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Feeling guilty about walking away from my drug addict guy. Was I wrong to take some distance?

Tagged as: Big Questions, Breaking up, Family, Health, Troubled relationships, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (30 August 2014) 9 Answers - (Newest, 1 September 2014)
A female Ireland age 30-35, anonymous writes:

Hi everyone

I have been in a relationship for a few months with a guy who is a drug addict. He uses coke, meth, heroin, etc. We recently spoke about his drug addiction and I told him that I will be there to support his recovery.

He just has to stop using drugs.

A few days later he was having a bad comedown and so i went to him.

During this time he was really mean. He kept saying he didn't want me there, he accused me of speaking behind his back, he was shouting that no one gives him support, etc.

He even said that it would be better if another woman was with him instead of me. Wow, talk about being nasty. Anyway, I stayed to help him but then his words continued: He said it was the end for us and it had to be.

(He called me a few days later because he needed help with some issue, though. I did help and then.... no more contact from him.)

I got in touch with his sister about his drug addiction and she said they are going to be getting him help. I know he needs it.

The thing with him being nasty to me is: if it was a sober guy telling me those things, I would have told him to go f**k himself. But I guess i have made allowances based on the fact that he is unwell due to addiction.....

Now... it's been a few days and I haven't heard any updates on him or his recovery from his family.

I haven't got in touch, either. I thought distance would be a good thing. But now I am feeling guilty for walking away, even though I know that we can't be together and I can't sit by and watch him self-destruct.

Was I wrong to take some distance?

Thanks for listening.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (1 September 2014):

Honeypie agony auntI think you KNOW it is the right thing to do. To walk away from him and NOt get into gutter WITH him out of misguided sympathy or emotions.

Meth and heroin are pretty hard core. They are also the kind of drug that people get "instantly" addicted to over the more "mellow" drugs. It's the kind of drugs that doesn't necessarily make you feel better, but you just don't CARE. You get numb.

You can NOT fix this for him. You can't do rehab for him, you can't "make" him stop. ALL you can do is WATCH him self-destruct and that... can't be good for anyone.

The drugs doesn't excuse his behavior EVER. Just like a DRUNK person should verbally or physically abuse someone else. The PERSON is doing it, NOT the drugs or alcohol.

CUT the contact 100%. Stop beating yourself up for wanting MORE out of life then share it with a junkie.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (1 September 2014):

Yes, you were wrong to take SOME distance - you need to take A LOT of distance...

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A female reader, So_Very_Confused United States +, writes (30 August 2014):

So_Very_Confused agony auntI wish my husband had been mean to me when he was under the influence before we were married. I would have walked then and there... sadly his true addict colors did not show up till after we said "I do" and I am committed to staying with him.

I think you did the right thing.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (30 August 2014):

Are you personally down on your luck and alienated from your family? Why would you be dating a guy like that?!!

You don't meet people like that guy on the upside of town. He's addicted to everything a pusher can sell him, which makes him a creature of the night. Trolling places where he knows he'll find what he needs to feed his addictions. Dark and dank places full of addicts and pushers. The underbelly of society. He can't keep up with the usual party scene, that takes money. You have look fashionable, and be on the A-list. He's on the dark-side. Where the dreads are.

Clubbing requires drink minimums and cover charges. Unless you sell and provide the illegal party favorites! Perhaps he's a musician? That's often the case. They get away with drugging and partying; because it's expected of them, if he belongs to some scummy band. Otherwise, he just scrapes by on pie-back jobs until he's fired. Then he'll make money anyway he can; even if takes stealing from friends and family. Or, selling his body. You probably gave him money to keep him from going that route.

Why are you around someone like that? He must look a total mess from dehydration, jaundiced, and emaciated. Always high, and he doesn't run with the nicest crowd of people. His whole day is spent searching for what he needs to stay high, or practically out of his mind on an illegal substance. You can't operate machinery high on dope!

If you are also into drugs? Note, he is the poster-child of drug-addiction. He will get you addicted on heroine, and selling your body to support his habit. He yells no one supports him? That's because they gave up on trying! He isn't going to keep you around; unless he can eventually get you into what he's into. He has to. His addictions and survival depend on it.

It's only humane to show compassion for another human being; but you have to go out of your way to find somebody like that. He was a stray you found off the beaten-path.

Hanging out in places you yourself shouldn't be! Probably met him at a party. It surely wasn't at an art gallery.

He is not "ill," but he is sick in the worst way.

He is in a world where you shouldn't go looking for a boyfriend. I am absolutely certain, you didn't find out he was into drugs totally by accident. You've known all the long.

Addicts don't seek help until they hit rock-bottom. They have to look death in the face to scare them into rehab.

Few can be saved by intervention, and his sister is full of sh*t about getting him help. She told you what you wanted to hear, so she wouldn't look bad. Someone on a wide selection of drugs like he is, has been this way for a long-time; and they gave up on him probably years ago.

Unless you're into the same scene yourself, you're far too empathetic. How does he earn money to buy drugs? I am sure he isn't getting up in the morning to head out to a full-time job to work eight grueling hours; and not be able to get high throughout the day. He has to be in the club or bar scene, which keeps him out all night. Making drug-deals in dark alleys and cruddy bathrooms.

Telling you not to feel bad for him might be a bit calloused. He is a person and worthy of pity. Any lost human being is. He is not worthy of your putting up with his cruelty. You're wasting your time caring for someone who has chosen to throw his life away. Calling you only to clean up his mess, and tossing you out when he's done using you.

The more distance you put between you the better. You should be looking for someone who has his life together. How would you meet up with someone like that, and call it dating? He's high around the clock, always looking for drugs; and people like that prefer hanging out with people into what they're into. They have to be sure they can always score when they need to; or to share drugs and needles when they run out of money. He's not a rescue puppy from an animal shelter. He's a grown-man who decided a life of drugs and being high, is better than working and living a productive life. He gave up everything to be where he is.

Do not feel guilty about walking away. That is what you should have done the first day you met him. When he looks around and finds no one around to care about him, his body has been beaten down to skin and bone, and he has lost his teeth. He'll suddenly decide he can't take being that way anymore. Hopefully! Only then, will he seek help. Not when he knows there is always some sap he can call-on to clean him up, give him money, and take care of him. Even when he treats them like sh*t. What reason would he have to seek real help? He survived before he met you, and he'll do it long after you're gone. He is responsible for what happens to himself in the meantime.

Go find someone, and something to do, worthy of your time and trouble. Get cleaned up yourself, if you were ever into drugs. Even if only for recreational use. Please don't end up like him. Go complete "no contact." He'll drag you back and down with him.

Best of luck to you, my dear!

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A male reader, olderthandirt  +, writes (30 August 2014):

olderthandirt agony auntyeh, I'd feel guilty too if I told someone I'd be there for them and then left when times got tough. But oh well, you can't fix stupid and doing hard drugs is stupid not a sickness. good Luck

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A reader, anonymous, writes (30 August 2014):

Unwell? He's not ill, OP, he's a drug addict and comedowns are not being unwell anymore than a hangover is a disease.

I've taken everything under the sun and a hell of a lot; except heroin, meth and crack.

Addiction is a choice not an illness and I hate to break it to you but addicts never truly get better in the way you're hoping with this guy.

When you talk about heroin you're speaking about a 90% relapse rate and not just that but even sober they change to become like dry drunks always with that mindset, always shifty and living in a fantasy world.

OP with all due respect you speak about this like he's your long term partner that's gotten in over his head, you talk about giving a bit of distance when the truth is and forgive me you're a total sucker. It's only been a few months and you're fighting to be a junkies saviour?

OP if this was a long term relationship or he was your husband who was great before he became an addict then I could half understand but he's a fresh relationship and you're knowingly staying involved in it.

What do your friends and family say about you shacking up with a junkie? And no "he seems nice" is not a glowing endorsement if that's all you're going on.

You haven't made allowances, OP, you're a sucker. He abused you and there's no tolerating that yet you are.

As a person who spent the better part of a decade taking drugs I can tell you that the drugs are not to blame for him acting that way. You cannot give allowances for that kind of treatment, but to you it's okay for him to abuse you because he's an addict? No, that's actually even less of a reason to tolerate it because you shouldn't be tolerating his addiction in the first place, you're just an enabler by doing that.

I also have to tell you as someone who has known a few people to go through heroin addictions that recovery is not going to happen with you around. One of the biggest parts of it is getting rid of the enablers, and people who tolerate their addiction are as bad as the "friends" they take the drugs with.

So yes, you are wrong to create a bit of distance, the best thing for both of you here would be for you to walk away.

Obviously that's not going to happen as you're only here for reassurance that the "bit of distance" you've given isn't horrible and cruel. This Mother Theresa codependent mindset you have is going to burn you, OP.

A few months in and already you want to be a saviour. If you only know him that long too then you only know the junkie him, you have no idea what he's like beyond that so you're risking your heart on a guy who is not only an abusive drug addict, but one that could be nothing like you hope.

OP if there's one thing I've learned from my years posting here it's that most people who come anonymously to the internet for advice do so not because they have no one to turn to but they know that the ones they love and trust would give them advice they don't want to hear.

My advice to you is to get some real advice from your family and friends, if you've kept his addiction from them then it's time to let them know and see what they say.

In my experience it takes years to get over being a junkie and a relationship is not possible during that time because there are a lot more abusive moments and the guilt for a junkie doing that makes them want to use even more. It's a vicious cycle and by tolerating it you've just become a part of that. Instead of helping like you think you are you're becoming a reason he wants to get his fix.

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (30 August 2014):

CindyCares agony aunt Not at all.

When you DON'T walk away, it's called being codependent.

You know you can't be with him , and you know you can't just sit and watch him self distruct.

Ergo, you know rhat you have to walk away.

Do not fall in love with somebodys' potential- with how he will be when... or how he would be if only...

Live in the now . Now, he is not fit to be in a proper, functional, healthy relationship. Too bad that he is having this problem and hopefully he'll get the help he needs to fix it. But for the time being, this is HIS problem. Making it yours, would only hurt you without helping him.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (30 August 2014):

As a mental health nurse and mother I say, you did the right thing .

On drugs it brought out changes to his personality, being mean and nasty, where do you think would or could have ended? Walking away was the sensible choice.

Like most addictions, the person themselves have to want to make that change. No matter how much intervention there may be from his siblings or physicians if he isn't ready ...he won't .

I know this will be hard, but you were only his gf for a short time.. Send his sister a card, express that for your own physical and mental health you had to leave that you wish him all the best as you cared deeply and still do but that you need to move on .

Then in my opinion, move on, yes you will grieve for what's been lost and thats natural .. do not give in to the urge to contact him or his family as this will only make matters worse for all. believe me, there is not a quick fix for your ex .. Take care and keep safe sweetie.

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A male reader, lifesgreat United Kingdom +, writes (30 August 2014):

no not at all.

The only way I would say yes was if you got him into the drugs.

But no you are being kind and caring for somebody who is in a bad position and to be fair he needs to do it for himself .

Drugs are a hard thing to get off and he is doing quite a few. Coke is stupidly expensive and one of the most addictive.

But yes you shouldn't feel bad at all and unfair for you to have to look after him.

good luck

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