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TW/CW: Substance abuse, suicide

I have had a traumatic life. That has made me the amazing person I am, but with a terrible flaw: codependency. It has been a pattern in my life and one I didnt fully realise until after getting very serious with my current partner.

There is a hierarchy in our relationship - her, her substance abuse, then me. I always come last.

I understand enabling behaviours, and the need for boundaries, I have worked hard on these, but I struggle with the last step. I cannot draw a line in the sand by leaving, or issuing an ultimatum. Not only that I cant, but I don't want to. She is my whole life, protecting her is my reason for existence. I love her with my whole heart, I have no interest in leaving whatsoever. She loves me too, it is this horrible illness she has. How could anyone possibly leave the person they love, to leave them to burn and die, because theyre sick?

My life with her is torturous, an addictive wave of love-bombing followed by total disregard, riding out days or weeks of torture for the next hit of love, which always comes, but barely lasts a day. But it's glorious.

I am at the point where I've told her she's going to break me.

She knows this but won't, or can't, change. I want to think it's coming any day now but I've seen this before, going all the way back to my childhood. It wont change.

Leaving her is what every person and article out thwre says to do, but they don't allow for the fact that I love her, that it will end my life, and it will nkot spur her into action, it will escalate her into the world of hard IV drugs that I saved her from. This wont help her, it will almost certainly kill her, too.

Totally lost.

7 Replies 7

Dear 2021mustbebetter, 

We can hear (or read) that you are feeling quite conflicted and deflated by your current situation. We are so sorry to hear that you are going through this. We can hear that you love your wife, but that your life with her has also been torturous at times, which would be really difficult. It must feel awful to feel as though you always come last. 

Please know that you've come to a safe, non-judgemental space to talk things through and our community is here to offer as much support, advice and conversation as you need. We hope that posting here, and receiving support from the community, will help you to feel even slightly better. 

It sounds like you could really do with some professional support if you don't already have anyone so that you can speak these feelings through. You don't have to go through this alone.

If you would like some help finding mental health support, we would recommend that you get in contact with the Beyond Blue Support Service. They are available 24/7 by phone on 1300 22 4636 or on Webchat 3pm-12am AEST on our website: www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport

If things become too overwhelming for you, and you feel as though you may act on unsafe urges, please do contact Lifeline (13 11 14) or the Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467) for crisis support. 

Additionally, MensLine Australia is a free 24/7 telephone and online counselling service for men with emotional health and relationship concerns. You can contact them on 1300 78 99 78 or https://mensline.org.au/

Please do continue to post and seek support as you see fit. We are always around to listen and offer support. 

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi 2021mustbebetter,

Im so sorry you are going through this …… I understand it’s a horrible thing to witness some one who has a drug addiction it’s just heartbreaking..

I understand how much you love your partner……….. I totally understand that you don’t want to leave her…… My advice is just love her and support her ……… hope and pray that she will come out of this horrible addiction………

Is your partner interested in treatment options for her addiction? They are available……

People with addictions can change if they are willing to accept certain treatments………

It doesn’t matter how long you have been travelling in the wrong direction you can always decide to turn around and come back the other way for the positive.

Im here to chat

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello 2021mustbebetter, thanks for an interesting post and there are some questions I'd like to ask you, if possible, and only answer if you want to,

- as you've said you love her, but this is only one or two days she shares this devotion with you, the rest of the time it may be days or weeks of torture for you, would the same happen if she was an alcoholic

-it's possible to love someone but not live with them, a person who has an alcoholic partner can't live with them because they don't want to have any treatment and alcohol always comes first

You are last in her hierarchy and it must be lonely in those days she disregards you, so why wait for that day she returns that favour, eventually this may not happen as there is no control over what she does.

I'd like to say more, only if you feel you want to get back to us.

I'm sorry.


Going back a long way, I had a tough childhood. I had undiagnosed ADHD and ASD and had to fight ny way through a world thst never made any sense. I suffw4ed slow emotional, social, physical and motor development. The expextations were even higher on me because I was gifted intellectually.

This meant adults expected a lot of me, and I stood out to other kids as a target. I regularly changed schools to gdt away from bullying but the problem was clearly me.

As I became an adult things got worse, continual feats and famine, incredible successes and crushing defeats. Gravitation toward those I could do things for, in order to be accepted. Constantly being used then discarded. Becoming a workaholic but repeatedly burning out. Suffering incredible body shaming and trauma from women over the worst thing that can possibly be wrong with an otherwise able-bodied man, something that is mentioned numerous times a day in movies, media, jokes, even catchups with your best friends.

This presented as depression and anxiety, that diagnosis and medication causing me to eventually appear bipolar leading to a 9 year misdiagnosis as such. An eventual crash to earth and serendipitous meeting with a different doctor uncovered the misdiagnosis, my now being ADHD and things going well except by body image issues, total confusion at having lost and wasted my whole life and now knowing the problem was always me, and having placed all my eggs in a basket with somrone who has substance abuse problems.

People obviously have a predisposition to suffering addiction. She is not actually an addict as such, so much as a poly substance abuser. She has trauma in her past and ANY way to escape it is fine for her.

She shows me she loves me every day, she just makes rubbish decisions one after the other. We have a nice day then all of a sudden she tells me she is waiting on a 'delivery' or is 'just going out for a little'.

We have great times. Theres no doubt for either of us that we are with the right person. She regularly admits her problem, but cant be honest enough with herself for long enough, and isnt strong enough to last more than a day or so wothout seeking out SOMETHING.

My Dad is an alcoholic. He was in an aged care home at 66 from alcohol induced dementia. I dated an alcoholic for 4 years, I did everything but again I was not their priority.

I vainly cling to hope that each day will be the day where her admissions become action. It never happens.

What you're describing sounds eerily similar to how I felt in my relationship.

I was so convinced that despite the bad behaviour, the fact I was treated badly, that she loved me and was a good person. I believed we could get through whatever crisis it was.

My ex didn't have any addictions as such but she had very strong narcissistic tenancies. There was a continual cycle of love bombing, devaluing, stonewalling and sometimes rage. The love bombing is intoxicating. People compare it to a drug addiction. Removing yourself from that cycle makes you feel like you are withdrawing from a drug.

Your circumstances are obviously different to mine but I had to leave my partner 3 weeks ago as the continual emotional abuse (which was extremely subtle) became so damaging to my mental health, I was fearful for my own safety. It took 5 1/2 years for it to get to that stage.

I was so optimistic that things could improve but they never did.

Hi 2021mustbebetter,

So sorry you have been through so much through out your life……..

Can I ask if you are currently seeing a health professional to help you to deal with things?

Would your partner be open to seeing a gp in regards to her substance abuse? She could do a mental health plan with her gp this would give her access to a phycologist who could help her deal with her trauma……..

There are options for people who have substance abuse issues…….. they just need to seek the help…..

Im sorry to hear of your Dad……

Have you asked your partner what it will take for her to seek help for her substance abuse?

im here to chat

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Dear 2021mustbebetter,

The hardest thing you will ever have to do is mourn a person who’s still alive. I have been in this situation for an extremely long time so can empathize. You asked “How could anyone possibly leave the person they love, to leave them to burn and die”, but I think you answered it right after “My life with her is torturous, an addictive wave of love-bombing followed by total disregard, riding out days or weeks of torture for the next hit of love, which always comes, but barely lasts a day...”. I too was once like you, blinded by love and addicted in my own way. But I can assure you, it wears thin after awhile. And sooner or later, the one day of love isn’t enough to overcome the ever accumulating days and weeks of torture, and what was once love will turn to hate and resentment. Addiction will take you to hell and will give you nothing in return to replenish your cup to help find your way back. People will do it for a time, some giving up years and decades of their life, some getting through it and others just ending up in the same place, utterly broken, but ten or 20 years down the line. You will do what you can until you can’t do it anymore. I wish you strength and please try and develop a support network if you don’t have one already, it’s a tough road xx