Co-Dependency and Breaking Up

by Nikki
(Chestetown, MD)

I'm having a terrible time right now. The last 8 months have been consumed by my boyfriend and his drug addiction. I never thought I would go this low, but I still amaze myself.

I'm twenty-five years old and grew up with an alcoholic mother. By the age of 17 my mother got sober and I was already in my first codependent relationship. My first boyfriend was very stable, nurturing, and gave me the love that I didn't think I deserved. I struggled with depression, substance abuse, anxiety, and an eating disorder by the age of 19. I felt lost and used my boyfriend in every possible way. I believed that I loved him, but I was also confused and wrapped up in my self-destructive ways. The only way I knew how to deal with my own problems was inflicting my pain onto the ones who loved me the most.

I ended up cheating on my boyfriend and left him briefly for another man. After a few weeks I realized I made a mistake and wanted him back but it was too late. My (ex)boyfriend moved on and I felt abandoned (although I created my own abandonment).

At this time in my life I was twenty and a junior in college. Although I had already showed clear signs of over drinking and violent behavior while drinking, this is when my abuse really took off. I began to overeat to fill that void, that awful void that I hate the most. I remember feeling very lonely during this period in my life. I lived in apartment by myself and commuted to college. I went from being with a man 24/7 to having no one at all. I remember never feeling full and my self -repulsion lead me to purging.

I tried working out. I tried swearing off food. I tried dieting but the pounds kept adding on. I gained at least 20 1bs that semester and the partying continued after meeting a girl similar to me in my aerobics class. It turned out that she smoked marijuana daily and also had a previous history with an eating disorder. She struggled with depression and anxiety as well. We both felt like misfits at our university (although she was more social than I was). She invited me to parties and I'd almost always get smashed before hand. If I didn't black out at a party then it wasn't a good night.

I continued to struggle with men and my sense of belonging. I struggled with my identity and grasped on to anything that I could. I spent a lot of time crying. It wasn't until the next semester that I had some sort of epiphany. I decided to go on a serious diet and that meant no more alcohol. I became very rigid when it came to food. I read health magazines and worked out constantly. I only drank about two times that whole semester and things seemed to be looking up. I dropped the weight that I gained plus more but I still felt FAT.

My life, I thought, was under complete control but as quickly as I became in control, I fell out. By the time I turned 21 my anorexia turned into full blown bulimia all over again. I was binging and purging multiple times a day. I felt so tired and restless from my eating disorder, that I spent most of my days sleeping. When I turned 21, my anxiety and depression was so hard to manage I ran to the liquor store. The only way I knew how to quiet my mind was to drink it all way. So I drank. I drank for days, weeks, months. I drank myself into my next relationship.

It was 9 months of another codependent relationship. This boyfriend put up with my antics. He tried to leave me but I wouldn't let him. He ended up cheating on me and I forgave him. I guess I felt like that's what I deserved. I guess I felt like I had no one else and my fear of being alone
over powered my dysfunctional relationship. We became inseparable. We never slept alone. We did everything together. About 6 months into our relationship I no longer felt like I loved him or felt attracted to him. In the end I was sick of him and felt repulsive sleeping with him but I still could not end things.

After my weak attempts at getting sober (outpatient rehab, self-help books) I decided one night to buy vodka (my DOC) I planned on getting plastered so that's what I did. All I remember is him calling the cops on me because I was suicidal. They escorted me to a nearby hospital where my parents met me. I went home for the remainder of that summer to sober up. I went to AA and found friends but it wasn't even a few weeks later when I started talking to someone new.

This guy lived near my college and had graduated from Virginia Tech. He was smart, funny, and listened to the same music as me. He seemed too good to be true and with most cases- they are! The first night I met him I found out he had a substance abuse problem (heroin) but I took it as my job to fix him. We started going to AA together and dated each other soberly for about 3 months. Around Thanksgiving both of our anxieties started to overcome our relationship. We gave into temptation and started smoking weed.

After a three day binge he gave me the rest. He said he was done. What I didn't found out until 2 or so months later is that he picked up heroin again. Within those 2 months I graduated college. We were over an hour apart. His behavior began to change. He noticed he was growing apart and this terrified me. I felt needy and alone. He broke things off with me and I was completely numb for a month. I had suicidal thoughts, identity problems, existential problems.

I don't know, I would look at my hand and wonder how I was made-up, and if I existed and started to just think about the human body in only this scientific way as if that would fix my depression. So after a few weeks of this intense depression I sought help. I found a counselor near me for substance abuse and codep.

When I saw her I think I appeared or thought I appeared to be perfect. You know, just a young girl trying to get through life. Then I ended up pouring out all my problems and I saw her for a few years off and on. During my time with her we worked through my codependency and alcohol/drug abuse. I have to admit, although I was sober I still struggled with my eating disorder and I stopped seeing her about a month after I met my recent boyfriend.

I met him in recovery. I had a year and he had 3 months. We got involved right away and I ignored the red flags. Within a few months he was shooting dope again. I stayed with him even though he was using. He would lie to me. He would try to steal from me. But I made up excuses. Oh he was sick. Or he'd pay me back. But it didn't give him the RIGHT to lie to me, to steal from me, TO USE ME.

Not only was I tangled in his problems but I was wrapped up with his family as well. Everyone around me didn't and still doesn't understand my reasoning. I guess even though he was some self-absorbed addict, I still felt like I loved him or needed him. I'm not sure where things are at this point. I know I feel like hell and am lonely. I know I need help. I want the pain to stop. I want him to want me as much as I want him. I fear him forgetting about me and moving on. I fear being alone, mostly. I don't have a happy ending to this story at this point, maybe someday.

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