DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend is a recovering drug addict. About a year ago, he was in a bad place in his life and was in a downward spiral. He got his act together and has now been sober for a year. I am proud of how far he has come and all the changes he has made, but I fear that one day he won’t be able maintain his sobriety.
I have always heard the saying “Once an addict, always an addict,” meaning a person never really gets rid of that addictive aspect their personality. I am afraid that one day down the road, his drug problem will come back and come between us again. Do you think this is an irrational fear? Should I focus on the here and now instead of worrying about the future? -- Questioning Girlfriend, Cincinnati
DEAR QUESTIONING GIRLFRIEND: You cannot predict the future, though it is true that many drug addicts slip. Worrying about that is a futile cause, though. You can talk to your boyfriend about the future. Get a sense from him of what his hopes are for himself and for the two of you. Share your feelings and desires as well. Reveal your concerns about his sobriety.
You should consider going to Al-Anon meetings. These are support groups for people who are in relationships with alcoholics and/or drug addicts. In these meetings, you learn how to cope with your feelings and the way in which your partner’s behavior affects you. You need support independent of your boyfriend so that you learn coping techniques. This will help you to figure out if you can go the distance with him.