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Addicted to an Addict

Hi, my name is T.

I am addicted to an addict. I believe I have a disease & this is affecting the whole family.

Sometimes I can't control my anger, depression, moods, crying, pain & guilt. I usually take all this out on those closest to me including the addict in my life.

I really try to detach from the addict, this person I am addicted to whom I love unconditionally as they too have a disease which effects the whole family.

I have an uncontrollable compulsion to help my addict. I give money, food, smokes, lend my car or give lifts, lie for, pay fines for & take over responsibilities for. These are just some of the crazy things I do when my disease takes over. I also make promises, then break them (usually to myself). I try to reason with logic but seem to be speaking a different language. I am unreliable & expect my life to be normal. I can't live a normal life with my disease, but I don't want to let this disease ruin & destroy everything I have worked hard to get over the years. If I let it, it will break up relationships, families, marriages & even friendships. It will interfere with my work too.

Sometimes I can go for a day & feel good & want my life back so badly I decide I am going to do something about it, to get help. Until unexpectedly my compulsion to get involved with the addict's life & problems takes me over without a second thought. 

It's then I go back to my first step. I am powerless over Addicts (in recovery or not) Drugs, Alcohol, People, Places & Things. My life is unmanageable.

I am an addict. I have been in recovery for 12 months. I am free from enabling my addict for 2 days. I was going to give my addict $2 to put with his $10 to buy smokes, but I didn't & I don't feel guilty about it at all.

I have come along way & I have faith in my recovery.
Just for Today I choose not to enable.

Thanks for listening.

(I wrote this when my Addict had been in yet another Rehab & when his time was up he went back out on the streets. He has since got himself clean & has been for about 5 months. My Addict has now found drinking alcohol takes "the edge off". I continue to attend my meeting, work the steps & try to find serenity even if this person I love is still battling. Without Naranon I wouldn't have the strength I have today. Thanks again.).


An unexpected source of help

Recently my wife and I (both retired) received some unexpected help from the NSW Police in our area.

We have lived with a drug (speed) addicted son of 27 years for over 3 years now, and have put up with all the usual traumas that we all know only too well by now. Our son had refused to leave home when asked, and had said "make me" . On recent occasions we have both felt quite concerned, when our drug addicted son threatened physical violence.

On calling around to our local Police Station in Charlestown, we spent a most reassuring hour or so with a female Senior Sergeant. She advised us that we did not have to put up with the antics of our son, and needed to have some quality back into our lives. She suggested we explain to our son that we had to been to the Police and ask him to leave by a certain day.

If he didn't go we were to ring the Police who would call and ask our son to leave.
He would be told he was trespassing and if he did not leave would be arrested and taken away and charged. The Police would arrange if required to issue an order requiring him to stay away .

Our son did go by the appointed day but then returned some weeks later. 
Subsequently we had to call the Police who evicted him. He returned his house keys in their presence and was told of the conditions under which he might call at our house .
There is still a long way to go but we do at least have our home back to our selves, can get a good night's sleep and after living in our retirement villa for over five years we now have a "sun" room instead of a "son" room!

We still take one day at a time and are most grateful for the help we received from a most unexpected source.
We trust this might be of some help to others in a similar predicament.

- A grateful member.



Hi my name is Anne.

I found Naranon just over 12months ago. Ironically it was my addict who put me onto the program. For this I will be eternally grateful to her. She had been attending NA herself for a couple of months and even though it was a day to day struggle for her she was finally beginning to help herself and after being in the program myself now I have come to realize it was because of two key reasons;

1. Because she wanted help. She wanted to be there.
2. We (my husband & I) had made a conscious decision to stop enabling her.


"Devastated and heart-broken"

I met my addict 9 months ago and i thought he was the best thing that ever happened to me. He had everything i'd ever wanted in a man, Crazy sense of humour, piercings, same fun loving nature and as our relationship grew i realised he was everything sexually as well. from the moment we got together is was a disaster. I fell pregnant pretty much straight away and 2 weeks later lost it, ironically the same day his ex-wife gave birth 2 his youngest son! I learned 2 deal with the day to day mood swings and requests but 6 months into our relationship, around xmas time, he cheated on me with anothe addict from his fellowship. I gave him the benefit of my doubt and spent the next 3 months trying 2 patch up what had been done. i'm now seperated from him and he is still with his addict girlfriend in my house and bed! im left devestated and heart-broken. is this normal? what do i do now? any suggestions r gr8tly appreciated.


Re: "Devastated and heart-broken"

What I am about to share comes from my experience, reading, and a lot of listening to other Nar-Anon members.

For the addict, reality is optional.  Whenever life becomes uncomfortable, the addict will reach for a drug, a drink, or some other way of opting out.  There is always a  reluctance to confront difficult situations, follow things through  to the end,  to take responsibility for themselves. That is why their lives often have a "soap opera" feel to them, and why they so often seem to be plagued by "bad luck".

There is only one area of their life that the committed addict really cares about,  that is, their drugs.  The obtaining, using, maintaining supply of drugs, and other related issues like getting  money for drugs, and making and maintaining drug contacts, are the addict's first priority.  Everything else, including their relationships with other people, is secondary.

One exception to this is if another person can be of use to them in some way, such as by supplying them with money, drugs, food, sex, accommodation or other needs that will make it easier or more comfortable for them to carry on drugging (to "enable" their activities).  Such a person is called an "enabler".  Most addicts are capable of becoming very charming and seductive when they sense the opportunity  to snare an enabler.  Many of us in Nar-Anon have gone through the stage of being enablers.

Although at first you might think that your relationship with the addict is wonderful, this cannot last, because the relationship is fundamentally an exploitative one.  Eventually you will start to realise that you are being used, and that the charm is beginning to wear off.  You might think you love the addict, but a relationship of inequality (where one partner is being exploited by the other) is not a relationship of love.  You are probably mistaking pity or sex or emotional dependency or a desire to "fix" the addict's problems for love, or hoping to recapture the first feelings of the relationship when the addict was still trying to get you in.  It is not possible to have a genuinely loving relationship with an active addict because you will always be secondary to their first love (drugs), and because you are trying to relate to an unreal personality fabricated by the drugs.

It might sound from this that I hate addicts.  Not so.  I understand that the addict has a disease, a kind of mental illness, that makes them narcissistic and unable to relate normally.  This affects everything from their intimate relationships, to their relationship with the wider society, as well as their relationship with themselves.  I know that at some level every addict is a good and worthwhile person - some of the most thoughtful and spiritual people I have met have been recovering addicts.  But at the same time I realise the dangers to myself of being emotionally involved with an active addict.

You cannot "cure" or change an addict, or even convince an addict to change.  Fundamentally the addict must take responsibility for their own life.  You cannot do that for them.  The more you enable the addict, the less they are able to take responsibility for themselves.  Once the addict has really decided to take responsibility for their own life, the rest will follow.

It is clear that  being emotionally involved  with an active addict places you in great emotional jeopardy.  It is crazy thinking that it is OK to allow your sanity or happiness to depend on the mad, erratic behaviour of such a person,  moreover, a person who does not have your best interests at heart.

So what do you do if you love such a person?

I urge you to join a Nar-Anon group as soon as possible and to work the program.  Listen (we have a saying: "take the cotton wool out of your ears and put it in your mouth"!) read the literature, and work the steps.  The way the Nar-Anon program works is by helping us to change ourselves, it is not concerned with trying to change the addict.    

" does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work.  It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart."
-Buddhist proverb.

I hope this has given you some new information, or maybe a different way of looking at it that is helpful.




A story of recovery into sanity and serenity.

I am a 25 year old mother of a 7 year old girl and mother to my 15 year old brother.

My drug users are my mother, my grandmother, sister and uncle. All in their own way have affected my life. 

I have grown up looking after myself and my mother. She is a manipulative, lying, abusing, self-absorbed etc. person yet I still kept getting dragged into her web of lies and deceit. I have looked after her since I can remember and apparently before I can remember. I have cleaned up her houses that she has run away from. I have paid  her bills. I have "lent" her money and taken in her son as my own. I have paid for airfares to get her to rehab centres. She has just not turned up. Yet through all this she does not appreciate what I have done and continues to try and suck the life out of me. She calls me with verbal abuse if I say I cannot give her the money she wants, she blames me for the way her life is and uses me like I was just another person she wants to destroy.

My grand-mother went to jail at the age of 60 for dealing drugs and still has not stopped using or dealing. I no longer have any contact with her and feel that is for the best. She came to my wedding recently but her eyes were vacant.

My uncle came to stay with me for a week because I could not say no at the time. He was not the perfect house guest and abused my kind gesture.

My sister is in denial and says that she does not use drugs but it is plain and obvious that she does. I see her spiralling down the same way that mum has and in doing that she has dragged me into her web. I lend her money, she calls me and says she is about to kill herself and then turns her phone off while I run around in a panic calling police and friends trying to track her down. Days later she sends me messages saying "Hi, How are you" as though nothing has happened.

I grew up in a small country town called Nimbin where someone over dosing in the local toilet was the norm.

I say all this as though these people (my family) are the burden on my life and I suppose yes they are. I used to feel like they had caused me a lot of pain and chaos, but I have since realised that they were not really the ones causing the chaos in my life. I was the one who would race around to solve my mothers problems. I was the one who panicked at my sisters multiple fake phone calls about suicide. I was the one who allowed my uncle in my house and I was the one who visited my grandmother in jail.

What I am trying to say is that 2 weeks ago my mother called abusing my brother about me. I saw the pain wash over his face. I saw the tears in his eyes as his "mother" spoke about me with such disgust and I decided that the most important people in my life are myself, my daughter, my husband and my brother. I wrote my mother an email which I have included here...

Email sent to my Mother.


This is what I have to say!! 
You will probably get angry with this email but I am over caring.

What you did yesterday is what you always do. You are selfish. Its all about what you want not about what is actually happening in reality.
K. was at MY house using MY phone we had guests over that had come to have a birthday cake with him and because you had been trying to contact him I said give your Mother a call. Its a portable phone that he could have left the room, as I said we were in MY loungeroom. There was 5 people at least. K. spoke to you for a while with silence but unfortunately you can only ask guests to be quite for so long. Dinner was being served and we asked K. to get off the phone and call you when he got home. It is not my problem that he didnt want to call you when he got home so he didn't tell you that part.
Before you go off all half cocked and get all emotional you should remember that although you are not here " LIFE GOES ON ".  What right do you have to yell hysterically into K.'s ear about me? He stormed off after your phone call and I had to calm him down and get him to come back for his cake.

All I can say to you is that I understand that you wanted to speak to your son on his birthday, but I think that I let you do that.
I dont care if you saved your last $4.00 to call. You always manage to find a way to call me when you want Money!!
AND that brings me to what I have to say.... YES I do have a massive problem with you. My problem is you have no memory. you dont care that in the last 3-4 years I have spent an unknown amount of money helping you.. airfares, phone bills, rent etc. Not to mention cleaning your house and listening to your hysterics. I cannot remember the last time you called me just to say hello or find out how your grand daughter is going at school. 
You know what no matter what you have ever said or done I have always said that you were a good mother and now I am saying to you that you dont have a clue what that means.

How dare you yell shit about me to my brother who I with the help of my husband guide through his teenage years. Your son as you so grandly put it last night is doing GREAT, and not because you call yourself a good mum. I have never once in all these years been as mad as I am now, even when I have NO Money and you still put pressure on me for some.

How about you start to respect me. I am sick of both you and M. chucking your mental tantrums and I am always the one you both direct it at.

I want you to wake up to yourself and realise that life isn't all about you. You are always saying why doesn't my family like me, why wont they talk to me. Well maybe its time you looked at yourself and realised that maybe it is something that you are doing.

You know what I DONT CARE, what you do to yourself, I dont even care that you lie to me and everyone else and say you dont use drugs, because that doesnt hurt me. But I DO CARE, when you call me up asking for money and I say no and you get upset and make me feel guilty and I DO Care when you call up hysterical saying whatever you want about me and my family.

You know what, you are a drug user, you may say that you don't take Heroin anymore but you smoke marijuana, you take prescription drugs like they are going out of fashion. You take the same drugs as people who have cancer and you mix them. Dont treat me like I am a fool, I have tried to help you so many times to stop taking these things and repeatedly you have chosen drugs over your children. I have nothing more to say to you except - do not contact me. I want nothing more to do with you. I dont want my daughter to ever know you and I refuse to have you use me anymore.
DO NOT abuse me to K. because he will resent you for that. Try and have the decency to talk to your son about him and not yourself for once.
I hope you can sleep at night knowing that you have finally pushed me to this point, but I am sure that you will because you have a way of turning things around so that you can justify what you do and blame everyone else.
I wont bother saying good luck with your life because you have a plan already, wake up, go to doctors, take drugs, go back to sleep.


I feel that I have finally said what I have been bottling up inside for so long. Yes I feel guilty for sending it. Yes I feel scared that I now have no contact with her and don't know if she is alive. But I do not have the daily abuse. I do not have the fear of answering the phone. I feel refreshed. I have finally made steps to finding out how I can help others in my situation.
I think I will always feel pain, anger and many emotions towards my family and probably on a mental level will always be scarred. I am writing this in the hope that someone in my situation may read it and feel some sort of connection to what I am saying and maybe feel they are not alone.

Thank You 

Note: to maintain the anonymity of family members in the above story, their full names have been omitted. -Webmaster.  


Some serenity at last

When I came to my first Nar-Anon meeting I still believed I could "fix" my addict.  Nothing I had done had worked so far, but I thought that was only because I had had not found the right thing to do yet. Maybe Nar-Anon could show me the magic bullet!
They showed me alright, but it was not how to fix my addict, it was how to fix ME!
They explained that by following the Steps and reading the literature I could slowly free myself from the delusion that I had any sort of power over the addiction and the addictive behaviour of another person.
I learned that, with the help of my higher power, I must take responsibility for my life, just as the addict, with the help of their higher power, must take responsibilty for their life.
Things are much better now, for me and the addict in my life.


Help, please!



Ready For Change!

I've come to this group after years of 'managing' on my own. I am a mum with three wonderful children and a job I mostly love in an amazing field (I teach children with special needs). I also pay for a house cleaner and a child minder whilst my 'partner' sleeps in late and basically does very little that is not related to maintenance of his dope habit. He works two nights to have extra cash - to pay for that. I've just taken on a second job to help pay all the extra costs above. I am at the end of the line. I am very sad and frustrated that it has all come to this. I am an enabler and I have to put up with a lot of negativity and criticism in return. Today is my birthday and I have promised myself I will address the situation above. 

On Monday we have an appointment with a psychiatrist.  My partner is not 'drug-dependant'. He is 'depressed'. That is the denial. He refuses treatment for the depression. It has been years and I want my life back. It is eating away at my own sanity now. I just pray for the strength with following through insisting that he leave Thank you for sharing your stories.

- Rose



On The Road To Recovery

I only found out about you folks a few days ago. 

My twin sister and I have addictive personalities. The difference is that I recognised this some time ago. My only addiction has been cigarettes. I have LET GO and I wanted to share how it's been since letting go and what I have processed. 

K's addiction is morphine, pain tablets, speed, no-doze, V drinks, whatever the addict can lay its hands on. I have for some time separated her from the addiction. However it was becoming harder as the addict has become full time. The lies are so much more obvious - it's pathological. What I felt was anger toward our mum, (foster mum we grew up with since 2 1/2 yrs - we're now 37) that she has been supplying her with 'downers' so she can get to sleep! So I have discovered a huge co-dependency issue with mum - The need to be needed. She will give K money, lend her the car to drive the 40k's to the new doctor (she's doctor shopped a long time). You all know the story.

Anyway, what I wanted to write to you for was to just say last weekend, I made a decision to let go of my sister. Mum - I let go of a few months ago - over other issues which stemmed from K driving the wedge between us. Anyway, I was accused of not helping her (hidden words - not helping her addiction) in an abusive manner. I simply told her I would not tolerate abuse of any form from anyone, and clearly pointed out the help I had given her in the past. Oh no, conveniently that was forgotten, erased, to suit the huge frustration and 'need' for 'help'. I also told her the 'help' she needs I can not give her, that a professional is who she needs. Of course the anger is put 'out there' to me - the one who is closest to her, and in reality the anger is with her own denial of being an addict. I love her, and would help her at the time she is honest with me or at least acknowledges she is in need of attention regarding the substance abuse.

I have had to set boundaries. I have two young beautiful healthy children and a husband who has a mental illness - who is really well. We are living a positive healthy life. The mum we grew up with was always rescuing, so there were always people in her life with Dramas, and to be honest I'd had a gutful. The sad part about that is she doesn't see that. In phone conversations, she would always be talking the doom and gloom of others lives and 'I don't know what we are going to do' then be the one that is helping them out with money, drugs etc. Wasn't just my sister - in relation to money I mean. So she was feeding their 'issues' to satisfy her own co-dependency issue. As for my sister and her, they are their own worst enemies. 

I feel letting go has released me from frustration, anger, hurt and confusion. Because I can see from outside now a lot clearer the patterns that had been there for years. The sadness is there when I think of how bright and cheerful and humorous my sister was. The loss is great, because it is like there is a dual loss, the loss of who she was and who she could be. I don't mean that in a materialistic manner or job way, I simply mean the real person that she could be. 

I can not change others, I can change how I think about others and however hard it seemed at the time - to let go - (and that is only because I was scared to go out of that zone) it is worth it to me, my family and maybe it might be just enough to have my mum and sister think about their situations. If they don't, that's ok. I will always love them. I will write to them and let them know how I feel. I will not tell them what they should, ought and must do or have any of the 'you' confrontations in the letter. Just simply say how I feel and set boundaries around communication. (that I won't tolerate abuse). Because I felt angry and hurt, and stunned at the time, and of course my little guys sensed it, even though I was running on auto pilot - we all know kids pick up how we really are- as within as without. I do not want that in my life. 

Anyway, thanks for the site.



Living with a Recovering Addict

I am lucky enough to live with a recovering addict, he has been clean 11 years and we have been together for 6 years so I never lived with him as an active addict. My x-husband was an active addict and for the 9 years I was with him I constantly 'enabled' him and believed I would help him change. He never changed and when I had finally had enough I left. When I met my current partner I so appreciated that fact that he had gotten clean on his own!


But living with an addict, even one in long term recovery has its challenges. We currently live along way from NA meetings and Nar-anon are even harder to get to, but we are hoping to change that soon as it is such a supporting fellowship. In the meantime we try and read our literature etc but I would be really interested to hear from other people who live with recovering addicts to share stories. I count my blessings when I read other Nar-anon members stories, and I wonder how on earth they manage, but are there other members not living with active addicts who like me find life is still a huge challenge? Or is it that I just really need to live the programme more and worry about the addict less....

I would be interested in some feedback, thanks.





Courage to Change!

My partner and I have been together for 10 years. He was on speed when I first met him. He told me he wanted to get off all the drugs, (he also used pot and alcohol). He asked for my help . That's where I made my first mistake. For all those years it has been down hill. Every time B. wanted to go on a binge , he would cause an argument. Then he would disappear for days or weeks on end. I recall one time he was gone for 3 months, I ended up getting a call from a mental hospital, as that is where B ended up. Yes I took him back. Time and time again. He would still use the speed at home or his work place, all behind my back. Over the past 10 years B. has left some 50 times. At the time of writing this, B. has been gone for almost 4 weeks, not one word to me , not a phone call, nothing. I don't know if he is dead or alive.

I  am tired, tired of the lies, the deceit. I don't like the person I have become. I feel like I am a detective. He is the addict, I am the enabler. Will I take him back if he returns? I honestly don't know. What I do know is, that I can't do this by myself anymore. I Surrender. I am handing it over to a higher power. The one thing I have realised is that I have helped him to continue with his drug use. Now B. is on his own. He may choose to come back. I may choose to take him back, I honestly don't know. What I do know is, that I MUST let him take control of his own life. It is his choice to use drugs, just as it is my choice not to. 




The Getting of Wisdom!

Hi. I am 37. I have had three addict boyfriends and my father was a prescription addict. I have realised that anyone not in recovery is not safe and not everyone in recovery is either. The effects of this disease are long lasting. The danger I subjected myself and my daughter to you would not believe. 8 years after the end of a relationship I am still dealing with the consequences financially after allowing myself to sign a contract effectively "ripping me off" for years. And I keep on loving him. Sometimes I even keep on laughing at his antics years later. My God what else can I do? I keep on thinking one day he'll come to me and say sorry and we'll all be friends. I am the insane one. It is my naivety and lack of willingness to admit my part in this that I must first admit the nature of this disease and secondly acknowledge that he will rip off his own child's soul in order for him not to feel and to keep using. I cannot control him or this powerful disease but I must learn about it, not forget about it and operate from that place at all times even when it all seems fine. But what if it is a child? Well that's a good question, but my sanity and wellbeing must come first otherwise I am no good for them and I am no good for me. I must remember that I am precious too. Just as much and that it is only by the Grace of God that they will get well from this. Just as I am. Thank you God.



Help, please!

Hello, I am in a relationship with an active addict and we have a beautiful, wonderful two and a half year old child together. My partner went into rehab before our son was born, and when he came out quickly switched addictions from alcohol and cocaine to codeine. He also suffers from depression and takes anti-depressants. He is a great father in terms of playing with, and teaching our child - when it suits him.  Its been a struggle the last few years, but he keeps promising to quit, tries to, we have a wonderful time so it seems, communicating, being close, sharing stories of what our son did today, planning our future, and then the drug abuse starts again. I have reacted with anger at many times, but mostly (I think) with support, encouragement, attempts at understanding. During a recent "good time" my partner got a great job in the Pacific, I felt that we would undertake this big commitment together, it fit with our future plans, was good for his career.  We rented out our house and took our son away from his grandparents, everything he knows.

My partner came a month earlier --when we arrived I knew immediately that he was back on drugs. Its been a terrible month, I want to go home but the house is rented for a year, feel completely alone. He is so angry at me for no reason all the time, I have no one to talk to about it, and worry so much for my son --is it better to take him back to Melbourne winter, start new child care, rent a different house and take him away from the father he adores? He has just started to settle into his new house and routine. Do I put up with being treated like dirt, verbally abused and doing all the work around here --is that the best thing? 

I am desperate and alone and so frightened of making another seemingly irreversible choice and dragging my son along. Is there any Nar-anon online or someone who I can email just to stay sane? My partner says he has been off drugs now for 4 days, am not sure that I believe him, as always want to give the benefit of the doubt --but know that the abuse will start again and not far in the future.


(my email address for anyone to reply



Let go, let God


I am a lesbian woman who has been in AA recovery for many years. A few years ago I met an addict in early recovery & we began a relationship. My new partner had been around recovery, detox & rehabs for decades but I believed she was ready to stop using. Her drug of choice was heroin & she managed to function at a high level whilst using. She was always been fully employed & had no criminal convictions. Her charming, clever & witty personality was very attractive & against my better judgement , I allowed myself to be seduced by her infatuation with me. My own isolation & avoidance of intimacy meant that people rarely got close to me but her persistence broke through that wall. The only bottom line I was capable of setting was "If you use, it's over."

However.....things got pretty messy long before she picked up.

Firstly, her sisters were her using buddies & she remained enmeshed with them.

Then, her commitment to recovery weakened & she avoided the fellowship.

Eventually, after one year, she picked up smack. In my gut, I wanted to leave because that was my boundary but I doubted myself & asked others in recovery. 3 older , sober members said "Give her another chance" so I did. Full of remorse, she returned & recommitted to her recovery. That was short lived & soon she was back with her sisters & avoiding meetings. I was angry & obsessed with her recovery & she must have felt very uncomfortable with me breathing down her neck. After another year, she relapsed again & confessed that she had been nibbling & dabbling during the relationship. $10K later, after a 2 month relapse, she returned to recovery. I don't see her any more & it's over a year since we broke up but I think about her every day. Sometimes it's with rage. Sometimes, it's with grief. I know it's over. That chronic relapsing lifestyle is not for me but I find I need to go deep within to see my part in the attachment to such a toxic relationship.

Basically, I avoid intimacy because I am afraid of being hurt. So, when someone arrived who appeared so needy, I thought that I'd never get hurt. How could someone who wanted me so desperately, hurt me? But their desperation was a warning. A warning that I could not trust them to be honest.

Today, I address MY fear of intimacy & MY co-dependency issues & try to heal that God shaped hole inside with the love of my Higher Power. I am fragile & I need to handle me with care. I forgive my ex & know she is a beautiful human being with a dreadful affliction = ADDICTION. 

But I am POWERLESS. I cannot save her. I cannot control her. I cannot cure her. She has a Higher Power too & I surrender her to the loving arms of God.

Today, I feel empowered by sharing my story & know that just for today, I can walk tall.




The addict becomes the focus of the family...

Hi there.
My sister is a drug addict. She has ruined the lives of my parents (who have had to take over care of her 2 year old son), her sons life, my life. I constantly worry about my parents, they're in their 60's and are not coping well with the stresses of a toddler. I have 3 young children myself, so I can't take him for them. My sister just got kicked out of yet another rehab, she's 34 now, this has been going on for us for 17 years. I wish I had another sibling to share the load. we have no other family aside from, my mum my dad, my sister and myself. so I have to be the one that peps up my broken and sobbing parents, I cannot speak to them about anything that's happening in my life, because they are so stressed out, they freak out over the smallest things. I have to be very careful every time we talk. All we ever talk about is her and her son. I have lost them altogether emotionally, and most probably soon physically, they will no doubt have a heart attack/stroke, because at this point, my sister has broken them, and it's very very hard to watch. 

I'm trying to pick up the pieces, hold it altogether, at the same time trying to raise and take care of my own family, which includes a newborn child. My partner at the moment has a broken hand (a stupid decision involving a mechanical bull), so I have to cope with everything right now. Although he's quite supportive, I feel he does lack the ability to understand what this is like for me. I feel so alone, and I don't worry about my sister like I used to, I realised a long time ago that I have no control over her life, she makes her choices, I can't make them for her. I miss my sister. Its just very hard watching my parents cry. 

Thanks for this site. I needed a vent today.





I came into contact with the fellowship of Naranon over 4 years ago and what a blessing it has been. I will be eternally grateful to the members of Naranon; for without them showing me how the Twelve Step program worked I would have never be able to take back the control of my own life. We lived with active addiction for around 10yrs and it almost destroyed the bond of family life as I knew it. Thanks be to God, we found Naranon. No counsellors, no psychiatrists, no doctors with dead end streets; just people who were walking in the same shoes as we were. People who understood our pain; because our pain was the same as their pain. They didn't judge; they didn't tell us we had to do anything except "keep showing up to the meetings." It has been the best piece of advice i have ever listened too...and accepted. The members shared their strengths; their weaknesses; their hope; their stories. It took a few weeks before the clouds began to clear but i started to see the sky again. At first it was grey skies but eventually the sun began to lift its head; and life became worth living again. 4 years ago, if someone had told me life would be worth living again i would not have believed them. I started to change. That was the start of a new beginning. I have been down many different roads since then; roads to recovery. Recovery from blame; shame; guilt. Recovery of love, joy, peace, kindness, gentleness, patience and self-control. It has been a journey of self-discovery; of discovering a Higher Power whose love surpasses all understanding. It continues to be a journey I would not miss for the world!

*This heading was the choice of the contributor, and should not be taken to suggest that Nar-Anon advocates any particular religious belief.  Nar-Anon is a spiritual program which encompasses all, or no, religious beliefs, encouraging users of the program only to look to a "higher power" for strength, in whatever form this may take for the individual. 



Nar-Anon meeting needed badly!


I've had yet another sleepless night worrying about my 23 year old son, his drug habit, his debts (and our lack of money due to helping him), his lies. Well I think they are lies but I'm not always sure - I am so confused ?? I need someone to tell me if my husband and I are doing the right thing by helping him both physically and financially. He attempted suicide early this year and I'm quite sure he will succeed next time if we don't continue to help him. Then will it be our fault? I am going out today for lunch with some friends (Melbourne Cup). I don't really want to go because although my friends understand, I just don't feel like acting "happy" today. Soon my younger 2 children will be up getting ready for school and I have to act "normal". These feelings are eating me up inside. I would love to attend any meetings in Canberra or meet with someone with similar frustrations as myself. Thank you for letting me use this site. I actually feel slightly better already. 

Dear Ro,
You really need a meeting! We know of several other people in Canberra interested in a meeting.  If you would like to contact us via the email address below with your contact details we will put you in touch with the others.  Of course we won't publish any of your details.
Dave (webmaster).


Insight gained!

I went to my first meeting last week. After 10 years of dealing with my addict ( 24 yr old daughter ) I finally realised that everything I had done to try and help her was futile unless she wanted to help herself. Myself, and my parents have been stolen from, abused physically and verbally, i have recently kicked her out of my home as i couldn't stand her or her addiction anymore. I couldn't have a normal life as I never knew what she was going to be like from day to day. Pills are her drug of the moment but she has had heroin, methodone, ice, pot. I have had my house broken into while i was in bed and lost so many things to this addict who was once my beautiful and loving daughter. The sorrow and heartache i feel when i see her in this downward spiral had become to much for me to bear so i have cut myself off from her and am trying to salvage what's left of the happy person i once was. Going to the nar-anon meeting has already helped, just knowing there are people that understand what i've been through and are supportive of me is a blessing to me.

When you live with an addict, you slowly come to realize that everything that was once normal like having a social life, friends, just enjoying life in general is gradually taken away from you sometimes without realizing until it's too late. I once had lots of friends, now only a few, i once had a social life, now i mainly stay home. I'm lucky to have a supportive boyfriend and family. I love my addict, but i don't like her.




Serenity please...

Hi, I'm the mother of a 26yr old addict. He has been one since he was 14yrs. He was and is a clever person can learn things very quickly and always seems to find a job with a good boss who at first forgives him his explosive ways. It doesn't last too long before he either quits or is asked to leave. No money - back home to mum. I've put him out of the house on numerous occasions, he's been in two long term rehabs. and finished with flying colours but as soon as he's left on his own he goes back to drugs. It has caused him to have a mental illness and needs prescription drugs for his violent outbursts. I have other children but they have long since given up on his and my problem. Sometimes the neighbours call the police because they can hear him shouting and smashing things. I'm afraid that he will kill himself or accidentally hurt me and end up in prison. I don't give him money and I have tried not to enable him. If he had somewhere else safe to go I would be so happy not to have this dreadful life style. I'm nearly 69yrs old and I feel I can't go on much longer. The problem is I still love him he is my son, and overlaying the crazy wild looking person that screams abuse at me I see the little boy who was so bright and happy and full of life. I want him to get better and lead a happy balanced life. My biggest fear is that he will hurt someone else either when he is driving his car or when he has one of his uncontrolled rages. I feel there should be compulsory custody for addicts until they get free of the drugs in their system and be able to make a sane decision what they want to do about the problems they have. Its a terrible illness and it seems that everyone is a loser. 




The old story!

Hi.  Reading Mary's story today reminded me a lot of what happened to me. 

My son started drugging at about 13ys of age.  I wasn't too worried at first because I thought he was just experimenting with a bit of pot.  Later I found out that it was not just a bit of pot - it was a LOT of pot, and LSD, and magic mushrooms, and speed, and anything else he could get hold of.   As well, he had started drinking heavily when out with his friends.

At the same time he was endlessly listening to disturbing music that seemed incredibly violent and insulting to women.  I don't think it was just a case of the older generation not liking their kids' music - this stuff was performed by seriously disturbed individuals.  I found out later that one of my son's associates had started dabbling in satanism, and that my son had got involved in it as well.  Apparently they would get themselves well primed with alcohol and LSD, speed, or whatever was to hand, then try to invoke demons using rituals from a book.

I was unaware of most of what was going on.  It was amazing how skilful my son was at hiding his activities.  As far as I knew, he was a normal obnoxious teenage male who listened to music I didn't approve of.  However, his behaviour started to become quite eccentric and gradually more and more bizarre.  At first it was hard to tell whether this was just teenage moodiness, but eventually it became obvious that there was something seriously wrong.

My son was diagnosed with schizophrenia, complicated by drug and alcohol abuse.  His drugging and drinking made it hard to get a clear diagnosis, and greatly complicated his treatment.  I have always been dubious about his diagnosis.  I always suspected that if he stopped drinking and drugging, and generally lived in a healthy way (mentally and physically) his "mental illness" would disappear, or at least improve dramatically.

Along with the bizarre behaviour came a lot of shouting and verbal abuse.  This got worse as time went on, and started to turn physical, in the form of throwing and smashing things, then punching holes in walls, then kicking doors in.  My son absolutely refused to work, or do anything to help around the house.   He never attacked me physically, but there were times when he was angry at my refusal to give him money etc and gave me the "death stare" with his fists clenched, and I thought it would only be a matter of time before he did.

I managed to stop the stealing by threatening that the next time I found something missing I would immediately call in the police and would not hesitate to have him charged.  I stopped the suicide threats by immediately calling in the Mental Health Crisis team (which I think is the right thing to do anyway) whenever he made the threats.  However, my life was not worth living as it was - it was a living hell, and I could only see things getting worse. 

At that stage I had not found Nar-Anon, but I did start seeing a counsellor.  She told me that I could not help my son, in the sense that his needs were well beyond my skills and so I could not provide the kind of help he needed, and because as his parent, I was emotionally involved in the situation.  She also told me that I was in an abusive relationship with my son, and that my safety was at risk.  She said that abuse is always progressive - each time the abuser gets away with something he is emboldened to go further next time.  Insults become verbal abuse, verbal abuse becomes physical abuse and so on.  The counsellor told me there would have to be a separation between my son and me for both our sakes.  I could not accept that then, but at the same time I knew something had to be done. 

Fortunately I found Nar-Anon soon after that, and that is really when my recovery and my son's recovery started.  I came to accept that I couldn't fix my son's problems, and I gained the strength to make him leave my house.  We have both prospered since.  He has now stopped drinking completely and has greatly reduced his drugging. As his substance intake has gone down, his mental health has steadily improved.  Interestingly, as soon as he was no longer living in my house, the violence and abusive behaviour stopped.  It seems he only did it because he could.

My life is now worth living again, actually, it is great!  The lesson for me is that we are each responsible for our own life.  It is hard to detach yourself from your children and recognise that once they reach a certain stage, you have to let them make their own way in the world, for better or for worse.  It seems it is usually for better!  Tough one to accept!

- Len




From Survival to Recovery

I have lived with addicts and addiction all my life. As a kid I lived in a house with an addict mother, a workaholic enabling father and two addict enabling grandparents. I am the oldest child and have 2 younger brothers and a younger sister. I have 3 kids to two dads and they were and are both addicts. My oldest child, at 15, has all the earmarks of a fledgling addict about to take off. Every intimate relationship I have had has been with an addict. I am 36 years old.

My journey in recovery started when I was 14 going to Alateen meetings with my recovering mum and her new recovering partner. It didn't mean that I didn't make the same mistakes, but it did mean that as I got better (and sometimes worse!) I made better choices and I became aware of how abnormal my family was and still is. I chose to get clean at 24. Addiction has bought me so much pain. I am addicted to the addict. How I would love to say that as a past tense. But living with addiction and the addict is a daily struggle. I have had to learn to let go and let God for my own survival and every part of me wants to hang in there. I can see the beautiful side of the person I love and just wish that the monster would step out of the way. I can't deal with the monster any more.

Nearly two years ago I separated from my addict husband who I met in the rooms of NA. He was 12 months clean and I was nearly 4. He said he really wanted to stay clean. I believed him. And clean, I fell completely in love with him after being single and celibate for 3 years. We got married and had a beautiful baby girl and he stopped going to meetings and eventually picked up again.

Over the next five years he lied, stole, hid, manipulated and blackmailed me because I let him. At first I was strong and had good boundaries and believed his promises but as time went on he had subtle ways of undermining me and blaming me. I believed I was responsible in some way for his irritable, restless and discontent condition. I didn't realise that he was using. He hid it so well and I trusted him. He seemed so detached when he pointed out my defects, so maybe he was right! He functions overly well on his drug of choice and work opportunities and big contract money led us to move interstate where his using intensified, unobserved by family and friends.

I agreed to move and uprooted my 3 children and left behind a strong network of close friends and fellowship. In my new area I went to meetings and met new friends and my husband worked insane hours. When he was at home he seemed to sleep a lot. I believed this was because of his work. I felt neglected but put this down to all the new conditions of moving and settling children into school etc.

After 4 months in our new home I discovered that he was using heavily. He crashed his new car and promised to do something about his addiction. He came to meetings and appeared to be trying. His struggle spilled out in a dramatic way. He became erratic and explosive. I went into damage control. We moved house and the kids went to a different school. It was a totally insane period of my life. The kids and I ended up in a refuge. We moved house again and I let him back in. He changed drugs and got another job. And all the time I was going slowly and increasingly insane. We fought and I started to have panic attacks and night terrors, something I hadn't experienced for ten years. And I hated myself. I hated my behaviour. I hated that I couldn't leave. Why couldn't I leave???? I had ten, fifteen years of working the program! I could do this. I was strong enough.

I went on holiday to visit my family and I found that I couldn't go home. As dysfunctional as they were, and are, they cared about me and loved me. The frying pan was better than the fire! Where had the stronger independent woman gone? So I stayed, for 5 months in my enmeshed family and finally got the courage to be independent and moved out into my own place. And when I did it was like the tidal wave of grief in my life from living with and trying to control, manipulate, save, coerce, love, comply, agree with, and change myself, to be accepted by the addict so that I wouldn't have to feel the pain of abandonment and neglect of my life came crashing down on my life. It was like having my soul ripped out. The God-shaped hole became a swirling black, never-ceasing vortex. I was completely powerless and unprepared for how I was feeling. I could say that I don't know how I got through it, but I do know. Twelve years of living a day at a time in God's care and grace is how I got through and I learnt that in the rooms of 12-step fellowships. (There is no Nar-anon where I live).

My emotional rock bottom has taught me that I am the most important person. I thought that was totally conceited once. But now it has to be true. God is there for me but if I don't do the right thing for myself I fall into that black swirling vortex. I still want to please the addict so that they will love me. But you can't get mangos from a lemon tree! So I am learning to plant an orchard of mango trees. It has been hard work and I still stumble. I am working towards self acceptance and treating myself the way I have expected other people to treat me all my life. With love and care. If you want a beautiful tree that bears much good fruit you have to nurture it. I have learnt that a tree with good strong roots may be blown to bits but with time it comes back to life and often bears more fruit than it ever did. Today I believe that I am the best tree in the orchard, the most valuable, the one that can bear the most fruit because God is my gardener and the program my fertilizer and I am planted amongst other strong trees.

Thanks for sharing your stories and sharing your orchard.



The Beat Goes On...

My son is a 28 year old addict. He was first an alcoholic. Now he longer drinks, but he has become a drug addict. He is now addicted to meth. I am at my wits end with his behavior. He has 2 duis, numerous charges of driving without a license, driving on a revoked license, etc. My mother and I recently helped him get his license reinstated. However, in order to drive legally, his car must have an interlock device for the first 6 months. It has only been 2 months and today I caught him driving. This has been going on for at least 10 years. I was actually stupid enough to think that he would wait to drive. He also recently lost his job due to a failed drug test. The reason he was even drug tested was because he spent 2 days in jail for driving on a revoked license.  I am so upset today that I just needed to share part of my story.



The Grandmother's Dilemma:

I am the mother of a 38 yr. old drug taking, mentally ill woman.  Seven years ago, after 10 years of heavy use of marijuana and other drugs she became psychotic and ended up in hospital. It was at that point I found out that she was a drug user, I also found out that she worked in a brothel to support the habit. Because I live in another state and she was so uncommunicative with me, my family and I had no idea about her lifestyle. I immediately flew to her and enlisted family members to help her, even as far as getting her stepfather to buy a unit for her to live in [ at reduced rent], making her car payments ,and paying her traffic fines etc. I thought that by providing a nice place to live she would feel better about herself and change her life. How naive! During a psychotic episode she set fire to the place and gutted the building. She has been in and out of hospital and met a young man during one of her stays in the psychiatric ward. That was 3 yrs. ago and they now have a 2yr. old child. They are both diagnosed as schizophrenic and both still take drugs. Fortunately they live with the the young man's mother but she goes to work and the child is with them during the day. Nothing is getting any better and I am so worried about the child, what can I do? Does anyone have any suggestions, I don't want to have the child taken from them , but am so concerned for her welfare. 



Addiction: an illness


My brother has been an addict on and off for about 10 years. It is hard to deal with a problem you think has gone away but keeps coming back. I fear for him and his future. It's an illness nobody wants to understand or tolerate. If it was cancer people would understand and be supportive. 

However, most importantly my love for my brother is unconditional and I will remain by his side forever.




The Mother's Dilemma

I am a wife and a mother of 3 young adults. One of them is a heroin addict. His name is B. and he is one month from his 28th birthday. There have been drug issues for about 14 years. I am having a really hard time trying to sort out what is going on now.

Back in the fall I was able to get my son civilly committed to a 30 day treatment center. He seemed to do okay but he was institutionalized and had no access to drugs. From there he went to a transitional holding center for further treatment and placement to a halfway house. He was so positive and was there about 3 weeks. Then as usual, temptation struck, someone brought in drugs and he used and got kicked out with 3 others that night. I had him go to an ER and to try to get into detox, he did, but was released in 3 days. He went to my mom's house, entered into a day treatment program and this was all so I could work on my husband to give him one more chance to come and live at home with us. B. finished treatment while at my moms. There were a couple of occasions that I suspected he was using, as did my mom. But I looked the other way thinking I will get him here at home with me and I'll work with him and watch him closely. He moved in with us against my husbands wishes. I just said he's coming. He was quiet, compliant, spent a lot of time on the computer, did find a decent job and was working really hard for about 3 weeks.

He was in contact with a girl (the one I suspected he may have done drugs with while at my mom's house even though he said "no not her she is in recovery is trying to get custody of her 2 year old and she wouldn't do that." It was his other friend Sean). I have a second job that takes me to another state a couple of days a month. So my husband and I went to MA and that girl took a bus up to our house. She brought some heroin. B. said he struggled with whether to use or not but then he did it anyways. I spoke on the phone with him that night and I could tell he was high. He denied it and I began to doubt myself as usual. Well the next evening I was a work and I got a call from B. who has had his license revoked and he had been arrested about 2 hours from home for driving without a license and driving under the influence of drugs. Apparently he had been reported to the state police by a few concerned motorists who observed him driving erratically down the highway. When I got to the police station he was so messed up, and had fresh track marks on his left arm and looked as though he had been beat up. I couldn't bail him out, my husband wouldn't let me.

So now he is in jail for the next three weeks, has lost the job he was doing so well at and I feel so guilty I can barely live with myself. My husband said he blew his chance and he is done with him. I think that the road to recovery is tough and there will be occasional slip ups. Am I being foolish? Of course B. is on the phone with me daily telling me how sorry he is and how can I turn him away now when he needs me the most and wants sobriety so bad. I am so torn. He makes statements like "Mom if you don't let me live with you then I am just going to go on a run, or maybe I will slit my wrist in the shower."  I know he feels desperate. I just want to drop off, go away and let them all fend for themselves. I want him to look into long term treatment he says he just needs to come home, work and go to meetings. I really think he has the best of intentions, but the moment the opportunity arises, unless I babysit him 24 hours a day he will succumb once again.




Re: The Mother's Dilemma

At 28, your son is a fully-grown adult.  He must be allowed to take responsibility for his own life, including dealing with the consequences of his own actions.

As parents, if we shield and protect our adult children from the realities of the world, we rob them of the opportunity to become fully functioning individuals.  As loving parents, our job is to protect our children when they are young and teach them the basics, but then we must step back and let them get on with learning the lessons that are relevant to them, and which only they can learn for themselves.  Addicts use their addictive behaviour to avoid confronting the problems in their lives, so sabotaging their opportunities for learning.  Anything we do to enable this avoidance makes their situation worse in the long term.  When we do this out of our own feelings of pain and guilt, we are really doing it to make ourselves feel better (and it doesn't work!).  We must "Detach with Love", and "Let go, let God".   Some addicts do not survive, but they have a far better chance if they can stand on their own two feet.  We cannot do it for them.

At the same time, you need to look after yourself.  You, and only you, are responsible for your own life and happiness.   A couple I know "cared" for their addicted son until he died of an overdose in his mid 50s.  They are now elderly, frail, penniless, broken-hearted, and filled with regrets for the life they never got to live.

Please find a Nar-Anon meeting to attend as soon as you can.  There you will find the support and help you will need to deal with this situation.




A Day At A Time:


I live in a city of Mexico.  In our family we have to accept that we have our young brother with drug addiction for sure.  I don't know to which ones or how he interacts with the drugs, the only thing that I care about is that he is my brother.  We started to attend a group of NARANON here in our city,  and after 3 months had passed, my mother decided, or should I better say, she found the courage, to do something to help him 'cause she was trying to think that everything was fine (until we started to put pressure on her back and she decided to attend  the group). Now for the past four years we keep attending our meeting and my brother is still with his program for his future and ours.

Today we gladly can say this happiness is for just for today.  Tomorrow only our superior power may know.
And I will tell you what we always say at the end of our meeting: "Keep coming - it works!!"



Let Go, Let God:

All I know is that this SUCKS. I’m heartbroken and can’t help but blame my self. I picked him. I knew something was wrong with my husband from the beginning, but I thought my love would heal him. I still married him. I still allowed my children to fall in love with him and then I got pregnant. 

Now after 3 years of craziness, I asked him to leave. I found out he was using meth about 9 months ago. But I had no idea how often. I believed his lies. He told me he only used maybe once per month. It was more like a 2 day binge every week. He blamed all of our problems over the last 3 years on me. It turns out he was using meth years before he meet me and never stopped. I could tell endless horror stories of what I experienced because of his drug use. 

I asked him to stopped and tried to get him to commit to a recovery program. Finally, he said my ultimatum would only cause him to hate me. He never even tried he just lied even more and cause more damage to our family.

Yesterday, I had my ultrasound and saw our baby for the first time. We are having a boy. My husband was not there. But my two little boys ages 7 and 9 were. I know I can not control what my husband does. I can not control his addiction. I know that it is my God given responsibility to take care of my children. I will provide the best home I can.

I hope the Lord will forgive me for making such a bad choice in a husband and for letting my children experience the life of an addict. I am so sorry. Pray for me.



Think, think, think!

Sobriety brings new challenges.

My ex husband is no longer using, he has kicked the physical habit and cannot have our children overnight if he even smokes pot. I have to let go and let God on the nights he has them, I have to trust the children will refuse to go if he forgets things and is late for everything, like he used to be when he was always stoned. 

In removing myself physically from the marriage, I have found myself again, regained my health, retrained, got a new job and control of my finances. I used the slogan THINK THINK THINK to plan my way out of the financial and physical mess of my marriage, before I just used to REACT REACT REACT and wear myself out with arguments I couldn't win.

I am still angry some days that I can't have my children with me all the time, why should he have the privilege after the way he behaved when they were babies?

Thank God for the programme and for the honesty of the other members. The worst thing of all is to be alone with these problems.




Let go, Let God!


I am the mother of a 27 year old son who recently moved back in because of financial difficulties.
It has been 8 months and his behavior has not changed. He graduated from college with a degree in computer science so he is in no way a dumb person. His addiction is prescription pills. He has been on suboxone for a year and has not taken vicodin, but continues to look for xanax. He is on several pych meds due to bipolar, depression including klonopin prescribed a doctor. He does have a full-time job and goes everyday. I just feel that he really doesn't care about anything like his future, his health. It is very depressing for my husband and me to watch such a young person waste his life. He doesn't make a lot of money in this job but we think it is time for him to move on.

Of course I do nothing but worry about him. I will be going to my first naranon meeting wed night. I know this will help because my husband is a recovering compulsive gambler of 16 years and we attended many GA and gamanon meetings. Just need some support.





My sponsor suggest I try Naranon after writing out my step 1.  I'm 19 years clean in NA, and after seeing a therapist today, I know that to find my sanity and health I need something different and that is Naranon.  I don't think there is a Naranon fellowship in NZ.  I'll have a look into it, meanwhile, this site is helpful.

(There are meetings in Christchurch and Lower Hutt - maybe you can get to one of these.  See the Meetings page on this web for details.  Congratulations on your 19 years clean! -Dave) 



Live and Let Live

My son is 28 and last year he moved in with a 42 year old. They both use and grow drugs. She has 4 children and they just had a baby. He seems to be very very happy.

I'm the one with the problem.  I can't accept that my daughter-in-law (they're getting married in Feb) is who she is.
Its not the Walton story of first grandchild. I'm acting as if, and keeping on staying in the day, cos my disease has me way into the future yelling NO.
Acceptance. I'm beating myself up for how I feel.  I'm not jumping with joy.  I've pulled back and am not going around to see the baby.  I wasn't allowed to hold her, others were, and that's stayed like a resentment sad dagger in my heart that I want to drop.  I am holding the baby in my heart. 

God help me, I don't get what I want, and if she was a newcomer I would have love and empathy, and boundaries, and probably wouldn't invite her around to my home till she got a few months up. This woman and her four undisciplined kids are now my family. Aaaaaaaaah!

God help me find acceptance, drop the obsessional thinking, and give love.  I'm loving myself and going for a trip to the snow tomorrow and having a blanket ban on talking about them.





Message from a Recovered Parent...

Hi... This is the first time I've visited the site. How wonderful that people are willing to share their stories. I'd like to share too. I'm the mother of a 33 year old beautiful and loving man. He has just passed his second clean birthday. NA is a majorly huge part of his life and I have no doubt that finding NA and Letting Go and Letting God has contributed to him being able to turn his life around. I've learned so much from him. There were times when I doubted that he would survive. There were times, too, when he came close to dying. Three overdoses that I know of. In the early days, it felt like 23.5 hours of every one of my days was taken up with trying to "help" him.  Little did I know at the time that all I was doing was helping to make him sicker. I look at some of the stories here and I feel such sadness for the familles of our addicts. NarAnon is not available in my area but had it been, I am certain that I would have recovered much quicker and, consequently, the enabling that I was providing to my son would have ceased sooner and allowed him to firstly find his feet and then stand up tall on them. 

I think back to the early days of his addiction and, of course, hindsight is such a wonderful thing. For a while now I've been thinking that I would like to help other parents and family members. Because there is no NarAnon in our area (Canberra ACT) I'm providing my email address for anyone who would like to contact me for a chat. Sometimes an ear can be just the thing.

When the addict is someone you love so much, sometimes we act out of fear. We cannot bear to think of them hungry. We cannot bear to think they are cold and homeless. We cannot bear to think of them sick and in despair. Sometimes, all of that really overwhelms us and we take the easy way out. We give and we give and we give till we are spent. And, of course, it doesn't help. The question for me in the early days was this: How do I NOT give and still sleep at night? A hard one huh? Let me tell you - it's too big for us. It's much bigger than we can even imagine. We don't have a solution. Money isn't the answer, shelter isn't the answer. Lying for them isn't either. They have their own answer. It needs to come from their heart and soul.

To the families and friends of your very much loved addict, I send my prayers. 

Vicki (




I need help.  I met and fell in love with a man 17 years ago. We were best friends and fell in love. We had an amazing relationship then out of nowhere his drug addicted girlfriend wanted him back and off he went. It broke my heart and I started finding out he was also going down the heroin path. 

He came back into my life on and off for a year. He never seemed to be able to stay away from me, I was the normal girl he loved but he couldn't deal with those feelings, so as soon as he got to close to me, off he went.  I made a choice to run away after this had been going on, I gave him an ultimatum and he couldn't make a choice so I ran as fast as I could.  Broke my heart, but I did it.

I rushed into another relationship with someone reliable and normal lol.  Never got over him but did try, my marriage was okay, but my ex came back 7 years later and was in a halfway house.  He told me he loved me and wanted to marry me and I of course said no. Cried and cried for the unfairness of it all. Went on and always thought about him, then this year he found me on the internet.  We started talking all the time and I realized I was still in love with him, my marriage was over, I had been trying to leave, but didn't have the guts.  So I eventually did, and my ex and I started a relationship.

I understood he wasn't using anymore, and we fell completely in love. But the rollercoaster started again, he was using again and becoming more unreliable. We spent time together, he begged me to marry him over and over again, not leave him, then turned around and left me.  He  didn't talk to me for weeks, and out of the blue a couple of days after he confessed his love for me and said he was so sorry for hurting me, he was with a drug addict girl from the streets without a word to me. I found out by accident. Now I'm crushed and my self esteem is in the toilet.  My heart is shattered and I need help trying to find how to get past this.  Did he ever even love me, always seems like as soon as he gets close to me, feels anything real, he leaves and starts to use heavily.  Is this normal?  Can a drug addict ever really love you or is it all lies they tell you...I never gave him money.  He never asked me for anything, just liked being with me. So I'm confused...I need help.


(I suggest you scroll up this page to the stories headed:  "Devastated and heart-broken", and Re: "Devastated and heart-broken".  This might give you some good insights into what has been happening to you.  I urge you to start going to Nar-Anon meetings as soon as you can.  You badly need support and to understand why you keep letting this kind of stuff happen to deserve better! -Dave) .




I need help.

My 21 yr old son is in bed as I write this. He is an addict and I suffer continuous verbal abuse from him... he reminds me of the movie 'Chopper'. One minute he is screaming at me and swearing, the next he asks if I'd like a cup of coffee or glass of water. I threw him out last week and I had the locks changed ($500)... he broke into the house two days later with a brick through his window (another $245). I have called the police twice and I don't have the energy to keep doing this. He leaves with them, then returns an hour or so later. I allow him to shower and change and then find him on the lounge watching cricket as if nothing had happened. Last night he returned from a 24 hr trip to Sydney where he decided the emergency accommodation was too scary and he needed to come back home. 

I am going to my first Nar-Anon meeting tonight and I really hope they can help me. I don't have many tears left to cry.




From Anger and Resentment to Recovery and Service...

Little did I know that 17 years ago - where my journey would take me. At the group level - I stepped into my first meeting with resentment, anger and confusion - "Keep Coming Back" was often said and though I wasn't listening very well - I continued to come back. The sharings from those members were the lifelong gifts and tools of Nar-Anon that I now use in every aspect of my life then and today. As suggested in the Nar-Anon meetings - I found a sponsor who would help me during those times when there wasn't a meeting and help me work on myself. I became of service at the group, area and region level - I volunteered at the Nar-Anon World Service Office - where I was introduced to the co-founder of Nar-Anon. Through that time - I was actively raising 2 children and all that entails (school, sports, etc) - along with the addict in recovery. Volunteering at the office was my way of doing my 12th Step - at least that was my first reason. While at the office - I saw a Fellowship struggling with growth and the inability to handle it. The staff and I did everything that we could within the boundaries. My love for the program and what it provided for so many - I became more actively involved with the cofounder to try and help.
As the co-founder's health deteriorated - I was asked by the Board of Trustees to step in and help with the day to day office needs and when she passed away - I was then asked to be the Executive Director of Nar-Anon World Service Office. Again - this was not something I had thought about or considered - I was being of service to Nar-Anon - which had given me so much. 
The road to "Moving Forward" (the WS Conference Theme) has been a learning experience and as technology enables many of us to keep in contact via the internet - this is my wish for the Nar-Anon groups in Australia. It has been too long and every attempt to bridge and communicate with the members - I am hoping this story will provide you with how things are changing. We do have an active worldwide board of trustees - along with World Service Committees - Literature, Policy/Guidelines, Website, and PI/HI Outreach - anyone interested can join. We need our members help - especially as our new daily reader was possible because members submitted their sharings/stories - we are continuing to accept submissions because we are working on new Nar-Anon literature. This is inclusive of all Nar-Anon members - there are no exclusions - we qualify when we are affected by someone else's drug addiction.
So in my continuing journey - I am looking forward to Nar-Anon's growth. It is my hope that the vision of Nar-Anon of Australia will be to reconnect and become an active worldwide fellowship along with the other Nar-Anon groups. 

I realize - there are devastating fires burning - please know our thoughts and prayers are with those affected.

In Loving Service, Cathy K. - WSO



So Naive

Two weeks ago, life as I knew it stopped. My 15 year old son was arrested for trying to sell drugs as school. I am a single parent and take care of my 83 year old mother who has dimentia. I was naive about what was happening with my son. His anger and hostility I wrote off as anger for his being discarded by his Dad 3 years ago when the "new family" began. My eyes have been opened to a new world filled with words I never knew and ways of deception I could not imagine. My son is now at an in-patient treatment facility on a voluntary basis (his idea after seeing a drug counselor) he has been there one week and will be there at least 60 days. I want other parents to know the unique ways that I have discovered that kids use to hide their drugs in plain sight. My son was hiding pills in chewing gum boxes. Gums like Stride and Orbit are packaged in reclosable small boxes that are perfect for stashing drugs in and parents and teachers would never suspect anything about a kid having gum. Little tin boxes that breath mints come in were also used. Another hiding place was in deodorant containers. He used the solid type of deodorant and would put pills under the actual deodorant then place another chunk of deodorant on top of it. DVD cases are also great hiding places that you would never think of. He even used his protective cover for his iPod to keep small pills like Oxycontin in and joints.

My son had never been in trouble at school and if he had not been caught, I probably would not have known what he was doing until it was too late. I considered myself a very hands-on observant parent, knowing his friends and their parents, going to every school event, sacrificing to send him to a good Catholic school, attending teacher conference, sports activities, checking his phone texts and internet use. But I never saw what was right in front of me everyday. I know he made the choice to use drugs to either escape pain or to just not deal with life's everyday events. As a parent, you always want to protect your child from all the evils of the world but you can't protect them from themselves. What you can do is become more observant to everything and educate yourself by asking the hard questions. I do feel so utterly alone, though I know in every town there are parents that are feeling the same pain and disappointment, betrayal and grief that I am. Please be aware of every thing your child does, even if you think it seems crazy to check the gum box in their book bag, or anything else they have with them every day, do it!! A little invasion of privacy is easier to handle than a call from the police or worse, only having a grave to talk to.

I do have faith that my son will recover and be healthy in body, mind and spirit. This will be a long hard journey and I pray that anyone reading this will realize that they are not alone, they are not a horrible person, they do not deserve this pain and they have a right to make mistakes and to start over as many times as they need to. A very wise priest once told me that I was being very arrogant to think that I could make someone change because that was something God couldn't even do, all I could do was to change how I let their actions or lack of actions affect me. I have never forgotten that and no truer words were ever spoken.



A Grandmother's Pain

My name is Cathy. My addict is my 33 year old daughter, S.  She is also the Mother of 2 of my grandchildren ages 10 and 4.

Our story began about 6 years ago. I was shocked when I learned that my daughter was an addict. I knew it was a strain on my girls being raised in a single parent home but I felt I did a good job. I learned that my daughter has been smoking "pot" at age 10. The surprise for me was that she received her first 10 speed bike and had it taken away from her for 3 weeks because she rode it in the street without permission!!!! Imagine how I felt when I learned that riding a bike in a street was minor worries compared to what she was doing! I felt I was in tune to my girls.. knowing what was going on in their lives, and I thought we were so close!

The last 6 years have been such a roller coaster ride. I joined Nar-Anon 2 1/2 years ago and learned that I had nothing to do with my daughter and her addiction.. I did not cause it.. I cannot fix it. I still think that I need to find a way! It is my motherly instinct! She has gone 1 and 1/2 years clean.. and of course, during that time she built up my trust she went!  Well, it has been six months clean this time and she just got back this morning from a 28 hour binge! I am thankful that my 10 year old grandchild will call me when she can't find her Mom. (My daughter always goes when the kids are at their Dad's or a friends or with me.. never left alone... THANK GOD!)

The NA meetings do not work for her as she says they talk about drugs and it makes her want to use. She has been to rehab twice and well, it works for a little while. I would love to just hand this whole mess into my daughter's higher power and let God take care of her but there are 2 children to care for.. their Dads are not much of a better situation for them.

My daughter says she has more of a mental problem than a drug problem.. and I can see that it is an accurate presumption. She can go for help but they put her on drugs that make her sleep and that is not good for her or the children. She says she wants to stop but yet she has an excuse for all avenues of help. Today she took two vials of liquid morphine.. to make her sleep... I am worried sick.. how long did she want to sleep? FOREVER? I won't give up on her... although she seems to have done so. But then... she knows how to act and what to say... right? I know our lives will never be "normal" again... I soak up every second of the days that are good... And those are only as good as the fear, anguish and worry that stays in the back of my mind will let me enjoy.

Nar-Anon is such a comfort... It is the ONLY place I can go that people really understand what I am going through... they don't ask me questions about why, what if, why doesn't she... I CAN'T ANSWER THOSE QUESTIONS... WHY ASK THEM? My husband is my daughter's step father.. He has never understood her behavior. He thinks she can just say "I QUIT" and do it! He feels she makes a decision to do drugs and she can control it. He says it is not an illness but a choice. What a roller coaster ride this is... I want off but there is no stopping it. But for an hour and a half a week I can be ME...ME... ME and not put on a happy face when I want to cry... I can tell my story, my feelings and what is "REALLY" going on with me and no one judges me!!!!



A Story of Strength, Hope and Courage...

When i was 18 months old my mother left me with my aunty and uncle because of her addiction.  Then i only saw my mum on and off but i never really understood why i was left with these people that were almost exactly the same as my mother. As months went by i would only see my mum on and off, and when i started going to school and people from my class would say my mum did this for me, my dad did this for me, i would be sitting in the corner and wishing that my parents were in my life.  Also my brother was in foster care.

Anyway, then at the age of 7,  i found out that my father wasn't visiting me because he had been in jail for the past 6 years of my life.  So i would go and visit him once every 2 months and then from the miracle of GOD he was allowed out but on probation.  Me and that family couldn't wait, but then because he was so skinny because of the drug use, and then the dramatic change of him going into jail and putting on weight and eating properly, he suddenly died of an asthma attack on July 3rd 2000 at 11.00 am.  I felt that i had no one for my mum was still out into addiction and the family that i was living with weren't that supporting for they were grieving as well.

A few years later we had moved, and i had heard that mum was going to a program called Narcotics Anonymous, but just didn't know what it was all about.  When i did find out i didn't trust mum because of all the things that she promised me and didn't happen. When the family that i was living with started violently abusing me i said that i wasn't  to live there and i moved in with my mother. At that stage she was 3 years clean and was in the process of seeing my brother on and off.  But then we got a phone call saying that we had to go and pick him for he was at a petrol station.

We went to pick him up (we hadn't seen him for 6 months) he was messed up and off his face and at that time i knew what addiction meant etc. At that stage me and my mother only thought that he was just trying out the drugs but as weeks went on it would get worse.  A couple of months later with all of the pain in those months, me and mum came to an agreement that he couldn't live with us.  It was having an impact in my mum's recovery and a lot of things for me, so he said that he was going to go to rehab. He was in the rehab for 9 months and left.  He was on the streets for a year and then we heard that he was in our suburb.  One day we saw him and said hi how u going and you could see that he was in addiction at the worst, we said that he could come over for dinner when he was 2 days clean.  That never happened.  One day i was shopping and come across his friend and he said that Z had been locked up and that he was going to court the next day so we went along.  He went to jail for 6 weeks and in that time we would visit.  Anyway, then he got out for drug court and he was bailed to our address and to our horror he was still using and threatening and being very verbally abusive and things were going missing, so my mother did the hardest thing that a mother could do and put him back in jail. 1 week later he was back in a rehab.  Just 1 week ago i visited him in rehab and i was soo proud and soo happy.. my mum is now 6 years and 4 months clean and life is looking pretty good right now :-) 

Samantha M



First Things First...

My husband is a meth, alcohol addict with undiagnosed mental illness (possible schizophrenic?).

We separated and soon after I received a call from him saying he's been kidnapped! He claims his mother, who never approved of our marriage, left him in Mexico, so we would each move on with our lives. This was left on my voice mail. I did not get to speak to him. I called his mom, she speaks almost no English, to see what was going on. She is extremely controlling and pushy. She says she took him to rehab there because it's cheaper.  We live in central ca. She also said he can't receive mail, phone calls or visits without her there since she is paying for his treatment. I explained that he needs psych meds or legitimate psychiatric treatment. She insist that he only has schizo-symptoms due to drugs and alcohol. I agree this intensifies his symptoms but Mexico doesn't seem like a good place for him to receive proper care, if that's even where he is. She said she would let me go with her on her next visit but she never called and doesn't return my calls. I haven't heard from him. I pray he's just really into treatment. 

I love him, but he really impacted the relationships I have with my kids, family and friends. I miss him, but I believe my children and I are better without him. I am concerned for him. His mother might think she knows what's best (like I think I do too) but she's in denial about his mental illness and isolating him from everyone doesn't help. He's been in so-called rehab since 12/31/2008, according to his mother. Should I contact police to confirm his whereabouts? The voicemail he left is still saved. I can't deal with his mother.  I'm fed up with her games.



(In my personal experience, heavy, chronic use of drugs and alcohol can cause schizophrenia or schizophrenia-like symptoms, and can exacerbate existing illness.  However, when the user is still actively drugging and drinking it is often impossible to make a definite diagnosis.  It sounds like your husband has never had a positive diagnosis of schizophrenia, so I think you should be cautious about assuming that this is what he has.  A drug rehab may actually be the right place for him.  By the way, a stay of many months, even up to a year, is common for drug rehabs.  It is also common for patients not to be allowed to communicate with the outside world in the initial stages of treatment.

I know very little of the legal situation in ca, but it seems reasonable that as his wife you should have the right to at least know that your husband is safe, particularly in light of the fact that he claims to have been kidnapped.  I certainly agree you should contact the police, explain the situation and ask their advice.

If you are not already going to Nar-Anon meetings, I urge you to start as soon as possible.  In your situation you badly need the support of others you can talk to and who understand what you are going through.  You can find the meetings list for California at: 

Best wishes,



Courage to Change...

Hi. I am in love with a manipulator and I myself wanted to help him but found myself going down the same road as him. He smokes and deals with weed, especially. I have told him to get a job and get us a place to stay but he is happy and content living at home mooching off of his parents. He says he loves me but though in a way I believe him I also believe he will miss the money, sex and free meals I gave him. I am married to another man who is good to me who himself says he was into drugs when he was younger. This gives me the hope that the young man who I love may still have a chance. But though I know I cannot help him I still have the feeling deep inside that he will stop someday come to his senses and come get me. His brother and family except his father have decided to let him on his own and his mother and brothers are moving out. The father does sometimes smoke the stuff too because of illness that they claim makes them feel better when they smoke. I am trying to stay away. God I need help cause I just want to see him! He is 21 now. Do you think he can change? I do, but how? I need help!


It sounds like you have fallen into the classic trap of an addict, and have become one of his enablers*.  Will he change?  He might, if and when he decides that life as an addict has become too unpleasant, and that he wants better for himself. The best way you (and his parents) can help him is to stop enabling him and give him the opportunity to take responsibility for his own life.  As I think you realize, you can't help or change him by "loving him back to happiness".  You will only get your heart broken and destroy your marriage.

BTW, the fact that your husband was into drugs when he was younger is a very different thing from being an addict.  Many people use, or have used drugs or alcohol at various times in their lives, but do not become dependent or addicted... they can take it or leave it.  Addicts use drugs compulsively (cannot stop when they want to) and drugs, and drug-related issues, progressively come to dominate their lives.

The common end results of addiction are skid row, jail, mental institutions or death, unless the addict seriously decides to change.  The most successful way for addicts to change is for them to join Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and conscientiously follow the Narcotics Anonymous program.

To deal with your pain, I urge you to start attending Nar-Anon meetings as soon as possible, and be prepared to work the Nar-Anon program.  Visit for a world-wide listing of Nar-Anon meetings.  

* For more information about enablers and the relationship between the addict and the enabler, scroll up to "Devastated and Heartbroken" and "Re: Devastated and Heartbroken" near the top of this page, and also read the next story. 

- Best wishes, Dave



The Opening of the Eyes...

Hi, my husband is a recovering addict. He has recently been released from prison and is now attending AA meetings everyday. He is really trying to get back on the right track. I have known him for 15 years...and married him two years ago. We have a 12 month old. I live with his depression and struggle everyday and it is so hard not to want for things to be for once about US, ME.

I know over the years I enabled him. I have had many sleepless nights in the past, thinking he had overdosed somewhere and stressed out of my mind. He cheated on me when I was 5 months pregnant to some other addict he met in a rehab facility. He was missing for four days and I believed he was dead. I actually thought as though I felt his spirit...he finally rang me and was in one of the worst states I have ever seen. I have always felt as though I was like a mother to him or mothering him. My choice and fault I know. Always ensuring he has food, transporting him places and making sure he follows up with all of his day to day tasks. I try not to enable him like I have in the past instead just trying to offer support.

I feel as though I don't get anything back from this relationship. I don't know myself anymore. I forgot what used to make me happy before I became re-involved him around five years ago. My life has been chaotic. Sometimes I just want to go away somewhere. I don't know what makes me happy. Seeing him happy is what makes me happy and that is pathetic I know. I know I need to concentrate on my own needs and get on with things. I have thought about ending our relationship many times but I continue to have faith that things will work out.

I am scared that things will not work out and all of my energy into trying to be supportive of his recovery will go down the drain. I try to be positive but I live in fear that he will relapse one day. I feel as though he doesn't seem happy with me. I guess that is because I have lived with the fact that he has always put drugs first. I have never felt important to him. I keep asking him if he is ok and if this is what he wants...I know he would leave if he didn't want to be here but I just don't know. I am thinking of coming to a meeting so I can understand myself better.



Please do so as soon as possible!  Experience shows that the best outcomes for family members and the addict are achieved when the family members are attending Nar-Anon meetings while the addict is attending NA (or AA in this case).  This is because both are following essentially the same (12-Step) program.  Each of you will get a good understanding of, and sympathy with, where the other is heading, and will be doing similar exercises.  (BTW, Al-Anon, the first of the "partner's programs", and one of the forerunners of Nar-Anon, started when the partners of AA members discovered that  their partners' program, with some minor adaptations, seemed to work for them as well. )

- Best wishes, Dave



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