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Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / Anybody else supporting a partner with an addiction?

Topic: Anybody else supporting a partner with an addiction?

6 posts, 0 answered
  1. Violet12
    Violet12 avatar
    25 posts
    17 October 2021

    My partner has adhd, undiagnosed and unmedicated until we can get in to see someone (state of the country right now, huge waitlist). This is a big part of his depression which is pretty severe. He also occasionally struggles with anxiety.

    A few months ago he began using cannabis as a way to help him relax late at night, just in small amounts. Pretty quickly it became a coping method for all of the discomfort that comes along with his adhd and depression. Now he uses it every day, for most of the day. It costs hundreds and hundreds per month. He has tried to quit once before but didn't get past the first day. He's tried to quit again this week, on day 2 now and he's planning on getting more.

    He initially wanted to quit because of the money, but also acknowledged that it made him feel anxious a lot of the time, and made his motivation issues a lot worse. But when he's sober, he says that those things are better than the feelings he lives with from adhd and depression. He said that he'll stop when he can get medication for his adhd, but until then he thinks this is the only way he can get relief.

    Honestly, part of me thinks he might be right. When he's high, it's the most relaxed and present I've seen him in almost 3 years. I was actually relieved when he started using it for this reason, because he cannot relax or self-soothe. But I also know that he feels bad about using it because of the stigma, the money, and because he knows that it's not a coping method and he's become completely dependent on it.

    Hopefully he'll receive diagnosis and medication for his adhd by January at the latest... Should I just let him deal with his issues how he chooses to in the meantime? I'm joined up with some codependency support groups, & some people there have said that it's not my place or my responsibility or in my power to tell him what to do. And honestly, he doesn't do anything I suggest anyway - the only time he ever makes changes is when he decides to. So... Should I just be here for him, support him when he inevitably tries to quit and relapses over the next few months, and wait to see what happens with his potential diagnosis?

  2. Learn to Fly
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    Learn to Fly avatar
    342 posts
    17 October 2021 in reply to Violet12

    Hi Violet12

    A very warm welcome to the forum and thank you for reaching out and sharing your story. I am sorry to hear about what you and your partner have been going through. It seems like both of you are working very hard to try to find ways of dealing with the situation. Your partner’s realisation of his addiction and that it leads him nowhere is a very important step. However, whatever comes next is unfortunately dependent entirely on him. As you said, you can try to support and encourage him, love him and be for him if needed but he will not quit unless he decides to quit. At the end of the day, nobody is going to do it for him as it is him and him alone who has to decide if to quit. This can be very, very difficult for people like yourself as you love your partner deeply. It’ll be a difficult decision for him to quit and it’ll be a difficult thing for you to accept that a lot of things that involve your partner are out of your hands and control. In both cases: all is easier being said than done.
    You mentioned you had been in touch with people in similar situations and I am so sorry I cannot give you some better or more uplifting answers than them.

    I am here for you if you feel like chatting more. Also, if you ever feel you would like to talk the things through our Counsellors at Beyond Blue are always of an amazing assistance.

    Last but not least, I hope that you will not forget about yourself. Take a good care there.

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Violet12
    Violet12 avatar
    25 posts
    17 October 2021 in reply to Learn to Fly

    This was really touching. Thank you, I appreciate your thoughtfulness and wisdom so much.

    It's extremely hard, but I know that you're right. It actually makes me feel better to hear it from somebody else, because now I feel like it's easier for me to not feel responsible or like I'm failing somehow. It is ultimately his journey, I'm just on the sidelines, and I do need to take care of myself before anything.

    Thank you so much for the gentle validation and support <3

  4. Positive_vibes89
    Community Champion
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    Positive_vibes89  avatar
    137 posts
    19 October 2021 in reply to Violet12

    When a person has a mental illness its not unusual for them to abuse a substance. Substance abuse can be used as a self coping mechanisum like you have mentioned and also as a way of self medicating. Im sorry to hear that substance use has caused some financial stain as well. It would be tough on him because he is not receiving the appropriate treatment and support for his ADHD and depression, so I can understand why he would be turning towards using cannabis. If you are worried, have you considered taking him to hospital and having him assessed by the psyche team there? If you feel that without the cannabis he is at risk of harm to himself, it would be a good reason to take him to hospital. Have him assessed and diagnosed there by a doctor.

    Yes what others have told you is also correct. He is of sound mind so thefore he is capable of making decisions about his own health and wellbeing. But you can support and encourage him to think about seeking help with his cannabis use. He is trying to quit, so he is deffinately well aware about his addiction and consequences of use. I recommend you call the family drug support line on : 1300 368 186 and speak to somone for advice or call beyond blue 1300 22 4636

    1 person found this helpful
  5. Katie Fern
    Katie Fern avatar
    3 posts
    20 October 2021 in reply to Violet12
    Hi Violet,
    I wish I had an answer for you, but I'm afraid I can only commiserate. My husband of 10 years has been depressed for the last 6 or so, and has been using cannibis almost every day as a 'coping' mechanism, to 'turn his brain off'. He's tried to quit several times but has rarely got past a day or two before he gets cranky and anxious, and he can't sleep. He's also not working - which doesn't help - so frequently torments himself over the financial side of things as well.

    I completely understand what you mean when you say you feel relieved when he's on the green. Sometimes, especially when you're mentally tired yourself, it's easier just knowing they've been 'medicated' and you don't have to deal with the issue for that night. It doesn't help, unfortunately, in the long run.

    As I said, I wish I had some advice for you. At least you partner knows it's not sustainable but, when he's able to, do make sure he actually goes to see the doctor like he's been promising. He may not be like my husband, but I've found that some people will tell you absolutely anything to get you off their backs about their addiciton...

    Best of luck.
    1 person found this helpful
  6. Learn to Fly
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    Learn to Fly avatar
    342 posts
    21 October 2021 in reply to Violet12

    Hi Violet12,

    I am so glad to hear I could be of a small support to you. You are a very brave person and deeply caring for your loved one. You have been trying to reach out to different places and ask for help and advice. Not everyone would be capable of undertaking on such important steps. It's so easy to get lost in your loved one's problems especially, if a person cares about the partner as much as you do. You are far, and I mean far from failing your partner. If anything it's the other way around and your partner is lucky person to have you in his life.

    Just remember about even a little self-care as in this way you help your partner and yourself. Can you think of anything you could do for yourself? Even little things like having a break with a nice hot beverage in your hands, going for a walk, not rushing, trying to empty your head by noticing the surroundings, really seeing and hearing, in short: being mindful and caring for yourself.

    Thinking of you.

    1 person found this helpful

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