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Helping someone with multiple addictions

Miss at a loss
Community Member
Good Afternoon and thank you for listening I am at a loss as to where to turn to help someone I love with multiple addictions and advice would be greatly appreciated x
7 Replies 7

Dear Miss at a loss,

Thank you for your post to our BB forum this afternoon, and welcome to our community! You've posted stating that you're feeling at a loss as to where to turn to help someone you love with multiple addictions, and that some advice would be greatly appreciated.

While we wait for some wonderful advice and support from our community members, we'd just like to provide you with some links to some great online resources and some other past posts here in the forum that you may find helpful while you're waiting. It may also be helpful to let us know what some of the addictions are and what the context is (how long this has been issue, your relationship with this person, and also how this is affecting you/them, etc) in order to gain some more targeted, and helpful advice/support.

Please also consider contacting Al-Anon as they have lots of supports/information and literature to support families and friends of alcoholics - please visit here for more information: https://www.al-anon.org.au/

We wish you all the best in your search for support.

Kind regards,

Sophie M

Helpful links/resources/other posts:

Hi Sophie_M Thank You very much for providing me with the links

The person I am referring to was my partner for 8 years his addictions are alcoholism, porn, excessive spending, lying just to name a few, he was sectioned last year after harming himself after drinking excessively I am struggling watching him constantly hitting the self destruct button it is affecting my own mental health I find I go from rage to despondency at the drop of a hat I am at a loss with what to do to help myself as I know I can't help him he does not live with us anymore he lives with his son who also has a drinking and gambling problem he was attending counselling but even the psychologist has said he is not showing any improvement due to not taking anything on board to help himself

Community Member

Hi Miss at a loss,

Thank you so much for posting on this forum. These are impossibly difficult situations, and unfortunately I don't think there are simple answers or solutions.

The one thing I believe is essential, is to put your own mental health and wellbeing first. This can feel impossible if you're empathetic, or feel intense emotions of shame or guilt about the state of the person you love. You can even feel, with certainty, that the 'right' thing to do is chase the person you love doggedly down the path they're on, no matter the cost. But there's a whole world out there that needs your attention.

When I was young, my mum had many mental and physical health problems and addictions. While I was far from a perfect child/teen, as I got older I tried to be a passable son, comforting Mum when she was self-destructive, and doing what I could to manage and improve our situation. Ultimately this was unsuccessful. My mum, and my whole family, just got worse and worse, to the point that I moved interstate in my early 20s to escape the horror of it all.

I'd receive harrowing phone calls from Mum back home, and unannounced visits at my doorstep interstate. I was so tormented by shame and guilt, I would attempt to solve her problems remotely from interstate. These attempts were also unsuccessful.

Over time, I have come to the view that partners, close friends and family, are often particularly ill-suited to helping a person recover from these types of issues. I think partners, friends and family often have intense emotional connections, have experienced shared traumas, and act from patterns of behaviour developed over years, that are hard to adapt to new realities.

I am now extremely cautious about how I interact with my Mum, and there have been years where I have chosen to have no contact with her at all. I have given up completely trying to provide emotional support for her mental or physical health issues. There are professionals and societies that do this better, and more sustainably, than I can.

Setting tough boundaries with my Mum was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, and I felt like Satan for doing it. But for us it was the right call. Gradually, Mum became much more proactive engaging with professionals and societies, and building long term strategies to improve her situation. Her wellbeing, and that of our whole family, dramatically improved.

I hope the above helps in some way. Please feel free to keep posting. All the best

Hi yggdrasil

Sorry that you had to go through this with your mum and family I don't imagine it would have been easy I grew up in a strict eastern european family and never had to deal with alcoholism or substance abuse within my family and for that I am thankful but suffice to say it wasn't easy I got to deal with emotional abuse from my mother after my dad left and I guess that is what has made me empathetic and want to make everything right in the world even though I know I can't stand to see someone suffering.

I know he won't get the help he needs I thought when he was sectioned that would have been the wake up call he needed to get himself some help but even that wasn't enough to scare him into getting help he was good for a short time whilst he was on medication to stop the cravings for the alcohol but that only lasted about 3 months

I didn't know he had a porn addiction for the most part of our relationship it only came to light a few years ago he stopped being intimate with me about 3 years ago around the time when his drinking started to escalate and spiral out of control I found out last year whilst he was sectioned that he was on dating sites talking to other women this has totally destroyed my self esteem and confidence I have always been a happy person but I feel like that is long gone for me now I put my studies and life on hold I struggle to understand how he went from such a happy loving man to such a wreck? I noticed over the years whenever we had family gatherings with his family he would write himself off and found this rather strange why he would do this and when I asked him he said he didn't know his family are all big drinkers as well I suspect it is his coping mechanism and the only way he knows how to deal with his anxiety due to certain situations watching the family dynamics goes a long way to explaining his addictions

This is a soul destroying situation and I know I am not the only one going through something like this...

Community Member
I totally know what you mean about it feeling soul destroying, but you can get through it, and your soul will be deeper and richer as a result. It's normal for a person's journey through addiction and recovery to be full of false starts. Things may get worse for your former partner before they get better. Just remember that his situation doesn't have to determine your own life. All the best,

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Miss at a loss, people with addictions are also prone to developing other types of cravings, habits and/or dependencies that could well be in secrecy only believing that it soothes them in one way or another, however not only does this confuse your relationship once you find out, but also pushes you away from them, because for someone who is not addicted there is no feasible reason.

Sophie has provided many great links for you to browse through, but the trouble being in your position, is that you are unsure of what else may be developing and where all the money has been going to finance these addictions, that is, if he asks you to lend him some money, which I suggest you stop this from happening.

He seems to be turning his nose away from getting any help, medication to stop the urge as well as counselling, so going to rehab he probably wouldn't even consider.

You can love someone when they initially become addicted and then try to help them overcome this, but when this extends to other dependencies, then you have to start looking after yourself and draw yourself away from him, because it's only when he decides he needs help then progress can be made.

When a person starts to behave this way must be disappointing for you, but only he can change this, while you endeavour to get the help you need to draw away from any association.

I am really sorry, but know what an addiction can do to a family.

Please stay in touch with us.


Hi Geoff

I fear for his mental wellbeing as I know what a soft soul he is and he won't open up to anyone not even the psychologist he was seeing and I know all this stems from his childhood, he has never asked me for money and I don't believe that his overspending is on his addictions he just has no clue when it comes to finances he takes from one credit card to pay the other and it is a vicious cycle he has asked me in the past to take control of his accounts and I think if he had something to hide I don't think he would ask that of me