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Friends & Families of Addicts Information for coping, dealing & living with a loved one's addictive behavior.

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Old 04-25-2019, 11:16 PM
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Default My story and the Miracle of NarAnon

"Hi, my name is Eric, and my girlfriend is an addict."


The date was September 17th, 2018 and I had reached the end of the rope. I was no longer certain what I was doing. I was no longer really sure how to define my relationship with Dee. Or if it was really a relationship at all anymore. What I knew was that I needed help.


I had about 25 sets of eyes on me. Were they sizing me up? Was I being judged? Was this the right place? Did I belong in this chair?


7 months later, I'd like to discuss the miracle. Because, unique to all of us, at PTO many members and browsers have a very unique need. Not only are we dealing with the incarceration or post-incarceration life of a loved one, but in many cases we're also dealing with their substance abuse. Past or present. Even if they have found sobriety and a program, oftentimes we have not found our own sort of "sobriety" and program. We still carry the mental and emotional scars that the put on us.


7 months later, I can tell you the 25 sets eyes that night that set on me in Claremont, and the 40 or so that set on me in Fullerton a couple of nights later, have become some of my biggest points of support. These are people who "get it." They've lived with the addiction of others. In some cases they have battled their own addictions and know both what it is to be an addict and what it is to live with one. And they have felt the pain of trying to control, the worry, the doubt, the anger, the sadness that so many of us have felt. Some have watched their addicts win their battles. Some have watched their addicts lose their battles. But one way or the other, they have come to recognize their own battles within those addictions and what they have given up of themselves.


Over the past decade, Dee took just about every emotional bit from me. I sat up nights worried about her addiction and how it was impacting her. I knew she was not always clean in prison but I had hope that she was "getting it." Then she came home and..everything seemed fine.

Until it wasn't.


I put myself in situations I shouldn't have. I watched how every time I had a spare dollar she seemed to have a great story that persuaded me it should go in her pocket instead of staying in my bank account. I was back to picking her up from random locations with no explanation of why she was there. I walked bad neighborhoods at night looking for a lost wallet and keys one time, encountering homeless people and other addicts while she was, simultaneously, telling me to go along with a ridiculous lie to her parents to cover for the fact her car broke down.


Something in me broke that night.


I'm really shortening this up in some ways. I could tell you every hint that she was back to using, the crazy things she would say and do. I could go into detail about the day her sister, who has been and remains a very dear friend of mine, called me up pissed off because, absent any other explanation, she was convinced that Dee was high and that I was driving all the way out from my home in the suburbs of eastern L.A. County to Ventura to bring Dee drugs, an accusation that hurt tremendously because it's something I would never do...but given what we were both going through at the time in relation to Dee, one I understood completely.


The past 7 months have been one of personal discovery. As to the answers I needed...I realized that Dee was not going to give them to me. Even when directly confronted with a lie and an explanation of why I knew it was a lie and evidence of the truth, she would continue to lie. I'm not even certain, in some ways, that Dee knows what reality is anymore. I feel like she's been lying so long that she's more comfortable lying than telling the truth. She won't work a program. But as I sought answers, people started giving me facts. Her sister finally broke down and told me things that she had seen and knew about. When I asked her why she didn't tell me, her explanation was "it was clear to me that you were good for my sister. I didn't think about your well-being at the time. I just was hopeful that she would come out of it and treat you right and be happy. I was scared if you went away it would get worse. Now I know it was a selfish hope and that it wouldn't have mattered." A few other mutual friends, with similar explanations of why they held information back, began to tell me stories from both during and after prison.



Even after the romantic part of our relationship had definitively concluded, I held out hope that I could be a friend. We had, after all, spent a significant portion of our lives together. I was, and in some ways remain, very entwined with her family. When her parents kicked her out and she went to sober living (after some extreme incidents that included one of her drug dealers calling me and saying "umm...there is something really wrong with her, I'm serious, I need your help...", a mental breakdown, and a period where nobody knew where she was for at least a week, and for some people 2,) I thought maybe bottom had been hit. I went over to her parents house to get her mail and some clothes for her and sat there one Saturday afternoon as her mom recounted to me (and her dad helped translate, since his English is much better than her's) how she had found syringes among Dee's possessions. Others had told me that Dee was "slamming" meth, something that she denied. Dee is not a diabetic and does not take shots for any other reason. This seemed to substantiate that, combined with the fact that she had started wearing long shirts and refused to show her arms.


They made it clear to me that day. She was no longer welcome at the house. And they advised me to be careful around her. She could not be trusted.


I won't go into every detail, but March 31st, after an argument with Dee after I caught her in a very, very bad lie, I decided I needed to sever my ties completely. It is not that she is not welcome in my life ever again. But for now, I can't. For as long as she is using drugs, manipulating people, and not working a program for herself, I can no longer be a party to her self-destruction because I don't see how it doesn't wind up bringing me down along the way. And of course...nobody...not anyone who really cares about Dee, loves Dee, has given her support, food, clothing, housing, etc. over the past several years and tried to lift her up and help her post-release....has heard from her since that date. Even the drug dealer who was concerned enough to call me says that later that night Dee came to her part of town high as a kite and looking to use, and that nobody in that world on that side of town has seen her since, either. We don't know if she's still in sober living. We don't know if parole moved her to another program. We don't know, for that matter, if she's alive.


And we've all decided, whether through the strength of a program, faith, or whatever other means we have, to be okay with that and let her go. Whether that's to find sobriety or whether that's to find bottom.


There is a certain peace that working the program and the steps of NarAnon brings. But ultimately, through the telling of stories, the fellowship with others, the working of steps, the sitting in the chair each week, those who elect to stick it out and take advantage of it find that they get better. The miracle is not that our addicts, or "qualifiers" as we sometimes refer to them get better. Because some of them don't. Some of them never will. The miracle is that we get better. One day at a time.


What I'd like to do here on PTO is start a thread that's loosely based on the steps, traditions and principles of NarAnon. I will be sharing in that thread with regularity and encourage others to do the same. I understand that the program is not right for everyone, but I hope that, through regular contribution, that I can offer something as a matter of service to the NarAnon organization that also serves as a matter of service to PTO and its community. I believe that it is incredibly important that we be aware of the issues surrounding our loved ones and their addictions and struggles, yes. I also believe that it is incredibly important that we develop toolkits, whether through a program like NarAnon directly or by our own means, ourselves, and I'll be starting to focus on that. There are stickies already existing relating to NarAnon as well as AlAnon as well and I'll be looking to update those in the near future.


I'll close by asking those who've read to the end to observe a moment of silence for those still suffering, addict and loved ones alike. And, if it reflects your beliefs, you may take an additional moment to say the Serenity Prayer to yourself. (If it does not, you don't have to.)



-Eric
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-Thomas Jefferson
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Old 04-25-2019, 11:58 PM
Itshardtowait Itshardtowait is offline
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Thank You for sharing! I prayed as I do every night.
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Old 04-26-2019, 12:40 AM
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Powerful words - as always - and I wish you a lot of strength but I believe you are in a good place already, kudos to you!
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Old 04-26-2019, 04:40 AM
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Very poignant post. I wish you every success in your journey of recovery and to everyone else dealing with addiction directly or indirectly.
Hope you find peace and happiness
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Old 04-26-2019, 07:10 AM
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Fantastic read!

Not the way I assumed you and D would work out, but your logic, common sense & realistic thinking is much admired by me
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Old 04-26-2019, 07:28 AM
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Im glad that it saved you and YOUR sanity. So glad to hear you are taking care of you.
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Old 05-29-2019, 12:34 PM
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I have stayed primarily in the Parents of Children forums/threads but wandered here today...your post was exactly what I needed to read. Thank you. I am glad to hear that Nar Anon is working for you. I am going back tonight. I'd been going to Al Anon for years and while I found a lot of hope in those rooms, I feel like Nar Anon is more appropriate for me and my situation. Thanks again. I will look for the thread you referenced.
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