How do I know when he's serious about recovery?



My boyfriend has been out of rehab since August 2018 and had been clean of heroin/opiates for about 10 months when he got out. He moved in with me when he got out and has been doing great since then. Everything has been great with him - he has been reconnecting with his friends again, found a great job, getting financially stable, etc. He has had a few slips every so often but we addressed them and talked about it together. We did our best to work through it the way that worked best for him. He seemed to be working through them okay and was taking steps to make sure he was still on track with his recovery. He told me he didn’t like meetings and I said that’s fine as long as he doing what he needs to, I’m not going to babysit him.

Well recently, I noticed something off so I confronted him but in a very gentle way. I just pointed out a couple things that usually happens when he uses (red nose, low energy, etc.) He told me he went out and bought a percocet and that he’s sorry and he’ll start going to meetings again because everything else he has been trying is clearly not working. Soon after, he even got a call from an old rehab buddy and they talked about setting up a schedule to go to meetings together. He even admitted to him that he used again. I heard them talk about keeping each accountable and he invited him to our church too.

I was really happy that he is trying to take steps and adjust his plan to stay in recovery. I was also really happy he was honest and upfront with me. I can’t help but think he could just be putting on an act to buy time until he uses again. This is the longest he’s been clean in the +10 years he’s been battling addiction. He hasn’t gone out on a bender since almost 2 years ago so this is a really big deal for him and I’m proud of him. He has really bad back problems and always tells me he’s in pain. He has been going to the doctor but it’s not helping and he’s getting impatient and has been turning to what he knows works better and quicker than anything else. That’s what he tells me but again, taking everything he says with a grain of salt.

I will be practicing self care for sure but it’s just so hard not to let this consume my mind. Every time I think about it, I start crying and I can’t focus on work or anything else. I’ve been by his side through both good and bad times (more than most people would put up with) for the past 3 years. I don’t want to go through this with him again. He told me if he uses again, he will kick himself out no questions asked. That to me, tells me maybe he is okay with using again? I don’t know. Or maybe he’s trying to protect me.

I’m just scared of what’s to come. We had plans to buy a home together, have a family, get married. I want that with him but it’s just so hard. I know it’s what I signed up for and I’m willing to work through it with him. The boundaries I’ve set up for myself is that he’s in a place where he has no interest in recovery and is not willing to stop using, then he needs to be out of my life. This is a weird gray area because I don’t know if he’s lying.

Any suggestions or tips out there? I’d love to hear other stories similar to this so I know I’m not alone.

Thanks for reading <3


Fear of the unknown will always find its way to creep in. My husband is a recovering heroin addict and I still have those fears, especially when deciding if we want to grow our family. Every time I get a bad feeling, those questions come up: What am I doing? What if it goes back to the way it was? Will we survive?

I had to learn to let go of the unknown. Perspective helps. His last few slips, he told me about them as well. We got right back up. We’ve survived some really scary shit. And we keep getting right back up, and each time, we are stronger. Progress, not perfection. I have to believe in our resilience, that we will keep getting stronger, that things will work out. Otherwise, I’m just living in fear of the unknown every day, and I don’t want to live like that. I’m living in the now, and things are good now.

Have you tried going to Al-Anon? The meetings and literature (especially the daily readers, Courage to Change and One Day at a Time) have really helped me in learning how to let go of certain outcomes and be more fully present in today. Individual therapy and couples therapy has also been extremely helpful. You are not alone, and you and your loved one are doing great!! Focus on the positive - it will help both of you. :pray::sparkles:


Quick update: we had a huge blowup fight the day after I posted this. From the looks of it, he has been in active addiction for a while and has been hiding it well. I feel like I have lost him again to opiates and I’m feeling very hopeless. I told him he needs to move out but he refuses. I’m not sure what to do and I feel extremely alone.


I went to Al-Anon when he was in the depths of active addiction. I have thought about going back but haven’t had a chance to really look into groups in this area since I moved to a different state since then. I still have my books! And I do remember that “letting go” is one of the biggest challenges I had, but I got better at it and started to so much progress in my mental health too. Thank you for the reminder!


I’m so sorry you’re in this situation. I have been there too, feeling very hopeless and alone and not knowing what to do. Like your relationship and the person you love and your past, present and future is crumbling down around you. Please know that it will pass. I know it may be hard to grasp right now, but it will be ok.

You said your boundary is if he has no interest in recovery or stopping using, you want him out of your life. Slips and relapsed don’t mean failure. Is he still willing to take steps toward recovery? Have you communicated your boundary with him and asked him what steps he’s taking, if any, toward recovery? What his plan is or maybe even his fears? Again, this might seem pointless since he’s in active recovery and it’s really hard to believe anything he might say. I’ve been there too.

Honestly, when I was feeling completely hopeless and alone, I got down on my knees and I prayed. It was the only thing I had left. I surrendered to the power of the universe and found a faith in the energy around us. I didn’t know was the hell I was doing and what would happen, but I can tell you that it turned out okay. My marriage isn’t exactly what I thought it would be when we said our vows, but I learned to let go of certain outcomes and have faith that at even if things don’t turn out the way I want or expect, it will all be okay.

I don’t know if any of that helps but I hope it does. Please just listen to your gut, your intuition, the power inside of you. Have faith. Take care of yourself. There is always hope.


@Selfcare31 You’re situation sounds JUST like mine is now. I just stumbled across these comments from April and I’d love to hear an update on your circumstances with your SO. Did y’all work it out? Was he able to seek recovery and stay with it? I’m in the exact same boat with my boyfriend who is a heroin addict. The grey area you mentioned… You took the words from my mouth. How can you enforce those limits or boundaries when he’s lying about being in recovery and you only have your intuition as the proof? I truly hope things are looking up for you and your relationship now! Hope to hear from you!


Thanks for checking in @momentsandlight.

Yes, my boundary is that if he has no interest in getting better than I need to leave and let go of this relationship. It is hard sometimes to remember that slips and relapses do not mean failure. It sure does feel that way sometimes.

It sounds like he is willing to participate in a 6 month suboxone program. I only know because I spoke to his mom this morning and she said that he is agreeing to do this. That is a step, but to me, his mind is not in recovery. It doesn’t sound like he wants to stop using, but is trying to cover up the fact that he won’t stop. I don’t know that for sure of course. It’s really hard to have a normal conversation with him. He is extremely defensive right now and will resort to being really hurtful (verbally) to me.

I see a future with him and I know he sees one with me, but right now the only thing he cares about is his high. I’m not sure what to do. I have been praying and trying to talk to people all day to ease my anxiety and fears. I don’t want to be without him and I’m willing to support him through this - we’ve been through it before. I told him before I wasn’t going to go through this again but here I am. I would go through it over and over because I care about him and I want to have a life with him. And I know this is what I signed up for. But, I also can’t keep waiting for him to get his life together.