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A history of addiction


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I've been single for a while. Recently, I met someone who I clicked with. We talk for hours, and I look forward to our conversations. It feels like the beginning of love. I haven't felt this way about someone in a long time.

Recently he opened up and shared that he has a history of addiction, although he says he has been clean for five years.

Suddenly I am scared.

I grew up as the child of addicts. After watching my father go through a cycle of relapse and recovery until his addiction finally killed him when I was a teenager, my mother went on to date one recovering addict after another. Even though they said they were clean, they were lying to her, they were stealing from us, and abusing behind our backs. It was a life of constantly watching your back, and never trusting anything anyone said.

It was hell and I was glad to leave it behind.

I vowed that as long as I had a say in my life, I would never be involved in that world again.


Things I've learned from my childhood;

-Addicts are liars. Even though they love you, they will still lie to feed their addiction

-Addicts will steal from people they deeply care about, even if part of them doesn't want to hurt you

-Recovering addicts are still addicts. Relapse is part of recovery. Even someone who is clean still needs to work VERY hard at staying that way. Even though addiction is managed, it never goes away

-Addictions costs all the money and sanity and everything else you have


I am glad that he felt that he could share this with me, but now I don't know if it is worth it for me to continue to get closer to him.

I have never met a "success story" Even the people in my life that have decided to get clean have been battling relapses for years, and are in and out or rehab. They build their lives up and knock them down again like a house of cards.

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Things I've learned from having a brother addicted to cocaine, and a friend for over 20 years addicted to heroine:

If people want to change...they can.


My brother has been clean for over 10 years, and has never looked back. Living a life he loves and greatly. Same with my friend, clean for 5 years, and great business owner and father.


Lesson here...you are not your mom, so don't believe you would pick someone like your mom.

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People with childhoods that have this type of things involved tend to end up involved in that 'world' again. It's kind of like an attraction. I tell you this because my father was an alcoholic and he died because of it young too (cirrhosis). My siblings and I had a traumatic childhood for it and I vowed to never marry a man like that, or even be friends with them but as a teenager, I kept getting attracted to these type of guys. I even became involved in that stuff too, though I escaped soon enough.


There's no empirical evidence of this attraction but it's just something that I've observed in other people as well. Sometimes, I guess, we like to victimize ourselves without even being aware of it. It's good that you're aware of this, so if you have a gut-feeling that you're getting too close, then avoid it.


People can relapse even after 10 years so the 5 year things means nothing.




I do believe people can change because I've seen people do it but it's difficult to tell who's the ones that are gonna stay in control of their lives and which ones aren't.

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I don't believe relapse is a part of recovery at all. I've been off of drugs since I was 16, and every time I was in an AA/NA meeting and someone relapsed, and said it was just apart of their recovery, I felt as though they couldn't just accept responsibility.


Of course I understand your hesitation, or nervousness, but keep in mind some recovering addicts really do succeed.

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I faced the same issue about 6 years ago and he'd been clean for a few years. It made me really nervous (he was active in AA too). I also felt that his affect was kind of "flat" and he described how animated (and often how obnoxious) he had been when he was using. I decided not to date him after a few dates.

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I know many former addicts who have been clean for a very long time, including myself, so I strongly disagree with your assessment of "once an addict, always an addict". I do understand, however, that your experiences with your parents have shaped you differently, so I would recommend you not get involved with someone who's ever had a problem with substance abuse, as it will only be a constant trigger for you.

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See, I've known people that had been clean for years, and by all accounts had their lives together, they had nice homes, nice families, nice jobs, and were making it alright, then something snapped (a death in the family, getting laid off, and in one case there was no obvious trigger) and they were back on rock bottom again. Wouldn't have been so sad if there weren't other innocent people that got hurt in their downfall.

I'm so worried that it's never really over. One of the people I knew that did this was 7 years sober before hitting the rock again.

My past experiences make me weary. I don't know if that's just my bad luck, or if it's a real representation of reality.

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I lurk here often, but I registered today specifically to reply to your post. My mom is a "recovering" addict. She met a man in NA and married him. She's been clean for almost 5 years and he had been clean for 9. Last December, he relapsed...he went NINE years without using and just randomly started back. Since December there has been nothing but lies and using. And I love him, but it has been hell on my mom and even myself. As someone who grew up with an addict for a mother (she used for 20 years before even attempting to get help) I can completely understand your apprehension. And seeing someone (my stepfather) who was so strong in their recovery slip up and start using and lying all over again, I just don't trust anyone who says they're clean. It isn't really fair, but that's how it is. I would never be able to date someone who had a history of addiction. Like someone else said, it would be a trigger for me. And I could never really trust them and that is just putting the relationship at a huge disadvantage from the get go.

It's sad because you seem to really care for him, but past addiction would be a big deal for anyone...especially for someone who grew up in it.

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