It’s a sad tale, and unfortunately all too common. The stage: a relatively normal, functional girl grows up in a loving and secure home. She ambles through life learning how to roll with the punches, and if she’s lucky, a few positive role models paint a picture of normalcy along the way. Maybe there’s some errant teenage drinking, but nothing too serious. But then the twenties hit. And the tall, dark, & handsomes start knocking. Somehow their broody charm fails to belie the horrors to come. As this girl-turning-woman gets swept up into the excitement of young love, things turn into a blur. He tells you he loves you. He’d do anything for you. “So how about we take things to the next level and slam heroin together?” Umm… what?
Caught Dumbfounded in Love
This turning of tables isn’t usually so sharp. Modest steps blur the lines. He gains trust, he expresses concern over stress, and it probably doesn’t start with IV heroin. More likely, there are some innocuous pills and other boozing along the way that seem harmless. But the story so often turns out the same regardless. Things get more serious, uncrushed pills stop working as well, and before you know it, your relationship turns into mirrors, spoons, and chasing the next score. And if he leaves, well… looks like you’re saddled with this thing alone.
Many women in treatment for narcotic dependence started their habit at a boyfriend’s behest. The wake of hardcore drug use contains an incredible amount of collateral damage. With those ugly ways addiction so often unfolds, it can be difficult for people to come to terms with the question, “But why did my boyfriend get me into drugs in the first place?”
This question isn’t limited by gender; any significant other can be guilty of hooking their partner on drugs. The specific details of how it starts vary, but some common threads exist. Most involve some dangerous combination of naivety and an explosive disease.
It Wasn’t About You
Many women end up blaming themselves for falling into this type of situation. Thoughts begin to swirl:
I Wasn’t Enough
The need for drugs in the relationship might suggest that something was missing. Don’t be so quick to blame yourself for that missing piece. Addicts hurt those around them because their inner chaos projects outward through their behaviors. The source of that chaos comes from their own internal issues, not you.
I Deserved It For Being Gullible
Taking responsibility for poor decisions matters in recovery. It helps both make amends for past behaviors and hopefully prevents poor decisions going forward. That said, negative self-talk (i.e. constantly blaming yourself, equating trust with gullibility, focusing on the past) feeds into destructive thought patterns. Repeating mean things about yourself is not conducive to building sobriety. Acknowledge the mistake, talk about it if you need to, and move on.
I Should Have Been Stronger
Sometimes it takes experience to understand what strength means. Some people define strength as the ability to trust and meet your partner in the middle. Your measure of strength or weakness did not cause that middle ground to be riddled with chemicals. Realistically, it would have been wiser to step back and consider the possible consequences. And recovery focuses on that process as a learned skill.
I’m a Bad Judge of Character
Inner character has nothing to do with the process of becoming an addict. The behaviors are symptoms of a disease and should be divorced from moral judgment. There is no way to tell whether someone will fall into drug use, particularly if they are young.
This Wouldn’t Have Happened If We Had Never Met
Maybe, maybe not. But the “what if” game focuses energy and frustration into a void that will never be filled.
When Hormones Cloud Judgment
Most of those thoughts are saturated with some level of self-blame. But most people go into relationships assuming there’s a shared foundation of mutual care and respect. That’s reasonable when the other partner has demonstrated some commitment to honesty. And as relationships grow and continue to forge these feelings of trust, walls start to come down.
Human physiology signals for a shift in behavior once this trust becomes established. The simple explanation for this is heuristics: our minds’ finite processing capacity means we have to take certain mental shortcuts to function. In terms of relationships, this means that partners eventually grow lax about analyzing their significant other’s motivation. Taking certain things for granted makes sense. Otherwise, we’d be too distracted by minutia to do basic daily tasks.
So this part of our physiology isn’t a normally problem. But hormones truncate the process. Those tall, dark, & handsomes exude enough charm to cloud their significant other’s better judgment. Behaviors that would normally send up all sorts of red flags seem unremarkable. Many other factors contribute to the lapse in judgment as well (think rebellion or snowflake syndrome), but many can be chalked up to the naivety of youth.
Addict Tunnel Vision
When experiencing the symptoms of addiction, addicts rarely stop to think about how their behaviors affect those around them. The awareness may still exist. But the habit calls louder than any of those peripheral concerns (like how wrong it is to hook your girlfriend on heroin).
In these cases, they are just as in thrall to their own disease as the partner asking the question. This offers an opportunity for some level of understanding and sympathy.
Recovery Means Moving Forward
The first several steps in recovery involve acknowledging and dissecting the past. That is the sweet spot to address questions like, “Why did my boyfriend get me into drugs?” because it bravely faces your history without getting trapped in it.
This is a shared story among many people who suffer from addiction. Intimate relationships introduce interpersonal complexities that make us vulnerable. And the resulting feelings of betrayal/depleted self worth often drive cycles of relapse. You may never know the real answer to the question, and that’s okay. Recovery means moving forward and letting go of our resentments.
If you or someone you love needs help for a substance abuse problem, our addiction counselors are available 24/7 by phone: 855-737-7363