Drug Addiction is Hurting Relationship

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My boyfriend and I have been together for almost three years. We get along great and would do anything for each other. However, our relationship has taken a slight turn for the worse just this past month. My boyfriend smokes marijuana everyday (I personally do not, but dont mind that he does). And i knew that sometimes on special occasion he used other drugs as well, such as cocaine. This never really bothered me because he kept reassuring me that him and his friends were smart about the drug, knew how dangerous it could be if not handled correctly. And the special occasion cocaine use never effected our relationship or how well we were together.

It wasnt until 3 weeks ago that i heard he had done cocaine with some friends out of boredom, I asked him, he denied. Later he told me the truth, that he had done it. In fact he also confessed that he started using cocaine more frequently (about 3 times a month). I was shocked, that he could and did hide this from me. I was upset, he agreed he would stop, and was very apologetic. He knew he had to regain my trust. Everything I thought was going to be okay. Until I get a call that my boyfriend was in the hospital after collapsing unconscious after cocaine use with his same friends. He has admitted he has an addiction problem. Again is very apologetic, says it took this close call for him to learn. Says he really wants my help. I am very worried. Not sure what my role as girlfriend entitles now, and not sure if I should stick around? I love him, and we have so much great history together. I do care about him a lot, and want to help. But dont know if i am even someone who can help, or if this is something he needs to do on his own? I am filled with mixed emotions, as this was a recent event. I dont know where to go from here.

A: As you are finally discovering, when someone is involved with drugs, they are not completely involved with you. There has always been an affair in this relationship — his affair with drugs. The good news is that he has admitted to an addiction problem. Apparently, the hospitalization was a wakeup call. The test of whether he is someone to stay with is whether he follows up with treatment. People can and do get into long-term recovery. People can and do give up drugs forever.

Your role in this is to cease being so tolerant! You absolutely should mind that he is using weed every day. You absolutely shouldn’t tolerate that he uses cocaine — even occasionally. It may not affect your life all that much now when you’re both in high school but it will definitely affect his ability to get on with adult life once you get out of school. Growing up means learning to manage emotions, decisions, social life, and relationships without the haze of drugs. He needs to find a better group of friends and much better things to do with his time that will help him prepare to get into adult life, not check out of it.

I suggest you find the local chapter of Alateen to help you figure out how best to be helpful and whether the signs are right that he is worth sticking around for. Alateen is part of the Al-Anon programs. It helps teens who are affected by someone else’s drug or alcohol use. Check out the Alateen website. You will find out more about the program and and you can locate a meeting near you.

I wish you well.
Dr. marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 Apr 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). Drug Addiction is Hurting Relationship. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/04/12/drug-addiction-is-hurting-relationship/