Supporting a Loved One with Addiction
I don’t know where to begin — the beginning would be appropriate, but I only have 2,500 words (less than now) to tell my story; to tell my story from the very beginning would be next to impossible, so I’ll tell my story the best I can.
July 22, 2017 my life changed. My partner was assaulted. He suffered a brain haemorrhage and a seizure while in hospital for 7 days. A week or two after he was discharged from hospital, his father died unexpectedly. While overcoming his trauma from the assault, he now had to overcome grief, trauma, depression and anxiety due to the death of his father.
On Christmas Eve of last year, my partner had a self-induced medical emergency. He was unresponsive but thankfully he pulled through. But his mental health has worsened since. (His GP and Psychiatric team have restricted medication from him due to this)
He does see a Psychologist and his local GP every week to every two weeks—he has good support from his mum, as well as myself.
Due to his mental illnesses, he has engaged in a lot of self-destructive behaviours such as gambling, abusing prescription medication (as mentioned earlier, he is not allowed to be prescribed them so he buys them “from the street”) and he cheated on me too.
Prior to the 22nd of July my partner would not engage in any of these behaviours. He was loyal to me and to himself. He was intelligent, caring and loving. He’s not who he is now.
Basically, I don’t know what to do anymore. We did separate for a week once, where I stayed at my parents, but we worked on our relationship. Last night, I found out he was still trying to buy drugs and I was so angry, I had to walk away and this time I thought it was the end. We discussed it again today and he said he wants to get help and he admits his addiction to prescription medication. And he wants me to support him too.
How can I support him when I find it hard to trust him? I want to be there for him, and I will, but I need advice on what to do next. How to help someone with an addiction and how to teach myself into thinking that he’s not doing it to hurt me—he’s doing it because he is in pain.
I should add, I do also see a Psychologist and will be seeing a Psychiatrist for an assessment for potentially having Borderline Personality Disorder.
Any advice and support port would be appreciated—I’d even love to read stories of similiar situations.
Welcome back, I've read your previous thread outlining what happened and your own start of treatment, and I've also seen where you have kindly tried to assist others such as Cookyboy12 and Scardy.
When there is a sudden violent incident in life it can be really hard to understand how far reaching the effects can be. It takes time. Sadly for you partner as you said yourself "he isn’t “himself” anymore. He’s not the person I fell in love with."
Instead you have a person that only copes by various unhealthy activities and is struggling with depression, anxiety and addictions. After a year or so of this I would imagine you have realized that the path for his recovery is an exceedingly long one, and for him to get better not only does he have to have specialized help but needs to actively want it and cooperate with it. To know what avenues and organizations are available for him I'd suggest you contact either our own 24/7 Help line on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on their web site:
Either should be able to give you information about what is available in your area.
OK, having talked about your partner I guess now is the time to talk about you. When someone we love needs help we tend to regard ourselves as bottomless wells of care and support. Sadly of course that is not true. It is easy for anyone to be dragged down over time by fatigue, frustration, resentment, helplessness and despair. This applies doubly to people such as yourself that are made more vulnerable by their own MH issues.
Apart from encouraging him to get help I'm not sure what you can do. I should say at the start that you cannot stop him harming himself or even taking his life all by yourself. It has to be a team effort between his medical team, the people around him, and your partner himself. It serves absolutely no purpose to spend yourself by remaining with him in the hope that will prevent him from doing anything.
You realy need distance, and for some people that may come from an ability to draw boundaries in everyday life, and for others it requires being physically away. You would probably have a better idea of your capabilities than anyone else. Please do not be influenced by an inappropriate sense of guilt.
Do you have support? I know you have mentioned your medical care, but how about family or a friend? Is there anyone you can talk wiht frankly, get perspective and share he burden?