How to support his recovery while I am going through early breast cancer treatment


Good evening community.,

I have been diagnosed with early stage breast cancer and will have surgery next week. It has been an emotional rollercoaster. Today I had an appointment with the surgeon for pre-op stuff. When I woke up, my boyfriend wasn’t here. He never came back home after playing poker last night. He had a slip after 45 days clean. He had been talking about cravings all week, so I should not be surprised. I was pissed off and so disappointed. He wasn’t able to pull through and be here for me now when I’m going through this? No, he was not. Hard to believe that he could be this selfish. He says the emotional toll on him (with me going through the cancer treatment) became too much and he needed a release.
I feel better now after processing with a few friends. I’m lucky to have a lot of support. Trying to keep a neutral mind about the whole thing. People struggling with substance use are often acting in ways that seem very selfish, I know this. And it actually didn’t change today’s plans. I had already planned for a friend to come with me to the appointment. All went well and according to plan - for me. What still bothers me is that I spent the majority of the day worrying about him, thinking about his use, how to prevent it, wondering if this will turn into a full blown relapse, wondering if I can count on him to support me through the surgery. I thought about all that instead of focusing on myself, staying calm, and thinking about my own healing. That is what feels so messed up - that the day became all about him . I’m usually not someone who needs a lot of attention or need a lot of support from people, but I do need to put myself in the center during this time.
Now we’re gonna go through the week of surgery having to deal with his cravings and post-use health issues. How do I balance this? How do I avoid self-abandonment and also give him support? I’d love to hear of anyone had gone through anything similar?


Wow @eyeofthestorm, I have not been through something similar, but wanted to let you know that I am sending love and healing thoughts your way during this time. It does seem unfair that when we need to be caring for ourselves, it is so easy to let their addiction take the forefront. I know for me it has often been easier to focus on how my husband is doing and ruminate on thoughts of him and his disease rather than spend that energy on myself. But I think we have to learn to put ourselves first. Obviously, we’re no good to those around us if we’re sick and unable to care for our own needs. You mentioned that you have a lot of support, thankfully, are there others that can help support your boyfriend during this time so that you can focus on your own healing? If there’s someone that can be physically and emotionally supportive to your boyfriend as he works through cravings and health issues, it might help you be able to relax your worries about him and spend that energy on yourself. I think one of the best ways you can be a support to him is by helping him find sources of support that have the availability to be there for him while you are caring for yourself.

With all of this, I don’t think there are right answers, we’re all just doing the best we can. I hope that you’re able to give your health the attention it needs and deserves now. :heart:


Thank you so much. I really appreciate that you took the time to respond! That’s good advice about him getting support from others.