: Drugs, alcohol and mental health

Discuss the twin challenges of mental health and substance use

155 replies

Does he even care

My boyfriend is a lifelong crack addict. We’re talking daily use, to varying degrees, only been clean (or had a clear mind as he puts it) maybe a couple years out of 32ish years.

He’d convinced me that his age (he’s near 50 now) means he needs and wants to retire from it as he puts it. I try everything to encourage him to make better choices, sometimes he does, but every day with minimal exceptions, he uses again.

We are now in a unique situation. He told me at the weekend he’s going to give up for 27days, or he’s a “prick”. I don’t dare ask anymore, but judging by his raging moods, he’s done it. Since then we’ve bickered, he’s tried, and succeeded, to make me jealous, he’s told me he’s questioned our relationship, also at one point he said he didn’t consider us a couple that we’re not together anymore. I’ve told him how much I love him, but all he responded with this time was he likes being with me. He also said that he tried to not call me, but had to. I did pull him up on the jealousy thing, but I think to some degree, sometimes he doesn’t listen or acknowledge me because he can’t accept how bad his behaviour is and would rather block it out.

Part of me thinks now he’s gone cold turkey, which I don’t think was a good idea for so many reasons, that he’s now incapable of any positive human emotion. Does anyone believe an addict can experience positive feelings of love and appreciation of their partner if they’re a few days/weeks off the crack?

For the first time in our relationship, I don’t know if I’m coming or going.

I moved in with my elderly mum before covid, and she only worries if I spend too much time with him, so I visit him at weekends. This week he told me he hates me during the week, he doesn’t feel like he’s in a relationship.

For the most part, he’s stopped reading my texts, stopped talking to me on the phone, stopped asking me how I am.

Partly I think he’s so disgusted by his behaviour, for how much he relies on me, that sometimes talking to me only forces him to be aware of his failings and shortcomings. It’s almost as though he can’t face me, except when he needs food, or is having a cash flow problem.

Does he actually care, or is he just using me?

I’m fortunate enough to be in a lucky financial position. I worry now that even if he doesn’t love me anymore, he’s only doing the bare minimum to keep me happy.

Part of me is starting to loathe my feelings for him, I’m not one to give up, I’ve been tempted to walk away, but in some ways I know that ends I do, I’m strong enough to ensure I never go back.

Insights and opinions welcomed please x

2 replies

replying to Liberty

From what I'm reading on here and from my own experience, I think they do love us but they love their coke/crack (addiction) more. As long as we will put up with it they will stay, if we try to help them/stop them they will go (until they think we are soft enough to put up with it again) the drugs will always be their priority, as much as they love us we will never be first in their lives, the drug will, even if they don't want to lose us they'd rather lose us than their coke x

1 reply

replying to SB2020

Thanks SB2020. Has your partner ever gone cold turkey off his own back for any length of time?

I know I’m a resilient person, which I think works more in his favour than mine. When is enough enough, when am I no longer just giving up on him and deciding to just look out for myself?!

I’m not sure I can take all this up and down much longer, but I don’t want to live with regret of walking away. When he’s good, I’m good and we are great, but it’s getting harder now we’re getting older.


replying to Liberty

Hi Liberty, sorry for the late reply. My partner has gone cold turkey for a couple of weeks but i think it's only been to win me over if I'm honest with myself. Enough is enough when YOUR life is suffering and you aren't giving up on him if he doesn't want to be saved. I understand what you are saying, I'm going through it myself but its not healthy for us to live like this either. The thing I'm starting to ask myself is why am I so concerned about him and saving our relationship when he clearly isn't. I'm 44 and so is he, we're both old enough to know what's right and wrong. I'm coming to understand that if he truly wanted to change he would. I think you need to ask yourself (as do I), what do you want from YOUR life, YOUR future and figure out if you can have this with him. Talk to him again, tell him how you feel about what he does and what your dreams and aspirations are. You know him better than anyone and you'll know deep down if you can have the life, the future you want if you stay with him. As for regret, I honestly don't think you would regret walking way (my opinion). Yea you'll miss him but you can't move forward with your life the way it is. We are stuck in limbo and only YOU can change your life, and only HE can change his.


replying to Liberty

SB2020, I really feel for you darling, I truly do. Why do you care about him, probably the same reason I care about my partner. Because you and I are good people and we love men who, for various reasons are struggling with a boundless addiction. I honestly think it’s the worst thing in the world. I’m not convinced that your guy doesn’t want to save the relationship. I expect, as my guy does, he just wants you to accept him for what he is. Sometimes as terrible as that is, we know they are crack addicts and so do they.

It’s terribly tragic if I really think about me. My partner is highly intelligent, such a people pleaser, gets on with anyone, has the greatest respect for human life, is deeply loyal, even though it’s bit always clear and he does have a heart of gold. I expect yours does too.

The truth is too horrible for them to agree with. And this is where me and my guy are at now. My guy stopped the cold turkey, he’s back to ‘normal’, as dreadful as that is, but not before he became unbearable and we had an almighty row, during which I told him he clearly didn’t care, that he was just a scummy crack addict at the end of the day. The truth hurt him too much. He knows what he is, I expect your guy does too. We are happiest when I don’t fight it, it’s a viscous circle though, we’re better, he’s better, then he uses more because he’s feeling good. Then things intensify again, he gets slimmer again, gets more irritable.

Thanks also for your suggestion of confronting him. When I do this I’m always met with the same answers, he believes he can give up if he wanted to, but doesn’t, or that of course he wants to give up and it’s just a matter of time, but that he doesn’t feel the magnitude of how hard that actually is, not at that exact moment. And/or that time just never comes.

I’m at the point now where even though I still hope one day that day will come, he’ll break free, his body will heel and his brain will be kind to him. I just think that’s so impossible and how could I even consider that with what’s happening in the world right now.

when my bf tells me he will quit and that he wants to quit I do think he genuinely wants to and he’s both ok and not ok about not being able to do that. I don’t know what the solution is. I wish I had enough money to provide him with the level of specialist care he needs. And not just him, but everyone too venerable and paralysed by this addiction. Sadly I can’t. I do keep trying to though and in the meanwhile, I suffer the bad times to enjoy the good. And when we’re good, we’re brilliant.

Covid has put soo much pressure on everything and everyone that for the time being I can’t think about just myself. I don’t dare argue with him about what he’s told me he wants to be doing (or rather what NOT to be doing) and what he’s actually doing. He’s finding it too hard to be apart from me, it’s a delicate balance. I can’t even go near that subject right now. Now to me, just feels about us and those we care about surviving. I saw the honours list mentioned last week on tv, i respect those who have contributed to society in a clearly deserving way, but I couldn’t help thinking that us and people like us are also unsung heroes in the darkness. And let’s face it, although on the outside we live in the light, so much of what we endure is tucked away hidden in the shadows.

I saw my guy this weekend again, although I’ve had to come back to mums with the new high covid status. It’s amazing what fresh eyes give when I haven’t seen him for a few days. Now he’s back on it and lost weight again he’s started to look like an addict again. He took a trip into town the other day to visit his daughter (from very very young) and he told me that no one wanted to sit next to him on the train. The carriage was standing room only, except for the two seats either side of him. I looked at him yesterday and he is starting to really show the physical downsides of it all.

I totally think what you’ve said makes sense, think about what i want and need for my life. Luckily I do still keep that in my mind and have been trying to build good things for me (us potentially), but at the same time, living surrounded all this covid chaos, we just need to forget what we or anyone wants to a degree. Until we’re in a position to do otherwise, we just have to survive.

If you’re in a position where you can wholeheartedly know you can walk away, that you, yourself will be OK and even better off, then I think you know you should do that. I can’t tell you that’s right or wrong for you, for him or for you both as a couple. I just believe you have to follow your gut, just as mine is, I’m sure it’s very rarely wrong.

Sending much care and respect for you, I really am. Please do keep me posted, I hope to hear that your life isn’t as bad as seems at times. Xxxx

replying to Liberty

My ex is a crack addict has been for about 19 months. He's totally destroyed our family and left me to with the path of destruction he's left us with. I want to help him on one and I hate him on the other. I have suspicions now that he maybe be on heroin too. Although I've found no proof. Because you've said you've seen them gone cold turkey what is it like ? Because this is the bit that's making me think it's heroin withdrawal and not crack

replying to Liberty

CoCo1212, so sorry to hear what his addiction has done to your family. I’m guessing you have kids together. My heart goes out to you, it really does. What’s your ex’s attitude to it all now then? Does he candidly open up about his addiction does he realise he’s lost you as a result, does he actively want to go cold turkey by his own willpower?

I haven’t witnessed the comedown from heroine, that’s not my bfs thing and from what I know of how different the experience (crack v smack) is, I’d guess the come down may also be very different.

For my bf, when he’s on the crack his heart pounds, his body gets super hot, ‘party for one’ I call it. He satellites almost straight away, but does that more intensely the deeper into it he gets. If we talk while he’s on it, he’s super attentive, contented and almost level headed to the point of being totally reasonable and open about anything. When he’s not on it, it’s totally the opposite. He’s more aware of what’s around him, he gets impatient, really impatient, sometimes it’s clear he has crack on his mind. To me I think it’s like he’s missing feeling good about himself. The irritability and general unpleasantness lessens when we’re around other people / when he’s properly distracted, but it never subsides for long. Personally, I've always believed it’s as though he can’t naturally experience positive feelings of love, pride, tenderness, romance (all the nice stuff) anymore. either in part or totally, unless he’s on the crack. Like the natural way his brain feels good things is overridden to such a degree and is now so deeply suppressed it’s as synthetic or nothing. My experiences are by no means backed by medical or scientific knowledge, only knowledge of my boyfriend and our relationship.

Aside from the more mental and ‘feelings’ (or lack thereof), side of things. He also gets quite sweaty. Its not massively noticeable for him and doesn’t tend to last that long. That could be just a him thing though, he’s not a sweaty person anyway. When he does sweat, he’ll sweat through his eyes a bit though.

When he does go cold turkey, and he only does this of his own free will, he’ll exercise more, smoke more, it’s also as though life is dull. From what I know of heroine, as it’s a way to numb the body and (I think) slow the heart, I expect the come down will be the opposite of numb, so pain?! This is obviously just a guess, not based on first hand experience. I’m sorry if that’s not all that useful for you.

Either way though, evil is evil. Crack or smack, both are absolutely disgusting and destructive substances. Does it matter which he’s doing, or is it that you just want to catch him out / prove him an addict? And don’t get me wrong, I’ve been that girl, I’m not being judgey. I guess I’m just asking, will it make a difference either way? Xxx

replying to Liberty

No it doesn't matter which he's as you say it's disgusting. He's not open about he goes round the houses about it. But he's never been a talker especially if he's in the wrong. It isn't his choice to come down off it im just refusing to fund it. He's stolen from me and my children in order to fund it.

replying to Liberty

It does sort of like crack with the going hot and the irritatabilty. It's just the pain he says he's in that throws me off.

replying to Liberty

Coco1212, refusing to fund his addiction is a really brave and hard thing to do, but I do believe it’s totally the right thing to do, because unless something changes, he’s always going to need more, and if there’s one thing I do know, for me and my boyfriend, the crack ALWAYS wins. If my boyfriend can’t get it, he’ll ask me for the money. Sometimes he says he needs a top up on food or phone, most of the time we know each other so well, he just asks me direct for the money. I admit on the odd occasion I have given the bare minimum to him, but honestly I’ve given him hell about it, even managed to damage his buzz. Now, on the rare occasion that he needs food and rarer, phone credit, I buy him food and cook it for him, or I’ll transfer him money for credit (it’s always when he’s out) and have him send me the receipt, which he does.

It is hard when they want money, they honestly stop at nothing. Tell them they’re ruining the relationship, explain how, verbally fight them and make them understand how wrong it is, they just never stop. Because the need for it never stops. I think this is how my bf and I are still together. He knows I know. Rarely now he asks me for anything and he knows if he does I’ll either not give it to him, or I’ll damage his buzz. I know how far he’s gone to get what he wants. This is the really nasty side, the area of addiction that needs to be addressed in a better way than how it is. My boyfriend has spent time in prison for shoplifting, which I know he’s done when he really has no other option. He’s been ‘away’ 4 times, they’ve put him on rehabilitation report, and in my view it’s all a useless waste of taxpayer money. He got drugs in prison, he came out in the same position he went in; with a drugs habit. It’s a vicious circle. This is how far he goes when he needs it. Obviously I can’t know your circumstances, they may be very different, but in my experience, it doesn’t matter how many times I say no, or what it’s doing to us/him/his life, the addiction always wins.

Personally, I believe each time my bf tells me he can stop and wants to stop he believes himself that, that’s the case. He never can though. I’ve read examples of how people do overcome the addiction, I consider the options for us and for him. We/he was doing really well before covid, his use was down to an absolute minimum, he was working again, life was getting much better, I don’t know how well and how far that could’ve gone, in terms of overcoming it, because covid hit and we went majorly into reverse. I still have faith that he could eventually have freed himself from the addiction, I still have hope that he will. And these are the two things that keep me going, 1: believing that he does love me, 2: believing that eventually he’ll overcome this addiction and our plans to travel and just live a good life will happen. Lately things have got very very bad again and I’ve questioned these two things again, even realised that their odds of success are slim, but each time we pull together, rekindle our love and get back on the same track.

Coco1212, i hope this helps you, I don’t want to turn you against your ex with any of this real talk. If he is your kids dad and you do want and need to keep him in your life, finding that balance is hard. I know as women it’s not our responsibility to stay, or to help, but it’s never cut and dry and for the most part we do. Sending love and care to you and your family xxx

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