Dating an Addict: The Good, the Bad & The Ugly
If anyone reading this is “In love” or has ever been “In Love” with an addict, I can honestly say, I know how you feel. I too, at one point had a heroin addicted boyfriend. I am 24 years old and only a couple years back, helped him come to the realization that he was an addict. It took so much time and effort to get him to admit to me what all he had been lying and hiding from me in the months leading up to that point. Every day was a constant struggle from the day I realized he had a problem for myself, to the day I got him to admit to me he was abusing heroin.
Uncovering the Truth
Knowing the truth about his addiction and not being able to get him to admit it was without a doubt-the most frustrating thing I have ever experienced. Every night I cried myself to sleep not knowing what to do. The question lingered in my head, “Should I break up with him because of his addiction and the constant lying, because I’m better than that? Or, Should I stay with him and do everything in my power to help him get better, for feared if the addiction goes on any longer he will overdose?”
I’d been with the kid over 2 years at that point and I was completely lost. My own personal well-being was suffering more than I realized at the time.
Once we talked and he agreed to check into a rehab program – a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and there was such a sense of relief in the air. I knew him being there was the best possible scenario. Sadly, the trust I once had in him was completely shattered the moment I found out he had left and that nasty little drug crept back into his life. Thinking back on how awful he treated me while he was using – makes me sick. Every day he lied and manipulated me. Borrowing money, for things such as “gas, bills, car repairs, cigarettes, etc.” because he had lost a lot of hours at work and was low on money. And then finding out – all the money I gave him was used towards buying dope. It made me sick. Never actually being where he told me he was – was another problem. Never wanting to hangout or see me because he had “other” stuff he had to do (like going to the city to buy, and all other business associated with “dealing”). I was no longer his first priority, and I don’t even think I was a priority at all.
“His whole life revolved around the ‘process’ of getting high. Finding heroin, going to buy heroin and locking himself in strange places to, you guessed it…abuse heroin”
I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. When you are in love with an addict your life changes in more ways than you will ever know. Our relationship took a 180 degree turn – for the worst. Like they say, there isn’t a relationship without trust and communication, two things our relationship was clearly lacking. After being out of rehab for a month after a second go about, the signs of him wanting to change at the beginning were wonderful. Going to meetings, attending intensive outpatient treatment and regularly talking to his sponsor were all there. I finally felt like our lives were beginning to change for the better, I had yet again such an immense feeling of relief. Obviously, I continued to doubt his word but still in the back of my head I tried to believe everything he was saying. After a third and fourth relapse, I made the painful decision to let him go and let fate take over.
Once you deal with an addict for so long – and they don’t prove to you they want to change, their fate is no longer in yours, or anybody else’s hands for that matter- they hold the ultimate key. This is why it is so common to see addicts all alone, they put their addiction above all people and things in their lives – and after while it really takes a toll on the people who love them. It hurt me both mentally and physically. The experience changed my life in more ways than I can tell you. Having to worry every second of your life about your loved ones addiction forces you to put their problems and needs before your own, and that was the hardest part for me at the time. I lost myself, in my search for the guy I once fell so deeply in love with. THAT WAS THEN, nearly 7 years ago.
Where am I now?
This experience really got me thinking about what I was going to do with my life…where was I going, because I definitely didn’t belong where I was. (Who wants to give poor little kids tetanus shots anyways?) So, I finally found my passion and threw myself towards the recovery community and working with addiction through social work. I landed a job as a case manager/administrative assistant at a facility who provides integrated treatment of substance use and mental health disorders for children, teens and adults-and I absolutely love it. I’m also working towards my MSW so I can work as a LMSW (Licensed Master Social Worker) and a CAADC (Certified Advanced Alcohol & Drug Counselor) when it’s all said and done.
I now know more than ever before, this is where I belong. My personal experiences with addiction had such a profound impact on my life and without a doubt, contributed to the person I am today. Whether it’s in yourself or someone else, experiencing a disease so devastating seems like the worst thing that could ever happen to someone, but it can be cured just as almost any other disease. It pains me to see others view addicts as “lost causes,” because that’s not the case. They are merely cracked- not broken. They are worth it. You all are worth it. Once you find the light- you can use your experience and your story to help others find that light as well. I know I did. They say everything happens for a reason, and I’ve never felt that to be more true.