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Addiction Can my boyfriend and I get clean together? Have you been able to do it?

km1234

Greenlighter
Joined
Mar 9, 2017
Messages
19
I hope this is in the right place. Sorry if it's not. Just need a little advice.
My boyfriend and I have been together for 7 years. I've been using for 6 and a half and he's been using for about 14 years. I'm 25 and he's 31.
We are addicted to heroin. He actually hits me because I can't get myself anymore. We live together, share finances and vehicles, and have a cat and a dog.
I know this will sound dumb but I love him so much. He's my best and closest friend. Compared to all the other addict couples I know we're actually dedicated to each other and nice to each other. We're not together just because of drugs.
But I'm at the point where I can't hit anymore. I'm tired of this lifestyle. I think I'm ready to go back to treatment. He says he'd be willing to go too but there's more logistical issues for him (his job mostly) and he has less reason to than me. He has no problem using or affording it. I'm the one who is unable to use half the time.
My question is if it's possible to get clean together? Every time I've been to treatment they insist we can't get clean together (which has been true largely because I was forced into going and had no desire to quit once I got out). I want to quit but I don't want to be without him. Most of the time I feel like I'd rather be with him and struggling with using than alone and struggling with sobriety.
Has anyone been able to get clean with their partner? How did you guys do it? What did it take?
Has anyone tried and had it fail or cause them to relapse?
 

simco

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I'm afraid I can't speak to this from my own experience...but I'm sure other folks on SL will pipe up with first-hand stories for you.

With that caveat--I would never say that it's impossible for you and your BF to clean up together. But I do think you'll make things harder on yourself recovery-wise if you are physically and emotionally close to him, at least early on.

One way you might split the difference would be for you to spend some time on your own in rehab (you mentioned rehab is an option). Then, when you graduate, you could check and see how the vibe is with him...though I'd have other living arrangements planned for when you get out so you're not under pressure. If things seem healthy, who knows?

But to be honest, I think it sounds like you may have to do this project without his help. Not because he doesn't want to help (sounds like he has a wish to help you). I say this only because it sounds like the three of you (i.e you, him, and heroin) are tightly intertwined...it'll be hard to untangle that, especially in early recovery.

One of the nasty parts about recovery is that it brings all kinds of loss along with it. We have to distance ourselves from a lot of things we love, including our DOC. To me, this aspect of recovery never stops being painful.

Sorry to sound like such a bummer. I just want you to increase your chances of getting out of the lifestyle.

Good luck, km!
 

NikeAGoGo

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Joined
Feb 23, 2017
Messages
16
I can speak from experience- but, bear in mind: subjective experiences are subjective.


I got clean...shit, I guess about a month or so ago- after a bit, I stopped counting days because I just didn't need to: you may need to longer, I know I did when I kicked heroin. This time it was pain pills and I know some people think it's different- but having done both: it's not THAT different. (I am not as dogmatic as some- but, I think the dick waving in respect to this is silly as hell.)


Anyhoo- my partner is still using. We have a similarly close relationship and I get you, I do. But the emotional changes you go through both induced by the withdrawal and when you make it through: it does something. I still don't know what the hell the end result is going to be, so, I am sorry I am of no help there- but, I had...a different reaction than people said I would to his continued use. Here's where it gets all weird and woo.


First off, mine told me he was gonna cut back. He didn't like constant use either.
I couldn't believe him. Like, I just..knew he was a big fucking liar. Deep down in my bones, this weird, Liar, liar, liar! thing.
His mother is his dealer, so to speak- it's a long story about codependency and stupidity, but, I knew when she got her script filled, it'd be party time for him- and I was scared shitless it'd tempt me. And it kind of did. If he's got regular access- boy howdy, if it's on a schedule of sorts, you may deal with this, too and it SUCKS.


My first reaction was this horrendous, twitching sort of desire to scrap the whole thing. You know, sort of "Fuck it, gimme the pills, let's hang out!" except, I didn't. I fought it. Then, he got home that day and he is high as balls- and it pissed me off. I mean, royally pissed me off. This is my best friend and someone I have been through all kinds of hell with- someone I love more than anyone and I HATED him. I mean, I seriously wanted nothing more than to punch him in his balls. I told him to leave me alone, because I was bearing in mind that my head was a weird place due to still being in the sort of thick of the acute withdrawals but, he said something along the lines of "Instead of being an asshole to me, why don't you let me help you" and oh my god. I was like, hiding out in my office, blowing up recovery threads and reaching out to people who understood. Because you gotta.


Living with someone who is still using is a weight- and it's a HARD one. This is coming from someone who's still doing it and still clean. I am also still struggling with a shitload of resentment- and yeah, that liar thing has not gone away. Introspection tells me this is a fine blend of projection and ...the fact that users lie. A lot. Mine...well, I know him better than anyone- and he's not an upfront liar. He is the type that "Forgiveness is easier than permission" omits shit. We have gone nine hundred rounds with this one- and noticing some vaguely narcissistic tendencies in him: I flipped the script on him. Started coming across as apologetic because, you know, obviously, we communicate differently and oh, it must be me, having a hard time understanding- and, lo and behold, his tune changed. Suddenly, instead of defensive and denial- he would admit things, he would talk about them. I think all too often we do develop some slightly narcissistic habits as a part of the package- I know I have seen it in myself, so, I mean, I'm not slamming him or even saying you will deal with this- but, seems to be pretty common in using relationships. And, when one cleans up but the other does not- or even if the other says they will or says they'll cut back: projection really IS a bastard. And you'll do it. He could be the most honest dude in the world- which, I'm sorry, probably not. This is also not a slam- mine has talked about not wanting to tempt me, not wanting to hurt me, and that's why he withheld things. Still dishonest- I don't think it makes it right: but, it doesn't help the trust factor a bit understanding that and it definitely doesn't help the projection thing. Because if you'd lie for it- you will imagine him lying for it: even when he doesn't. I know because I have. A LOT.


A lot of people approach this from the whole relapse thing- and I get that and can definitely see it but honestly? He disgusted me. Still does every now and again and that weirds me out- because this is the guy I love. More than anyone. But, I will see him, clearly gorked outta his head and it's like ..man, it's not that I judge addicts, how the hell could I? But in those moments, I do. Big time. And that's hard. Not hard in the sense that it makes me want to use, because it does not- though, I have to say: even though I know intellectually it's his choice- BOY do I get pissed and jealous over those he continues to use with. I think the thing that keeps me from falling prey to that temptation is- I channel it into that rage. I lean into the disgust which isn't the most emotionally healthy thing in the world- and believe me, it nearly got someone Lucille'd upside the head when he showed up at my house (Gross guy he and my roommate get crap from.) but, for me, it has kept me from seeing this stuff as a temptation. I have always been pretty firmly "do not shit where you eat" and I am definitely there, now, so, I don't feel bad about running him off at all. He meets him elsewhere- or anyone else, elsewhere or goes to his moms or whatever: it's on him. I've come to a point where the thing of it is- man, you cannot focus on him. And that's a hard one because when you're close, you want to. It's also a hell of a lot easier than facing your own bullshit- and you're gonna have to.


Unfortunately it may not and probably will not be great for this relationship. I know that and frankly- I've accepted it. I am not pessimistic and I am not optimistic when it comes to him. I'm just doing my thing- and occasionally, letting myself get good and pissed but, for the most part, doing my best to feel it through and not act on it. I do let him know how I feel- but only AFTER the initial rage passes. I don't want the resentment in me to build up- but that's a personal thing: I am a rage swallower from way back. So, I let myself feel it alone, I let myself work it through, alone- and then, I tell him how I feel about things and why calmly. This is a LOT better than blowing up- which always, always backfires horribly. I am however prepared for it to go either way- if it works, wonderful. If not? I am financially secure on my own and can handle things on my own. Lord knows I have had to plenty enough times- cycles of pill popping and withdrawal over and over, somehow, someway, I am ALWAYS the one who works through those withdrawals. Always the one who doesn't nod. I was understanding of it, the whole time, figuring, hey, you know, not everyone can hang and he's one of them- but, it taught me to do a hell of a lot all by myself- and I'll take that. One of my biggest issues is he keeps trying to act like my example's doing something for him and I know it's not- and I have told him not to bullshit me, because I see through it- he still does it. There's no reason for him to do it, yet, he does. I dunno if it is guilt- nor do I particularly care.


Will it all work out? I have no idea. I can't tell you, and I am sorry- but I can tell you that it's hard.
I think you are sort of like me in the sense that it sounds like he's really functional- which was me, not him. I had to split up financial accounts, tuck money away where he cannot get to it, and make sure that I had income streams (I am a freelancer, so, no big) just in case. Any fantasy I had of house-wifery: boom, GONE. Dead. I kinda did it for myself- which was a fantastic thing to focus on after I got out of the initial woods, just...working on me, working on my stuff. As to the ragey feelings- they did get less and less intense, but...not because he's doing better, I think- because I am and because I know that's one way I will focus on him and not me. It's good for a temporary little temptation resister- hate him for a half hour, move on through it. Try NOT to say anything to him then or you'll say shit you cannot take back or...he'll blame it on your withdrawal. (Which is a lot like blaming it on your period- and just as infuriating.)


Basically I guess my advice is to distance yourself as much as you can if you want to stay- be there, but don't be there. Financially, emotionally and otherwise. For a while, you're going to need to focus on yourself- and if he cannot handle that, you might have a problem. Mine did okay with that part, particularly when I said "Hey look, remember how you told me not to be an asshole? You don't get to do that when I tell you to back off. You get to back off." I was clear- it was not about him and for a bit it wasn't gonna be. Mine was cool with that, but a lot of people aren't. Yours may be.




I would also advise you do any and everything you can to strengthen yourself- physically and mentally. Seriously. If you can't or you won't change that situation with your partner- which, I get, 'cause I didn't- diet, lifestyle, EVERYTHING ELSE has to change. Believe me, it will help and so will talking to others who are in the process, too- particularly those who aren't in the conventional 12 Step thing. I did that when I got off heroin ages ago and it was wonderful back then- but, sometimes those dogmas just do not work for all of us, and unfortunately: they'll run right up your ass with it, often being some of the most sanctimonious people ever to boot which is discouraging and...faulty. There's truth to so much of what they say- but they do get all in their feels there. Recognize the projection when you see it- whether it's their own BS coming in or simply their own fears- but take away the smart things they say. When people say it's hard to try to clean up as a couple- that's no shit. It is. Do what I did and stop looking at it like "as a couple". Even if he does, too. Look at it as you, and you alone.
 

km1234

Greenlighter
Joined
Mar 9, 2017
Messages
19
Thank you for your perspectives and advice guys.
In our relationship he's much more self supportive and independent than me. I honestly can't even really use without his help because I can't hit.
As of right now we've been discussing me going to treatment first and him going the day I got back. Part of that is that neither of us feels very comfortable leaving our house unattended. We got robbed once when he was in the hospital because the junkies we know knew we weren't home and we live somewhere even more isolated now. And there isn't anyone to take care of our animals that we can trust to take care of them for an extended period of time.
Plus that would give us a little bit of time apart to really think about what we want with clear heads. Breaking up sounds like a nightmare and separating our stuff and assets possibly even worse but I don't think either of us want to make such a decision lightly.
I am worried about coming back from treatment and having even one day together before he goes because I know from experience that that's all I need to start right back up like I never stopped. So I think the best idea would be to get the vivitrol shot the day I got out. That's how my sister (and original drug partner got clean) and it would make any temptation impossible because it wouldn't work to get high.
Ideally I'd like him to get it too but he thinks he "doesn't need it" because he thinks he's ready to be clean. That scares me because he's underestimating how powerful his addiction is and being overconfident. Like dude you've been doing this for over a decade! It's not easy!
Idk. It all seems really overwhelming and like the odds are stacked against us. I only know a small handful of couples that got sober together.
It's also frustrating how unhelpful past treatment centers I've been to have been on the subject. If we were married I'd doubt they'd be so unwilling to even try to help me figure out how to work it out together.
 

simco

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While I do think you'll be adding some instability to your early recovery by staying with your main using partner, I do think the idea of 'tag teaming' inpatient rehab sounds like a pretty good middle ground. The initial weeks after getting out of rehab is, as I'm sure you knew, really dicey. Shit, the last time I finished rehab, I lasted about 3 days before copping and using again. So anything you can do to tilt the odds in your favor is good...having at least those initial weeks free from the complications of the relationship seems like smart thinking.

As for vivitrol, it's good to be cautious. Personally, I've found it to be really helpful. But plenty of other folks on SL have very different stories to tell about it. From what I've read, if you *are* going to get on it, doing so either in rehab or immediately prior to discharge is a great way to go.

Keep us in the loop!
Sim
 

NikeAGoGo

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Joined
Feb 23, 2017
Messages
16
I agree with simco- man, if mine had said something like that I would have been amazed: because I know that would have killed a lot of my resentment towards him. Though, since I did look at WHY I had it- I probably would have found something else in him that mirrored me to hate on. I'm pretty sure that's what happens, or at least, in my case, it did- I got clean, started seeing this shit I just hated and...what do you know if I took a step back, it wasn't about him. He just did the same thing and what I'd hated in me, of course, well, this is pretty par for the course people-ing: I loathed it in him. We don't like to be reminded of those things. Lol But yeeeeeah mine also does that "not a problem!" thing and I'm like "Mmmhm, that's why you have cleaned up for long stre- oh, you haven't!" It's the one thing we do NOT have in common. I try to keep myself from projecting my own feelings of self loathing and guilt on him and being all "Underneath all that...I am sure.." but boy that's a rough one. Lol Do I think that deep down, there's a chance that maybe they don't and that some like them are out there?

Eeeeh depends on what day you ask me. You always hear those odd stories of the people who just dropped it and done. Never met anyone like that, and tend to think they're full of shit- but, I suppose it's possible? Unlikely...but, possible. Beyond that though: his problem can no longer be your problem whether he denies it or not. Work on your problem and let it go. It is really REALLY difficult not to imagine "Well what happens after I am clean" and I know this- fuck I deal with it, but: I'm there now and honestly, you may be different but, it is very hard to not want your partner to grow with you and it hurts, pisses you off, and causes problems when they don't. Like I said, it's not making me want to relapse- just the opposite. This is probably just my personality- and it is something I am working through and is NO judgement on anyone else because it's also likely rooted in self-issues: but, for me, my respect for him just gets worse and worse as the days go on. I have to fight these really angry feelings about how weak he is, how much he is missing out on- and that's incredibly difficult. I am like you, though in that there are practical reasons I stay- I always hated dating, he's my best friend, I figure, fuck it, right? And that's also why I fight those feelings and I work through them. Kinda awesome side effect of it though- the inner work I have done as a result of what I pick up on as being things he does that mirror my own feelings about myself has done some kinda kick ass things for me, personally. Anyway, I say all of this because 1. It's my experience but 2. I do think mindset matters a lot here. I am by my nature fairly aggressive and competitive- so, it's possible that's a part of why my own mindset shifted more towards this and less towards "OMG this guy's a walking trigger." Though I'd be lying my ass off if I didn't say that there are times he's been exactly that- so, it's a mixed bag of shit, tbh.

I actually had low dose naltrexone at the ready- to use in a similar way to the vivitrol and ...I never did it. I was thinking of it along the lines of possibly my having some sort of brainpan issue that really drove the addiction and, honestly: nah. Not sure why I didn't, I just didn't and apparently, just leaning into resentment and being all disgusted worked well enough for me at the start there. Now? Now, it's just...I don't know, I get kind of twitchy and tempted here and there, but, mostly keeping myself very VERY busy has been a big thing. In a way, I'm really fortunate because I had a lot of wonderful things that I was missing out on- and recognizing that, well, that helped a lot too. I have also heard what the above poster did- and seen people talk about it. Some it works on, some...well, I know that if I ever did seriously entertain this one: I wouldn't go for the implant version. I know that it isn't the same as LDN but honestly the idea of a nearly constant dosing gives me the wiggins something fierce and in terms of relapse- the stories I have heard about mood about people digging that thing out, eeeeh. You do some searches, you'll find it. It's not pretty. Still, I have also heard a couple success stories so, I dunno.

As for "the odds being stacked against us"- like I said, you have got to figure out one thing, whether you wanna stick with him or not- and that is, yeah, the odds kinda are stacked against "us". But not you. Not you as an individual. One of the things I forced myself to look at by putting myself in this improbable situation is- you cannot use your partner to excuse yourself. You also cannot use them to make these choices. It's got to be all you- and once you make it ALL you, whether you know, people who leave or people who stay: then you have a much better shot. That's one of the 12 stepper things I am FULLY on board with: sometimes it really is just day at a time, working on you. Though it's nearly impossible to never contemplate or worry about the relationship going on- I think your rehab plan's not too bad and if you get yourself to a point where your primary focus is you, then, you sort of say "OK, will worry about the rest later" you'll be better off.
 

simco

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Not to hijack this thread, but since we've started talking about various forms of naltrexone, I thought I'd mention--at least in outpatient settings, the typical approach to starting a patient on naltrexone is to begin with the oral (pill) form to make sure the patient can tolerate it. The length of time on the pills varies. But in my case, the doc had me on the pills for two months before he finally came on board with my request for the vivitrol injection.

As Nike points out, getting 30 days worth of an opioid antagonist pumped into you is pretty freaky. To me the freakiness was worth living with, especially after being on naltrexone pills for 2 months. But if you're interested in trying naltrexone without the 30-day commitment per dose, the pills can also be very effective, so long as you figure out a way to enforce your own compliance with them (I had my wife dose me each morning)...obviously, without some accountability, the pills are too easy to withhold and avoid.
 

jdfisse

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My wife and I have been together for 14 years. We have been married 11 years come June 26th. We both have a little over 4 1/2 years clean. When I say clean I mean complete abstinence from mind and mood altering substances other than nicotine and caffeine. I went to detox because I was legitimately dying. She didn't have the same habit and was still having "fun", although a constant cycle of figuring out ways and means of getting more is hardly my idea of "fun". She saw a difference in me about 30 days in to recovery and she decided it was her time to go to detox before I left her. Now I had never suggested I would leave her, but perception is our reality so if she believed it it was enough to give her a desire to be clean.

Today, our relationship is better than it has ever been. This has not come without a continued commitment to recovery. We are both active participants in a 12 step program. Our recoveries are separate. I mentor quite a few guys and she takes a more low-key approach. We have utilized marriage counseling to learn to communicate better. I started my process because I was going to the grave. I focused on doing what I had to do to find a new way to live. If I didn't work on me there was no "us" anyway. I never pushed her or pleaded with her. I just did me. She often resented my commitment to recovery, but we learned to deal with it. On my 4 year anniversary it finally hit her and she shared with the group, "Today I understand that recovery comes before anything else in my husband's life, and I am ok with it, because without it there is no life."

It is possible, we are living proof. It may take more than a grim and obstinate willfulness come hell or high water though. It has taken me committing to live a principled life just for today.
 

Jabberwocky

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OP - I truly can relate to your predicament in terms of how attached your are to your partner. jdfisse's response is great example of how a couple can get clean. I have seen a lot of couples try and get clean together only to end up right back where they started, but that is par for the course unfortunately. I've only seen couple get clean together when they each have their own individualized treatment plan.

I would get yourself clean. Physical abuse is not even close to acceptable and its often progressive. Get yourself into treatment get some clean time and then see if you even like this guy.
This.

Addiction is a very limiting phenomenon, and most "treatments" go about treating it as an intrapersonal issue. It sounds like you value stability and are seeking more security by thinking about getting clean. It sounds like you are someone who is highly attuned to whatever emotional environment you find yourself in (a blessing and a curse depending).

29NikeAGoGo said:
Do what I did and stop looking at it like "as a couple". Even if he does, too. Look at it as you, and you alone.
What I'm getting at is this. Ultimately, your recovery is going to end up becoming "all about you" (primarily about your own narrative).

And please try to remember, people change. You will change in recovery. Your current partner will change in recovery. Effectively beginning recovery generally entails a significant change in one's lifestyle
 

NikeAGoGo

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Feb 23, 2017
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She saw a difference in me about 30 days in to recovery and she decided it was her time to go to detox before I left her. Now I had never suggested I would leave her, but perception is our reality so if she believed it it was enough to give her a desire to be clean.
YEP.
This is another aspect of it I neglected to mention- his noticing my changes, and the insecurity that comes with it. For me, it has been very tempting to use that, to try to twist things- but man, I know down that road is just more pain and anger: and for me, that is just another way I'd focus on his stuff and not my own. So, I don't- but, every now and again, yeah, a snide comment or an insinuation that I might now think that I am "better" than he is- and that gets addressed and talked through. Communication is HUGE, but you really have to relearn how in many ways. :) Which is where *I* am at for sure.
 

cj

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Have you considered maintenance? Just looking at the statistics the odds of both of you having perfect recoveries with no relapses with just rehab is slim to none. Maintenance with su box one can give you both a chance to experience stability in your relationship with the fall back plan of rehab if it doesn't work out. It's especially good for people who have good jobs like your huspand.

Inpatient rehab for opiate dependence has a less then 10 percent chance of keeping a person clean for a year. 10 percent is a generous number if you throw in IV use past trauma or Co occurring disorders the success rates drop fast. I'm not telling you that to discourage but too many people see rehab as a magic bullet when it's not. It's an expensive trip to day care at most facilities. If you do decide to go to one do your homework! You want 1 to 1 counseling multiple times a week and groups sessions with less then 10 people. Don't fall for a slick Internet site that makes it look like a resort either. Stay the fuck away from south Florida and other recovery "capitals". Seeing what I've seen I can't recommend inpatient to really get off opiates. I was addicted to heroine for 9 years and the only thing that's stabilized my life is methadone. Take it for it is
 

MrRoot

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I like statististics and I do a lot of probability calculations when planning lists to a competitive tabletop wargame matches (nerdy but fun).

If the probability of a single patient to keep sober after going through rehab is 10% then the binomial probability for two given patients (a couple) is just a 1%.

In order to have over 50% probability for a couple to succeed they need to go through an average of 70 rehabs.

Who has time (and money in case if your country doesn't pay for it) to go through 70 rehabs!

Also it means that out of 70 pairs attempting to rehab one will succeed to stay clean so it isn't too rare to be never heard of but your changes are really slim. Take that either as a challenge or look for other options.

(disclaimer: life isn't a statistics simulation but statistics help you to get the feeling of risk level)

Here they don't for example let couples get to rehab at the same facility at the same time and they have a good reason for it as it simply doesn't work. Rehab is an individual process in which you must be selfish and attending it with your partner prevents you to be fully able to concentrate upon yourself.

I do know a couple who have become clean but they didn't get through it just going to rehab but instead of through an opiate replacement therapy.

ORT is a good choice in my opinion as it allows you to be pretty much out of the risks associated to drug use and allows you to have as much time as you need in order to be able to get enough help to learn being sober. For a couple it allows individual time schedules for both of you as I have heard that as after going through an ORT with enough support from the provider (or other instances) you can life relatively free from the risk of relapsing into using your partners ORT drugs.

I am going through an ORT at the moment and I have find it way better than the life I was living during the acute phase of my addiction as well as better than when I was going through the PAWS phase after succesfully tapering out of oxycodone use. Although I am looking forward to get rid of that Suboxene I use as ORT drug I still believe I did a better choice entering the ORT than trying to cope with relapses and eventually an another full blown addiction as now I able to get the therapies and other guidance on a pace I know I can handle instead of trying to get rid of multiple years of drug abuse in a few months.
 
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