the xanax and faced going back to prison. He refused to go back so hung himself in a motel room. I can't even describe the pain and guilt I am feeling. I love my children and my husband and know that they are meant to be. My feelings in no way want to diminish what I have now that I am so grateful. But I can't help but think that I should've said more in my letter back to him. In my gut, I felt that he was in turmoil. But I simply accepted his apology and didn't expand on anything. I wish I would've thanked him for thinking of him... but I didn't. I think I was still feeling the pain from our relationship. I needed closure too. It seems that after so many years, the pain would be lessened. But my pain is really intense. I can't help but think if he would have turned his life around if we stayed together. I want all the answers. I wish I would've known if it was the drugs that tore our relationship apart. Now i can't ask him those questions. He's gone. I will never know how he really felt about me back then. He never married or had children. He was 41 when he took his life. So I understand where you both are coming from.

Helpful response
by: Anonymous

I am in a similar situation to the questioner, I just found out my ex-fiance died after many years of alcoholism. He died of alcoholic pancreatitis; he was 41. We had had a very up-and-down relationship over six years and broke up twice over his drinking (getting back together both times). I finally broke off the relationship for good when I met another man, who is now my husband. 15 years has gone by and I didn't think I would be upset by my ex-fiance's death, but I am.
As much as I intellectually understand that it wasn't my fault and I could not have prevented him from drinking himself to death - and that I saved myself years of pain and heartbreak and frustration by leaving when and how I did - I still feel guilty. Reading this comment response is helping me reinforce to myself that I didn't CAUSE his alcoholism and I couldn't CURE it, and could not have even if I had stayed with him. I am working on moving past this and savoring the great life I have with my wonderful husband and son.

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