Advice on recovering addict boyfriend

Hi all,
So let me start off by saying that my boyfriend got home from rehab about 3 weeks ago. He’s about 50 days clean. This was his 100th time in rehab (or so it feels like it) but I had high hopes this time around. He finally connected with a higher power this time and even won awards in rehab for participating in every group and all activities mandatory or otherwise. I am very proud of him. He is home now and continuing going to meetings, found a new job and attends IOP (intensive outpatient) three times a week. Things between us were pretty good the first few days or the first week he’s been back. However, lately there’s been a change. He seems more distant. He has little to no sex drive (which I attributed to the shot of Vivitrol he got on his last day of rehab). He’s much less affectionate and when I bring these things up to him. He tells me it’s because he has to focus on his recovery. I completely understand that his recovery comes first. I take him to some meetings and IOP so I’m doing my part. However, I don’t see how being intimate and affectionate with me has anything to do with his recovery.

I’ve also observed that he seems more motivated to earn money. Which of course is a good thing but let me explain the bad part. He got a new job working for a concrete company. However, on his weekends off (which I asked him to spend with me) he volunteers to work for his dad. This is a problem because he told me that he wouldn’t make a habit of working for his father. His fathers runs a construction company and his shop is in an area that is pretty much the drug capital of the city we live in. It’s where he used to score and use. I explained to him that I don’t like him working for his father for that exact reason. (People places and things right?) Also he pays under the table which makes it hard for me to keep track of how much money he’s ACTUALLY making. Every time i try to talk to him about these issues it somehow becomes a huge argument. It’s only been 3 weeks and I’m not feeling too good about taking him back. On the weekends he’s been staying out passed midnight saying he’s going out with friends from his meeting. He has no time to spend with me and even when he is with me he’s so distant. This is so frustrating. Anyone have any advice? I learned in al anon that when a recovering addict becomes distant it could mean he is thinking of using. Plus this sudden motivation for money also worries me. I’d appreciate any advice.
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  • @bcoleman_01 It could also mean 100 other things. If he's been an addict and been to rehab that many times, and never cared about wealth acquisition before, I'd say something is different this time. It sounds like last time he kept using, so I'd say different is good.
    I only did rehab twice, but the truth is, when it works and when you get something out of it, a rehab facility can be the greatest place on earth. You're around people 24/7 who understand your problem, don't judge you, don't demand anything of you, and just want to see you do well. They don't ask about rent money, or who's turn it is to take out the garbage or where you want to go to eat that night. They are not from the outside world. They are a new, safe insular family in a safe, insular environment. I've heard people say rehab is like being in a foxhole. It doesn't matter who the other people are around you. They understand what you're going through at this very specific point in time because they were there. They understand a piece of you nobody else ever will.
    So then you come out of rehab, knowing that you're a better, healthier person. You've figured stuff out about yourself, are in better physical shape than you've been in a long time and have tools to cope with the world you never knew existed before. And then you go back to the same place and the same people and the same bullshit that was there when you left. It reminds you why you used in the first place. Yes, this is where many people fall off the wagon. I didn't, but I immediate grew resentments at the people and things around me. If I could change and get so much better while I was gone, why couldn't they? And why couldn't they appreciate that I was a changed person. They all treated me the same for the most part...maybe even more like a child than before.
    Money will help make changes in his life and sometimes you just need to change the material and outside things to help keep the changes that are inside from reverting back to the way they were. If he never cared about money before, I repeat that I think it's a good thing he does this time.
    Give him time. Be there for him. Try to support him. He's trying to adjust and be a new person in a world that didn't work out for him in the past.
    He doesn't need the job with his dad to score. He knows a dozen other ways to get drugs. Does his IOP test as part of the program? Most of them do. If he's using, it would turn up in his urine.
  • @bcoleman_01 thanks for reaching out... josh has given some excellent insight... he is focused on him and his recovery and his life.. he NEEDS to be... he needs you to focus on you....your emotional issues, and your life. for now... he needs you to be secure and if affection isn't in the cards right now, don't take it personal.

    you may be too concerned and too focused on him... and he feels it. and it might push him away... you might not have to say one word, but he can feel the energy. the resentment. the insecurity. the skepticism.

    i'd get myself into my own recovery... pronto. loved ones of addicts need some help sometimes too...and habits that you've learned need to be unlearned.

    I’ve found a wonderful resource called Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) that helps loved ones of addicts by using a positive, relationship-based approach. Helps me learn how to stay in a relationship with my loved one without losing my sanity or peace or enabling their addiction. It helps me learn to set new boundaries and communication in ways that foster empathy and healing. It teaches me that I don’t have any control over my loved one’s addiction, but I can influence change in my relationship with my loved one.


    There’s also a 20 minute online guide (free) for parents and partners of addicts:

    i get it. it's scary. you want him to stay clean...and things to be good with ya'll. this recovery thing is a process and might be a life-long recovery for him... hold some space for him to figure himself out right now...even after the hundredth rehab stay... instead of living in fear, maybe change your habitual thinking to positive scenarios... even after all that has happened. you'll feel better... and he'll feel the change.

  • Dominica and Josh, thank you guys so much for the advice! I think you’re right I am too focused on him. I’m going to take a step back and just continue to focus on school/work, family and friends. I do tend to be an overthinker and because of my anxiety it tends to be more negative thoughts. I’m going to focus more on the positive. And Yes Josh his IOP and probation officer do test him weekly. So he’s clean and going to meetings everyday. I really am so proud of him! Like I said, sometimes my own anxiety makes me think there’s a problem when there’s not. I will continue working on myself as he is doing for himself. Thank you guys so much! I really appreciate it!
  • @dominica I do already have that book, it’s next on my reading list!
  • @bcoleman_01 great to hear!!! glad you will be making some solid changes... i think you'll feel so much better... here is an opportunity for you to grow and learn valuable lessons!

    when that anxiety rises for me... i now tend to sit with myself and ask myself what's going on... usually, for me it would be something like fear of being abandoned... my partner feels distant, therefore, my partner is up to something, therefore, i'm screwed, therefore, i'm going to be abandoned, alone, and die a miserable, lonely woman...

    haha that's how the thought track can go, and i have to reel it back and track my thoughts...and adjust as necessary...

  • @bcoleman_01... You've already gotten some great insight and advice from @JoshuaShea and @dominica. I echo all that they've said. And I definitely think taking a step back is a good idea. Just try to let go a little bit and don't focus so much on every little aspect of his life. Like trying to keep track of how much money he's actually making. You don't have to track that. Instead, concentrate on YOU, because you're the only person you can control. And you should be doing things to help yourself stay happy and healthy, both physically and emotionally.

    Sending you lots of positive energy and keeping you and your boyfriend in my thoughts and prayers. By the way, 50 days clean is fabulous. Be grateful for that. And know that we're here for you anytime you need help or support, so don't hesitate to reach out, okay?
  • So he’s decided to move into a halfway house. I am proud of him for being so committed to his recovery. But I can’t shake this anxiety. He hasn’t even left yet and I miss him already. I know this is something he feels he has to do and I hate that I feel like I’m being left behind. I’m getting the sense there’s no more room for me in his new sober life and it breaks my heart. It’s so bittersweet. I wish I could feel pure joy about the situation but I know when he leaves I’m barely going to see and speak to him. This is really hard for me emotionally :( I’m very proud of him and told him that although I don’t want him to leave, I support whatever he thinks is best for his sobriety. It’s just so hard.
  • @bcoleman_01 I feel like you should take this time for YOU. To focus on you and your feelings and your health. I totally get the anxiety and the living your life around someone with an addiction. Perhaps you can take this time to take your life back while he is doing what is best for him at this stage in his life. It sounds like he is very determined to continue his recovery and that's a great thing, but for those of us in relationships with addicts it's hard to move past that feeling that we NEED to over analyze every single thing that they say or do. I've done it numerous times.... the anxiety and stress are very real and they will rule your life if you are not careful.
  • @bcoleman_01... I know you're feeling anxious and maybe even a little confused, but the fact that he's going to a halfway house is a good thing. It will help him keep on the right path and build a solid foundation for his recovery going forward.

    @Drained1 is absolutely right: You should take this time for YOU. When people we love are working on their recovery, we need to work on our OWN recovery. Because a loved one's addiction affects us tremendously, too.

    If you haven't got a copy of the Beyond Addiction book that was recommended to you earlier in this thread, by all means get one and read it. One of the best things about that book is the focus it puts on self-care. I think it would really help you to read it.

    We're here for you, my friend. So don't hesitate to lean on us or bounce things off us whenever you feel the need.

    Remember: YOUR life matters, too!

    Big hugs coming your way.
  • Update: So he’s moved into the halfway house and I had asked him what that means for us. I asked him if he still wants a relationship with me and he replied “I don’t know” I’ve stood by this mans side for over two years through all the bullshit his addiction has put us through and for him to “not know” if he wants to be with me.... I’m just done. I’m a good woman and I was really good to him and if he doesn’t see the value I’m having me by his side than there isn’t much left for me to do. Maybe he was just using me the whole time he was getting high and now that he’s clean he doesn’t need/want me anymore. Anyway, I’ve cried enough tears over this man. I’m moving on with my life. Thank you guys for all of your help I really appreciate it.

    Looking back I was definitely codependent so if you have any advice on how to get over a codependent-addict relationship I’d love to hear!
  • @bcoleman_01 ah, i'm sorry you're going through this. you are a good woman and you did stick by him.... it's tough to know why he feels this way. he's got a lot he's working on, i'm sure.... try not to figure it out or you might drive yourself crazy.

    codependency... there's some great info online... articles, blogs, youtube videos... if you can get to a counselor, that might help too... codependents anonymous... i was codependent is a relationship years ago... it took a journey of digging deep to begin dealing with my emotional stuff... but good news is you can learn, grow, heal, and attract a healthier relationship next time :)

    hope you'll stick around here... we are here if you need!
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