Anyone else have experience with PAWS?



My boyfriend is at about 90 days sober…which is great…except …
He says he’s suffering from Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome…if that’s what’s really going on?..I’m not sure.
While in rehab they also put him on antidepressants.
He’s basically an emotionally flat robot…the lights are on…but the man I fell in love with is not there.
It’s been incredibly hard on our relationship. There is no intimacy whatsoever…we can barely even communicate anymore. Anything and everything I say he shuts down…with draws…tells me all I do is try to give advice…which I’ve literally just been trying to be there for him. He keeps all his emotions bottled up.
He has no motivation …he barely helps with chores…he sits on his phone alllll day playing games…or watches TV.
He’s starting work again tomorrow…which is great…because he will have to actually move and do something.
He stopped going to meetings… I’ve fought with him to make an appointment with his doctor…to try and find a therapist…
But nothing.
He’s cut out his family. Won’t respond to there messages…his mother reaches out to me to see how he is doing, but he gets angry and asks me not to talk to her.
When I tell him how it’s affecting me…he doesn’t seem to care. When I tell him how his lack of emotion and lack of affection makes me feel unloved and rejected…nothing…He says he still loves me…but I honestly can’t see any glimmer of emotion in him at all.
I have no idea what to do. I’m not equipped for dealing with whatever is happening.
He is pushing everyone away, and extremely stubborn and won’t listen to anyone who is trying to be help or be there.
The whole situation is…pardon my language…f@$%ed up.


Hi Alanna, I experienced this with my husband last year when he got out of rehab. It was such a terrible time for both of us. There legitimately is a chemical imbalance that can take a very long time for recovering addicts to get back to producing seratonin on their own. I was SO lonely and nothing I said ever seemed to get through him. Thinking back now, I knew he hated himself and was so depressed - so obviously he wasn’t able to give me what I needed. I think the post acute withdrawal symptoms is legitimate and true but the lack of motivation is concerning in my opinion. He stopped going to meetings (whether it was AA/NA or Smart Recovery) and just wasn’t doing what he needed to support his recovery. He stayed clean for a bit but I learned from that experience that recovery is much more than just not using, it’s also a mindset change which seems to be the hardest part. And it’s A LOT of work and time on their part and a lot of sacrifice on ours as a the partner. He relapsed soon after that and we’re now going through the process again a year later. Last year I felt like I let a lot slide with skipping out in meetings or therapists or whatever it was and this time I’ll be holding my boundaries … the first several months also seem to be crucial. My husband is in better spirits and more willing to do what is needed. As much as we want someone to do all the things, it’s freeing to come to terms knowing we have NO control. I tried so hard last year and nothing worked. I’m still here because he’s putting in the work but I’ll never allow myself to go through what we did last year. I’m sorry you’re going through this. It’s miserable and you truly deserve happiness… It’s not easy.


Hi @Alanna -
That’s great to hear that your boyfriend is 90 days sober! What a huge accomplishment. I’m sorry that you’re feeling this way, though, and that he seems to still be in a dark place. Like @vieve said, it can take a long time for the brain to heal after using.

My husband is in long term recovery and hasn’t been to any support groups, therapy, or meetings in years. I try to get him to connect, but there’s only so much I can do. Ultimately, he’s the one who has to take action.

What has been helping instead is giving him the space and support to do other things he enjoys. For example, when he wanted to take singing lessons, I didn’t question it or object or doubt him. I was just happy he took interest in something, anything. Are there any activities your boyfriend likes to do, either on his own or with you, that you can encourage?


Hi @Alanna, so sorry to hear that you’re going through this. I’m glad to hear that he’s been sober, and I have been there, I went through this last year, I felt like I was not doing or saying anything right, my loved one ended up relapsing after a little over 3 months of sobriety and til this day he’s still not sober. I’m hoping yours will get better and feel the need to try something new, especially involving you, because I know the feeling of that loneliness you’re carrying, this group has encouraged me to try to do things for me so I don’t get lost again trying to fix him, we have to try to take care of ourselves too. May God bless you and your loved one.