Dr. Cali Estes - The Addiction Coach ®

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Addiction Doesn’t Stop with the Addict. One person’s experience of what it is like; Living With A Pain Pill Addict.

Addiction doesn’t stop with the addict.  One person’s experience of what it is like; Living With A Pain Pill Addict.


When you meet someone with a pain pill addiction for the first time. You most likely are not meeting that person. Or you probably are not meeting who that person is going to be the majority of the time. And actually you may never know who this person really is even in an extended or long-term relationship. This was my experience for several years. I was unaware of the problem for the first 3 to 5 months but soon picked up on the behavior patterns. 

The first thing I realized is, no matter what you say to get them to stop taking these pills, they will find a way to make you think they are going to be ok or that it’s not that big of a problem. In my experience, I soon realized this individual would do anything to get the funds necessary to find these drugs. Money and personal belongings began disappearing on a regular basis. Bills that we both had our names on never got paid. Work for this individual only seemed appropriate if the high was good enough to get through it. Financially, you will be drained living with this person.

And on top of all of this,  you have to deal with the excessive lying. Day in and day out, the lies. You may never know what is actually the truth. And you will find that if any trust ever existed in the relationship , it will disintegrate rapidly. Once I went to my car in the morning and noticed my GPS was gone. I immediately knew it was her and questioned her promptly. Somehow in some way through the tears and constant pleads of innocence, she made me believe it was not her . I thought, well maybe just this time she is telling the truth. After checking with the landlord a few hours later, I quickly learned the painful truth from the complex surveillance cameras. Someone that looked just like my girlfriend and apparently the same addiction removing a GPS from my car. When she finally had to admit to it, she of course said she needed money for pills and was going to pawn it.

Trying to maintain an actual relationship is next to impossible. This individual seemed to have no hobbies, no interest in conversation anymore, and no desire to go do anything . The only thing she could do was sleep. All day. Sleep. And I found myself sitting there wondering what the hell I got myself into. The more we would fight about the addiction the farther away we got from one another. I found myself tired, stressed, and miserable. These situations require professional help. Help that most family and loved ones just don’t have the expertise to give. If you find yourself in this situation, my advice would be to find them help immediately. Encourage the person to do so. Let them know you love them and care and try to avoid bringing up the fact they have a serious problem. That tends to cause even more conflict.

Conflict being a key word. I am a relatively calm, laid back person. However I hate repeating myself and I really despise people who say one thing and do another. This girlfriend of mine did a lot of this. Quite often. To the point where I started to get pissed off and lose my temper. When I would ask questions about bills getting paid the answer was always yes. “Yes I paid that”.   Only to find out its three months behind. I would ask how work was for her only to find out she hasn’t been to work all week. So my calm reactions became loud screaming reactions. This only made things worse. Now she would say I had anger problems and I don’t know how to communicate. She was very good at turning the tables., making me think I was the one with the problem!! So I started to question myself. She made me temporarily insane, is what she did. Her addiction became my problem, and my weight to carry. Luckily, I was able to realize these things.

So after almost two years of trying to live with a girl who doesn’t even know who she is and a girl I never really even knew, I decided I could not take anymore. I decided to leave the apartment we had together and move on. The minute I decided to do this family and friends hit me with all kinds of guilt. “You cant leave her alone.”  “You are all she has.” “She will kill herself if you go!” Things like this, and for a while I did feel responsible. I felt like maybe it was my responsibility to see this through. Whatever that was. Needless to say, as much as I wanted her to get help and get better, it was not I who was capable of doing so. I called her Mother who lived a few states away and made arrangements for her to fly home. This woman is no longer a part of my life, however I am still tying up loose ends. We still have a joint cell phone account that more often than not I end up paying the entire bill. Almost two years later I don’t think this individual has changed. I don’t think it’s the fact she does not want to get better, it’s just she can’t find the strength to do so. I hope someday she does. I hope she gets a chance to meet herself again.


Family Recovery Coaching is a crucial part in helping a loved one recover from an addiction.  Addictions affect everyone, and understanding how family dynamics can work for, or against a loved one’s recovery is something The Addictions Coach specialize in.  We understand addictions do not stop with the addict. Call us at 1.800.706.0318

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