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Stories - page 2

Living With a Recovering Addict

Hey, its hard!! i am a recovering addict myself at 21 months and live with one whose 3 and a half years clean. the honeymoon lasted for a while but its OVER now!! we've been together for 10 months and its very hectic and i feel like im walkin around on eggshells all the time so as not to upset him. its really difficult as he's gotta lotta shit he's not dealing with and he flicks it onto me. Due to that all the insecurities and fears for them come up and im just trying to deal with my stuff. ITS SOO HARD somedays!!!!!!!!!! one day its wonderful the next it could be miserable, i dont want it to be the end of the road but im so confused and indecisive right now. When either partner isn't dealing with their stuff, just from my experience its extremely hard, nearly impossible to live with another recovering addict but we love them!!! what a dilemma and im constantly worried and stressing about what he's thinking about and doing in terms of our relationship right now cos he's not a big communicator so any feedback would be appreciated. YOU ARE NOT ALONE




A Mother's Question

I am the mother of two addicts. Both are middle aged and females. The most recent activity nearly has done me in. My oldest daughter and her boyfriend are doing something that has taken them to new extremes. They are hallucinating and experiencing paranoia. This is a new experience for me.
I have expressed my health concerns to my daughter, but have not told her I know what's going on.

My question is, should I let her know that Im aware of the drug use or should I keep it to myself? Or, does it even matter? I have avoided close or daily contact with her since this began a couple weeks ago. 

I am familiar with 12steps from years ago dealing with my youngest daughters addiction. However, this hallucinating is totally new. It hurts me to see her so fearful and so confident that what she sees and believes is reality. Im not sure how to handle this new experience.. or is there anything here for me to handle?

(Apparently your daughter has started using substances that are causing some symptoms of mental illness.  These may or may not be permanent.  However, as she is middle aged, she is definitely responsible for herself and for her own life, and beyond your control.  I suggest you tell her of your genuine concerns about her activities and her mental health, and then concentrate on taking care of yourself.  I hope you will stand ready to offer practical help to your daughter if required at some stage, but you must not try to control her.  I encourage you to go back to Nar-Anon as soon as possible for support for yourself. 
- Dave).



Thinking about attending Nar-anon

I am 25 and trying to help my 19yr old cousin with her recovery off heroin. She hasn't used Heroin in 17 days and hasn't used any other substance in 10 or so days. she just came to stay with me and my husband because she said she wanted help getting clean. She detoxed at my house which was very hard. Now I found and intensive outpatient program for her that she has attended for a week. She is supposed to go to at least 2 NA/AA meetings per week to fulfil the requirements of the program this is week one and she only went to one meeting She was supposed to go to the second one today after hanging out with a friend. I went to pick her up at the meeting and she texted me to tell me she left early. Honestly i don't believe she went. I have gone through a lot trying to help her in a short period of time. My house was broken in to by one of her friends and they got quite a bit of stuff because she was mad at me and told them where i lived. I got over it and put in an alarm system. But now i think she is wanting to "hang out" more than she wants to recover and be sober. She grew up a hard life and has pretty much had no rules or discipline since she was 13 and did whatever whenever she wants. That doesn't work for me because I already have a busy hectic life and cant have her doing whatever whenever and me worrying about her. My husband keeping telling me to be patient with her and don't give up on her. But I feel like I want her sobriety more than she does. I can't hold her hand and make her go to meetings. What good is that gonna do. She has to want to go on her own right? I just don't know how long I am supposed to baby her and "make" her go to meetings and the things that are required for her recovery. My husband is telling me not to give up on helping her because that's what everyone else has done all her life. I feel like I am not cut out for this. I expected it to be easier to help her That she would be asking me to take her to meetings. Instead its me telling her come on you really need to go to a meeting today. I would really like to hear back from anyone who has suggestions. And should I go to Nar-anon...would it help me in my situation?


(Your husband is right that you shouldn't give up on your cousin, BUT...!  Your cousin will only go into recovery if/when she is ready.  When she makes the decision to change there will be no stopping will need to endure her home detoxing, arrange rehab programs for her or remind her to go to her meetings.  BTW, most detox/rehab programs will not accept bookings from anyone other than the patient themselves, and then require the patient to make contact several times before accepting them.  This is to be sure that the patient is serious before tying up valuable resources pointlessly.

Much as you plainly want the best for your cousin, you can't make her change.  As I think you are finding already, your attempts to get her to recover at this stage will not succeed, and will probably result in you and your husband being manipulated and exploited.

Please start attending Nar-anon as soon as possible, and take your husband with you!  It will definitely help you both.

- Dave) 




Hi, my partner is a recovering addict and she is the love of my life. I have researched nar-anon and discovered there are no meetings in my area. I am desperate need for advice. Here is my story. My partner and I have had an on again off again relationship for almost 13 years. When our relationship first began she was using pot. I thought it was harmless and wanting to be with her I chose to do it as well. Later on I discovered she was doing more and I was not supportive of that. I told her I did not want that life and asked her to stop and she did. As time passed by I discovered she was doing it behind my back. After talking to her about it she said she would stop. This went on for about 3 years. I would get feelings she was using again and confront her about it and the same thing would happen she would say, " I will stop, and I will get help". Of course I did go about it the wrong way as to approaching her about it. I see that now. When it would get bad I would always tell her its the drugs or me. After 3 years I decided to leave the relationship. My biggest fear was waking up to her next to me dead with an overdose. So I ran. I would get involved in another relationship to fill the void of not having her. I could not be happy with anyone else because I was always thinking about her. After a year, we decided to give it another try. Then the same thing and after a while I ran again. It was always the same thing find someone to fill that void and it never worked. The last time I left we were apart for 6 yrs but kept in contact. She would tell me she was using and I did not know how to fix it. My heart hurt for so long because I could not "fix" her and believe me I tried or so I thought I was. She and I both were in another relationship for about 4 yrs. I tried to let go and move on but I could not get over her. We have both left our relationships and we started spending time with each other as friends. She has been clean for 6 months and I am very proud of her. We decided to give our relationship another shot and have been together for 3 months now. For the past month it went from great to having some tension. After a long talk she said she has not been to her meetings and has made excuses for herself not to go. She told me how important it is for her to get back to her meetings. I understand and am supportive of that. She said she has forgot about herself and her recovery. She has decided to do her 30 meetings in 30 days, and said she will see where we go from there. My biggest fear is losing her again. So, I guess my question is how can I help or what do I need to do? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

(I think you realize that your partner is not yet in recovery.  She may be "talking the talk", but she also has to "walk the walk".  You have to decide whether you are able to have a successful relationship with her on that basis.  It is very unfortunate that there is no Nar-anon meeting in your area, because this is very much the sort of thing that Nar-anon can help with.  A good alternative would be to find a counsellor - preferably someone with experience in the drug and alcohol area.

- Dave).





I have been an enabler for the past 25 years. My husband is a cocaine addict. He had been clean from cocaine for 5 years when I met him at church. For the first 5 years of our marriage all was well. Then the nightmare began. He is a periodic addict which means that he can go for longer periods of time between using. This makes it really difficult. I can't even begin to add up all the money spent on his drug, the tears shed (mine) and the promises broken (his). I am a psychotherapist with a specialty in addictions and you would think I would be able to deal with this better. When you are close to the flame sometimes you don't realize how badly you are getting burned. There was high drama when he was arrested in 2002. He got off with probation. Of course he continued to use. He has been through 2 and half Rehab programs and lots of AA/CA/NA meetings over the past 30 years of his addiction career. Last summer my retirement savings went up his nose. Then 3 days after Christmas he used again, knowing that this time he was walking on thin ice. I turned 60 last summer and am done with this. The pain and betrayal have become more than I can bear anymore. Yes, I still love him but my loving him is destroying both of us. I have made a decision to leave. I have a great job and a safe place to go. He, on the other hand, has his business, with a bank account in the red, owes money to various people but does have folks in the program (he is going to meetings) who can give him a place to lay his head. No more soft landings for him. It is time he takes responsibility for what he has done. He is 59 and just too old for this nonsense but the disease has no age limits. There are way more details to my story but it would take volumes to fill as I am sure it does with others. I have found a meeting in the area I am moving into and will attend. By the way, my brother is an addict/alcoholic...his behavior was disgraceful when my mom was dying and he was calling his dealer from her hospital room...but that is another story...sigh. I need to move on and live my life without so much unnecessary pain. I hope to do that. I haven't told him I am leaving yet but intend to do so in the next few days. I must say that I am experiencing a lot of tension over this but I keep reminding myself that he loves his drug over me and has consistently made choices that he knew would hurt me and then lied to me about it. That is NOT love. The support and prayers of my friends and looking at the reality of my situation is keeping me on track. I am also journaling my feelings and that helps a lot too. Anyway, I am glad to share and hope that it will also help others. There is a solution.

Blessings to all,




Let go, Let God

My brother has been addicted to drugs for about 12 years (I think). I have watched this man go deeper and deeper into despair. I realise that as a family we have "enabled" he drug use by our support systems, because we love him and want him back. Now I know that he has to be the one who wants to change. He has always been employed allowing his drug habit to be "OK" and "manageable", the continuous working for nothing, didn't seem to comprehend to him. Anyway yesterday his lost his job and I have seen him tonight, and the look of hopeless desperation was so painful to see. But like an addict his main concern was about the money his company would have to pay (it will be very little due to him not having sickies, or holidays left). I think I know that the journey he is about to take will be the toughest yet, and I am terrified he won't survive. If something happens to him I don't think my mother will forgive herself.




A Refuge of Sanity

I am married to an alcoholic addict and feel so sad at what this disease has done to my life, his life and our children's lives!

When I first met my husband I had no idea that he was an alcoholic, let alone a drug addict as he was in the military and presented as a typical 'Marine' who liked to drink but that was normal right?? Well, how wrong was I - after getting married in the US and then him migrating to Australia to be with me, we bought a house and settled down. My first inkling that something was not quite right was when I was 5 weeks pregnant with my first son and my husband didn't come home from work that night. Instead, I found him the next morning doing the commando crawl up our driveway and ranting and raving about his experiences in Somalia. I now realise that he was experiencing a drug-induced psychosis but after calling an ambulance and taking him to hospital, I naively thought he had taken too many hayfever tablets combined with alcohol which had triggered a reaction ! I look back and laugh at this now but I was so naive back then. Since then, boy have I woken up!

For the last ten years, I have dealt with the fallout from this insidious disease - financially, emotionally, physically. Although he presents as 'normal' to the average person -I consider him to have been quite a 'functional' addict for the most part -including spending six years in the Australian Army - my life for the last 10 years has been a blur of 'benders' (whereby he disappears for 12 -24 hours), infidelities, lies, theft, fear, dashed hopes and dreams, instability, unreliability, sadness, failure and the list goes on...My husband has lost his licence for over 6 years due to drink driving related offences and he has been medically discharged from the Army. We have been forced to re-locate to the States, sell our home, disrupt our children's lives, take out numerous loans to pay out ongoing credit card debts, and the whole family has suffered immeasurably. What do you tell your 8 year old son (with a 2 year old screaming in the background), when he asks where Daddy is?? (and you don't know and have to lie and say Dad is at work tonight!) What do you do when you work in Law Enforcement (like I do) and you are married to an addict? (the same people you target as part of your job!!) How do you face work the next day when you have been up all night worried sick wondering if he is alive or dead as his phone is switched off while he is getting high on speed and coke??

Well, this is my life and all I can do is attend my Al-Anon meetings (there is only one Nar-Anon group in the city I now live in and it is miles away).. Al-Anon has given me some sanity in a world of madness and I am trying my hardest to hand things over to the 'higher power'... It is an ongoing battle and the sad thing is that this disease has made me somewhat 'mad' too and I always thought I was the sanest and most stable person around!! I sometimes think that this was my destiny as I have never had any spirituality or religion in my life, yet Al-Anon has opened up this door for me and there has to be a reason for that... This is what keeps me going!! For all those that are suffering, I wish you well and hope you can find some sanity among the madness... I really encourage giving Nar-Anon or Al-Anon meetings a chance and you may be surprised. This disease is bigger than all of us so you need to have some form of faith just to survive - this is what the fellowships can offer!

Thanks for taking the time to read my story...



The fallout from mental illness and drug abuse...

I am lost so bad right now. I am as low as a human can go. I love a man who is an on and off meth addict. He has been diagnosed bipolar and schizo but won't take his meds. We had 2 full great years then one day he just started again. His excuses are anything from "he knew I am a prostitute" to "he felt me pulling away". He believes that I am part of a sex club and I have had affairs with all his dealers. he thinks he has seen me in the shadows of course and KNOWS I am trying to make him CRAZY. He is so obsessed with this vision of sex perversion and how I used him he can't even try to see his drugs have torn us up. I fight so hard to try to prove to him I am not what he has seen. Why can't he see his intermittent drug use has ruined our family. 
What's wrong with me to continue to love him and be devoted to him. I try to be tough and not talk to him but I can't.
He has moved out of our home and now has to keep his residence secret because I follow him to work according to him.

Why is when a person gives up the drugs they can't distinguish what is reality? He has been straight for at least four months and is back to the same good guy to everyone but me. I continue to get the wrath of his pain daily. I can't understand why someone would chose to believe such insanity????


The kind of paranoid and persecutory thoughts and hallucinations you describe are very typical of psychotic illnesses like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.  Stimulants like methedrine are notorious for aggravating these conditions, even for long after the sufferer has stopped using the drug.  These illnesses are often episodic, that is, they may lie dormant (in remission) for a time, then flare up (the sufferer "has an episode").  The trigger can be a stressful life event, a drug abuse binge, or just the passage of time, and the episodes can be years apart.

It sounds as though your man has a "dual diagnosis" (mental illness + drug abuse) and is very ill.  He cannot help his behaviour and is not rational, but equally, you need to protect yourself from the emotional impact of it on yourself.  You are well out of your depth in dealing with this (anyone who is not a mental health professional and is emotionally involved would be), and you badly need to get support for yourself.  I urge you to find a Nar-Anon meeting as soon as you can, and also find a counsellor for yourself, preferably someone in the major mental health field.  I'm not sure what the situation is where you are, but here in Australia, we have a network of community health centres which employ counsellors who can help in this kind of situation for no cost.

Best wishes,



Live and Let Live

Hi, my name is Nick. I have recently just returned from a 3 month ordeal chasing an addict I fell in love with half way around the country side, and have returned very emotionally bruised and battered. I met them online and fell completely in love with their fantastic creative and inspiring side, for me it was the perfect match and beautifully complimented my artistic side. I met them for the first time several months ago and the first four days we spent together were amazing on every level. They were one of the most sensitive, exciting people I had met. For me, it was like I had finally found the partner in my life that I could settle down with. But, several days later it was time for them to leave back to there own state, and me being totally in love with them, decided to go too. This is when things began to go pear-shaped.

I arrived in their capital city, and went back with them to their house. Well, from this point on they turned into a completely different person. Their moods were up and down constantly, and were completely unable to show any connection with me. The affection disappeared, as did the emotional connection, and instead they became empty with a cold shell, almost unable to express anything. Over time this started to break my heart, and I became addicted to the addict. I began trying to please them in every way, assisting them to get into work, assisting them to get their art recognised, while at the same time looking for reasons and excuses for their behaviour to prevent me from walking away.

I knew this person had a history of substance abuse, but I refused to allow that to stop me trying. They had convinced me they had stopped it since they had met me, and during the time I spent with them, I am pretty sure they were clean as well since I was around them 24 hours a day. Despite this, there were many things that bothered me about what they said. A lot of the time I heard that they didn't want drama in their life, and every time I would bring up something in relation to their behaviour, they some how thought I was out to get them.

In the next chapter of this journey, I then proceeded to follow them across to another capital city hoping things would get better if they were away from home. This was not to be so, and they became more unstable and more distance from me than ever. So in response I began to do even more for them, which seemed to result in even more mood swings from them. By this point my addiction to them was out of control, to such a point a good friend came over to see me because they were so worried about my mental health.

Eventually the ordeal ended, and they returned to their own state leaving me in another without even a good bye or a parting word. We didn't part on bad terms, and I still very much love them still and want to support them towards recovery. It has been a week now since they left, and I have tried contacting them through email because I don't feel as if I could handle I phone call. At this point I am very confused and don't really know what me next move should be.


Hi Nick,
This does not really sound like the behaviour of an active drug addict.  It may be that this person only wanted to have a fling then go home.  Your needs and hopes were plainly different. Scott Peck's definition of love involves concern for the welfare of the other, not just the satisfaction of our own desires. We can only support another person towards recovery if that person is an addict, acknowledges the fact, wants recovery, and is taking the necessary steps to achieve it, and then, support often involves mainly leaving the person in peace to get on with it.  You need to be careful you don't get into an unhealthy, addictive pattern of behaviour.  A brother 12-step Fellowship to Nar-Anon is CoDA.  "CoDA is a fellowship of men and women whose common purpose is to develop healthy relationships".   I urge you to start attending CoDA as soon as possible - I believe you will find help and support there.  Please check out the CoDA website

Best wishes,


From the darkness into the light...

When I first walked through the doors of Naranon I was desperate, broken, and I needed help.  My father had died from the horrors of addiction, my mother is recovering and my brother is in Addiction.

My story starts when I was 18 months old.  My mum could not look after me because of her addiction, so I went and lived with my Uncle and Aunty who  were, and still are, addicted to alcohol and marijuana. As life went on I saw my mum randomly for a couple of years, then I wouldn't hear anything. My brother was living with her but he turned into a street kid and ended up going into Care. When I was 8 years old my father died from the horrors of addiction. A lot of stuff happened with that, tears as a child... I didn't know what was going on.

Then when I was 9 my mum had explained to me that she was doing another 12-step program and I was happy but I didn't know what this meant for me. She said that she wanted to get me back and start our relationship afresh. When I was 12 my auntie and uncle were having problems with me living there because there was another girl there my age and we were battling about everything all the time.

I am now :) I live with my mum, we have a beautiful relationship :) my brother is in jail :( and the addiction has its nails in him. I would not be able to live the life I did without Naranon.  It's giving me insight into how I can cope with my mum and my brother and also that I AM POWERLESS.  I would be nowhere without Naranon.


The 12th Step...

I am a grateful member of Nar-Anon. I came to Nar-Anon seeking a "quick fix" for the addicts in my life (there are two) and was praying that they would sell me the "How to Cure Your Addict" book at my first meeting. Instead, I met with a group of kindred spirits who offered me their support through sharing their experiences, strengths and hopes (ESH). Although I was disappointed to learn that there weren't any quick fixes, I was inspired by those who were there to welcome me and offer me a better way to live.

The addicts in my life have driven me to the brink of insanity and convinced me that I was never going to change them; no matter how hard I tried. Nar-Anon support provided me with the tools to accept my reality and to keep moving forward in my life. Getting myself a Sponsor and working the Steps, Traditions and Concepts has helped me understand the program better and has given me the insights to explore my own motives and reactionary behaviors. 

Because of those who stayed in the program and offered me their support, I, too, have chosen to be a part of the outreach that is provided around the world through our meetings, websites, literature, conventions and daily interactions. 

I hope you will join me in this quest to offer recovery and healing to those who are affected by a loved one's addiction.

Santa Cruz, California, USA



Welcome back!

I have just logged onto this website out of despair, frustration, anger and sadness. I was involved with Naranon 10 or more years ago. I had a son who was a heroin addict. I also had 2 other children living at home at the time but they were not drug users. Naranon helped me tremendously come to terms with the fact that I couldn't solve or stop my son's addiction. To cut a long story short, he has been diagnosed with schizophrenia bordering on bipolar and is now a forensic patient in a mental hospital. His younger brother is now an addict. My husband and I have been hoping that he would come to his senses and realize where he would be headed if he continues to use as his brother did. But alas this has not happened. I now realize that I am powerless over the disease of addiction and that I need as much help as the addict does. I used to go to the Kogarah meeting and after reading some of the stories today have decided to go back, so I will be attending a meeting tonight (Friday). As they say, 'thanks for listening' (or reading)!




"Love the person, hate the drug"


I don't really know where to start but here goes...My brother has been troubled since he was 16 years old. Marijuana, alcohol, gambling then Heroin. He is 37 years old now and still struggling with his addiction, it is not as bad as it has been in the past and he claims to be doing much better but when you have lived with an addict you can see straight through the lies, you don't let on that you can because that will only anger them but you know when they are high by the dilated pupils, the pitch of their voice and their mannerisms. 

Over the years many awful things have happened but some stick out more than the rest. I have had to scream to my parents to call an ambulance after hearing a funny noise coming from his room and then finding him curled up in a foetal position lying on his bedroom floor with blue lips and only taking a loud and struggling breath every few seconds. I have screamed at him in rage & cut him out of my life to shield myself from the pain. I have watched my mother cry over and over again. 

Most recent event was last Easter (2009), My parents went away (something they never did when it was just the 3 of them at home), my brother was not trusted to look after the house & pets. I reassured my parents that I would be able to cope with him as I wanted them to get away and have a nice break. My brother was okay on the first day but on the second he decided to get really high. I was at the movies with my cousin and he had rang my phone several times (it was on silent as you do at the movies), I called him back when we got out and he wanted me to get him some cigarettes on my way home and assured me he would give me the money when I got there. I got home and he handed $5 (Cigarettes were $12) he said he would have to go to the bank to withdraw the rest. After months of built up frustration with his lies I saw red and threw the cigarettes at him and then all this stuff just started coming out of my mouth, I told him it was like having a 13 year old brother (I was 31 and he was 36 at the time) and that he needs to grow up and I said many other things...I really should have known better than to get him angry when he was high as after some more yelling and screaming he came running at me with our microwave turntable. He stopped a few inches a way from my face, I have never been so scared in my life. The look in his eyes I never want to see again. I ran out of the house and jumped in my car. I only drove up the road but had to pull over and let my heart rate calm down. I didn't know whether to tell my parents but I was so scared that I couldn't keep it from them in the end. They enjoyed their break but had to come back early. A couple of months later my Father had had enough after drug dealers came to our house looking for my brother as he had stolen some of their belongings. My father gave my brother a weeks notice and said he would take him to a crisis centre. My brother has lived out of home since and our lives have improved and so has his. He is now surrounded by people that can help him and understand what he is going through more than we can. My mother has stopped being his 'Enabler' which was very hard at the start but she feels stronger than she ever has with him now. She still stresses about him all the time but what mother doesn't stress about her children. Anyway, I decided to write this entry as I am wondering whether my mother and I should come to a group session. I think it may help as reading some of the stories here has.

- F.

Dear F.,

I am sure it would be very helpful for you and your mother to attend Nar-Anon.  Your story is quite typical. This is not to minimise your pain in any way - it is just that addicts often seem to be playing from the same script!  You would be sure to find many people at the meeting who had been through similar experiences and would be of great support to you.  I looks as though you have achieved a lot of insight on your own, but you will probably be amazed at how life-changing it is to find that you are not alone, not to mention the value of the powerful12-step program used by Nar-Anon.

Best wishes, Dave.


Courage To Change

I am so lost and sad right now. I am in a relationship with a recovering addict  (speed). We have been together for 7 years. He used for the first 3 years of our relationship, without me knowing. he is a very high functioning addict. He finally reached out and asked for help, spent 4 months in rehab. He came out with goals and a new focus. I worked to put him thru school, he worked hard and achieved his goals...but never worked hard on his recovery. He relapsed earlier this year after 3 years clean. He is now 5 months clean again, but I have learnt that he transferred his addiction to sex/love addiction. He has had one affair ( during his 3 yrs clean) and numerous others via text/email. 

He says he loves me and I am the person he wants to be with.........he doesn't know what he gets from doing the other stuff and openly admits that it is just plain stupid. There must be some payoff tho and he is working on finding that out. He is in NA and attending his meetings and finding the counselling and help he needs.

I know that I need to attend meetings too.........its hard there is only one Nar-anon meeting in Perth, that is over an hours drive from me....I keep saying I will attend Al Anon but every time I plan to go I change my mind at the last minute. I think I am too scared of what is on the other side of the doors. I haven't yet heard a story about a relationship that comes from this background and gets healthy.

I love him with my whole heart and have a pipe dream that we end up in a happy healthy relationship. I know the chances are somewhere between slim and none! But I would love to hear from anyone who has managed this. As I start my own recovery, where ever it may lead me, I would like to think that there is some chance. 

- x

Dear x,

Please do not be afraid of what you will find on the other side of the doors of Nar-Anon/Al Anon.  What you will find is kindness, support, and the means to become strong and self-sufficient.  Whether you can end up in a happy, healthy relationship with your partner will depend on the recovery of you both. Your partner is the only one who can be responsible for his recovery (with the help of his program and his counselling).  The best possibility you have of helping him is by working on your own recovery. You should never do 12-step work with the aim of changing/manipulating someone else, but experience shows that the best results are often achieved when each partner is doing their own program.  Part of this is because you will learn how to avoid impeding his progress, but the main reason is that you will become stronger and healthier, and less dependent on how he is travelling from day to day.  A happy ending is possible if you both work your programs with strong commitment.



One day at a time

I have not attended NarAnon. I have been attending Alanon meetings here though. I have been married for over 18 years to an addict. He regularly cross addicts between substances. Alcohol has always been there, pot, gambling and in the last 10 years he began to take a lot of amphetamines, ecstasy and P (methamphetamine). Progressively life has got very bad and after being seriously assaulted and nearly killed and his disease still being in control of our lives I finally managed to start to put up some huge boundaries to protect myself and our two teenage children. The hardest part was having to lose friends and family members as I changed and of course his behaviour worsened as I was no longer enabling him and he tried to pull me back into my old position. Now 18months later from separating I am still trying to protect assets from him as he spends huge amounts of money and does not manage to pay his bills. I am not willing to lose everything without trying to protect it from his addiction. I do not feel that the kids or I should have to lose more than we already have. And if one day, god willing he finds sobriety it will not all be gone. Hind sight is a great thing but if I had known different I would have put things in place while I still could to stop the position we are in now - with him desperate for money and trying to force the sale of our home. I find the steps have helped me hugely as I use steps 1-3 quite often, on a daily basis when things are tough. I also learned about detachment with love, the three Cs - I didn't cause it, I can't control it and I can't cure it and all the slogans which come in handy. I like to live with hope but am no longer willing to have this addiction be in control of my life. My sanity is more important to me now and if I don't look after myself first and foremost I am completely unable to be there to support my children as they try to find their way in life. I can now see how much of my children's childhood was wasted by my focus being on him instead of myself and my children. I have been able to start to talk to the kids about this and little by little make amends where I can to them and to myself. I know we have all been affected severely and have to slow down, look after ourselves and try to live one day at a time.
- Anonymous



Facing reality

I am very grateful to have found this site and read the stories which I relate to.

I grew up in an alcoholic home with a father who used alcohol and prescription drugs. I married a heroin addict in 2007 and not knowing about drug addiction became a full on enabler. Of course I loved him and thought that I could save him. He refused to work. I had moved from the city I lived in to a rural area and worked long hours to support us both. To cut it short I ended up bankrupt, lost my inheritance, lived with the abuse, lies and scamming - knowing I was being used and staying with him until I could not take it any longer. I left and went back. He would not admit he had a problem. I went to Alanon, in fact had gone there for 12 years before I met him on the internet. Will never do the internet again!!!

I left again 3 weeks ago taking my belongings when he was away for the weekend. I like others sent an email telling him to go to NA. I got an abusive response then another asking for money. I refused. This man is living in the property I purchased with my money back on the Internet hunting down women and using pot and codeine. I have advised the bank and my Trustee that I will pay no more money.

This was a big step and I felt guilty. I know I must stop enabling and for me, have no contact, as I was frightened the mental and emotional abuse would become physical. I realise I did this because I did not value or love myself enough and the disease calls all the shots when I take the reins. I am humbled by the cunning baffling and powerful disease of addiction and know that my Higher Power and the 12 step programs are the solution for me. I must take my eyes and hands off my loved one who is 56 soon and has used since he was 13/14 every conceivable drug. I have to give him back to his higher power 100 times a day and ask to be restored to sanity. I have been truly sent mad by this disease and my enabling.



Frightened Grandma

 My daughter is a 34 years old drug addict who denies & will not admit to it. She has had several failed relationships and has a a son who turned 6 yesterday.

I am afraid for my grandson & over the last 6 years have been in touch with DCP about his welfare. My husband and I have been his life line so to speak but that has become harder recently. My daughter got evicted recently and had no power for several months on and off - due to all her single parent monies going on her tools the drugs. Also no hot water for at least two and a half years.

She shows scary bizarre behaviour, for example yesterday we went to where she is boarding now to deliver our grandson's birthday presents and birthday cake. The visit went surprisingly well (thank-god). Today the day after early morning around 7.30 am she send this bizarre message which was also sarcastic. Five minutes later another message which was nasty and could not understand the reason for the message when the previous night she seemed quite normal.

My hubby and I have started to go to Al anon meetings and I intend to start going to the Nar-anon support groups too. Our son won't have anything to do with his sister now as he says she is mentally unstable. Is this bizarre behaviour my daughter demonstrates typical of a drug addict who has now created a severe mental illness, and how can we protect our grandson. 

Grandma, W. Australia.


Dear Grandma,

Good on you and your husband for being there for your grandson.  It sounds like you are very literally his lifeline.

Your daughter's bizarre, paranoid behaviour is quite typical of both chronic drug abuse, and of some kinds of mental illness.  Drug abuse and mental illness often go together (so-called "dual diagnosis") and it is often hard to work out which came first, or which caused the other.  In any case it is largely academic. The last thing people with a mental illness should be doing is using illicit drugs, since drug abuse nearly always exacerbates mental illness.  However, many people suffering from addiction or mental illness have limited insight into their situation, and cannot see what is obvious to others.

If your daughter's behaviour was assessed as being mainly the result of a mental illness, it may be that it would be considered severe enough that she needed to be hospitalised.  Your local  WA Area Mental Health Service (numbers in the White Pages) would be able to advise you.  Please do not think you would be betraying your daughter by taking this action.  A person with a mental illness should get the treatment they need, and sometimes they do not have enough insight, or are too frightened, to seek it for themselves.  She would also be given help and advice regarding her drug issues while in hospital.

Of course, should this come to pass, your grandson would need to be looked after while his mum is in hospital, but it sounds as though this would not be a problem!

Best wishes,



My situation is different to others on this site. I am trying to identify whether my sister is using drugs or not. Flamboyant by nature, she has ended a destructive marriage to an alcoholic and is running a business and raising a daughter my herself. Stories from friends and family members are 
beginning to dovetail into a suggestion that she maybe using certain drugs- irrational mood swings, speaking at speed, mouth twisting and other physical traits suggest something is not right.

Always the centre of drama her behaviour has been put down to the pressures of a a bad marriage, a single mother and a stressful job - but as the excuses diminish , the behaviour doesn't. She is a devoted mother but her house is a bombsite and whilst coherent there is just a feeling of uneasiness 
expressed by those in her company. My parents are in their 80's and take on much responsibility for their granddaughter but the strain is showing - and there is always a reason to never rock the boat.

There is no nar anon in my city. Should I tackle her - what other symptoms should I be looking for - there are not enough drastic signs to pinpoint the problem.


You should be careful not to allow yourself to fall into the role of policeman or detective in regard to your sister.  No matter how loving or well-intentioned you are, whether or not she is using drugs, or even has become an addict, is a matter for her.  It may just be that your sister's way of conducting her life is not to your taste.  It is all too easy to become involved in a project of changing or "fixing" another person, particularly if we suspect them of using substances.  This is invariably counter-productive for ourselves and the other person.  In Nar-Anon we have a concept of "detaching with love".  This means we don't stop loving the person, but we decide to detach ourselves from involvement in their emotional problems, not to interfere with their lives, and not to try to control them.  This lifts the burden from our shoulders of trying to do the impossible, that is, trying to take responsibility for the other person, and takes the pressure off the other person of knowing that someone is fretting about them and trying to control their life. 

The focus of Nar-Anon is very much on helping the loved ones of addicts to take care of themselves, not on trying to "cure" the addict. Addicts go into recovery when, and only when, they are ready, and have their own programs (Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, etc.) to assist them with that. We do take the trouble to learn about addiction, but the purpose of this is to help us make sense of our situation.

One big proviso to the above is that if you believe that your sister's daughter is at risk of neglect or abuse, whatever the cause,  you have a duty to bring this to the attention of the authorities, who can make a proper assessment of the situation.

Best wishes,



Live and Let Live


My daughter is 23 yrs. old. I believe she has been using drugs since she was 15. It has been a roller coaster for 4 years. She is in complete denial about her drug use. She admits to pot only and states " I can handle it". She has lost 4 good jobs. She has smashed 3 cars. She has been kicked out of 3 apartments. There is always a crisis with her. If she is not sleeping 12 hours a day she is crying the rest. She has attended NA meetings for her father and I only because we make her. She tried group therapy 2 times, stated "its not for me". This is so frustrating, we fight with each other and her sisters want nothing to do with her anymore. Do some people just never get it? Don't they see the problems they inflict on themselves and others?  Don't they see the pain they cause? Emotionally I can no longer handle it. I have to detach from her even though it will break my heart. I have to take care of others and myself.

Thanks for the stories. 




Hi Dave,

I'm just writing to let you know that I really needed to read what you wrote to "Devastated and Heart broken"... My life is being thrown around and torn apart by an addict that I love. So glad I found this site. Thank you so much!!! 

Signed.. confused and messed up!!



The saddest story... 

The guy I was dating died by suicide on April 3. We started dating over a year ago, we also worked together everyday at my Dad's construction co. He wasn't the kind of guy I'd usually date...a little too redneck and too much drama for my simple little life. But he won me over with his big heart and making me laugh as much as possible. He had a long history of depression and drug use. That combination of his: his big, soft heart + addiction equalled a lot of depression and shame. It was the biggest thing I've ever had to deal with. Never doing any of that myself and hardly was a lot to learn about. It was heartbreaking watching him try so hard to stay away from the 'friends' who were bad influences and try to get his life in order. I understood how hard it was to try and change everything he knew-every relationship, every friend - in order to stay sober... how to you change something that's been the same, if not worse for 10 years? It was scary for him. 
He asked for help and I did what I could to help in the only way I know how. I pushed him to see counsellors, read up on the subject, helped him organize the stresses in his life: budgeting, time with his kids, debt mgmt. He was relieved to have a path to follow-a light at the end of the tunnel. The extra time that gave him , that extra brain space, he spent helping me work on my house and spent time with his family. He was really into it, read books about dad's rights and better parenting, made time with his kids to do positive things like make Christmas candy, see movies, go to the beach...he was happy...his outlook was almost sunny. but he never took the first step in the ultimate plan we worked see a counsellor or find rehab. Something always came up...I'm sure he was scared of failing.
He'd go in the same cycle: A month sober then a week of drugs. His drugs of choice were downers: xanax, oxycodone, klonopin, sleeping pills and cocaine. So when he would come down after 3 days in a zombie-like state he'd get extremely depressed and angry at himself for doing it again. He'd be so ashamed that he put his friends and family through that. It was like he was Jekyll and Hyde. For a month he was this guy I adored and loved, he'd do anything for me. Working long days then going home to watch movies and cook dinner was boring and wonderful. Then the days spent looking for drugs, doing them, then coming down...he was unrecognizable.
In Feb. it got to be too much for me, his ups and downs were taking a toll. He lost his apartment and moved into his Dad's while he was laid off. I knew his dad would keep him busy and talk some sense into him. We worked out a plan for him to see an AODA counsellor who would direct him to treatment- he was all for it, it's all we talked about for a week. Then instead of dealing with me pushing him, he pushed away and broke up with me. His dad said he came back home from vacation and to find out Jerry had stopped seeing me and had started hanging around with all the friends he was trying to avoid. He had given up, it was easier for him to go back to what he understood, to the people with the same negative lifestyle, then try to tackle this huge change, to try and stay that same awesome guy 100% of the time. His dad told me to stop worrying about him, he had a lot of people worrying over him, that his life had to get bad enough for him to want to change, that he wasn't ready yet.
I did worry, but kept my distance. We talked 20 times a day, still, up to the 3rd week of March. Then he dropped out, got a new phone with a new number. I was scared, called his dad, the longest we'd go without talking was 2 days all year, his dad hadn't seen him all week and reiterated to stop worrying. He would never call me if he was messed up, he would be too ashamed, and he knew I would call his family...I didn't feel like I was invading his privacy - he was my best friend, I was trying to keep him safe. I figured that what was going on: he was hanging around with an old girlfriend he had been into drugs with and didn't want to upset me or cause waves. I wasn't jealous, I was afraid for him, afraid his bottom would be death and that the people around him wouldn't do anything to stop him. 
He finally called the day before it happened. He sounded tired and crabby. my reception was bad because I was on vacation in the mountains. I had gone to my best friends in N Carolina after not hearing from him in a week to gain perspective, to let him go, to accept there wasn't anymore I could do for him without driving myself crazy. It was short, I regret being mad at him for not getting ahold of me sooner, for being inconsiderate. We didn't talk about anything important, he didn't say if he was messing up or not. I finally relaxed on vacation, hearing his voice. He said he was going back to work for my dad on Mon. and was going to talk to him about finding a house to buy. I felt felt like he was going to get out of this hole, that I'd talk to him more on Monday.
Instead I got the call the next day that he had shot himself. I drove 16 hours straight home not believing it. When I got the news I felt a guilty relief, 'it's over, all I tried to do is keep this man safe, alive, and see the positive side of life, now the worry's over.' I assume that's what he was thinking, that now the people who loved him wouldn't be burdened by his choices anymore. He always felt horrible putting his loved ones through that stress, but couldn't find a way to make things right. The story unfolded as I talked to people and drove. He had gone out the night before, got back to his dad's, tried to get his 4 year old to take a nap, she wouldn't chill out, he was angry and coming down off of something so he couldn't deal with her hyperactivity. He called Lilly's mom to come and get her, he couldn't handle her. They had a fight - Lilly's mom said they never fought like that, she knew he was on something. He called the girl he was hanging around with and said he couldn't take it anymore..he didn't want to be here, he had the gun and he was in the woods, he couldn't handle dealing with his kid's moms anymore. That was always his argument when he was out of it, he needed a person to blame a reason for why he felt so bad...when sober he knew it all had to do with drugs. We all feel he called her because she lived an hour away and wouldn't call the police or his family in a situation like this, and she didn't. Then he called his oldest kids' mom and said to tell the kids I love them. She didn't think anything of it at the time, she had gotten calls like this before when he would need to touch base with reality.

He could handle anything sober, he was clever, patient, and smart as hell. I know he went back to that life because it was easier. I know he loved his kids, his family, and me...but couldn't find a way to make it work. What I'm having a hard time with is forgiving and forgetting. I will always regret not doing more, taking it personally when he stopped calling, not trying to find him and get him away from all that in the last 2 weeks of his life.

I generally don't hate, gossip, or get this angry...I'm doing all of these things and not proud of myself. I will never be mad at Jerry, it was the disease, not the person. I am having a hard time giving any of the people who brought him down and used that kind heart of his any consideration. That makes me feel bad, these are people too, they miss him also. I want them to hurt as much as I do, hurt as much as his kids do...I want to scream at them to 'grow-up, this isn't normal. Your selfish actions, by looking at Jerry as another friend to party with, took a dad away from his kids, a son away from his parents'. I realize that Jerry made his own choices, no one forced the drugs into him, but the people he was around could hardly be considered true friends. They used him and made him feel alright with his bad decisions. 
In the first couple of weeks after it happened I went on a fact-finding mission... it helped a little, but not much. I wanted answers, I wanted to know the series of events that led to that day. Who he was with, what he took, why he hadn't called, why he didn't call me that day to talk. I gave the people he was hanging around a chance, a chance to be honest. It still makes me angry that they weren't- why would they be? If they were honest they would 'out' themselves as addicts as well. Their platitudes just made me angrier: "He's at peace now", "he had a lot of problems we couldn't understand"....He was very outgoing and upfront about his problems- he was looking for help from everyone without always saying it. With anger, as if to make many wrongs right, I reported every person and place he had ever told me about getting drugs from, reported his family doctor for refilling a xanax prescription 3 times in March...knowing he had a history of drug abuse. Nothing came of it, it didn't make me feel better.
What has made me feel better is talking to his Dad, spending time with his kids. They were the positive parts of Jerry that I loved the best, I know he did too. My closest friends don't understand, none of them has ever been through something like this, so I'm sort of disconnected. I can talk to Jerry's family, but they don't know me as well as my own friends and family. It's such a weird situation. I need to talk about it all the time, it's all I think about. I write about it, go to Family Services, go the cemetery and write to Jerry...I'm doing everything by the book...everything healthy...but I can't seem to feel better or think about it less. I'm not religious or spiritual, so I can't think of him being in a better place...he is just gone. I can get up and work on my house, go to work for short spurts - I know I'm doing better than in April. I feel like everyone is moving on and I'm stuck. Sometimes the regret and what-ifs come out of nowhere and set me back for the rest of the day. I know he's gone, it's done, it's no way to live my life thinking about what could've been done... but that's where my brain goes. It goes from rational: I know what's going on, I know it will be questioning if he loved me back, why didn't he call, how could he think his kids would be better off without him, why did he think I wouldn't understand? 
It's made more painful by the fact that my dad -who Jerry was close with-says things like 'I really liked Jerry, I was really excited you were together, he fit so well into our family' or Jerry's dad says "I was hoping you'd be my daughter in law, I was so proud of him this year, you were the best thing for him, you were the first one to help him" or his older daughter saying 'My dad was so happy with you, why did he stop dating you, my brother and I agreed and told him you'd be a good stepmom to have.' That acceptance and positivity is awesome to hear, it makes the rough year worth it...but makes me scream inside - scream at drugs, that lifestyle, those people....scream at them for taking him away, taking away those possibilities, taking away his dreams.
So all I feel I can do now is continue to be a positive influence on his kids, stay friends with his family. We weren't married, we had broken up a month before it happened I's such a messy situation and I don't want to overstep or dump all this grief on them, they're already going through so much. I'm trying to see it as because of Jerry I have more compassion towards people. He isn't here but because of him I have all these people that are little pieces of him. It helps sometimes, but I really only wish he could've stayed.

 I'm looking for advice on how to get over the blame, how to move my thoughts to more positive places, remember the good times without being sad about it, and how to understand when or when not to talk to his be sensitive to their pain and to not dump my grief onto them.


You were a wonderful friend to Jerry and his family, and it is so sad that Jerry committed suicide, with all its aftermath for you, his children and his family and friends.  Plainly Jerry had a severe mental illness in which drug abuse played a part, and try as you might, unless you had been a qualified mental health  professional, I believe you would have been out of your depth in this situation.  Even in that case, the fact that you were emotionally involved with Jerry would have made it impossible for you to help him more than you did.  You plainly did, and continue to do, everything possible in the situation, and you deserve full credit for that.

It is normal in the grieving process to have all kinds of strong feelings. They are all legitimate, and will fade with time.  If they go on for more than about a year, however, you should seek some professional grief counselling.  Everyone reacts to grief in their own individual way, and there is no prescription for the "right" way to react.

Of course I urge you to join Nar-Anon, but as well, since the survivors of suicide have particular difficulties,  I would strongly recommend that you also find a support group for the survivors of suicide, if you haven't already done so.  Check out:

Best wishes,


My story

I fell in love with an addict six years ago.  At first I had no idea that he was using at all.  We were juniors in high school and had a wonderful summer together. About 3 months after we got together we were talking on the phone and he told me his life story about how his parents were drug addicts and his own parents had introduced crack, cocaine, meth and pot into his life; pot when he was in 5th grade and the other drugs when he was in 7th grade. I got off the phone that night shocked and heart broken for him. I had never met anyone that had been on drugs or had an addiction problem. He told me that the only thing he used at that point was pot, and I thought that I would help him get clean. About 7 months into our relationship after countless lies about his pot use he up and disappeared. I had no idea what happened to him and I was so heartbroken. I was only a senior in high school then and I should have just let it go. Anyways I decided I would just wait and see if he would come back.

Sure enough, he showed after about a month of being gone. I found out that he had gone off and gotten on meth and found a new girlfriend. I couldn't believe how heart broken I was. He told me he wanted to get off of the stuff and be with me again, but this new girl kept calling the house and trying to get him to talk to her again.

Well, he finally got rid of her and we tried to patch up our relationship. The lies continued though about the pot smoking and we had countless fights. My parents and everyone around me told me to just let it go and leave him, but I was in love though, so I ignored it. About 8 months after we had gotten back together he went off on another meth binge with his dad and was gone for 3 months this time. He and his dad got caught stealing scrap metal and went to jail. After he got out, of course he called me and wanted me back. I accepted because I had missed him so much.

While he was off on his binge he had met another girl and she signed his bond to get out of jail and he made me believe that he had to continue to act like he loved her or he would go to jail. I believed it and I have never felt a worse pain then hearing him tell the other girl he loved her while I was sitting outside the door. I still ask myself to this day why that wasn't enough. During that time he ended up cheating on me and then coming back to me again. 

We finally got over that long hard battle that time and things were good for about a year. Then I got pregnant. I was scared to death. I went on with the pregnancy and he went on with his pot smoking and drinking he let his friend call me a fat Wh*** while I was pregnant. He continued to put his drug before me and his future son. Eventually I got so fed up with being mistreated I asked my parents for help. They let me and him move in.  Our son was born and not 3 months after he was born my addict was gone again with his dad on the worst meth binge yet. We had just gotten a new car and he left with it. He was the only one with a job so I had no money.  If it wasn't for my parents I don't know where me and my son would be today.

I wanted him in my son's life so bad in the 5 month time period that he was gone.  We saw each other once. He ended up beating me up in front of my son and when I filed a restraining order he came to court and fought it. I couldn't believe it. Actually, I could, but I wished I couldn't. Anyways finally he ended up wrecking his car. He used his new girlfriend for a little while, but eventually he started calling me again. And the desire for my son to have his father in his life made me answer the calls. He got rid of the girlfriend and promised that he was going to get himself clean. He had a lot of resentment towards me though because I would never let him see our son alone. I couldn't. I don't want my son to have the same addiction problem he did, and I don't want him to have a dad like his dad's father. It's been the hardest struggle of my life.

He ended up going to jail for 30 days and made us believe he was all sober so my parents let him move back in with us and he started to work the meeting and do the 12 steps. He has always had a way of breezing through things and making people believe everything he says. So I thought he was clean and we had our second child. 2 months ago he told me that he was using while he was in jail and had been lying about his clean date.  We counted up and he only had 7 months well last Saturday.  He relapsed while he was out with a friend and spent the money we had saved for diapers, gas and groceries at the bar.  I had to go pick him up at 2:30 in the morning because he was so drunk and high his friend didn't even want to be around him anymore. My poor children had to see their father puking in the grass outside of our apartment.

My world pretty much came crashing down and I'm at the lowest low I've ever been. The only way I keep going is because I know how much my kids need me. I honestly thought that after 7 months he was really going to get clean. I now realize that the rest of my life I will have to live in fear of him relapsing or trying to get my kids into it. The fear is always there. I've been walking in a nightmare for the last 4 days. I've been angry and crazy and I have no idea what to do. I've tried to get him to leave but he won't budge.  He insists on staying here and I move out but I have 2 kids and have no way to support them. He keeps begging me to stay and to help him. He tells me I need to go to Alanon meetings so I can learn how to deal with his problems and so I won't yell at him anymore. I'm disgusted with him. I feel that I've finally actually broken but I can't logically find a way out. I know I was stupid in the past and now I've brought 2 kids into this awful relationship and I can't believe myself. I love my kids so much and I have to get us out. I just see no hope. I don't know what to do!!


So sorry about what you are going through.  You and your children are suffering abuse which has become physical at least once.  This is completely unacceptable.  I urge you to find a Nar-Anon meeting as soon as possible.  Nar-Anon does not give advice on legal matters etc, but you are very likely to find people at Nar-Anon meetings who have been through the sort of situation you are in, and who would be able to give you the benefit of their experience as individuals.  Another source of help and advice might be women's organisations.  Check out

Best wishes,




Trying to find serenity!

I have been with my Ex Addict for 10years that is until last week when he broke up with me. We have two children together and am devestated. My addict was active up until 10 months ago (been in rehab all this time), I enabled him by supplying money, home and everyday essentials as well as support. My dilemma is that I have always lived in the past and last friday joined an Alanon group which my Ex asked me numerous time to join, but I never thought I needed to as I didn't have the addiction little did I know I was living his addiction on a daily basis even when he was clean by living in the past, arguing and often telling him he was no good. I feel like my Ex is punishing me by ignoring me, I understand as I am realising I have been jepordizing his recovery with my attitude and constant fighting, he feels like I don't trust him. In fact I don't trust myself and have never really tried to live in the future as I was trying to live the pain on a daily basis, Why! because I was jelous of his using, recovery and often felt he was extremly lucky. This past week he has been suffering really bad from anxiety, and has everyone at the rehab looking after him this is good but I feel it is another of his manipulative games. Boy can he manipulate situations and people even professionals in the industry, anyway I have been looking for meetings in my area as I feel I need Naranon to help me through and often come to this website looking for guidance, which never happened. I feel like he has just moved on from me like my problems don't deserve the patients, kindness, understanding and support I have given him over the years. I do have faults let me tell you, like I used to ask him to leave on a regular basis to the point he never felt like he had a home, and often fought with him and used power in return for giving him money I don't blame him for leaving a dysfunctional relationship but feel I deserved just a little patience and guidance cause hey I was addicted to living in misery too. Help Me find the serenity I need and guidance to forgive myself for not seeking help sooner.





Live and Let Live

my sister moved to melbourne with her boyfriend when she was 16 in which led to a horrible life of drug dealing, abuse and rape. she met some friends at school and eventually left her boyfriend and school and moved in with friends. then her and her best friend decided they wanted to try drugs just to know what it was like i didn't care because i once experienced with drugs. then she had ice and speed and she began taking it more often her "best friend" did stop but didnt do anything to help her. just 23 days ago my brother got a message from her boyfriend a different one from the first saying "she had lost it" my mum called her and she burst in to tears and wasn't making any sense i told her i love her and asked her what she was doing she said i dont know i said what do you mean and she said i dont want one so i notice she wasnt comprehending anything so i told her to go to bed and hung up we were going to get her the next day and bring her home and take care of her but her dad got a phone call saying she had been put in a mental institute i haven't heard anything since but i hope she gets better i was wondering will she be ok? will she go back to normal? will she be herself again?

It sounds like your sister has taken up the typical self-destructive, chaotic lifestyle of a deeply committed addict.  Unfortunately, a common feature of this path is a stay, or multiple stays, in mental hospitals.  Drugs like ice and speed are particularly notorious for producing serious mental illness.  The long-term outcome depends on how vulnerable the user is to mental illness (this is now known to be a function of their genetic makeup), what drugs she has been using, and how much/how long she has been using them, as well as other life-style factors.  The best hope she has of a good recovery is to accept all the treatment she is offered, to stop using immediately (with medical help), to join Narcotics Anonymous, and to work the Narcotics Anonymous program honestly and sincerely.  However, these are all choices that only she can make - no-one else can do it for her.

You and your family should start going to Nar-Anon meetings as soon as possible.  The pain of seeing addiction and the results of addiction in a loved one can be severe, and you and your family plainly love your sister deeply.  We all need support in those circumstances.      

Best wishes,



The addict becomes the focus of the family...

My brother is a heroin addict, he is currently in rehab. He has been an addict all my adult life and most of my teenage years. Before rehab he and his girlfriend were living in my Mum's house and using drugs. we didn't know they were using at first, but then my mum found the syringes. My brother was supposed to be clean and that is the condition my Mum was letting him stay in the house. He is a liar and he has broken my Mum' heart. I am sick of his Junky ways.



Nothing changes if nothing changes...

I met my husband 15 years ago. He chased me for two years and I held him off because I thought he drank too much and had baggage. Turns out he was an ex heroin addict! I did not know this at the time. After two years and a visit to his new home on a distant coast , he seemed a changed and much more settled man, and I realised what we had in common. I fell in love with him and have been hooked ever since. He is smart and funny, loving and everything one woman could want. 

After moving in with him, I soon realised he was a pretty serious dope smoker and sometimes when he drank he would just turn into this awful person who said horrible things to me and was aggressive and angry until he passed out. In the morning he would remember nothing. 

Two years into our relationship and six weeks before our wedding, I went to visit family for two weeks, on my return I found a drug addled crazy man who could not speak a word of sense. He was completely addicted to meth, sores all over his face, skinny and insane! After engaging the assistance of his parents, he was detained under the Mental Health Act and sent to the nearest capital city for treatment. This was his first serious attempt at rehab. We broke up for a while but believing in who he could be, we got back together. 

The treatment lasted a few months and after a while we moved back in together. He lived a semi-normal existence for 1 year until he completely fell apart and ended up abusing cocaine intravenously. This time we engaged the help of some excellent drug rehabilitation people and began a recovery program and began completing the 12 Steps through AA and NA. I received Family Counselling and realised to my horror that I was as sick as he was and our relationship was unhealthily co-dependant*. 

He stayed clean for 8 years! We had two beautiful children. Two years ago he began taking prescription pain killers after a sinus operation and he began abusing this and doctor shopping for two years taking obscene amounts of Oxycontin and Endone. It should have killed him. I did not know about this as he hid it from me for all of this time. At the end of the two years he had a three week intravenous cocaine binge, which again should have killed him. This time he fessed up and once again we entered a recovery program. I began the twelve steps and he started to attend meetings. 

My husband decided because he did not want to use again that he did not have to attend AA meetings and I stopped attending my 12 step program because I was sick of hearing that if he didn't follow the program he would relapse. 

6 months later I am 20 weeks pregnant with our third child - an accident and he has just busted again on the weekend with cocaine. I am sick of the lies, I hate this disease and hate that it is a part of my life. My children and family are oblivious to this years relapses. I don't need the hassle of worrying parents! So I am trying to deal with it alone. He says he wants to stay clean and will do 90 meetings in 90 days but today I found out he lied to me when I asked if he had any coke left and he said he didn't , well he had a small amount left in the bag and had to use it. I don't know if he is sincere about his recovery or not. I feel angry and sad and vulnerable that I will have three children with no father and no income as I have given up my career to raise our children. We have a successful business, great family and a nice home and we still love each other and now it all hangs on the tip of a needle. I can't believe we are back here!

Thanks for reading!


*In this context, co-dependency is a condition in which we have become "addicted to the addict".  We have become so enmeshed with the addict's life and problems that our legitimate activities have been pushed aside.  We have come to see our relationship with the addict as more important to us than we are to ourselves.  Co-dependency is a kind of addiction in itself, and usually involves the co-dependent person enabling the addict.

The Nar-Anon program can help us in this situation, by helping us to see our situation in perspective and to make the distinction between what are our problems and responsibilities, and what are the addict's.  Nar-Anon uses a similar (but not identical) 12-Step program to that used by the programs for substance addicts.  It works well for co-dependency because of the addictive nature of the condition.

- Dave




Courage to Change...

I've lived with my son's addiction to pot since he was 15. He's now 26. I've lived an intense life with him for the past 6yrs as I left my husband back then for his addiction to alcohol and no longer had a male's support to keep things fairly normal in the family circle. I've given him thousands of dollars and he's stolen thousands of dollars off me.  I'm to blame for every job lost and every girlfriend that's left him. He will tell anyone that will listen that I'm a really bad mother and how much he hates me. When I've asked him to leave he just says no he can't afford it and that he has nowhere to go. I apparently can't wash his clothes properly or cook food to his standards. I make dinners and he will go and buy KFC. He's now gotten physical with me and I called the police. I didn't press charges as I just couldn't bring myself to do it. 

I've finally decided I just can't do this dance with him anymore and I'm going to give him a date to leave by and then threaten AVO if he still won't go. I'm definitely going to go and attend meetings until I feel I can cope, as Alanon helped me tremendously 9yrs ago. When I read the stories of others it just makes me cry and I know that every person that has been affected by an addict in their family prays for them to see the light and what they are doing not only to themselves but to everyone around them. When my son is raging and I look him in the face I see and hear demons as his face is so distorted and his voice constantly changes his pupils dilate till they're completely black. I wish us all the best and hope we get to enjoy the rest of our lives without so much chaos.



Response to "Courage to Change"...

In response to Courage to Change, while reading your story I felt I was reading my own. My 27 year old son sounds like your son.
It is so hard watching this go on day after day, week after week, until one day you realise that years are passing by. I also hope I have the courage to change, there are no group sessions here where I live, and the nearest is about 2.5 hours away, so I will have to do with reading these stories and hope I can get enough from them to give me the strength to let go. I also have been to Alanon in the past, (have all the books and literature at my fingertips). Glad you had the courage back then to leave your alcoholic, I chose to stay with mine & I know at times I am fighting 2 demons. I am a hard working independent female, but when it comes to the males in my family I just fall in a heap. I wish you well on your road to peace, and be true to yourself. I pray I find the courage also.



How to start a new Nar-Anon meeting

Dave, I was wondering what is involved in starting up a group meeting in a country town? Do you need qualifications/degrees or such? My home town is desperately in need of something like Nar-Anon.

Any 2 or more people can start a new Nar-Anon meeting.  Once you have found at least one other person who wants to join with you, the main thing you need is a venue.  Don't use a private home.  The main problem with private homes is anonymity, but also, if the addict also lives or visits there, there is the danger of confrontation between the addict and members.  The best places to start looking are community health centres, community halls, church halls, hospitals, and places where other 12-step meetings are already being held.  Approach the counsellor, paster, medical superintendent etc and explain what you have in mind.  They will usually be very happy to have you, and will give you lots of support. The Nar-Anon head office (contact details on our Home page) can provide you with a "starter kit" which has everything you need to get off the ground, including a very comprehensive handbook  containing details of how to structure your meetings and just about everything else you might need to know.  Another good thing to do (I did this before I started a meeting) is to sit in on other 12-step meetings (not necessarily Nar-Anon) and see how they do things.  Get there a bit early and explain to the chairperson that you are starting a meeting, and ask permission to observe.  (Every time I did that, I was welcomed warmly, and was usually asked if I would like to share.  The members of other Fellowships were often very interested to hear that 12-step work was "not just for addicts!" and were very supportive).  

You do not need degrees or qualifications.  Nar-Anon works on the strength and support of the group, and on the 12-step Nar-Anon program, which is structured so it can be followed by anyone with the will to do it. 

Good on you and best wishes!



Easy Does It...

My husband of nearly 22 years has been in recovery from addiction for 8 months. I planned and executed a formal "intervention" to get him into rehab. After coming out after 28 days he was clean, but still in denial of his disease. He did, however, attend his 90 in 90 NA meetings and continues to go everyday. He is still clean and sober, has reconnected with our children, but treats me indifferently. I am in counselling and because there is no nar-anon group in our area, I have begun the process of starting a group. Until recently, I attended his NA meetings several days a week to get some insight on what the disease of addiction is all about. Then I began to feel more angry and more emotionally neglected, so I stopped attending. I met other spouses at the meetings that are ready to form a family group, but my husband seemed to resent the comments made by others about me "taking charge"...I don't want to be controlling. I am learning to release that flaw and concentrate on me and what I want/need. What I want and need most is the emotional connection and affection I formally had with my husband. We were friends for years before entering a relationship and I miss my friend. I know that he needs his new "friends" in NA, but I don't even get 15 minutes of uninterrupted conversation a day with him. He leaves early for meetings, stays late after and is asleep within minutes of his return. I feel like I'm living with the active addict again. I am lonely. Our friends didn't know what to do when they discovered his problem, so they do nothing. We have lost contact with many family members that feel the same way or could not separate the disease from the person, or they contact my husband and check on his recovery only, without reaching out to me. My counsellor assures me that I am going in the right direction (working the 12 steps), but I feel isolated, alone and just plain sad.

My husband tell me that he doesn't "share" things with me because he's afraid of my "reaction". He doesn't want to deal with my anger. Needless to say, this just amplifies the anger when I hear about "things" from a third party and discover that once again, he has omitted me from part of his life. I have shared how I feel trying hard not to put blame on him, but nothing has changed. He'll tell me that he loves me, but I don't "feel" loved.

Living with a recovering addict can be difficult in the early stages of their recovery.  Recovery is not always an instant bed of roses!  The deeply ingrained issues that the addict is battling with, and the changes that are happening in their lives are not easy for them to deal with.  As their recovery becomes more established the situation is bound to improve.  As well, there may be guilt and resentment towards those the addict has harmed.  In your case, it sounds as though you are quite strong and pro-active, and by executing a formal intervention, have shown that you were not willing to accept your husband's bad behaviour. This may be quite galling to him, but as his mind clears he will hopefully come to see the value of it.  It is up to him to come to terms with these issues.  In the meantime you need to be patient and watch how things unfold.  You have made very positive moves in getting counselling and starting a Nar-Anon group - keep up the good work!

Best wishes,



The Light of Understanding and Gratitude...

I really hope I can find peace in sharing my story with you. I became a Alanon member in 1974.

My husband has been sober since then and is a wonderful husband and Father. I have lived by the 12 steps and have had a wonderful life until 5yrs ago when we lost our first daughter to alcohol. We had 4 children, all were wanted and loved very much. Our Daughter was married with a child . We are not sure when she started drinking seriously but it was after she married. Her husband to this day is not sure when it got out of control as she was very cunning with her drinking. She passed away at the age of 35yrs. I believe that medication was also involved because she would have been in her twenties when she started drinking.

We really didn't have time to mourn her death as our youngest daughter started to give us reason to be concerned with her behaviour. I knew it wasn't alcohol because I can smell alcohol a mile off.

I have read the stories on this site and they are mine also. Fines, money, police ringing telling us that she had been pulled over driving erratically, mental hospital, ordinary hospital with paralysis from drugs, I could go on and on. My husband and I were at one another and were very disturbed. She would tell me that I needed help and I would stop and think that she was right.

We did not like the phone ringing as it was nearly always bad news. We took her to rehab four times and four times she left. After the third time I said enough and told her that she was not going to live with us as a active drug addict. She understood that and lived in whatever accommodation that she could afford. Then we got the dreaded phone call from emergency and she was in a coma. This time we were told that her chances were very slim and that she had endocarditis.

That is when a abscess forms on the heart, leaks into the lungs and also the brain. She fought on for 25days and we were there watching our second child waste away. There is really little hope when our children take to a life style that is so destructive. She is at peace but we are left with heartache. 
At first I felt a little relief as it had been a very painful road to live and watch her killing herself. Now of course it is the doubt that we could have done more. My head tells me no, we probably gave more than we should have, at the expense of others.

I thank my higher power everyday that I had found alanon and believe that I found it for a reason back then.  I believe that things happen for a reason and I found alanon for this very reason. To have me ready for the future.

I might add that our daughter who picked the path of the drugs had no fear.  As a young child she would attempt devil tasks that would frighten her brothers.  Both girls were beautiful and kind before their illness took hold of them.  I would love to find a recovering addict to talk to as I know it would bring answers. This is the first time I have talked to anyone about our sorrows.



Letting the Addict feel the Consequences of his Actions...

It's Christmas Day. Evening. My (only) 23 year old son just told me to "fuck off mum - I don't need your help". So I won't help him any more. Nor will his father or his (half) siblings. We have been 'enabling' him for years, since he started sneak drinking at age 13 and lying and trashing everything we gave him.  Our son needs a dose of reality to go with his drugs and lies. A month or two sleeping in the gutter might make him wake up, maybe we should have let him be beaten up by the dealers instead of paying his $4K drug bill. His sister is going to pack his bags and put him out of her house. I am not going to pay his bond for new accommodation so that he can trash it as he has other places he has lived. He is a liar and uncaring, cold and manipulative except with his 'friends' with whom he drinks and parties.

At the moment I feel strong - I have made a decision that altho hard will I hope help my son eventually. I will find a support group because tomorrow I am going to crash badly.... 



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