This is a story of a different experience of addiction, his addiction that became our addiction. Fortunately, I am not an addict or an alcoholic. I am considered by most to be a “good girl,” raised with values and morals in my very close family in the Philippines. I was the baby of four sisters and when I finally made it to America at age fifteen. It was here in the States that I met the love of my life, Joey, who suffers from the powerful disease of addiction.
I’m calling this second-hand addiction because I am dating someone that can lose all control of himself, becoming a slave to his addiction and whatever drug or substance he chooses. I am sharing my story in hopes that it touches someone and helps them through a similar situation. Let it be known that my knowledge of this subject comes from my boyfriend, and some of the people I’ve met over the years that are in recovery.
An Ironic First Connection
Joey and I linked up on the internet and began speaking to eachother in March of 2016. Ironically, both of us had recently moved to Florida from Ohio. Over the next month or two we covered a lot of information and grew close. Sometimes we talked to eachother for three to five hours straight. At that time, he was living at a court-mandated, dual-diagnosis program and could not leave the grounds during the week.
He was very open about his legal issues as well as his addiction when we spoke. I will always respect him for his honesty in the beginning. He made it comfortable for the two of us and we quickly opened up to eachother over our long and interesting conversations. When we finally got the chance to meet in person, it felt magical. He found his exotic woman with a foreign accent and I found my handsome and kind man that I always wanted. Of course we were attracted to eachother physically, but it was way more than that already and became a lot more than either one of us anticipated!
Our Differences Created Chemistry Between Us
Things began to heat up quick for us. He was finishing up a year-long program which was court-ordered, coupled with probation. His past almost drew me away at first, but we seemed to just click in many ways despite having major differences in our past. I had to stick around and see where this road could lead.
I spoke with an accent, and he is a country boy from the middle of Ohio. I had four sisters – he had three brothers. Catching on, yet? Continuing on that pattern – my parents were divorced, while his are still married. He graduated college in Ohio. I never took that step because I always felt I wasn’t cut out for it. He lost his brother and a great career job to an addiction to Oxycodone, an opioid pain medication combined with Xanax, a strong benzodiazepine prescribed for anxiety.
I could not begin to understand those experiences he went through, as I never put myself in those positions. As you can see, opposites do attract because despite our many differences, I saw in him a good man who thought the world of me. Maybe this was the prince charming I had dreamed about.
Living Together Became Challenging
It was when we moved in together in my tiny studio apartment that our relationship began to really be tested for its strength. Eight months in that small, efficiency apartment was probably seven more months than expected.
P.S. Efficiency apartments are not meant for two people that are just starting a relationship!
However, our relationship was far from ordinary so we knew we could make it work somehow.
Living almost on top of each other was hard, even if we did not feel it at times. You may be thinking, “at least she got a breather for 8 hours a day when he worked.” Well… think again! He worked from home! Instead, we were spending nearly every waking moment together in our apartment and really couldn’t afford the prices in our exclusive beachside tourist area. Soon enough I became aware of his behavior changes. He was fueling his addiction more and more each day.
His Addiction was Ruining My Life
I loved this man, but I began to have my doubts about whether or not we could last together. Because at that point drugs were taking over his life and my life changed as a result. It was very hard to overcome… the constant guessing if he was or wasn’t using, worrying about him losing his job, etc. There were just too many questions in my head that came directly from the power and confusion that addiction creates.
When I mentioned it was taking over my life, I was referring to all my thoughts and concerns about him, about his addiction. I was literally losing sleep at night. I began to feel that hopeless and helpless feeling, my rock-bottom with a situation that was spiraling beyond our control. He was changing, and all I could do was be there for him. I knew that underneath this ugly face of addiction, was the man i fell in love with.
Facing Consequences Together
Our living situation was interrupted by a business venture followed by a prison sentence of about 8 months. At this point I began to realize the consequences of his drug addiction were becoming more severe. This time, a positive urinalysis put him in violation of his probation. Now my soul-mate was in prison, and his family and I were in fear that he would not make it back.
We spent the first 2 years of our relationship dealing with the consequences of his disease of addiction. His disease seemed to be progressing through different phases or drug(s) of choice. The latest drug of choice was methamphetamine, which was very scary to deal with. It also messed him up physically, both inside and out.
As a couple, and with our family’s support, we found our way together and fought through that storm. The prison sentence was over fast it felt like, but its effects were deep. It was definitely challenging and upsetting, causing me to have to grow for him and myself. His mother and I talked daily. Sometimes I needed her, and other times it was her who needed me. We both really missed him and worried about him every day.
When he got out and finished his sentence, I thought the worst of the storm had passed. Unfortunately, we were far from being out of the woods. Those next few months he was up and down, which was very challenging on our relationship. However, my boyfriend is still by my side today and is recovering well, as am I.
Recovery Revived Our Relationship
He has been through the 12-step program at Serenity Springs and still keeps in touch with many of the alumni and staff. This reminds Joey to continue to help himself heal and get his life back on track along with helping others where he can. Not only has Joey learned to live without drugs and alcohol, but he has peace of mind now. He is also very proud of the person he has become and our relationship.
We have made it through a lot as a couple in a short period of time. I know that we will continue to grow and mature together, learning from our mistakes and shortcomings along the way. Love seemed to keep us together, and together, we will recover from his addiction, one day at a time. Thankfully, we will be able to get through the tough times without the added stress that this disease brings to the table!