Q. When I met my boyfriend, it was an instant attraction on the phone. He was a friend of a friend and came highly recommended. When I met him finally it was an instant attraction in person. We both felt like it was just right. The glitch, to the perfect story comes a few months after we started dating. He misses dinner and a weekend we were supposed to have together and doesn’t return my phone calls. Finally, about 5 days later I recieve an email from him: My name, I’m terribly sorry about being “in the wind” these last couple of days but I’ve been sort of problem solving. I’ve been staying at my parents house for the last few days because they offered to help me out of my problem. (my name), seriously…..sit down now if you aren’t already. I’ve been at my parents house and under their supervision (which includes not accepting or sending any phone calls until recently) because I have an addiction to drugs. I basically have pissed away everything I own or am worth on cocaine. My problem is that I never could, still can’t go seek any formal treatment because my father is a public figure and I wouldn’t want to discredit him in any way. ANyhow that all leaves me here. I’m at home detoxing, (NOT FUN) and beginning to see the light of day. I know the road ahead of me is almost endless but now that I’m cleaner….not clean ever they say….now that I’m not dependant at least physically. I can see the road ahead of me without fear. I’m sure the last few days for you have been hard when it comes to me, and I really am sorry… This all kinda happened whirlwind fashion, but it really needed to be done period. I’m not real sure how you’ll take this little piece of crucial info, but all I can say is that I’m sorry especially for the last few days, but also for just being the kinda guy I don’t think you expected me to be. If you get done reading this letter and decide I may still have a little bit of credibility with you and you want to call me, that would be great. They promised me tonight that I could start using my phone again tomm, but with supervision. They don’t want to see me calling all of my “old friends”, ya know. I hope I talk to you again, but if not….I’ll understand. Love, (him) Now after reading that I couldn’t help but look back and wonder if all he said and did was a true connection to me or a connection the drugs was reciprocating. I heard from him off and on through text messaging. I haven’t seen him for a week. For some reason I am willing to work through this and stay by him but I wonder if he is off the drugs if there will still be a relationship that I felt before. I feel like there may be. I realize my abandoning him now could send him into further depression. I don’t want to do that, so I am becoming knowledgable on cocaine and addiction. Never being an addict myself or even trying drugs I have minimal knowledge. I am at a fork in the road and don’t know if I should pursue helping him and being there as his girlfriend or if I should walk away. I realize after reading many articles that his addiction doesn’t just go away and that the entire process may take time and relapses might occur.
A. I am concerned about several issues in this relationship. First, you did not seem to have any indication that he was using drugs. Apparently, he must have been using a substantial quanity of drugs for a significant period of time. How do I know this? For two reasons: He is at the point of detoxing, and you typically do not detox after using just a little bit of cocaine and secondly, he has “pissed away everything [he] own [s] or [is] worth on cocaine.” While, I admittedly do not know the extent of his use, (nor do you it sounds like), or just how severe his drug problem really is, I can say that based on a few items from his letter, his drug problem is significant. This is especially evident when you add in the fact that his drug habits have caused him to blow his life savings on drugs.
My second concern about this relationship is that you are willing to stay with him and stick it out and you are willing to do this without really knowing the facts about him. If you did not know he was using drugs, there may be other aspects of his life that you do not know about him. You did not know he was using cocaine and now you find out that he has been using and has managed to spend his life savings on cocaine, yet this does not seem to bother you. Why not? This should scare you. That is, why would this man be acceptable for you? You mentioned that you have only known this man for a short time. In that short period of time, he has blown you off, revealed that he has a significant drug problem and no money to his name. So in essence, he is a drug addict with zero money and a known liar and these facts all emerged in the short amount of time that you have known him. These are red flags that indicate that this guy might not be the best choice for you. It is likely that he was high many of the times you were together.
I am not denying that he is not a nice guy. He probably has a lot of good qualities. You should not be willing to accept these men into your life. Why not seek a mate who is not using drugs or sending all his money to support a drug habit? There are plenty of men out there not using drugs. To paraphrase Maya Angelou, “people always show you early on who they are and if you don’t hear it it is because you are just not listening.” What this means for you is that he is showing you his true colors right now, early on. He may not always have a drug problem, people do recover but as you mentioned, the relapse rate for many substance abusers is extremely high. Do not assume he’ll go through detox and everything will just been fine. This is usually not the case.
Only you can decide if you want to stay with him. Perhaps you should consider a narcotics anonymous meeting for the family or friends of those using drugs. Going to one of these meetings might help you decide whether or not you should stick it out with your boyfriend. The odds are, unfortunately, that he will relapse. He has lied to you, hid away a very series drug habit and lost of all his money. He is really not in a position to have a healthy relationship at this point in his life and frankly, I am not sure why you would consider this person to be a potential mate for you, especially since you barely know him. I hope I have helped elucidate some of these issues for you. Good luck.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 Nov 2006
Randle, K. (2006). Boyfriend is a Cocaine Addict. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 25, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2006/11/27/boyfriend-is-a-cocaine-addict/