New to Nar-Anon

With the understanding that addiction is a disease and the realization that we are powerless over it as well as over people's lives, we are ready to do something useful and constructive with our own.

Then, and only then can we be of any help to others.

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robynx125
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New to Nar-Anon

Post by robynx125 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:51 pm

Hello everyone, I am new to the Nar-Anon community but I am not new to being on the other end of a loved one's addiction. I have never shared my story or my struggles with anyone before so having this opportunity to do so is extremely meaningful to me.

My partner has been struggling with a heroin addiction as well as an addiction to prescription medications for the last three years of our relationship. For me, the most challenging part of my role in this relationship has been my unwavering compassion and unconditional love. When I met her she was not using. She was in outpatient recovery and had been clean for a year. In my head I didn't see her as an "addict" at all. I saw her as an intelligent, funny, beautiful girl. At the same time, I will admit I was fairly ignorant about the intensity of addiction. I have always been supportive of her well-being and encouraged her to stay clean throughout our relationship. I don't use drugs nor have I ever been an addict. We would do sober things together and I knew all the triggers. We successfully avoided them and life was good. She had the greatest sense of humor, was so sweet towards me and became my best friend in this world. I could tell her anything. She loved me for me and it was the most authentic connection I had ever had with another human being. I thought I was the luckiest woman in the world to find a love like this.

Eventually, a year and a half later, she relapsed after being let go from her job - a job that she really loved, right before we were planning on getting a place together. She hid her using heroin again from me for months and carried on normally around me. She was job searching and didn't seem too defeated. Slowly things started to change. When I started to put the pieces together after noticing that she started to act differently, I confronted her. She was afraid to tell me the truth because she didn't want to lose me and she didn't want me to think of her differently, but she finally admitted to me that she was using again. At the time I didn't know what to do or say. Part of me was angry at her for hiding it from me when I have always told her that she could be open about anything, no matter how bad, and another part of me was angry at myself for not noticing the smallest indications of her using sooner.

From then on it has been a very emotionally and mentally exhausting rollercoaster. She couldn't stop after her relapse. The heroin she was getting was so addictive that within days, if she didn't have it, she would be so physically ill. She was too afraid to commit to inpatient rehab programs and would go to outpatient programs and take suboxone, but coming off the suboxone was just as hard for her. It was the physical sickness that she just couldn't deal with, and so she continued to relapse multiple times on and off for the next year. And when she was clean from heroin, she would trade her heroin addiction for other addictions, specifically her prescription medications, which she had been on since she was young, but was not suddenly starting to abuse.

My entire life became a cycle of constant worry. I felt so helpless because I knew that there was nothing I could do to fix any of this. As a child she suffered from so many traumatic experiences that weren't her fault and had a very dysfunctional family situation, having two absent parents who were both addicts and the death of the only person who she was ever close to - her sister, which she has opened up to me about as the root of her addiction. As a teenager, her psychiatrist prescribed her many medications for her complex post traumatic stress disorder and depression to help her cope with her mental health issues. She has always relied so heavily on her medications to cope with life and never received any effective therapy. I love her more than anything in this world and I have always seen the best in her. She has never cheated on me or stolen from me. She has never physically harmed me. She is consumed with sadness that runs so deep that she chose drugs so that she didn't have to feel anymore. I felt so sorry for what she has been through in her young life (she is only 24) and I understood why she turned to addiction in the first place. But due to my unconditional love for her and my deep level of empathy and understanding, it only enabled her to continue using.

I struggled the most with her addiction this past year. It was breaking my heart to see the light and life inside of her slowly wither away. It's like mourning the loss of someone who is still alive. She lost her sense of humor. She became so careless. She never showered or got dressed. She wouldn't get out of bed, unless it was to buy heroin. She never ate. She used all of her unemployment money to buy heroin. I didn't even recognize her anymore.
We also didn't live together; she lived with her elderly grandmother, who was living in Florida at the time, which left her with freedom to have the house to herself. I was so worried that something would happen to her and nobody would even know about it. I also knew that I couldn't make her go to rehab. It had to be her choice. She had chosen help so many times before but her addiction became so deep this last time. I saw the person I loved no longer care about getting help. She lost all hope. She gave up. It was probably the most difficult time for me because it seemed like I would be going to her funeral sooner rather than later.

I became anxious all the time and my mental health began to deteriorate to the point where I needed therapy because I was starting to feel absolutely insane. I started going to therapy a few months ago and I finally realized that my love for her was destroying my well being. I wasn't living for me, I was living for her - for that one shred of hope I was clinging on to. I was holding on to the person she was when I met her. That was the absolute hardest thing for me to admit. I knew that she wasn't even concerned with how her addiction was affecting me anymore. Addiction is a disease and she had absolutely no sense of perception outside of herself at that point. I knew she loved and cared about me still because I would catch glimpses of it here and there, but I knew I deserved better than fleeting moments of love and care. I came to the breaking point where I realized that I could not stay in a relationship with her, no matter how much I loved her, no matter how fearful I was of leaving her alone in her addiction. I used to think that it was better to stay because at least someone could take care of her and make sure she didn't die, but I realized that by doing so, she was never going to hit rock bottom.

I had to leave the relationship. Of course it hurt when she said that I didn't love her or care about her anymore, that everyone always abandoned her and why should I be any different, that she hoped she would die to put herself out of her misery. It was so painful to hear her say things like that to me. This was her addiction talking to me and I had to remind myself of that every day. Heroin consumed her and that's the only voice that spoke to me. I did not see her or talk to her for over a month. Shortly afterward, I received a call from her grandmother, who returned home from Florida, telling me that she was in bed and unresponsive. I immediately felt all the blood drain from my body and she ended up in the hospital. That was the moment that woke her up and she agreed to go to an intensive inpatient rehab program.

She just finished her ten day detox yesterday and she started her first day at her inpatient program today. I am so proud of her for finally making the decision to take her recovery seriously. In three years, this is the first time that she has ever been in a structured environment. I know this will be good for her. She even seemed a little excited about it when I spoke to her earlier. She said "I'm going to go learn how to be a person!"

Right now I am staying busy with therapy, work and school, but I am still worrying. I worry about what happens after she leaves the program. There is always a chance she could relapse again. I am trying to stay positive about her strength in getting help. I believe in her, but I am also prepared for the outcome that comes with the reality of addiction. I am still at a distance from her emotionally because it's too hard for me to stay attached. She is very aware that I am so supportive of her recovery, but if she continues to use, I will not be a part of her life. I am trying so hard to take care of myself and to stay strong through this, but I am very alone. I think what I have been lacking is group support from people who can relate to what it's like to love an addict. I have not been to any face to face meetings because I am rather introverted and shy, which leads me to being here on the Nar-Anon Support Forum. I would love to hear some feedback, some relatable stories or feelings so that I may feel less alone. Any successful recovery stories?

If you could send your thoughts and prayers my way, I would really appreciate that. I hope that she can stay committed to recovery this time. I really miss the girl I used to know. Thank you to everyone who read this long story.

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endoftheroad
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Re: New to Nar-Anon

Post by endoftheroad » Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:01 am

Oh boy, gal, that is quite the story and well told.....I am so sorry for the reason you are here, but I am thrilled that you have come to us! You are not alone here and you will find your story if you take the time to read! Read the stories of those that have been here awhile. How it works!

This is a fellowship of those who have Addicted Loved Ones and addiction is unfortunately for too many a life long disease! Learning everything you can about the effects of heroin will help in understanding the disease. My son is also addicted to heroin and has been for about 8 years. He is the love of my life too, well educated and a wonderful loving guy. And he has known great periods of recovery as well, but the drug has a horrid pull on his life.....I wish that I could give you a rosey outlook here, but only our addicted loved ones can make the changes to help them to recovery one day at a time. You must be prepared here for a lifetime of this.......sad but true. And it is up to your gal and other recovering addicts to guide her to a life that is drug free. I have learned that I am not a counselor, another recovering addict for my son to confide in or a doctor.

All that being said, I believe after having worked the 12 Steps, attended many meetings and talking to like minded people, that there is Serenity, Peace and Love for me in spite of my son's battle with addiction! I have learned that a power greater than myself has lead me to sanity. You are new here and in the right place. We are here for you. Take a moment to look around the site and keep coming back! ox Susan
This is the easier softer way.....

robynx125
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:16 pm
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Re: New to Nar-Anon

Post by robynx125 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:27 pm

Thank you so much for your response. I didn't realize how long my story was! I really appreciate you taking the time out to not only read it but to provide me with some quality insight. I spent last night reading pages and pages of threads on this forum and it was so incredibly helpful. I stopped at the bookstore and purchased "The Psychology of Addiction" in order for me to better understand addiction and what my partner experiences. Based on all of the personal stories that have been shared on this forum, I certainly don't think I will be expecting anyone to give me a rosy outlook on all of this. The most important thing I am learning is that I really am powerless and the only way that she will stay clean is if she commits to recovery every single day for the rest of her life.

I am going to my first in Nar-Anon meeting (in person) this Saturday morning and I am looking forward to it. I do not wish to ever eliminate her from my life, but I am working on committing to a goal for myself that I will continue to love her from a distance and I will only support her recovery. I want more than anything to regain my sanity after these last four years!

I feel much better today and I am hopeful for myself.

Claytonmomof2
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Re: New to Nar-Anon

Post by Claytonmomof2 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:37 pm

There are plenty of successful recovery stories that exist - unfortunately sometimes the road to that recovery is a bumpy one. And recovery is not always a life long status. You have such clarity about the situation you're in...what a blessing that is.

I understand your pain and you are certainly not alone.

My mother-in-law is a recovering alcoholic. She's been in recovery for three years now and I'm proud of where she is today especially when you realize where she came from. She too had a lot of childhood trauma that she's now realizing has impacted her as an adult in these addictive behaviors. She took us all to a very scary place for a few years. She ended up homeless for a short time before really desiring to get her life back. That and a few things that followed the homelessness became her rock bottom. Now she wouldn't do anything to jeopardize her sobriety (just for today), but she's serious about it. She goes to multiple AA meetings each week and sometimes multiple meetings each day. But in my opinion, she's a success story. They do exist!!

robynx125
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Joined: Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:16 pm
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Re: New to Nar-Anon

Post by robynx125 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:03 pm

Thank you claytonmomof2, I truly value your feedback. I'm starting to understand how "success" is defined in terms of addiction and the long, bumpy road is going to be part of the process of succeeding. Honestly, I really did not have any clarity in this situation until I started going to therapy and it was the best decision I have ever made.

The words "rock bottom" are such a common theme to every story I am reading and I can see why. Recovery really does require the worst case scenario to happen before an addict is willing to try to get clean. My brother is also an alcoholic but my parents have been enabling him for a long time. At one point he was homeless but my mother just let him come back home because it was "too cold." That is a whole different chapter in my long story of being surrounded by addicts.

But I am so happy to hear that your mother-in-law is doing well. I would agree that she is a success story. That makes me happy to hear and I hope she continues to devote herself to her sobriety!

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endoftheroad
Posts: 1533
Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2014 2:19 pm
Location: California
option_firstname: Susan

Re: New to Nar-Anon

Post by endoftheroad » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:03 pm

So now it is time for you to read Forum Etiquette which is a thread just a few threads up from this one. It will clarify our guidelines on sharing here :)

We aim to keep our posts and threads clean of cross talk!

Take a look and keep posting. But let your thread just play itself out! Start a new one if you have a new thought and keep coming back!
This is the easier softer way.....

jp2018
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Joined: Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:10 pm
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Re: New to Nar-Anon

Post by jp2018 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:35 am

Wow, your story is so similar to mine it's crazy...I knew there were others going through what I was, but this is pretty much identical. I can relate to everything you say though I feel you are a few steps ahead of me in the process of learning how to move forward.

It's amazing how you can hold onto that person that you fell in love with, that those times you shared where everything seemed 'perfect' can carry you through something as dark and scary as heroin addiction. I had zero clue in the beginning as well, it was actually behavioral issues that tipped me off, even before I found the needles. He gets careless after awhile.

My addict also had a troubled youth and started into addiction at a very young age as a coping mechanism. Years of sexual abuse at the hands of people in positions of authority, incarceration at a young age and so on. He never hid any of that from me, was willing to talk openly about the traumas he faced growing up. He just neglected to tell me that he used heroin for the first time at the tender age of 13. So much darkness in him.

It sounds like you are doing all the right things though, to the best of your ability and with what help you can get. Keep talking about it, and keep reading, and keep looking after yourself. I'm no shining example of what to do in this situation, but I'm glad to have read your story and feel like it's a mirror to mine.

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