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Partner with addiction

So I’ve been with my partner for almost 3 years, we recently engaged about 6 months ago. Im looking to get some advice around what I can do as I’m just struggling to cope with his addiction to Marijuana.

 

when we first met, he mentioned he smoked occasionally, it wasn’t until we moved in together (few months later) did I start seeing a clearer picture of his intake.At first I didn’t mind. After a little while, I got caught up with doing it with him. After stopping, I realised I was just enabling the behaviour and I’m just not that person.


He always says he wants to quit but there’s always an excuse. These excuses are sometimes ‘I’m stressed about work’ to extreme ones ‘my friend passed away and I need an escape’. He is aware it’s only a short term fix but I feel like so called short term fix for issues, any difficult issue and for fun alone and with friends. mind you all of his friends smoke too. But this addiction has become such an issue in our relationship. 

ive asked him to stop and even going as far as saying I won’t be with him in the future if he is planning to smoke forever. I feel like he gets it but then starts up again. We’ve had so many fights and it boils my blood so much he just won’t change. This week he has stopped cold turkey, all I’m getting is shitty behaviour from him. I don’t want to resent him for it and I’m worried after all this time of trying, it will be for nothing. 

any advice if I’m just wasting my time or be more patient and see what happens? Any personal stories good/bad, feel free to share

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Re: Partner with addiction

@Shazzy  Hi Shazzy, this sounds like a pretty stressful time at the moment for you. If I can offer any advise it would be to prioritize your wellbeing. I had a partner a while back who had an addiction to buying things, they even tried to apply for credit cards using my name behind my back. I know it can be hard watching someone you care for battling with addiction. Although it maybe their form of a coping mechanism, if it is affecting your well being it then becomes an issue for you. 

 

I don't know the best course of action because everyone's situation is different but I can tell you how i handled mine and hopefully it helps. 


At first when i saw it becoming an issue I told him how i was feeling. e.g " I feel stressed and frustrated because the money I set aside for bills is gone" I focused on saying how i felt in reaction to the behaviour, I wanted to avoid blaming him as a person but show him that his actions were hurting me.  

I offered up a referral to headspace so he could talk to someone encouraged him to get connected with his family. In my particular case he was spending money as a coping mechanism for his depression. He needed a support network that wasn't just me, I couldn't help him alone and the stress was beginning to get too much for me. I was building resentment so i was no longer able to support him, he needed his family and friends. 

Eventually after a few years of trying to be a supportive partner through his addiction I realised this is a life lesson that he needs to learn. I couldn't help him nor was it my responsibility to do so. I ensured he had his friends and family support, I gave him many different helplines such as, beyond blue, head space, suggested he talked to his GP and then I left. 

 

The thing is he was only going to help himself when he was ready, and the toll of the addictive behaviors was starting to affect my mental health. He was also someone I genuinely loved I didn't want my resentment over the years to grow until I hated him. I then after the break up moved into a share house with my best friend for moral support and took up new hobbies id never tried before to keep me busy and get my mental health back on track.

 

Just remember you are valuable, you have a right to protect your mental health. 
Your partner is valuable, and they need to face their addiction with support when they are ready.  

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Re: Partner with addiction

@Watermelon6 Thank you for sharing that. 

I wouldn’t say my mental health is suffering too much from this these days, I am proactively going out of my way to not let it get the best of me. It’s still difficult for sure.

 

It’s just when he uses the whole thing of ‘hey dude, we spoke about this, you know I’m not about it’ I’ve even said that if he wants to continue with that lifestyle he can but I’ll just go. I mean that would suck because essentially he would be choosing that over me but at least I would know not to put in more effort with trying to be supportive. It’s hard for me to decide what’s right to do.

 

What was the turning point for you? Did something happen or just came to those realisations you mentioned? 

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Re: Partner with addiction

@Shazzy It sounds like he is pretty secure in his useage, and that's his choice. I find that people who don't see it as an issue, don't want to stop. Just be sure not to take his choice of continued use as a reflection of your worth I only mention this as you said "he would be choosing that over me."  That would be his loss, and sometimes people need to lose those they love before they see their addiction as a problem. 

My turning point, it's hard to say, when i look back on it i felt an underlying feeling after two years that my relationship wasn't a happy one, however i held on to the hope of working things out for another three. For me it was a very slow progression one day I turned around and realized if I stay I'm going to end up hating this man. It was one of the hardest decisions I made but definitely the right one in my scenario. 

 

It's a hard scenario you have on your hands at the moment. I think it's important to remember you can't change someone, they can only change themselves when they are ready and if they want to.

 

If you were to stay ensure you have your support networks in place, friends and family are great allies during this time. Take time for yourself a journal to write your thoughts can really help. I like to use a mindful technique of just writing down a list of words that pop into my head. Don't think just write and see what comes out. It can give you insight into how you are truly thinking and feeling. If a big emotion swells when reading back the words that's usually the truest one. 

 

Be brutally honest with yourself when making this choice. You know whats best for you better than i could ever know. Trust your gut! Maybe explore further into your values  and plans for the future and see if his also align. Remember your both individuals working out your own paths through life. It's comforting and a great opportunity for growth to do it together, however if someone else's path is becoming a roadblock in yours you need to have the strength to self care and walk away.  

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Re: Partner with addiction

Wow, some amazing insights/advice there @Watermelon6. You've made some really great points...actually I agree with everything you said and couldn't have said it better.

 

I noticed that you are both new users, so welcome to the forum both of you! And thanks for being so open about whats going on for you, or what has gone on for you.

 

@Shazzy-you're going through a hard situation. Addictions are tricky, especially when you love someone. It's sort of hard to know whether you're wasting your time because everybody's trajectory is different. I've never had a partner with an addiction. However, an uncle of mine is an alcoholic, he has been for years, to the point where his liver is pretty much gone, and even though he knows drinking will only bring him closer to death, he still does it. If he stopped himself from drinking and took care of himself he could've lived a fair few more years...maybe even 5?10? But even that wasn't enough motivation to stop him from drinking...but I guess at that point, maybe it isn't even about motivation???!? I think the addiction is probably too ingrained. On the other hand, you hear of certain people recovering. So...I don't know.

 

I also think @Watermelon6's suggestion of considering your goals, and whether both of your goals align, is a great way to view the situation.

 

I thought I'd share some articles that may be of use to you: supporting someone with an addiction and what addiction is.