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Author Topic: Loving an addict
foundling
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Itís got to suck to be an addict. To be controlled by a substance, to feel the need for something so strongly that youíd be willing to sacrifice anything to get it. I canít imagine living that life.
But you know whatís worse? Being in love with an addict. Because addicts canít really love anyone else, can they? One canít serve two masters. An addict can want someone, can need someone, but they canít love someone. Not the way people deserved to be loved. So, being an addict sucks, but loving one sucks more.

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Corwin
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Being in love is kind of like being an addict. Imagine being in love with someone who's in love... with somebody else... That sucks...

Hmm... Wrong tone of the post, ha ?! Sorry...

I assume it's not a hypothetical situation, is it ?

((((foundling))))

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foundling
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NO, it's OK. Being in a certain type of love IS like being an addict. If your capable of subsuming your personality in somebody elses issues, you've got the makings of an addict. And no, it's not hypothetical. But I'm not looking for pity(although hugs ARE nice), I just wanted to... I dont know. See if I got any good advice about how to deal with it:).
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Dagonee
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On the flip side, the most understanding people I know are addicts in recovery.

Dagonee

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Shan
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As long as they're actually involved in working a recovery program with plenty of support, otherwise it's the same old thing, just minus the additive as it were. Ask any "recovering" addict/alkie - they'll tell you the drugs/booze is just a symptom of the problem - they'll also tell you about how grateful they are for the spouses/family members that stuck through it with them, despite their failure in providing any sort of return on the relationship, but hey - stick it out for a few years, and it's sure to get better . . . .

[Roll Eyes]

(spelling)

[ March 28, 2004, 09:37 AM: Message edited by: Shan ]

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Dagonee
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Yeah - an addict who's not using is not necessarily in recovery. I meant an active recovery program.

Dagonee

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TomDavidson
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Speaking as someone who has dated girls who've eventually died from heroin overdoses and girls who've dropped out of college to become crack whores, I can confirm that dating addicts does, indeed, suck.

It's rather surprising how long it took me to internalize that lesson, though.

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Alucard...
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Foundling, your other thread openly declared that there are completely acceptable addictions that nearly all of us suffer from...

But I get the gist of what you are saying. I have the dubious duty of managing many addicts to drugs and alcohol.

As to which sucks more, being addicted or loving the addict, I am not going to pick a suckier one. I find them to both suck immensely, which makes picking one over the other very hard, (sort of like picking a the next President).

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Danzig
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Lots of negative vibes here...

Oh well, unfair generalizations or no, loving someone who fits the classical stereotype of an addict is a horrible idea. Cut off ties as quickly as possible because they are not going to change for you or anyone else. Tom is correct.

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Alucard...
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Sorry, Danzig, I meant no offense in sounding cold. I was trying to stay within the vernacular of the the thread and use the word suck a lot. What sucks about addiction and loving an addict is the pain and sorrow that results. For that, I truly am sorry that it happens, and do empathize.

I would also venture to guess that every member of Hatrack has a family member or friend that is what is commonly referred to as an addict. And I am quite sure every member of Hatrack empathizes with addiction.

[ March 28, 2004, 01:19 PM: Message edited by: Alucard... ]

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Alucard...
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I suppose what I am trying to convey is that trying to pick which is more sucky: addiction or loving an addict is like trying to pick which is worse concerning two very horrible things that shouldn't be quantified.

What is worse, a little girl mowed down in a drive-by shooting or a mother of 3 hit head on by a drunk driver? Does it matter?

(Please do not answer the last rhetorical question)

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aka
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I used to love an addict. I finally saw that I could do this or that, try one thing or another thing, talk, cry, console, wave my arms about, or whatever, yet in the end it was HIS CHOICE. No matter how addicted you are, in the end you CHOOSE to continue using the substance to which you are addicted. You prefer it over honor, love, family, friendship, home, job, freedom, and even life itself.

He was a free agent and he chose. I could in turn choose to either let him go or else go down with him. I let him go.

Now I have no sympathy left for addicts. If you stop using, then I will care again about your troubles and your struggles. If you choose to use, then that was your choice and you cut the connection between us.

In the end it becomes self destructive to continue to give your love and life's blood to people who treat you with utter contempt. You don't owe your love to someone who puts you below alcohol (or crack, heroin, whatever) in the scale of importance in life. Addicts will lie, steal, cheat, betray, they will throw everything, no matter how sacred, onto the bonfire of their addiction. I suppose it's a sad thing, yet I have no more tears for it.

I admire people who can continue to work with addicts and not give up on them. I'm not one of them. That well has run dry.

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Ryuko
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I don't think it's so much that you choose to continue using, I think it's more that you choose not to seek help. At that point, using is something you can't control.
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Danzig
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No one empathises with addiction because it is so unqualifiable. I probably smoke enough marijuana to be called an addict, but I am pretty happy. I feel sorry for meth addicts because they always seem so hopeless, but if they actually enjoyed it then maybe I would not. I just think that if you have a problem with someone using drugs then you should not fall in love with someone who uses. It is not fair either to yourself or to them if they reciprocate the feeling. Not something I have first-hand experience with, but I have been around enough of it. Often, it is not one person but two who are addicted to a substance, although one may well be much more socially acceptable. (Diet Coke vs. cannabis vs. freebase cocaine (crack))

Alucard, I was not primarily referring to your post, but thank you for the apology. I just get tired of hearing day in and day out how worthless and unfulfilling my life must be, but I know you really do have compassion.

Edit: It also does not help that I am probably in better physical health than 80% or more of Americans. Not all of that is my fault (decent genes) but quite a bit of it is. To use the general you, take the planks out of your own damn eyes.

[ March 28, 2004, 01:44 PM: Message edited by: Danzig ]

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TomDavidson
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"Often, it is not one person but two who are addicted to a substance, although one may well be much more socially acceptable. (Diet Coke vs. cannabis vs. freebase cocaine (crack))"

Let me put this to you gently, Danzig, because it's a hard truth that you might not be able to cope with just yet: almost inevitably, heavy recreational drug users f**k up not only their lives but the lives of the people who care about them.

This does not, as far as I know, apply to people who really, really like Diet Coke.

I had a girlfriend who sold herself into slavery to a sixty-year-old used car salesman because he could get her crack. To my knowledge, no one has ever done this for Diet Coke.

Stop being so d**n self-righteous about the "my body is a temple, and I just use a lot of incense" crap, will you? If you're going to screw up your own system in a desperate flight from reality, go right ahead -- but I really wish you wouldn't try to evangelize it in some sad attempt to persuade people that it's some kind of valid lifestyle choice.

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mackillian
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*raises eyebrow*
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aka
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Danzig, it's the addict's choice whether or not to use. So then it's other people's choice whether to care or not about the havoc and agony and suffering they experience because of their continued use. I simply found that my caring or not caring made not the slightest difference.

So I chose for my life not to be filled with that constant ugliness. The lies, the threats, the stealing, auto wrecks, screaming fights with random women picked up in bars, suicide attempts, overdoses, on and on. You don't want to hear about the squalor and misery that was his life.

I choose a life filled with peace and joy and love, instead. I have no sympathy left for addicts.

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Danzig
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Well Tom, I must admit that I do not know anyone who has Diet Coke as the cause of why their life sucks, but I know lots of people who use caffeine as a drug, and from my own experiences I know that can be at least a symptom of problems. Or processed sugar. Or food. Or television. Or gambling. Everyone has their drug. I know your hard truth, which is why my first post said stop loving addicts. A girl prostituting herself for crack is no different than prostituting herself for the hope of a true emotional connection to someone who cares. I see the latter all the time, but at least crack guarantees fifteen minutes or so of dopamine reuptake inhibition.

As for evangelism, we must have different definitions. Saying not all drug users are going to steal from their family members does not qualify as far as I am concerned. I am tired of being told how worthless I am, and I am not going to stop complaining. You stand up for homosexuals all the time, as do at least half the people on this board. Well, I sincerely believe that homosexuality is detrimental to a person's happiness as well as that of their family, but somehow I manage to shut up and not spout my opinion every five seconds. Even you, who if I recall correctly are for the legalization of chemicals, consistently paint drug users in horrible lights because you cannot get past your own prejudices. I could care less if anyone else uses drugs, I am just sick and tired of people caring whether I use them. I have never conciously recruited, but I am starting to question that principle. It seems that more and more it is impossible to play nice, and if I have to choose between an entire nation of stoners and me and mine being ass raped in jail, I will choose a nation of stoners. I have not been evangelizing, but it looks like if I want to survive I will have to start.

aka - I suppose I can deal with any level of hatred, as long as you do not persecute me or mine.

Do either of you (or anyone else) have any problem with antidepressants, mood stabilizers, or ADHD medications? Often these are the same drugs or damn close as street drugs, but somehow a doctor's note says it is ok. Well, perhaps if doctors were never wrong there would be a difference, but as it is they mess up all the time. Many antidepressants (especially older ones) and other psychiatric medications can cause permanent brain damage. Neither cannabis nor most opioid analgesics (most of which are also used in medicine at the same doses needed to get a recreational high) cause permanent damage as a consequence of long term but moderated use. But then again I suppose two or three hours of happiness that you did not have to slave away for is always wrong.

Edit: spelling.

[ March 28, 2004, 02:51 PM: Message edited by: Danzig ]

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aka
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A lack of sympathy is not hatred. Just not caring.

"Everyone has their addictions", is a rationalization.

People who choose to put their drug use above their family and friends then should not be surprised or upset when their family and friends don't care about them in return. They made the choice.

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Danzig
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To the point of worrying about my usage and its consequences, I sincerely hope they do not care beyond a certain extent. I am probably the healthiest member of my family, and while I do worry about some of their choices (tobacco, Diet Coke, choice of food) I do not refuse to have contact with them if they do not change. However, I am more than my addiction, and I expect as much love from my family as I give. I decide I am going to make an effort not to be under the influence in their presence and generally care for them as much or more so than I did before using; I expect them to show the same amount of caring for me. It is possible to care about someone while not approving of every action they take, and taking steps to distance yourself from any legal consequence of their actions.
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TomDavidson
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" A girl prostituting herself for crack is no different than prostituting herself for the hope of a true emotional connection to someone who cares."

No, I'm afraid it is.
Perhaps this is because, IIRC, you've generally steered away from the powerfully physically addictive drugs.

Someone in the grip of a powerful physical addiction, especially when coupled with the kind of personality that feeds on that kind of addiction, is essentially dead to everything else in the world once the craving starts. It's not that they don't have moments of humanity -- they do, especially once they've satisfied that craving temporarily -- but a person in the throes of serious addiction becomes quite literally subhuman.

I've seen it happen, Danzig, to lovers and friends and family. They don't MEAN to steal. They don't really MEAN to hurt anybody. They don't MEAN to sleep around. Or so they insist when they're not all twitchy from longing, and are clear-headed enough to actually think.

But I've seen someone wake up in her boyfriend's bed (not mine, in this case) at three in the morning and walk, barefooted, to a dealer's house five miles away because she loaned her car to a junkie the day before. She forgot that her stash was in it, and wanted some, and so she stole the computer out of her boyfriend's home and carried it five miles because she thought the dealer might like to trade.

This isn't just unhealthy behavior, Danzig; it is, as far as I'm concerned, sociopathic and borderline schizophrenic.

I won't even get into MY experiences with addicts, because they're altogether more awful.

[ March 28, 2004, 03:40 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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combustia
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Many of the prescribed psychiatric are not slightly removed from street drugs.

Medical use and clinical pharmacology:

Opiates:
The brain produces peptides that are called endophins (endogenous morphines)--the body's own morphines. Meaning that the brain has its own morphine receptors for regulating its pain. These synapses have their own types of reinforcement, but they also work through dopamine. Endorphin synapses inhibit neurons that release GABA (a neurotransmitter that inhibits the firing of dopamine neurons). Through this inhibition, dopamine levels are increased. Endorphins also block the locus coeruleus which controls the release of norepinephrine in response to stress and the use of memory.

Through medical use of blocking pain that does exist, it does wonders. However, through use in blocking...nothing..it creates a great deal of dopamine that has nowhere to go and nothing constructive to do. So you feel good (dopaminergic effect) and feel relaxed. Continued use gets addictive--it feels good.

Cannabis (THC):
Like the brain has morphine receptors, it also has cannabis receptors located in the hippocampus, basal ganglia, and cerebellum. The chemicals that bind to the cannabis receptors are anandamide and the more abundant 2-AG. What's odd is that they're located on the presynaptic neuron and not the post synaptic (the synapse is the gap between the two neurons that are communicating to each other). So GABA stimulates a postsynaptic neuron, that neuron sends cannabinoid chemical (either anandamide or 2-AG) and it travels to the presynaptic neuron and decreases further release of its neurotransmitter.

In this way, it's useful just after a stroke because it inhibits neuroactivity...it's a long explanation. I can get into it if you want, but won't for now.

Also, it inhibits 5-HT3 serotonin receptors (found primarily in the gut) and therefore helps with nausea.

THC has many, many mechanisms of action. But when in the place of no medical issue to use for treatment, it becomes a positive reinforcer for continued recreational use. Same with opiates.

Stimulants:

Amphetamines work by stimulating presynaptic neurons to produce more dopamine and norepinephrine. These two neurotransmitters are important with attention and memory. ADHD is a condition of low dopamine and to some extent, low norepinephrine levels. Stimulants produce a dopaminergic effect different to that of morphine in that it does not act with endorphins. With those with ADHD, the effect of stimulants is to provide greater focus, attention, concentration, and relaxation. For those without ADHD, dopamine and norepinephrine levels shoot up--so you feel really good from the dopamine, get some flight or fight activity and better working memory from the high norepinephrine levels.

You feel pretty good. But when that huge glut of those transmitters leave your body, you shoot way down. Unless you have ADHD...then you get tired for a bit and perk right back up, but with lessed ability to relax, concentrate and remember.

Antidepressants work in creating a higher level of serotonin by blocking the reuptake of serotonin by the presynaptic neuron. This creates a higher availabilty of serotonin. This effect is there in some degree with THC, but the THC acts on an entirely different set of neurons.

Mood stablizers work in a variety of different ways...which I can also get into.

The thing is, when used to treat an illness of a chemical imbalance or traumatic or chronic pain, addiction rates are low when used properly, or addiction is not a factor, or the drug doesn't work at all.

Recreational drugs are not the same as prescription psychiatric medications.

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