Hi everyone! My name is Courtney. My boyfriend is a recovering Heroin addict. In our four years together, I’ve seen a lot of things I wish I haven’t. There been clean time, relapse and jail time. We share a two year old son together. A lot of people thought our little boy would put a stop to his addiction. But it doesn’t discriminate. When he was only days away from a year clean, he had picked up. Here I was with our two month old son. A new mom. Living in the fear of the unknown. He was on a six month binge. Finally he got help and now today; by the grace of god. My boyfriend is a year and a half clean. I still struggle with the thought of relapse happening again. I am having a hard time living presently and happy with today. Instead fear stands in the way.
Recently discovered relapse
My loved one is coming home from treatment but I'm anxious about him relapsing again. What can I do to manage the anxiety?
Hi @CourtneyMae86 <3
The pull of addiction, and particularly heroin, is so strong - ugh! My brother in law struggled with heroin in his 20s then was clean for like 10 years then we spent a few years chasing him around the world during a relapse where his girlfriend wound up dead in a foreign country due to overdose. The stuff of nightmares and movies, yeah this can become our reality when a loved one is in addiction. Phew. Now that’s off my chest.
There are some friends on the site that have similar fears and I hope they can jump in to share more relevant and specific experiences with you. For me my husband’s drug of choice is cocaine so a little less intense than heroin, but with the rates of fentanyl now in cocaine too - it can be equally lethal.
So without being able to speak directly from a similar experience with heroin. I want to say, that early in my husband’s recovery we had to take it a day at a time - both of us! I often wanted more recovery faster and that put a lot of pressure on him. So one thing that helped me was learning that healing takes way more time than we think and my husband is an example of this - 3 plus years into recovery and he gets stronger every year, month, even still! The more time the better, but I do agree, I know he will always be more likely to fall susceptible to addiction than another person and this is the reality I’ve chosen to live with for now.
Keep looking after yourself and your child. Keep building a joyful life with your partner. The more joy and connection we experience in life the less they need to escape it. The more friends and family involved, supporting and adding positivity the better (in my opinion).
What do you think?
Sending all the love!
Hi @CourtneyMae86. My husband is a recovering heroin addict. We have a 4 year old son. I’ve seen a lot of things I wish I haven’t, as well. He had 10 months clean and started using again. We had been in such a good place, everything was going right, so the slip was scary and confusing. Fortunately, he was strong enough to tell me the truth right away and get back into recovery within a week. We took the slip as a sign that there was more work to do, so he started seeing an individual therapist (he had been doing group counseling and marriage counseling). When he slipped again a few months later, I knew right away and asked him the very next morning. He admitted it and got back to his recovery.
The fear is there, always. I try not to let it take control. I think about the progress he has made (progress, not perfection!), that WE have made, and remember that recovery is not a straight line for either of us. There will be slips and relapses, but it doesn’t mean failure. The choices made after are more important - taking the opportunity to stand up again and grow. Resilience.
Communication with my husband has been crucial. Letting him know when I’m afraid, or when I have a bad feeling. Understanding his triggers and my triggers, and knowing how to provide extra support for ourselves and each other during those times. Reminding myself that worry and fear is not going to prevent anything or help anything - just take me away from enjoying the present moment. Practice gratitude every day - a list of three things I’m grateful for that day, even if on some days it’s as simple as running water. It’s something.
And finally, prayer and trust that the universe has our backs. I was never a spiritual person until my husband’s addiction took over our lives. But I got to that point where I didn’t know what else to do, and so I surrendered. I prayed, not really knowing what prayer even looks like. And told myself that I can take in the powerful energy of the sun, moon, stars and earth with each breath, and that everything will be okay. And it is. Even if things don’t turn out the way I expect them to, I trust that it will all be okay. Trust and love has helped me so much.
I hope you’re able to let go of fear and find peace. You and your boyfriend are doing so well. You both are strong, so strong to be going through this together, and you’ve got this.
Polly thank you soo much! You’re absolutely right. I find myself wanting this healing process to move quickly and reality is it just takes time. Lots of time. And people do not change over night. It’s my biggest struggle right now.
Ahh thank you so much. This was beautifully said. Power of prayer is so real. I also have a gratitude book. I write something everyday. I lose myself with focusing too much on him. And it’s something I’m working on. We both would like to do couples counseling to help get through some things I just can’t let go. Anyways,You sound so strong and hope to one day get that strength you have.
@CourtneyMae86 That is awesome that you are both open to couples counseling! I highly recommend it. Our sessions have helped us build trust, communicate better, practice empathy, and provides a safe space to talk about fears that we might not know how to bring up on our own.
Thanks for your kind words. Just know you already have all the strength you need. <3
Hey @CourtneyMae86 - welcome here, and thank you for sharing so openly! I share a little bit on this post about understanding the feeling of ‘waiting for the other shoe to drop’ and how I celebrate small wins to ease the fear. Let me know what you think! (Also, my middle name is Mae, too. )