TW: Relapse/drug abuse, death
Anon: This isn’t a sex question, but I really really need advice. I’m in a long-distance relationship that started about a month ago, with someone who’s an ex-raver, used to do some pretty hard drugs, and went through rehab (all before we met) and my partner’s father recently died. I found out that last night they went out to a rave and did ketamine, cocaine, and oxycontin. When I asked about it, they said they were “in control” but I’m seriously worried. Because we haven’t been together very long I don’t feel like it’s my place to say that’s not allowed, but when I expressed my concern they just said “my dad died, I have some leeway, leave me alone I’m not going to talk about this”, which just kind of worries more. The things is that if this is a relapse, I don’t know if I can handle it, and one of the reasons that we ended up getting together in the first place was their recovery. What do I do?
FYSE: Relapse is a part of recovery. It happens, and accepting that it happens is the first step to a second recovery. An addict is always an addict and the addiction is always a part of them, and especially in times of stress their control can break. It doesn’t have to do with the relationship and it may have been building even before his dad died. The thing about an addict is they can never just have one instance of using, like with alcoholics you can’t have just one drink, you have to stay away from it entirely. At some point he will have to deal with the fact that he’s relapsed and he will have to start the program all over. A lot of addicts feel inadequate when compared to their partner, and when they feel that inadequacy they may feel shame which fuels the addiction. The main thing is to support your partner. The addict is the only one in control of their addiction, not you. You can’t take that burden on yourself. I would suggest getting to the route of the problem, his dad’s death. Addiction is a symptom, it’s not always a cause. Encourage him to find professional health like a therapist. Encourage them to talk to you about what they’re going through and what they’re feeling. Let him vent. It’s important for them to avoid whatever triggers their urges like raves or the set of friends that they made. Encourage interaction with people unrelated to their addiction.
If you can’t do that, it’s okay. You need to take care of you and I know from experience how devastating it can be to try and help an addict who doesn’t want to be helped. If you think you can’t deal with all this, it may be best to distance yourself. Maybe give them resources to recovery programs or therapists and then tell them how the situation is making you feel (focus on your feelings, not their actions) and that you need to take care of yourself.