I am new to this message board. However, I don't feel like I am a newcomer when it comes to addiction, how it affects the user or the people whose lives the addict touches.
I apologize ahead of time for this "book" I have written...
I was prompted to seek some advice from people like me who have seen and understand addiction. To give you some background, I have been in a relationship for 4 years with an addict. We have not always had a problem with his addiction, it has only been the last two years, roughly, that we have suffered the most. It was earlier this year, that my partner recieved a rude awakening and was living on the streets for a short period, only to end up in jail. It was then he decided he truly wanted to be sober and, for the first time, sought treatment on his own will. Upon his release from the facility he chose, things were going well for a while, but little by little his recovery fell apart. He ended up slipping a couple times within the few months he has been back home. But more recently, he had a full fledged relapse and went on a binger for a week. He is now in jail again, due to unpaid fines from when he was in jail earlier this year.
Anyhow, some time within this last week, a somewhat mutual friend of ours (more my partner's friend and an aquaintance of mine) claims that my boyfriend broke into his house and stole some of his property. Now, I wouldn't put it past him to do something like that, specifically under the influence, but here is the problem. This "friend" of ours (we'll call him Jake) got ahold of me tonight, looking for my partner. Somehow, what I thought was a simple question and answer turned into a messy argument.. "Jake" basically told me that I am being an idiot by allowing my boyfriend into my life. He told me that our kids (we have one 15 month old boy, and another one coming) are going to have to suffer because of my choosing to be in a relationship with him. He said that my partner is just stupid and selfish and that I am just making up excuses for him, that if he breaks into my house and steals my things, he will just use the "excuse" that "he's an addict."
Here are my thoughts. I attended the family days at the treatment facility with my boyfriend and I have also sought support through Al Anon. What I have learned, and anyone, please correct me if I am wrong, is that addiction is not a choice. Addicts do not use because they are dumb or because they have it out for anyone, it's because they suffer from a disease they cannot control. I know my boyfriend well enough to realize that the person he is while he is using is not the person he is sober. As a man, as a lover or as a father. That being said, his actions while he is under the influence cannot be justified or made right by any "excuse." What I was simply trying to explain to "Jake," is that I have reached a better understanding of addiction. It bothers me when people call my partner stupid. He slacked in his recovery, yes, but does that make him stupid? Does being an addict mean that you are any less intelligent than anyone else? And as far as my children, I feel that they are going to be affected by his addiction whether or not we are in a relationship. I have already set boundaries as far as their safety is concerned, if he is using. I think detaching with love is a wonderful thing and it is a tool that has helped me to cope.
My question is, am I wrong here? Am I crazy for being commited to this person I have been with for 4 years? I visited him in jail today. He has been there for 2 days and his head has cleared. He did a lot of crying and spilled his guts to me about how he has been feeling lately and why he thinks he let his recovery slip. He still stands by his desire to be sober. I feel like his journey for sobriety is still so young. Still, I understand the risk I take by being a relationship with this man. There is no guarantee that he will stay sober. He could relapse when he gets out of jail or he could relapse 10 years down the road. Does this mean I should just completely give up on him? Am I being a bad mother by allowing him into my life, by trying to be supportive of his sobriety? Please, anyone with an opinion or advice, please help!