A unique, but I feel appropriate metaphor in some cases. I feel as if he is cheating on me and I’m aware of it and unable to stop it. Heroin is the mistress and I have to watch as my boyfriend walks out the door and goes to her every day. That bitch gets all his time, all his money and all his thoughts and she honestly doesn’t even make him happy. This is what addiction feels like to me being on this side of things.
This blog post is more on the serious side, but I guess this would be considered a modern problem since drug addiction is increasingly becoming an issue these days. Chances are you have or currently do know someone who is struggling with addition and it’s always nice to know that you are not alone.
Typically if you are being cheated on it is a no-brainer to end the relationship. However, when the other woman is a drug it tends to complicate things. While addiction is a serious issue and the addict needs love and support, I want to give the perspective of the other person in the relationship. This could obviously be a family member or friend, but in my case it is a girlfriend’s point of view. Below I talk about how I realized I was neglecting my own wants and needs and the decision to make a change for myself while trying to navigate through a relationship with an addict.
If we want to get technical, I wouldn’t even call “boyfriend” my boyfriend as this point. A few months back we discussed our situation and I had to let him know that I just do not feel as if this is a relationship anymore. The addiction has taken a major toll on our relationship and after 3 years it’s really beaten the shit out of it and caused us to lose the connection we once had. However, we are still living together for the time being and I do my best to support him.
I have always felt as if the only decisions I have are to stay with him and encourage him to seek treatment or choose to leave him and feel the incredible guilt of walking away from someone that needs help. Am I alone with this thinking? I have finally started to realize that no matter what my choice is, I do not need to feel any guilt of the outcome. Personally, I still struggle with this, but at the end of the day it’s important to remember that all you can do is offer encouragement and hope they make the right decision.
If you’re like me, you truly wanted to be the hero and be the one that could guide your addict to seek recovery. But this is not a decision you can make for someone else. It is incredibly heartbreaking to watch someone you love destroy their life and know there is nothing you can do. I’ve spent many long days and nights waiting (hoping) for him to come home, stressing about being able to pay the bills, and crying just because I felt so hopeless. On one hand, it felt as if he was cheating on me with heroin, but on the other it felt like I was the one dating two people and I was never quite sure which person I would be coming home to.
I chose to write about this topic because I began this blog to help keep me accountable with making changes in my life. As our relationship began to deteriorate I noticed just how much I have neglected myself over the past few years. When you are living with an addict who is in active addiction, most of your time and energy goes to focusing on this. It is an all-consuming disease that has no mercy. So, I am finally taking time to focus on myself and what I want for my own life.
I wish I could be writing this telling you I have the magical answers! Alas, I do not. It took me too long to realize that there is no right or wrong answer in this situation. I spent a lot of time reaching out to friends and family, doing research and visiting support groups begging for someone to tell me what to do. I finally came to the conclusion that just as I cannot make the decision for him to seek treatment, no one can make the decision for me on what to do next.
Being in a relationship with an addict causes the normal day-to-day life to be anything but normal. On top of addiction my boyfriend/addict struggles with depression, so it was extremely difficult to motivate him to want to leave the house. We rarely had date nights because any extra money he had fueled his addiction. I stopped trying to make new friends in Dallas because I was too consumed with this relationship and didn’t know how I would explain our situation to others. I essentially put my life on hold and currently feel as if I am playing catchup. So, if you read this and also feel that you have lost focus on yourself, I urge you to make time for yourself. It’s only been several weeks that I have pointed the spotlight back to myself and I can already feel an improvement in my overall mood.
This is no easy task considering the all-consuming nature of the situation, but I am doing my best to make sure that I keep my personal goals in mind and not lose focus. I’ve let me health, friendships and financial situation take major hits for too long. I’m truly struggling through my 20s and while it is tough, I have to say it can be quite entertaining to see myself attempt to be an adult after being in a codependent relationship for so long. I will quickly mention the steps I am taking to begin this journey with myself since I am still figuring this life out.
- I made a list of goals I wish to accomplish over the next several months.
- I am making sure to put myself as a priority when I would have previously put myself second.
- I have begun reaching out to more friends and family to build my support group.
I wrote this not only to help myself, but hopefully to help anyone that is also struggling with a similar situation. I honestly feel that I could write chapters on my experience in this relationship, so I hope my post was not too erratic. If you are in a similar situation or know someone who is, feel free to let me know in the comments. It took me too long to realize that we are never alone with our troubles so words of encouragement are always welcome!