Monday, November 13, 2006
Hey Aunt B,
Here's my situation.
I know this man from back in the day.
His Sister and I were real close. She was murdered in
June of 05 by her ex boyfriend.
At this time, her brother, and I started corresponding.
He's been in jail since then, due to meth addiction, and
of course being on the wrong side of the law.
That meth shit freaks me out big time.
This guy is now in a halfway house. Its also a rehab
facility, and he has been going through extensive and intensive counseling.
I have become attached to him, even though.
But still am torn because of his past.
I do not want to involve myself with someone with his history, but am still drawn to him.
Do I give him a chance? Do I wait till he's out, and see how he is once he's on the street? Do I keep him away from my kids until I know for sure? My family would surely frown upon him. I just don't know what to do. Thanks Babs,
If Loving You Is Wrong.....
Aunt B said...
Dear If Loving You is Wrong,
Wow, what a situation. I almost want to run to higher ground on this one. Why, you ask? Because I am an addict and I know the potential. Personally, I took my addiction further than a lot of people. I had a 5 bag a day Heroin habit, I drank whiskey like I was going to the electric chair in two hours and did every drug known to man. A genuine guinea pig, hell bent. So, I do have an educated opinion on the subject. I've also been clean, from heroin, for 8 years. I know what it takes to stay clean. It ain't easy and it is one day at a time. I also went through Prison programs. No program from AA/NA to Inpatient Rehab, works unless you work it. You can not get sober unless YOU REALLY WANT IT! Most of us have to step inside the Gates of Hell, before we get sick enough to make changes, life changes, sustaining changes. My ass was completely burned before I figured this out.
Why do I tell you all this? You must understand addiction, true, hardcore addiction before you can wrap yourself in a cloak, that hard shell you must have in order to deal with someone else's addiction. This is very important. You do not want to become an enabler, nor co-dependent as often happens when a couple gets together, where one is an addict and the other is not or just an occasional user. What's the difference? An addict, in layman's or my terms is someone like me who can not function or live, in my own mind, without some chemical in my system. All life as you know it stops and the only thing that matters is feeding, fueling the addiction just to function. Meth has the ability to give such a great high and then you bottom out, boom. The drop is such that you feel you have to have it just to live. It causes great depression, dillusion and paranoia. I am a first hand witness, even in a current state as my ex and all my old friends are in the Sonora Desert, right now, knee deep in their Meth addiction. In my mind, it is one of the worst drugs, even over a Coke addiction. I smoked crack for two years, so I have an educated opinion on that, also. But meth is cheaper, last longer and is crippling.
What the hell is my point?
This is a really tough situation. I would be the last person to tell you to say F* this guy and you are setting yourself up for disaster. But it is complicated and it depends on many variables, if it might work. He can not get out of the half-way house and not continue his treatment. He's gotta take it as serious as a heart attack. You can not be condescending or have an authoritative tone, either, or a person, often unknowingly, becomes rebellious. Being supportive, in a positive nature, sets the tone. You must tread lightly, especially with a man, when it comes to your constructive criticism.
If you are going to consider a relationship with an addict, you must first know the nature of the beast. Yet again, you want to be understanding but not enabling and there is a defined difference. You will also need a no-nonsense approach to the situation. Are you willing to deal with this guy if he re offends, falls off the wagon or falls from grace? The statistics are, unfortunately, not good but recovery is possible. It also helps if that person has a good support system and they know the logistics of addiction, the signs of or leading to relapse. This is a study in the life of an addict. It is actually simple, yet extremely complex. If this person does not truly get to the bottom of the cause and effect of his addiction, if he does not realize the full potential or not recognize his own red flags, the things that lead him to use, then he is in trouble and asking for another Prison sentence or relapse at the very least. The only way to change things, is to change things, habits, people, places and things. You must completely start over, physically, figuratively and mentally. We truly have the ability to lie to ourselves and we tell ourselves that we NEED to get high to deal with things. Life on life's terms is a bitch. But it can be done, communication is the key. The addict must be truthful and I call it "sabotaging oneself." That's where, you commit to telling someone, tattle taleing about how you feel to someone who understands, cares and is willing to tell you like it is.
Most of us do not like exercise, do we? Dealing with our addiction and maintaining some form of treatment is paramount. But treatment and going to meetings often seem like exercise and we tend to want to say to hell with that. The things and learned behaviors that brought us to the very point of addiction are usually life long behaviors. To change this behavior, our beliefs and values system and the biggest variable, our habit, is no easy task and you sure as hell can't think that it happens over night or even in a prison setting with a few years attached. It's a life long change. It took you a life long time to acquire these traits and behaviors and you can't expect for them to just go away once you don't have the chemical in your body. There is always a want, a need, a longing for the drug, especially when the shit hits the fan, as it always does, in our daily lives. We also have to be careful not to replace one habit with another. This is where addicts tend to trip up. A Meth addict, may very well think that his drug of choice is not really drinking so he thinks it's safe to have a beer or 20. He thinks it's OK to down a few shots or a bottle because, hell, it's legal, right? But anything, any chemical will and is often abused. It also allows our thinking to be jilted, tilted and misconstrued into believing that we should do and behave out of the box. Meaning it actually can poison your mindset and can really help sustain a give a shit attitude. You might not know that attitude unless you are an addict. To do something illegal to get the money for your habit, is out of the box. To buy drugs, illegally, is out of the box. To ingest, smoke or especially shoot something in to your veins, that you really have no idea that it is really what has been sold to you and hope it doesn't kill you, is the definitive thinking, way out of the box. It is a true give a shit attitude. You have to watch for it and hopefully, when the addict entertains this attitude or his addiction, you have to watch him. Talking to them if they are moody and lending an ear may help Suggesting a meeting and going with them is a really good idea.
Going the Distance
You must ask yourself, are you willing to risk all this for love? Coming out of Prison has it's own scars and it's a prime time for abuse. If he is on Parole, it is a real good time to build up the knowledge and understanding it takes to stay straight. Straight thinking is, of course, the best time to get to the bottom of things. If you plan on the possibility of a serious relationship with this fella, I suggest you read and study as much as possible on addiction. You'll have your hands full and it will not be easy. I believe in my higher power and I pray, I suggest you do too. If the path is rocky, you're going down the wrong path. Pray for guidance and wisdom to know what the right choice is. Make it real clear, REAL CLEAR, that you will stay by his side, as long as he's serious but there will be no games, no using and he will continue seeking support. No excuses, no bullshit. You point out from the git go that you are not a martyr and will not become one for anyone. If he's serious, you'll be there for him. If he's not, go find somebody else's life to screw up beyond his own. Do you have the strength and where with all to go through this?
I wish you all the best. Everybody deserves a chance but never be gullible or stupid. Never under estimate an addict, never. Please let me know the outcome and stay in touch, please! Let me know if this has been helpful and if I can be of any further assistance.
Keeping it Real,
This is a comment back from the writer of this question to Aunt B...
Babs, sorry to not get back to you, I have been working like crazy this week. I so appreciated your answer. I knew about your past, and also from reading your journal and Ask Aunt B feel you hold great wisdom, and knew you would have words that would make me think.
This has been my secret, and am grateful to you for being available to me, and telling it like it is.
I have decisions to make. After thinking about this for the past few days I realize that I may not be the right person for him and his sobriety either.
I am an active weed smoker, and have been for the last 20 years. The last thing I want to do is not be helpful to his sobriety.
But as an addict myself, don't want to stop smoking for him.
We have developed a friendship, where I have always been honest with him in all I say, and I need to talk to him.
He wants to get together with me tomorrow. Which made me freak out a bit. He's within reach now, not just a at a distance, where I've been safe.
I've been a single mom for the past 8 years, with one long term boyfriend about 5 years ago. And have always pushed every man out of my life that wants to be in it.
I've been very hard on the men I've dated, and get rid of them at the first wrong thing they do, no chances.
I feel that love makes you weak, and the last thing I ever want to be again is weak.
My boys' dad is an alcoholic, and I actively attended Al Anon while with him, but of course keeping my addiction a secret as much as possible while with him. Again, my addiction caused me to not be happy with him, because I needed to quit to make it work , and wouldn't.
Sorry I know I'm babbling along with MORE issues, but your answer really did make me think, and I appreciate that, being the " I can't think of that today, I'll think of that tomorrow" Scarlett O Hara kinda gal that I am.
Thank you Babs,