overwhelmed: uncertain with everything and everyone

Hello everyone,


I’m new to this entire experience, even though I do have a family member who has been an addict for many years, and still is, but was protected from it by mom for most of my life.  This situation touches home for a fair of people who are closely associated with what I am going through.


I am currently in a relationship with a guy who finished rehab in late January of 2017, so he has been clean for about 6 months, but relapsed a few weeks ago (We have been dating since late April of 2017.)  He has done it a few times, from what he has told me, and two times were in front of me.  He was not violent or anything, just quiet and lolled back and forth.  From the first time we met he was very open about how he use to be a drug addict, and since that time he has been very open and honest with me about parts of his past and when he would use.


In about the past week he has texted me saying that he is clean, is determined to stay clean, has quit smoking, and has found something else that helps with shoulder pain and gut issues, which he has had for awhile.  I researched what he told me, and what he is taking is completely clean.     


I was suppose to be moving down to a city on August 17, where he was and to a city that I love, it’s a place that really has become like a second home.  I really struggled to tell my parents that I made the decision to move down there, and I finally did, and when I did I felt so happy, and excited, and confident in myself, and that I made step forward not only with my life, but also with myself. This decision happened sometime in July. Before that decision it was unclear to both of us if I was going to go back to the city or not or that things were going to work out.  I then went down to the city to find an apartment and I did and bought some furniture and some kitchen stuff and things were in motion and decided.  However, about 4-5 days ago, I told my best friend that my boyfriend relapsed.  She talked to me asked if she could talk to my mom to try and have my mom understand things from my view and I said yes, but don’t tell her that he relapsed.  She did, and now everything has become complete chaos. So now I feel that things are back to square one with everything and am unsure if I am going to move to that city or not.   Now my parents and the people who are directly associated with this are extremely worried for me. 


It has gotten to a point where I have felt so overwhelmed by everyone, that all I hear are their voices and not my own, and that I can’t hear my own and I have felt so dwindled, and that I have begun to question what they really think of people and how it’s contradictory to the way I was raised (which seems to be me being naive about the realities of the world) to a point where I had to get out of the house and stayed a hotel for about 2 days. I have also started seeing a counselor to try and find my own voice again and to figure out why I want to be with someone like my boyfriend and why I am not reacting in the way I guess most people would.  I have texted my boyfriend about what is up and everything has been completely open, and yes discussions did get heated on both ends and there were times where it felt like he was making me feel guilty for the way I was feeling, I told him that and he apologized for it.  Overtime the discussions have calmed down overall, with still some tension is some of it, to just how was your day.  He has given me the space I have asked for and has asked what he could do to help.  Essentially the conversations entail him feeling that now everyone associated with this, is attacking him and rubbing things in his face, and that all they are going to see is the negative and none of his good qualities.  And I have found myself second guessing my boyfriend, because of everything that everyone is saying, and not because he has given me any reason to.    


I am an extreme empath, so I am feeling the emotions of about 8 people who I hold dearly to me.  I am tying so hard not to pull away and run from this because when I get overwhelmed or feel like people are attacking me based on who I am I shut down and run.  I feel so guilty and horrible for putting everyone through this pain, and I am trying to not make a decision based on other people, because I know it would calm everyone down if I chose to end things, but  that would be based on not wanting them to hurt anymore, and not on what I want, which I am still figuring out.  I have also started doing research on living with addict, which is how I found this place. And much of what I have read is love and support, but doing it in a healthy way, meaning not condoning it, and felt like I have done that, but now again with what my parents are saying, is contradicting that.    



Sorry for such long the message.  Really just looking for advice, or opinions or really anything I suppose.  Feel free to ask any questions you have and I will answer as another way to work through this.


Thank you!

  • 35 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • @LaNote hello and welcome. thanks for sharing... i'm sure your family and friends just want the best for you and may be aware that being with a recovering addict (so new in recovery)...can bring on some issues...and relapsing is common in early recovery, so that's not a given that he'll keep relapsing, but one never knows... so they may want to spare you some pain.

    yes, you need to make your decision based on what you want.

    i always tell my kids, who are young adults "what you want matters"...

    at the same time, i always share with them the truth. and my perspective...and advice and i tell them "take it or leave it..." but i do share... b/c most parents CAN offer their kids some sound advice...(because most of us have been there...and learned valuable lessons)

    at the same time...it's your journey... to learn your lessons.... 

    glad you are going to counseling. keep it up!!

    maybe try not to think of it as a right vs wrong... but all as an experience... i get being an empath... super challenging to even think about conflict or displeasing others... BUT...part of your life lessons will involve finding your voice...and speaking your truth... learning how to set and keep boundaries based on what you want, and not taking it personal when others disagree.... not easy, but possible over time!

    hope that helps. i learned a lot through codependent's anonymous and narcotics anonymous support groups....can always look there too for some support.

    this is a great forum! we are here for you anytime!
  • Thank you so much for your response. It's an experience that my parents and friends don't want me to have, because of what they have experienced.  Because of what they have experienced, mainly my mom, is going to the worst possible conclusions of what living with addict can be like, and will be like.   My parents also think that he might be emotionally manipulative.  He has had bad moral judgement in the past when he was deep into it, but i don't really know what to think of that now in terms of happening again. My mom, again, thinks that, that is something that really isn't the drugs, but is something that is more deep down. With my boyfriend and I texting back and forth, yes I can see how that is seen, but I really can't tell if it's manipulation or if it's just feeling hurt and frustrated by me saying i'm unsure, to yes i'm sure, to now i'm unsure again.  

    He asked if he is still in my plan, and i said yes just needing some time finish working through things, and asked the same of him and he said yes he just wants me to make an official decision. 

    Do you have any ideas on why I really didn't have red flags or felt the way I guess most people would of, if they were told that person use to be an addict?
  • He also wants to know a time frame, so that he' s not just dangling in the air with uncertainty. I've said I  still want this, but need to finish working through things before officially deciding and moving.  He thinks that it's great that I am doing that, but he doesn't have that luxury to just take off and work through things, that for him it has to be a little bit every day. Thoughts?
  • @LaNote  as far as the red flags...if you've never been with an addict or recovering addict, you may not pick up red flags.... this happened to me before... i didn't know much about addiction back then...and ended up dating someone in recovery....they had about 18 months clean... nice enough, but the relationship was toxic from the start... but see, i was not emotionally mature enough to get out.... so i latched on and was in this toxic relationship for six years, and was miserable... there was no relapse, but the behavior...ugh. selfishness, emotional immaturity, no conflict resolution skills, and still addictive tendencies. 

    so, maybe this guy is really trying. he might be! but it's never easy to know what will happen...with him or any man for that matter. relationships can be tough regardless, but addiction can certainly be tougher.

    6 months is not a long time to have clean....and a relapse is a red flag for sure.... i hope other recovering addicts will pipe in here on this topic for you....  

    does he have a support network? or is he trying to stay clean solo? i would consider that... those with a support network tend to fair better over time.

    take your time... he is alright for wanting a time frame... you don't have to know for sure, but pray about it. if you were my daughter, i'd say give him  a year to work on him and his recovery.... a recent relapse...that would concern me... not sure your age...or your focus (school, work, etc.)  

    not sure what drug he was using.... that can make a difference. pot is much easier to give up than say, crack... 

    hope to hear back!
  • He has been working on getting clean by himself, and has said he is and has no interest in it again.  He did tell me that he said he needs help, and that he needs some of his friends, his sister and me to help him through it.  He doesn't want to tell his parents, though about it, because he doesn't want to hurt them.  He has said he is going to support meetings sometimes by himself and sometimes with a friend  who is going through the same thing. 

    I just know he was on opioids and heroin and relapsed onto heroin.    
  • @LaNote  i agree he needs support...but oftentimes it's not enough just to have a friend or partner help.... oftentimes addicts need professional help...and/or support group... heroin is not easy to stay away from...
    esp on your own... 

    yes, i'd be careful... for sure, if it were me... but only b/c i know quite a bit about addiction...and have seen far too many people get hurt on the opposite side of the recovering addict...

    can he get and stay clean? sure... but just no guarantee...(with anyone, really)

    is this something you want to be concerned with for long term? are you able to be with a recovering heroin addict and not worry? some important questions.  

    one thing is for sure...if you stay with him, you'll be alright whether it works out or not... always opportunity to learn from relationships.. :) 
  • Dear LaNote,
    From my own experience in recovery, major changes of any kind are frowned upon during the first year of recovery. The brain fog is still clearing. I appreciate that you want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but with a recent relapse it sounds like he's in need of a stronger program and support network. Alanon meetings would probably really help you, both with unconditional love, and speaking the truth with love by sharing their own experiences. In alanon you will get program of your own! :). You'll learn not only how to care for yourself when you're in a relationship with an addict, but also do what you can to encourage him to remain clean and sober. Addicts can change; but it takes work and he has to be willing to put in the work. Proceed with caution sweet lady, in the interest of all concerned. I wish you the best of luck and hope you let us know how this all goes.
  • @LaNote... Welcome, my dear. I'm glad you reached out. 

    I think @dominica and @Seekserenity have already given you some excellent opinions. I think the decision is only yours to make, but I do agree that you should proceed with caution. I also suggest going to Al-Anon meetings, because self-care is absolutely essential when you're dealing with a loved one's addiction.

    If you feel like reading, I highly recommend a book called Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change. It's written specifically for partners and parents of people struggling with addiction and it's chock full of incredibly helpful information. The paperback version is only about seven bucks on Amazon and I think it would probably be the best seven bucks you've spent in a long time.

    Reach out and lean on us anytime, okay? We're here for help, support, advice, or just to listen. You are not alone. We truly care.

    Sending you tons of positive energy and hope. 
  • Thank you, everyone for your support and opinions.  I appreciate it.
  • @LaNote you are quite welcome. we are here for you!
  • Anytime, @LaNote. We care and are here for you whenever you need us. :)
  • How do you know if you are being manipulated or not?
  • @LaNote  that's a good question. it may be tough to know. without knowing the person or the situation, it's tough to say.... 
  • I don't think there's an answer to your question, @LaNote. I think it's just something you feel deep down inside. I just know that people who struggle with addiction are incredibly good at manipulation. It's a symptom of the disease, for sure.

    Big hugs going out to you.
  • @LaNote,

    Totally agree with @dominica and @Serenity on this  - a person shouldn't take any major steps towards change after a tough situation in their life.The wise and responsible thing to do is not to want to drag another person into your own problematic life unless time has shown you are really strong enough to resist the addiction.

    I'd say if somebody is too pushy for you to make a decision,it's a red flag,for sure.Some time away from each other won't change his feelings if he is serious about your relationship.Maybe take some time to calm things down and see how determined he is about his recovery.Don't feel pressed that you have to decide on the spot,right away. Maybe you could ask him about his previous relapses,see what he says about it .Maybe he has a tendency to stay clear while single and the relapse happens as a result of or while he is in a relationship?Have you discussed this openly?

     It's advisable to wait at least  a year before you make any decisions about your life after you have struggled with some kind of addiction or another personal issue,professionals say.If I had known this some years ago,I wouldn't have taken out a huge loan which I have to re-pay for quite a long time.I was in a state of an  emotional turmoil after a separation with my son's father, he left me with no money to support me and my child and in debt.I could have done something different with the loan,though,like trying to set my own business etc,basically do something meaningful.I wasn't thinking straight back then .I really wish somebody had told me this at the time but,unfortunately...Hope this helps:)

  • @Seekserenity,

    I did it again !Sorry ,I misspelt your nickname.I apologize :)

    Why do I keep doing this,I really need to pay more attention to the correct nicknames of the members of the support group.It's disrespectful to people!

  • @LaNote... How are you doing, my friend? If you have a spare moment, check in with us, okay?
  • things are less intense.  I have been going to counseling, but it really has been about figuring myself out, looking at how to change my relationship with my mom in a good way (adult to adult, instead of kid to adult).  Also looking into the past, and realizing the things that are happening now, have been building up for many years. Also, just with how I act or react to things, might have something do with my upbringing.  With how things were said, made me feel like some things were my fault, or guilt tripping, or manipulation, etc., even though that was not my moms intent and I know that, but i was raised to not talk and anything that felt like it went against the grain, was back talk.  It's just hard to change that mind set, because that's what i grew up with and so to me it's "normal" to just take it. 

    Still talking and dating my boyfriend.  We had a good long talk a couple days ago.  He is sad, doesn't like his life, just want's to pick up and leave the place that has had a lot of negative memories and energy (doesn't have the means to do so though) as a way to get a new start, new slate, and that he says he needs help and counseling, but doesn't have the financial means right now.  He said talking to me helped. He just feels at rock bottom, with basically everything.   
  • @LaNote ;
    Thank you for sharing. I'm glad to hear that things are less intense, and that you are working on yourself . maybe your boyfriend will be able to gather the funds necessary to relocate if that's what he really wants. He may be able to find some sort of free counseling in his community. He could call the Social Services Agency and ask around. There may be support groups. There's also many great books and videos that can help him... 

    We are here for you and believing the best for you and your boyfriend.
  • @LaNote... Thanks for the update, my friend. Less intense is good. It's also terrific that you're in counseling and trying to figure yourself out. Therapy helped me so much when I was struggling a few years ago. 

    I'm glad you're communicating with your boyfriend, too. In time, maybe you will both find the things you really want. Keep moving forward, be brave, and keep the faith. And know that we are here to help and support both of you anytime you need us.
  • So, I ended things with my boyfriend and I few days ago. His mom called asking if he relapsed and i said, and she said other things the two that stood out to me was, 1) he's not going to change we've been dealing with this for 12yrs and he's been through 4 rehab facilities , and 2) is that he does love you and care for you so deeply, but he's taken so many drugs that his brain doesn't respond or think the same way it use to and that includes love; and he does have a good heart way down, but he's just not really good boyfriend/ relationship material. She said they are going to try and convince him to go to rehab facilities and counseling.  Still communicating with him, because he just started counseling and I want to be there to support him and to encourage him. Also because that was one of things his mom said, and that I could try and do, encouragement instead of making things sound like he needs fixing, which i didn't think i ever portrayed that but maybe I have.  He has asked my on advice on how to ask for help and i gave it to him and he has taken action.  Now, though he feels alone, like i bailed on him, just like everyone else, and that he wants a partner.  Even though I'm telling him I'm still there for him and that there is more than one way  to be there for someone.    

    Ps. he said he still wants to talk and be in each others lives

    I guess I'm asking for advice on what to do or anything you guys can give advice or opinion on. 

    I came back from Savannah a few days ago, before ending things happened, and he was still doing drugs and deals with me there even after everything that has happened. I have said in the past like at least once, not enough times, that i didn't like him doing heroin and that i didn't like seeing the way he looked when did.( he looks like a sweating corpse). i was open about feeling uncomfortable and frustrated with it and that i didn't like it, granted i did say this about the second to last day of me being there.  
  • @LaNote... My opinion is to stay friends with him and be there to help and support him in his recovery, if he chooses to go that route. But I wouldn't be in a relationship with him. At least not now. That said, I am not the best person in the world when it comes to giving relationship advice. Perhaps someone with more knowledge in this area, like @dominica, can weigh in.

    I'm sending you lots of love, light, and hugs.
  • I would only be able to help him from distance, since  I don't live in Savannah and he does.  I've said I'm still here for him, but I'm not sure how much he believes it, I think he knows what I'm saying is true, he's just hurting..like I am. I think I might be one of the few people, outside his family, who truly care for him.  I'm just saying that from observation of people we've hung out with and things he has said about other friends, who really don't sound like friends. Most of the people he still interacts with are still drug addicts or deal drugs, I think he still hangs out with those people because of easy access and fear of being alone and it's temporary feeling of hey look i'm being social and know people.  He mentioned many times that he is afraid of being alone and dying alone, not having a partner and a family one day. Just from observing things  and gut feelings, I think he is afraid of a lot of things, he just doesn't know what or just ignores facing them..he also doesn't know how to handle stress or bumps in the road all to well.  I gave him some tactics that help me, and he says it helps him sometimes. So...yea. 

    A part of me wants to be down there in person to help.
  • @LaNote... I understand why a part of you might want to be where he is so you can help in person. I'm just not sure that you can offer much more in person than you can from a distance. And I would worry that going to Savannah to be close to him might allow him to manipulate you. But, of course, that decision is yours. Just like the decision to get help for his problem is ultimately his.

    We are here for you, so feel free to lean on us anytime.
  • Part of what is so hard, is that he is everything I want in a partner, the only negative ( i guess) is that he's a drug addict/ recoverying addict.
  • Understood, @LaNote. Except that one negative is a pretty big one. I'm not saying he can't overcome it, get clean, and live a sober life. But you may want to make sure he makes a commitment to that before you make a commitment to him. I know it's not easy. But sometimes you just have to trust the process.

    Big hugs coming your way.
  • yeah.  

    We're still talking, sometimes it sounds more like we're still dating.  Most of the conversation is fine and typical, asking how he is, his day etc., then sometimes it get's turned into him asking if I am going to move down to where he lives and when  i answer idk, or idk how things are going to work out, he gets frustrated (understandable) and it feels like he blames me for most things, without him actually "i blame you", and that i'm being selfish and all i think about is myself, and that i don't feel frustrated, hurt or angry, like he is, even when i say i do he doesn't believe it. 

    We've talked about how we feel, more him than me, but lately i have been more open and saying what's on my mind and saying what my emotions are right in the moment; learning that from counseling.  When i do say what i feel, sometimes i receive, I understand, or that he supports me for saying what's up, then almost right after he says he's frustrated then hangs up.  He doesn't do it all the time, but a lot.

  • @LaNote ;Hey there! I think that's great that you are saying how you feel and what you want and need. That's very helpful in a relationship. Not every person likes that though, especially if that's something new. Proud of you though for your growth!
  • @LaNote... I'm sorry that your boyfriend is blaming you for things. Unfortunately, addicts like to do that. It's part of the disease. But I'm really happy that you're learning to speak up honestly about how you feel. It sounds like counseling is teaching you some valuable tools, and that's awesome!

    Keep working at it. You are becoming a stronger person, and that's a wonderful thing! :)  
  • @LaNote hey there! how are you doing?? just thinking about you and wondering....
  • Thinking of you today, @LaNote. Remember that we're here for you if you need us.
  • @LaNote hey you! just thinking of you and hoping you are doing alright! We are here if you need!
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