Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Girlfriend Worried About Former Addict Boyfriend

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.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend is in a band that travels around to perform at different events such as weddings and corporate functions. I am proud of him for pursuing his passion and being so dedicated to his band. I was lucky enough to attend a couple of the events in New York, where we live.

Next month, my boyfriend has an event in Colorado. He and the rest of the band members have rented a big house and are going to make a weekend out of the gig. I would like to go, but I'm not sure how to bring it up with my boyfriend. Am I overstepping my boundaries or crowding his space if I ask to go to Colorado? -- Band Groupie Girlfriend, Brooklyn, New York

DEAR BAND GROUPIE GIRLFRIEND: I don’t think you should ask to go on the Colorado trip. Your boyfriend is finding his way with his band and deserves space to figure it out. If he invites you to attend the concert, that’s fine. But if he does not, try not to be jealous. Instead, be happy for him that his band is picking up more work and finding its way. If your boyfriend begins to travel a lot with the band, you can tell him that you would like to join them from time to time.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)