Earlier this week I find out that his taking pain meds for his knee pain has gotten a bit out of hand. Before things got any more out of hand, I made him go into a detox program. Now I don’t know what to do. I love him and don’t want to leave him. I also want to help him, but at the same time I don’t know if I can live my whole life with him wondering if this will always be happening. I mean, I am far from perfect myself and he accepts my issues, right? Should I just be ok with this as his issue/baggage like we all do and give him a chance to fix things again? — Dating an Addict
Here’s the thing: your boyfriend is an addict and that will never, ever change. He may learn to control his temptations and avoid triggers — although taking pain meds when you’ve had a heroin addiction doesn’t bode well for the latter — but he will never be able to stop being an addict. Addiction is a life-long disease that he will live with as long as he’s alive, and there will probably be good days and not-so-good days and there may be times with the temptation wins. It’s important that you understand this and keep your eyes open. A relationship with your boyfriend means a relationship with his addiction as well.
It’s perfectly OK if you aren’t OK with the idea of spending your “whole life with him wondering if this will always be happening.” Deciding that you aren’t OK with that, despite having issues of your own that he accepts, does not make you a bad or unloving person. It just makes you honest. I really do urge you to think very carefully about what life with an addict is like and would be like for the long-term. I suggest you read this wonderful essay, written by a DW reader, about what her experience loving an addict has been like. (There’s an update here).
You can have a happy life with an addict. You can have a family and a great relationship. But things can also be very, very challenging. You need to think about what you are willing to live with, what your priorities are, and what “give him a chance to fix things” actually means and looks like. If it’s one more strike and he’s out, be clear about that with him, and hold yourself to it, too.