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Author Topic: this is WAY outta my league
fallchild
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So a couple weeks ago I found out that the guy I've been seeing for the last couple months is a h***** addict (wasn't sure if I could say that drug on here). He said he told me all this because he believed what we had was important and meaningful and he wanted to be completely honest with me. He said he wanted my support because he wants to get clean by the time we go back to school next month. As much as I am (and always have been) against illegal drug use, what really impressed me was the fact that he had the guts to share this with me even when he knows I feel so strongly about it. But this is all beside the fact.

I have friends who have come off h*****, but what I need advice about is the actual logistics of it all. I want this guy to do it safely, especially because he's on two different anti-depressants. What resources are in my area that could help us out.

Any advice would be really helpful

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"It's better to die on your feet than live down on your knees"

Posts: 117 | From: SLC, UT | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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What I'd suggest is that he connect, ASAP, with the closest Narcotics Anonymous group. Here's the link for NA in Utah: http://www.utahna.info/

He will also want to visit his doctor and have a discussion and get additional resources there, as well as getting a pro to help evaluate how best he can stop using, per rehab, methedone, etc.

I'm sure I don't have to tell you that heroin addiction is serious business, and heroin addicts don't tend to be the safest people to be around.

Because you're the user here, our concern is obviously going to be for you first, so one thing I'd suggest given how new this relationship is is that you really only get so involved. In fact, I'd earnestly suggest putting dating this guy on hold until he's at least through the first few weeks or rehab and/or withdrawal. You can still offer support in your way without engineering all of this for him and/or being right in the line of fire.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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fallchild
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Thank you for your reply Heather.

Believe me, regarding the seriousness of this, I'm far from laughing. I'm scared to death for him and his safety. In my other recent posts I brought up a really big "thing" that was in the way of us starting a committed relationship, and this is it. We haven't been physical at all (other than kissing), and when he told me about his addiction he said that was his reason. He said he didn't want us to get too involved romantically while this was still going on, and I'm relieved that he made that judgement before he even told me anything.

I know my emotional safety is in danger, and that's why I don't think I want to get in a romantic/sexual relationship with him before he is clean. Regarding my physical safety, I know he doesn't shoot up, but is there anything else I should be concerned about?

The biggest potential problem I see with him getting professional help is that he is keeping this a secret from his parents. I just don't know how he could sneak around on his parents' insurance getting help for a drug addiction he doesn't want them to know about. But I'm going to talk to him about it.

This is all really heavy for me. I was definately concerned from the get-go about the level of involvement I would let myself have, so I told him that I am only in this with him as long as he's in 100%. If he is half-a**** about this at all, it's not going to work, and I'm not going to beat myself about it. It would hurt way too much.

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"It's better to die on your feet than live down on your knees"

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Heather
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In terms of looking out for yourself, I suppose the biggest piece of advice I could give you is that hard addicts usually become world-class manipulators in no time flat. It's simply part of the behavioral skillset one usually picks up in order to survive in that way and to be able to get what you want when you want it.

Now, it does sound like it's totally possible this guy is being very honest with you, but I'd just be wary for now. I'd also be aware that often enough, relationships that start when someone is addicted don't continue or thrive once a person isn't.

In terms of keeping secrets from his partners, I'd simply say that heroin addiction is a life-or-death issue much of the time. So, all else ideally should be put behind getting clean. In other words, if he has to make a choice between not getting the real kind of help he'll need and telling his folks, he should choose the former and deal with the fallout.

Really, you've seemed pretty level-headed in the time you've been posting here, so I've a lot of confidence in you and also you knowing sane limits for yourself. I'd just say there can often be something -- IME - very seductive about addicts that can sometimes escape the radar of the savviest person, so....well, for lack of a better turn of phrase, buyer beware.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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fallchild
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So, this week he told me he wanted to get clean by the time we went back to school. I thought we would jump right into a plan of talking to a doctor, going to rehab, and starting the whole process of getting clean, but so far we haven't even been able to successfully talk about it face to face. After he told me he wanted to get clean, naturally I suggested we meet up soon to talk about everything (he told me this in a text). The reaction I didn't expect? He freaked out. And I don't understand it at all. He said that ever since he told me he wanted to get clean it's "all we talk about." I told him that since I felt some urgency with the situation and an urge to dive right in and start making some serious steps forward his addiction was pretty much the one thing on my mind. He told me he needed "a little time," and I told him I understood, but inside I was confused. To me? Getting clean within a month is too small a time frame to be beating around the bush. This makes me question his motivation to get clean a tiny bit, which scares the crap out of me. If he really wanted to get clean I figured he would jump in headfirst, throwing everything else to the wind. What I didn't expect (or want to see) is a lukewarm "I need a little time." That's the first thing that's frustrating me.

The second thing that's frustrating me is what I did right after he told me about the addiction in the first place is making me feel really guilty. Since I have no experience with heroin addiction first-hand or have been very close with an addict, and turned to the people who are closest to me for advice. Kind of a, "Hey, you have experience in this and you care about me. What advice do you have for me?" I confided in my mom because she's my mother and I can tell her anything, my best guy friend because he had dealt with addicts first-hand, my best girl friend because she dated an addict, and my ex because his entire family has a history with hard drugs. I did it because I needed the support system. I needed advice from people who have experience with this stuff first hand, and it just so happened that these people are also the closest people to me. The thing that worries me though: did I betray my guy's trust by confiding in people for advice? A small part of me knows that when I tell him I've been talking to people about this he may very well freak out. BUT, I feel like it was absolutely necessary. Since this addiction is such a serious thing, I feel like going to a few trusted people for advice was in his better interest than keeping it a secret. I felt like it was a secret that was too dangerous to keep. I needed the people who care about me most to know about this heavy thing that I'm dealing with as well as give me advice on how to help my guy AND me.
I refuse to tell anyone that knows him personally (ie his parents, his friends) because that's not my role or responsibility or business. Am I totally messed up on my reasoning here or is there a small part that is actually logical?

I do regret telling my ex about this. Even though his personal insight and perspective about it all has been very very informative, the constant barrage of "If you're weren't ignorant you wouldn't be seeing this guy," is getting really old. Today he actually told me that he's worried about me becoming an addict myself because that's what he's seen other girls do. I was shocked. I told him he's known me for three years and he can't expect me to lie down while he compares me to "other girls." He knows exactly how I feel about drugs, yet he refuses to give me more credit. He's calling me ignorant a LOT lately. He says that since I don't have first-hand experience with heroin I will always be ignorant. And maybe that's true, but I'm upset because the constant belitting is doing NOTHING to help me. He said that I'm just as bad as an addict with a luke-warm desire to get clean until I talk to my guy face to face about all this. Nothing I said could change his mind. Fine.

I'm sorry for the eternally long rant, but I've been so angry and frustrated lately.

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"It's better to die on your feet than live down on your knees"

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Heather
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Again, it is very, very tough and scary to be with someone in an addiction and/or trying to work out of it. Now, I'd probably suggest asking how they feel about you confiding in others first -- and if they were to say tell no one, suggest that you probably can't safely be in this -- but if you didn't, you didn't. And it's not like you called the National Post. You talked to the people closest to you who care for you and who you felt you could get the best support and insight from. You matter in this, and I think what you did was fine.

Sounds like your ex is being a bit intense, and certainly the worry about you getting hooked seems misplaced. But I don't think big worry about a person dating a heroin addict is all that misplaced. It really is pretty risky stuff, even for someone who has their act together. heck, even people whose job is in recovery services acknowledge what risky territory it can be, emotionally, in terms of personal safety, the works.

Of course, calling you names is just not okay, full-stop, nor does that protect you in any way. Sounds like maybe it's time to take some time away from him and perhaps make clear that if and when he can quit it with that crap, you two can talk again.

That all said, let's go back to your first paragraph.

In other words, this guy is still using? If so, I have to say that my recommendation would be to not be with him, period, until he's not. Again, that's a personal safety issue, and also a way to avoid enabling, or being brought down with someone else going down. As well, clearly he's still in the mindframe of being an addict if he can't recognize that to someone dating an addict, yes, them getting clean IS going to be something you're very focused on. You may need to draw a limit here and make clear that you don't want to date an addict or won't, and that that is why this is urgent for you.

And I think it's sound to feel nervous about his reaction and presume that means he's not taking this as seriously as he has said he was and isn't as dedicated to it as he says. I'd also reiterate that hardcore addicts do learn to manipulate very well.

So, what do you think you want to do about this, fallchild? Not for him, but for yourself. Are you comfortable getting closer and closer to a heroin addict, keeping in mind that may not change? have you thought about the fact that since this is a brand-new relationship, it might be wise to cut your losses and back away now -- or even just make clear that when he's clean, you can see about being involved then -- rather than later when it's bound to be even harder?

By the by, what did your support people -- not the ex calling you ignorant -- have to say and share? How do you feel about whatever they suggested or expressed?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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fallchild
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Okay, I feel a little better about the fact that I confided in people about this then. I think going around and telling people who know him personally would have been completely out of line, but talking to people I trust for the sake of getting some desperately needed insight probably was ok. I just hope he sees it that way when I tell him...

I know what I want this guy to do, but I haven't figured out what I want to do for ME yet. I guess I'm still feeling shock and grief at the fact that this amazing person who I feel really connected with ended up being an addict. I haven't gotten my brain around it yet. I think a small part of me doesn't believe it. That doesn't change anything though. At this point, personally I think feel that I would be okay being in a relationship with him AFTER he made very real and concrete steps toward getting clean, NOT just the proverbial "I want to get clean someday." Maybe that is my "ignorance" coming out.

My "support people" only really expressed concern for my position, which is expected. When I told my mom about my guy flipping out when I said I wanted to talk to him about all this, she agreed with me that it showed an inconsistancy in what he was telling me and perhaps his true feelings. My two friends I told only said that at some point I would end up being the friend that my guy needed but might not want. It's that "tough love" that my guy friend had to show to a couple of our friends who were addicted to alcohol and heroin. Basically the "get clean or lose me as a friend" line that my guy friend has said to quite a few people.

I don't know if I'm ready to say that though. Maybe because I'm still really really sad about all this. I don't want to give up on this person. I still want to cling to the fact that when my guy told me about his addiction it was in the same sentence as "I'm telling you this because I want to get clean and I need your support." It's a tiny glimmer of hope that somehow this will all work out.

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"It's better to die on your feet than live down on your knees"

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fallchild
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(By the way? I don't think I ever brought up the fact that me and my ex are still living together. We made that decision because after the break-up we were still really good friends and for practicality reasons, made pretty good roommates. Needless to say, with the current situation I feel like I'm suffocating. Not only am I dealing with verbal abuse from my ex but I can't physically get away from it because we live in the same house.)

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"It's better to die on your feet than live down on your knees"

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fallchild
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I feel utterly and completely lost. I feel so dark inside. I just tried to go and talk to my guy about all this, and it completely blew up in my face. It was a complete trainwreck. He asked me outright if I told my parents about his addiction. I couldn't lie to him, so I said yes. He FREAKED OUT. I feel like I screwed up so bad. He said that he confided in me and that I was completely out of line by telling my mom. I tried to tell him that I needed the support and that I only did it so I would have the insight I needed to help him. All his said was that he wouldn't never be able to look my mom in the face again. And the look on his face when he said that was absolutely awful.

I came home and completely dissolved into body-wracking sobs, because I know I will eventually have to tell him that not only did I tell my mom, but I also told my two best friends and my ex. I'm so afraid he will never want to talk to me again. He will never trust me again. I have no idea how I will be able to look him in the face and tell him this. I am absolutely panicked. I feel sick inside.

During our conversation, he said he regretted telling me about his addiction because I took it so intensely. I didn't know what to say to that. I'm so confused. I feel really really dark inside right now. I feel so lost.

What in the world should I do. Should I just outright lie to him and deny that I ever talked to anyone else about his addiction? I don't have the guts to tell him that truth. I just want to hide. As I'm writing this I'm still crying.

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"It's better to die on your feet than live down on your knees"

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Heather
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Fallchild, I'm so sorry you're feeling like this.

Look: if and when someone gets clean, people are going to know during the process. It's really not something most folks can hide unless they're secretly holed up in rehab the whole time. As well, someone getting involved with you is, to some degree, getting involved with your life, which includes your family. It's also not at all sensible to expect a person NOT to react to a heroin addiction intensely.

I'm really concerned that the kind of manipulative behavior I was talking about is some of what is at play here. For all you know, he may well just be looking for things to get angry with you about so that he can walk away from someone he made a commitment to get clean to.

In terms of what you should do about disclosing who you told, I'd say that's your call at this point. But most of all, I'd say it's probably a good idea to just really give some thought to what you're getting into here, okay? Especially knowing that you're also still living with your ex and dealing with all of THAT, you very clearly have a lot of tough stuff on your plate right now, and I'm a bit worried you feel a bit like you need to "save" this guy in some way when a) he can only save himself and b) you need some care, too, at the moment.

Is it possible for you to maybe stay with your Mom for a few days, or maybe grab a friend and go camping for a day or two to clear your head, get some downtime, de-stress?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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fallchild
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After I cried so hard last night I slept, and slept....and slept. For about 12 hours I was so exhausted.

One of the last things A (i'm just going to call him A) said to me last night is that guys don't want to be perceived as having a weakness. My reply is that EVERYONE has weaknesses, because we're human, and that asking for help or opening up to people can't be thought of as a weakness. I told him that the only way I would think he was weak is if he had this addiction and wasn't doing a thing about it. I sincerely believe he will have to lay down his pride and start admitting to himself that he is not an island and that involving people in his process of getting clean will only be helpful. I think going to NA meetings would help him a lot. Just that process of saying, "My name is A and I'm addicted to heroin" and saying that OUT LOUD to strangers would be very empowering.

Because, after all, everyone has things they deal with. I'm pretty open and vocal about the fact that I'm dealing with abuse at the hand of my father and that I'm a recovering self-injurer. I don't believe that telling people about that is a bad thing. I actually think it's really healthy. But that's me.

I still can't decide if I'm morally obligated to tell him I confided in three other people besides my mother about this. Because last night was scary. A is still using, and after he found out I told my mother I could see his mood switch like turning a page in a book and I felt....scared. It was the first time I felt that "personal safety" red flag go up. He was ANGRY. If I did tell him (which I'm leaning toward. I can't lie to people without being eaten alive), I think I would e-mail him because I can't handle seeing him get that angry in person again. I would explain why I told each person and what I hoped to glean from their advice. I would also tell him that I probably should've asked if I could confide in people, but that if he hadn't obliged, I would've walked away because there would have been NO way I could've handled all this without talking to somebody.

Last night I tried to explain that I told my mom because that's how bad I wanted to get advice so I could be of some help to him. I said I felt like if I DIDN'T tell someone that would show I didn't care because I have no experience of my own to draw from. He said he didn't need or want my help. He also that he regretted telling me at all, which hurt.

I'm definately leaning toward this letter idea I had this morning. Just to explain why I told people, that I think HE needs to start telling people and quit thinking of his pride, that he can't expect me to not react to all this intensely, etc. Because last night it was way too hard to speak logically and calmly as I had this addict falling apart in front of my eyes. I think I'm just going to come clean and tell him everything, and afterward let him know that I'm not going to contact him until I hear from him first. I'm just going to spill it all and put the ball totally in his court. If he still wants to trust me after I told those other three people, we'll see what happens, but if not, I may never hear from him again.

I don't feel like it's my responsibility to save him. I know that's completely up to him. I just....I don't know. This all breaks my heart.

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"It's better to die on your feet than live down on your knees"

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Heather
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I think everything you're saying here sounds on-target to me.

As well, it does sound like right now, it may be best only to see him WITH someone else. If your safety radar went off, and he is still using (which he obviously is), I'd be very mindful of that.

I know it's heartbreaking: hard addictions ARE heartbreaking, especially when you can see a person who is being eaten alive by them. But when a person is addicted -- most ex-addicts will tell you this -- NOTHING matters more to them than the addiction and what they are addicted to. Nothing: not you, not their lives, not the other people around them. So, it's smart to just keep that in mind when it comes to what energy and investment you're extending, you know?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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fallchild
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I could try going and staying with my mom, but I don't know. I'm un-medicated for general anxiety and this is one of the times where I would rather be unconscious then deal with the feeling that everything, EVERYTHING, is falling apart.

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"It's better to die on your feet than live down on your knees"

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fallchild
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Yeah, that's true, Heather. There are glimpses into his true personality, times where he shows concern for his family, me, his friends, but more and more what I see is a very desperate and scared person. Does the letter thing sound necessary to you? I get the feeling that this letter could very well "make or break" this entire ordeal. Either he wakes up and sees the truth in what I'm telling him, or he never talks to me again because he's so angry. I just can't lie to him. Not after he had the guts to tell me about this addiction in the first place.

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"It's better to die on your feet than live down on your knees"

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Heather
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I think in terms of the letter, I'd decide not based on how you think it might make him react (since you can neither predict nor control that), but instead based on what you feel you need to do for yourself and in terms of a relationship with someone.

I don't mean to be overly cynical, but I'd also be mindful of how much value you put in his telling you about this. Certainly, he could have taken a risk and told you about it in the way you're framing it (as brave), but he also could be looking to garner sympathy. Again, he is an addict, so it's sound to bear that in mind with everything. There's a lot of status and such put into recovering from hard addictions -- and rightfully so -- but plenty of addicts have learned to use disclosures and promises of recovery for their own benefit, too.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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fallchild
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I don't think that's being overly cynical; I think it's sound advice because I forget to think of him as an addict just because it's totally foreign to me.

I know you're probably sick of hearing from me, Heather [Smile] This is helping me a lot though. I think my plan at this time is to definately put any thoughts of a relationship on hold until things start making some jumps forward. Before the trainwreck happened last night, he had told me some very concrete things he's doing to move toward getting clean. And I made it clear to him that I'm not comfortable being involved with him at all if he's not making progress. But...it's all very new and recent so we'll just have to see how things go.

As far as disclosing who I told about all this to A, my mom brought up a good point. I mentioned to her how upset he got when he found out I had confided in her. And yeah, I think it's important to be honest with him, but...after what you said about me being mindful of how much value I'm putting on him telling me about his addiction, a small part of me is wondering if telling him even matters at this point. I just don't see how it would help the situation at all, because I KNOW it wouldn't. My mom brought up that point that he is probably not of a sound mind to understand my reasoning in telling people. Now, if it gets to the point where he asks me point-blank if I've told anyone else...should I lie? Would it be a harmful lie? I'm not sure yet.

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"It's better to die on your feet than live down on your knees"

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Heather
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I'm not sick of you, I promise. [Smile]

I think your Mom is also saying some really smart things.

I -- from what it sounds like, like you -- am very honest, to the point of sometimes being found to be blunt or untactful. So, I, too, am very uncomfortable with lying. However, I agree with your Mom that right now, I can see that there isn't much point in telling him or doing anything else to make any more conflict when flatly, he needs to take some steps to even show himself to be someone worth going through any more of this with.

I'd also not worry about him asking you if you have yet, because I think at this point, more extended conversations with him when he's not taking the steps he assured you he would doesn't strike me as a good move. Him putting focus on your behavior also seems like a very convenient way to take it off of his own: it seems clear to me that whose behavior he needs to deal with right now -- before you deal with anything else -- is his.

(Sounds like you have a pretty amazing Mom, btw.)

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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fallchild
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That's my Ma [Wink]

I think you and her saying he's not in his right state of mind to understand what I did REALLY opened my eyes up to how much he isn't himself right now (and probably hasn't been for awhile), isn't logical, and really isn't in any position to worry about anyone else's behavior but his own. I can also see that he's not just jealous/anxious on levels of a "clean" person; he has full-blown paranoia through the roof.

By the way, I have kind of an immediate problem on my hands. He's just starting to feel withdrawals and he's been texting me all night saying he's feeling sick and I can tell he's getting scared. I texted him back and asked him if there is anyone at his house with him because I don't want him to be there by himself...is there anything else I should ask him to do? I know he's on some sort of medication...the name escapes me. I'm just getting a little nervous because I'm the only one close to him who knows this is going on.

[ 07-29-2008, 12:11 AM: Message edited by: fallchild ]

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Heather
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It's really not sound or fair for someone to make one person be in the position you are per knowing his status. (I also have to say it seems pretty odd that the other day, he needed more time then suddenly he decided to quit cold turkey once you started making limits.)

Is there anyone else at his house? If there is, even if they don't know what's going on (though if he has flatmates, not sure how they wouldn't know he is a heroin addict), they certainly would recognize when someone needs basic medical attention, no?

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fallchild
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I know it's not fair. I wish he would tell at least his parents but he's absolutely impossible to reason with right now. And he's not quitting cold turkey. When I starting setting limits the other night he told me he had been apprently tapering himself off for awhile. He's currently down to a 1/4 of what he was on, but I have no idea of the time frame we're looking at here because he's being really reclusive about it all. Basically what happened the night we talked about it all is that I came to him with no knowledge he was doing ANYTHING, and he came to me and said he was now on medication and was tapered down quite a bit. So it's all news to me. I guess he's just now starting to feel the withdrawal effects, or at least enough he feels like he needs to tell me.

I spoke to him a bit this morning, so at least I know he's okay, and he told me he's going to start going to NA meetings, which will only help. I really have no idea which of his roommates know about this (he has two). And since A has kind of been on the outs with his roommates and he's being super reclusive and secretive about all of this, I get the feeling he's kept it on the down low. He's also very VERY sensitive about his pride right now, which I don't think is very helpful. That's most of the reason why he flipped out when I told him about confiding in my mom. Anyway. It's not an entirely cooperative household, but hopefully his roommates pay attention enough to notice if things get too bad.

Just wish the man would lay his pride down for a freaking minute to let someone know if he needs medical help.

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Heather
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Who gave him that medication? If it was something like methedone, then by all means, he IS getting help quitting and he should have a means to contact other help.

But again, this is another place where you can make a sound limit. It is entirely reasonable -- and smart, in my book -- to make clear to someone looking to you to help them through recovery that they need more support than just one person in order for that one person not to be overburdened.

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fallchild
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Yep, this definately sounds like another boundary that needs to be defined. It's really not fair to expect me to be his only life-line.

I'm really not sure where/who he got his medication from (I know it's not methadone, but similar). But you're right Heather, if he has the ability to get meds, he has the ability to contact other help. Now I just have to figure out a way to bring this up without him flipping out again. Apparently if he's not the one bringing "the bull****", as he calls it, it's not the right timing or something and he gets really upset. Which is as frustrating as hell.

Now that these withdrawals have started I'm pretty darn glad we're not together.

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Heather
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Fallchild, I'm really impressed with how you seem to be handling this.

Certainly, if anyone's conflicts but his result in a temper tantrum, that'd be yet one more reason I advise you to consider just stepping the heck away from this dude. But it seems like you're also doing a pretty good job with thinking about all of this, setting limits, keeping sound space on your own.

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fallchild
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Where I'm at right now, I feel like I want to give him the benefit of the doubt until he gets through these withdrawals. Is that totally naive? Just because its hard to see what aspects of his personality are coming from the drugs and what's really "him." I'm definately not putting myself right in the thick of things while waiting for this turn of events: we're not sexually active, are not committed, and do not spend a lot of time with each other. There are some things going on just with us that I'm not happy about, like him getting upset at any conflicts that aren't initiated by him, but I'm okay with putting that stuff on hold for a minute while this drug stuff gets figured out. Does that make ANY sense? In the meantime, I'm setting limits on how involved/not involved I am in his recovery and how involved we are with each other, making sure I'm maintaining healthy distance from him, doing things with other friends, pursuing hobbies, spending time with my family, etc., just to make sure I have a life outside of this. I don't know. Maybe I'm just totally off.

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From what I can tell, it sounds to me like you're doing a pretty excellent job at keeping a sound distance with sound limits, and that you're tentatively feeling this out to see how it goes.

I do think you can still hold him to certain standards of behavior when it comes to things like him respecting your boundaries, respecting your limits, having to spend at least some time thinking of someone other than himself. I also think you should, IMO.

But it seems like you have a solid support circle of your own, like you're being pretty level-headed, protecting yourself accordingly and the like.

How are you feeling about where you're at with this and at what level you're involved?

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I'm going through some second thoughts about all this at the moment, that is for sure. This week was weird. We hung out twice, and each time I got the vibe from him that he was annoyed that he was hanging out with me. At some points just with his body language and the tone of his voice he was very cold and mean. So, I dunno. Maybe this whole thing will just fall apart on its own.

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You still doing okay for support, fallchild?

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fallchild
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Yeah, I think so. Thank you for all your help, Heather.

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De nada. feel free to shout out if you need some more.

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fallchild
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Hi Heather. I just thought I'd give you an update with this whole situation because there have been some considerable developments. I also need advice with something, but I'll get to that.

Well, it's been almost a month since he started going through withdrawals. He's going to NA meetings a few times a week, he has a steady job that he's excelling at, he has a new place with functional roommates, and he seems happier than ever. He is very close to being completely clean, even though the journey continues.

In the relationship area, I never stopped hanging out with him through this ordeal, but didn't get any more involved either when things were really bad. At the moment, we are moving toward a relationship, but I'm still just as tentative as before, and we are both being very, very cautious. We still don't have labels put on anything, we spend a lot of time apart so things don't get too intense, and we're not sexually involved in the slightest. With the progress he's made I feel very comfortable with the level of involvement I have in him and his life.

With all that aside, I have something that is still eating at me. Every time I see him I feel guilty for telling people about his secret. I know Heather, I know that we talked about this before, but I'm still absolutely sick about lying to him. I haven't lied to him outright, but I haven't divulged the fact that I confided in other people either. I haven't told anyone new, and in fact, I felt so guilty about telling the people I did that I swore them all to secrecy and told them never to bring it up to me again. I know he is still paranoid and still trying to kick this habit and that he's not in a sound mind to understand the logic I had behind telling people, but I still feel awful.

Earlier in this conversation, Heather, you said, (quote) "More extended conversations with him when he's not taking the steps he assured you he would doesn't strike me as a good move." Well, he *has* started making steps. In fact, he's made quite a few. Does this now make me obligated to tell him I've confided in other people? I still definately feel like telling him this wouldn't do a BIT of good (which is weird that I'm so worried about this), but I don't know what to do because every time I see him I feel so guilty.

I have one thing I keep telling myself, and maybe this will make sense to you: a few weeks ago he said he trusted me with everything and anything. The way I took that statement is that, if he trusts me, he trusts my logic as well. And if he trusts my logic, he would have to understand why I confided in other people.

Sigh. I'm sorry for being really neurotic about this. But I think we're alike in the fact that we both hate lying, even if it's for the "greater good," and this is a lie that is absolutely driving me crazy.

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Heather
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Then it sounds to me like you feel it best to tell him, and I think it's completely fine to do.

As I told you before, I understand that: I tend to be honest to a fault, myself. My primary concern with you -- then and now -- is just about your safety.

But if you feel safe, and like the time has come to divulge this, then do. I don't think you're obligated to by any means, but it does sound like you think you'd feel best if you did.

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fallchild
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Thanks for your reply, Heather. I'm honestly curious though. Why am I not obligated to tell him? The only reason I ask is I think I'm looking at this all wrong, and I just wanted to see what your reasoning was.

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Heather
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Because really, it's not about him.

You talked to other people to get support for yourself. If they are people in YOUR life, rather than his, I just see it as only so relevant to him, much like you sharing this with a therapist would be.

Do you think what you told those people is going to directly impact him? If so, then I can see how with anyone like that, letting him know you let them in on what is going on would be important. But if they're not people he even interacts with -- or people you know will keep what you told them between you and them -- then...meh.

Again, this is your call, and it's also obviously going to be influenced by what you feel best doing, though.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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fallchild
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Okay, see, that makes sense to me. He knows I told my mom, and I do think it's good that he knows she knows, but with the others, I can see that it really wouldn't matter. Because either he won't really interact with them or I know they will keep it a secret. So thanks Heather [Smile]

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"It's better to die on your feet than live down on your knees"

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