For months I noticed lots of the tiny pink Benedryl tablets in my girlfriends' purse. They didn't seem to be disappearing so I never questioned it. One night, on a whim, I counted 37 pills in her purse. The next evening I went to count again and there were only 8 left...which led me to believe she took over 20 of them in a 24 hour period.
(I should add, before we get too far into this, that my girlfriend is a recoverring acloholic and has an addictive personality and lies about things like sneaking cigarrettes (which is odd since I smoke and wouldn't judge))
I am aware that there are side effects related to abuse. One is rapid heartbeat (which she has complained about since I met her). Another is the fact that she sleeps 12 hours at a go and, aside from St. John's Wort, she takes no other sleep aids and, currently isn't even working. I attribute a small amount of this to depression but to be actually SLEEPING that long?....
She also strongly argues that she is not taking more than one or two a day...sometimes four if her "sinuses are acting up". Funny thing is, I've been living with the girl for over a year and she has never blown her nose in front of me, had any allergic reactions, or anything of the sort.
The scary thing is that, in hindsight, I recall her waking up in the middle of the night making no sense whatsoever and rambling on about things she doesn't remember the next day. The fact that she strongly denies taking more than perscribed (even though I KNOW otherwise), the elongated sleep patterns and inability to sleep when I'm "watching", and the fact that she generally hides the bottle in the back of the cabinet and, somewhat foolishly, seems to buy new bottles and use them to fill the OLD bottle....all lead me to believe that there is an addiction-type situation occurring.
Does anyone have any relevant advice or suggestions on how to approach the issue or if there are signs I should be looking for or if I need to seek advice elsewhere! Thanks in advance!!!
Thank you for your response. I do, in fact, have a relatively extensive knowledge of the disease of addiction as well as several other "theories" of addiction (ie. Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy), and did, myself, attend intensive outpatient treatment for alcohol and had a brother who was addicted to meth. I've been to AA, NA, Alanon, etc.
I suppose even my question came off with an heir of denial. I KNOW there is something wrong and I agree that it's not my place to tell her she has an addiction...that's her job. Problem is, she has lost two jobs (one due to falling asleep on the job and the other related to an alcohol/pill relapse that landed her in the hospital). Her nursing license is in probationary status. My options are to be supportive (but how do you support someone that "doesn't have a problem"?) or to leave based on suspicions alone.
I'm not going to tolerate living with someone who abuses drugs and alcohol and she knows this and, though she's relapsed on alcohol, has admitted to it and has sought the necessary treatment to move forward from the relapse.
So...in summation, as someone aware of the disease concept and an already present addiction, should this be something that I just ignore until it becomes a bigger problem (heart problems, kidney or liver damage, dimensia, memory loss, etc.) or is there a constructive way that anyone can suggest to bring the topic up BEFORE it becomes as big a problem as her alcohol addiction.
"You can't tell a drunk they're a drunk"...yada yada yada....I realize this...but what CAN you tell them if you're truly concerned for their safety, your safety, your relationship, and the financial burdon that such addictions can result in?
That's called "ultimatum" time. :-/ All you can do is call her out on your suspicions, and stick to your guns with your evidence as she lies through her teeth straight to your face. Then one of you had better have your bags packed and alternative living arrangements made in advance.
When was the last alcohol relapse? Has she had any continuing therapy at all? One thing I'm confused about is when you say she denies taking "more than prescribed." Benadryl is an over-the-counter med. Are you certain that's what you found in her purse? Her symptoms sound more like what happens with Ambien, which IS a prescription sleep medication, and is also pink and shaped the same way. BAD stuff happens when it's mixed with alcohol. That business about her rambling in the middle of the night and having no memory of it the next day is a pretty classic ambien/ alcohol reaction.
You said it yourself. You won't tolerate living with an active abuser. It's up to you to decide how much of her behavior you can live with and when to pull the plug. She may never admit to her problem, which is why you have to know where your personal line in the sand is. Love and support can't cure addiction, and it certainly has no impact on an addict who denies having a problem. Love just gets used as an emotional weapon against you - if you let it.
Well, thank you Jaybay!!! She is certainly trying to hide it. When I found the dozens missing from her purse she claimed their was a hole in the pocket and they were in the bottom of her purse. The odd thing is that, when she returned home that night and I saw her purse there was in fact a hole..the size of maybe a pinky finger shoved through the corner of the lining....a hole large enough that I'd have noticed it as I carefully counted them IN the pocket of her purse...so we know she's lying there.
And she relapsed last on Aug. 31st and was hospitalized. Drank dozens of bottles over the course of a couple of days (while housesitting for a relative) and took numerous pills...to which I've never gotten a straight answer...just saw the bottles when the police and I did the "wellness check"
She said she got two sponsors (one male/one female) whom I've never heard a peep about since. And no...though I've encouraged her to go to AA or some form of meeting or support group (even offerring to do the same with OR without her), she has not continued treatment.
And yes, I'm certain it's Benedryl (Wal-Dryl to be specific). I've found the bottle and literally noticed dozens missing in a day. I've read enough to know what "abusers" use regarding diphenhydramine. And yes...the rambling seems to happen more during the times when I suspect she's mixing pills (likely Benedryl and a sedative of some other sort or antidepressant...which I know both of which can replicate these symptoms when mixed).
I agree completely with everything in your last paragraph and will certainly (and have been doing so) do some soul searching. Thing is, I just want more information on it so that I know where exactly to draw my line in the sand. I mean, I wouldn't leave a girl that drank in moderation or took a pill or two to help with sleep. I just need more information that, aside from babbling teenagers talking about how high they get, tells me what's TOO much. Obviously 900mg a day is too much...but is 300mg? It's a fine line as it IS an OTC medication and I can't regulate how often she buys it or uses it without being a spy...and that's not healthy either. Thank you for your helpful words Jaybay
Thank you...sincerely! I appreciate things put so matter-of-factly. It's been implied on here that, because I'm not an addict, its not my place to address certain issues. I suppose I should have started this thread with "As an addict myself....etc etc". I understand the disease concept and the REBT concept and have attended two rehabilitation centers. I do not attend regular meetings but generally go a couple of times a year and will gladly go with someone else who is affraid or reluctant as support. I am still in contact with my counselors and my fellow peers from rehab. That's why I brought my question here and not to some schmuck on the street. I appreciate all of your answers and your concerns.
My fear is that she has replaced one addiction with another, and as we all know, addicts have a tendency to lie without even realizing their lying simply as a defense mechanism. I'm an avid viewer of shows like Intervention and Addicted and have done as much research on drugs and alcohol as many so-called therapists have.
I am, by no means, an enabler...however, if she's doing something harmful that can effect all parties involved, how do I bring such a topic up without simply accusing. As an addict I understand the defensive nature that jumps to the surface when such issues are brought up, whether reasonable or not. I just need some advice on how to address the situation without seeming ignorant or unsupportive. She knows well that I understand her disease. I'm just asking from one addict to another what you would do in this situation.
It sounds like she's going to be angry and defensive no matter what you say. Yes, she is abusing the benadryl. Will SHE see it that way? Probably not. You know addiction basically means abusing a substance despite negative consequences - like lost employment and destroyed relationships. It doesn't matter if that substance is legal or not. The dose limits on the bottles of Benadryl are there for a reason. Any over-the-counter medication can be dangerous if it's abused.
You are in the unfortunate and uncomfortable position of either -
1) playing DEA cop to gather evidence that will satisfy your suspicions, or
2) calmly asking her to be honest with you about the behavioral changes you've noticed.
Who knows? It may not even BE benadryl alone that is changing her behavior and sleep patterns. It may be a combination of that along with something else. You said in your first post that she is a habitual liar - even when confronted with direct evidence like the cigarettes - so you'll have to trust your own judgment. If her behavior is beyond what you can live with, it's time to go.
You're right - it's not your job to convince your girlfriend that she's an addict. It IS your job to tell her that her behavior has become a problem, and her actions have consequences to your relationship with her. It is also your job to determine what those consequences will be as far as your life with her is concerned and make them clear to her. How you say it probably won't matter. She's going to be angry; she's going to be defensive; she's going to deny; she's going to lie; and she probably won't change a thing, but you'll have it all out on the table with honesty.
In one way you are being an enabler. You are enabling your girlfriend's addiction problems to run your life. How much time do you spend wondering what you'll find when you get home from work? How much of your life do you want to spend having to count pills? How many sleepless nights do want to endure while you watch her to see if she's still breathing? Your relationship is already turning toxic because she won't work her recovery, and frankly it doesn't sound like she's recovered from squat at the moment.
Let's look at what you've written. Your girlfriend
1) Is an alcoholic/ addict
2) Has harmed herself and continues to harm herself with substance abuse
3) Is now harming YOUR life with continued substance abuse
4) Is a liar
5) Is unemployable in her chosen profession as a consequence of her addiction
6) Refuses to work a recovery program and wants to pretend everything is just fine.
I don't think he's asking for relationship advice. You may want to lay off this girl who can't even defend herself. Don't be a counselor. That's not why we're here. Damn. jakeinaz I think you should just talk to your girl. Ask her what's up instead of taking advice from a stranger who thinks she knows everything.
Jaybay is my best friend on the planet (wife of many years) and is pretty damn educated and astute. She's just callin' it straight up.
In my limited experience, I'm sure your girl is hiding something/s from you. I'm sure that it will **** her off, but maybe kindly suggest counseling with a Psychologist, (not counselor). This has made a huge difference in my/our lives.
Jaybay is spot on with everything she has said. The original poster came here for advice and support. I agree with that you need to educate yourself on addiction before even commenting. If the the girl was here to defend her self she wouldn't even be defending herself, she would be denying everything because that's what addicts do until they realize they have a problem. This post is more forhim than it is his girlfriend even though the problem mentioned is about her. Addiction affects the people around the addict as much, if not more than the addict themself. Most of the time an addict doesn't realize this until they get clean and look back on how they have been acting or the the things they have been doing. This forum is all about offering advice and opinions that are thought to be helpful. It's what makes this forum go round. You don't have to be a counselor to do that. If you are nitpicking this post you might as well reply with a negative comment to every post on here.
Jaybay's posts are always spot on and straight forward. She know exactly what she is talking about and is great advice for this situation. Reading her replies, including her replies to this post, would make anyone with a bit of common sense think she is a counselor even if she isn't. Someone could pay $80 a hour to a counselor and still not get advice as good as what Jaybay has typed.
An addict that is actively using will say lie after lie and deny the problem til the end until the person asking just drops the conversation. Anyone that knows anything about addiction knows this.
is this the life u want to lead?? constantly wondering what this girl is hiding, ive been there before, and i felt like a little troll going threw my ex's s**t. i am no longer that person nor would i ever want to have a relationship like that again. i know u came here for help, but in all honestly, you arent the one who needs the help, she is. you deserve better, maybe u should open ur eyes to your addiction which is her, and realize she is harming you and would probably go further without someone like that in ur life.
para mí es muy simple. Por qué la amas? I'm sure you do for a good reason. Escuchar; I am a recovering meth addict in therapy and NA for muchos muchos years. I was taking benadryl like alot for many things. When I read the side effects were scary espantoso I really stopped immediatamente. I did not know what I was doing was very bad but when I did realize it I was done. I am ignoring all these other posts because they seem very cruel to me. cuidar de tu amor
This is Wolf's wife - Jaybay. Ya'll, please remember that this thread is not about any one of us and who is right and who is wrong. It is about JAKE. He came here for opinions and advice and we all have done that. I received a PM late last night from Jake's girlfriend, so they are obviously talking about what they are reading here. That's a good thing! I hope they both come back and let us know how they're doing, and that they're both working through their issues together now, and hopefully with a group like NA or a private counselor.
From Wolf to Michelleln1978 - Con cuidado con su hablar.
Wow! Thank you all...for everything. Granted, it's inevidible to get off topic or stray from the issue in forum threads but I appreciate the responses. You're right..it's about me and it's about her. I love her and I want whats best and that's why I seeked advice.
On a wonderfully happy note, not knowing she had seen this thread, we had a wonderful discussion and she has taken the time to learn the harmful effects of the substance and she is working towards change and I am supporting that effort 100%
Michelle... por favor, respeta que los miembros del forum no tienen por qué entender español y si intercalas palabras en español sin traducirlas en tus posts sólo los haces confusos para quien los ha de leer. Gracias :)
please, respect that the members of the forum don't have to speak Spanish and if you write your posts with spanish words or expressions in that language without translating them , it is really confusing for the person reading them . Thank you :)
Hey there...she's in another state in a treatment center. Checked in yesterday. Cross your fingers for her. Unfortunately I"ve been forced to move on. Probably best for her anyway. I'm personally ok...a lot to deal with and it has been quite the mess...but thanks!
Sorry you have had so much to deal with lately. But like you said, probably best for her anyways. Considering what was going on it is probably best for you right now also even though I'm sure it's tough. She may get out and be a whole new person.
Best of luck to you! Who knows what the future has in store.
From a medical Perspective, Benadryl abuse Fortunately isn't too much of an issue. An antihystamine won't really do too much to Wreck ur system.
The concern would be if she turns to something more Real. Like an Opiate or Benzo .
I Understand your concern though, some women are Addicted to Laxatives....I enjoy smoking - but would Much rather have a Benadryl habit.
I don't know if jake is still around, but things turned out badly, and that's an understatement. It was a combination of benadryl and alcohol along with an enabling family in huge denial. I pray that jake is finding some peace in his life now and that his girlfriend will someday get the help she needs. Really sad...
Could be a form of attention seeking. Could be a fear of taking something that may actually do herself harm? Could be a Loads of things. Maybe she just feels Completely stressed with life? Maybe she's on a Birth Control Pill that is Giving her Anxiety?
Best thing to do is Calmly - Lovingly , look at her and ask why does she take the Benedryl? My wife likes to have a Drink once in a while. Im sure to ask if shes okay...Shes a full time student and she typically explains her frustration or Stress of School.
She does have one Slight addiction though - Nasal Spray. Its mostly concentrated Saline, So I let it slide.
She is in treatment...she will be there and will likely remain in the state where she's attending treatment. Obviously it wasn't just a benadryl addiction....benadryl has just been a long-standing, cheap, legal alternative that she could play off to allergies. I've done almost as much research on Benadryl in the last six months as the FDA...and Benadryl is certainly not as harmless as some like to make it sound...ESPECIALLY when combined with most anythin else. 50 Asprin a day can do serious damage....an antihystamine can obviously be as damaging in doses that high. It's not like she was just taking it to sleep. And, to my knowledge, she has had a history with opiates as well (may have mentioned that before).
Anyway, she's getting help and that's all I could ask for for her. I'm going to move forward and hope for the best, for both of us. Far too many lies have been told and far too much water under the bridge to look forward to some kind of reunion when/if she comes out clean. Thanks a million to Jay Bay and Wolfmedicine for your support, kindness, and advice!
I know enough about addiction to know that the best hope of her getting clean is changing EVERYTHING in her life. I'm man enough to admit that the stresses of our relationship and finances could have contributed to her anxiety and therefore sparked her addiction to resurface. Regardless, she will be better for learning how to love and be with herself. I'd surely do more damage than good trying to rekindle something that literally drowned in Jack Daniels.
Thanks again everyone...and I do check back often...so i don't miss the new posts....just don't always have time to respond.
I should add....I love her to death. She was as close to a soulmate as I thought possible! Though I started this thread asking for advice I am going to spread a little advice at this point. If someone you care about has an addiction (whether it be benadryl or crack), the BEST thing you can do is get informed, ask questions (in a loving manner), and do YOUR part to support without enabling. I have also learned that the ONLY way to "push" someone toward positive change is to make them accountable for their actions. Yes...they are "sick"...but they are also human. I mean, if you have cancer you can't just walk around punching people because you hate life or you feel ill. Be supportive without letting them get away with hell! You have to look out for yourself....no matter how much you care about someone else! I mean, like I said, even if the person had cancer as opposed to alcoholism, you would be foolish to let their health effect yours. Someone has to remain strong...especially if one needs support!
To all, be healthy, be safe, and be considerate! Nothing is black and white! Lead by example and, as my favorite saying says, "Be kind, for we are all fighting a great battle." - Philo of Alexandria.
Hey Jake! Glad to see you back, and even more glad to see you're doing better and that your (ex) girlfriend is finally back in treatment. I know you must be heartbroken right now, but at least all your questions about her behavior are finally answered and out in the open. Did her family ever come around or do they still think this isn't that big of a deal? God bless you for trying to help her and also for making the decision to move on without her. Who knows? Maybe she really wasn't your "soul mate." Give it time and I bet you'll find the real one. :-)
Thank you! It really is for the best...for both of us. And I think her parents are coming around. They, in fact, are the ones that paid for her treatment. They're still ignorant and seem to believe that I'm the bad guy in the situation...which is pure lunacy considerring I'm the one that scraped her off the ground both times while they played ignorant.
Anyway, I will find someone perfect for me...maybe in a couple years that person will be her...but I'm not even going to think about that. That's an easy way to miss out on other opportunities and sway my judgement. I'm heartbroken, yes...was totally left alone with all the burden to carry...but I remind myself that I'm doing this so that someone I loved can be healthy and happy. No good deed goes unpunished...but lets hope that she stays in and sober so it's not all for nothing!
Hi everyone! This is Jake's girlfriend. Yes I'm still his girlfriend ;) Almost 80 days sober now! I just wanted to give you an update since I know how concerned you all were for him. Luckily for me, my parents were concerned enough for me to send me to treatment. I ended up staying in the same state, living in a sober house. I'm doing really well and finally educated enough about my disease to learn how NOT to let things like being cheated on and other resentments toward Jake keep me trapped in what I thought was my only way out of feeling the pain.
I am a good person though, I did lie, as is the nature of addiction. Thankfully Jake has forgiven me the lies I told when I was under that spell. Aside from that, I have been honest, loving, and faithful (despite the urge to get him back for what he did). He knows the real me and I suppose that's why he wouldn't let me go when I tried to end it with him while I was in treatment so that he could move on. Thank goodness for that, as he truly is my soulmate. Don't know what I'd do without him!
In treatment I learned that those who have done us wrong are simply as sick as we are and that we must treat them this way. This is how I was able to forgive Jake. I was sober for 2 years until I met him and he did some things that truly devastated me. I started drinking and abusing other things when I caught him cheating again and again. I tried to leave him each time but we just couldn't quit each other. So instead I kept taking him back and every time he hurt me again, I drowned my sorrows the only way I knew how. But this is obviously not something a person with a normally functioning brain does. I no longer blame him for this relapse because that isn't right or fair and I know he's not to blame, but I did at first because before he hurt me, I never even thought of abusing any kind of drug. I needed help to stop the vicious cycle and learn how to cope with awful feelings and I needed Jake to stop his cycle as well. And as I have changed, he assures me he has changed as well.
I tell you all this because I think people looking to this thread for help and support should see that there can be a happy ending no matter WHAT you go through and it starts with recovery and forgiveness. You can't let others actions make you stray from your sober path. Only you can truly affect you.
This is a "family disease" and your loved one(s) should be educated too. Jake didn't know how to tell me he was concerned. He just accused me of things and yelled at me, and vented on sites like these without simply talking to me. But he just didn't know the right way to go about it. I don't blame him for that. If you are a loved one wondering how to talk to an addict in your life, you must remember to come from a place of love, not anger. Your loved one is sick, not evil.
So in this happy ending, Jake plans to move here and we talk of marriage often! I am finally able to forgive and move on to a beautiful future with him.
Stay strong if you are a loved one seeking advice or an addict seeking support. Life gets better, if you do. It takes two if you love each other. We must continually, consistently work on ourselves. Jake and I continue to do this daily and have never been stronger and more in love.
Take care everyone! Thank you so much for your support of Jake. I appreciate that he had someone to turn to.
i am so glad your got the help you deserve. there are always two sides to a story and sometimes we have to remember that things may be left out that are pretinent to the discussion. i am proud of you for getting past all the disappointments- it sounds like your life has really turned around.
I'm glad you are beating this disease! I know all too well what it's like when you feel you're with your soulmate, but keep hurting each other in different ways. It does turn into a cycle, and for a lot of people it starts to define their whole relationship. I'm happy for and Jake, you are moving past your mistakes and basing your relationship on love and forgiveness, not revenge. Good Luck to you guys, and congrats on 80 days clean girl!
Scoenen & Crys833:
Thank you! I really appreciate your responses and congrats!! It means a lot to me to see such responses in a thread filled with negative things about me. I'll admit, I didn't want to ever read this thread again because it makes me cry and is completely humiliating. But I had 3 reasons for checking back on this thread:
First, I felt I had to add the addict's side of the story and the wonderful outcome to provide others with a sense of comfort in commonality and most importantly, hope.
Secondly, I must comment on behalf of my wonderful mother. Jake's reference to being considered the bad guy stems from a mother who saw her daughter devastated by a man's betrayal time and again. I ran to her instead of drinking the first few times. But when he did it again, I couldn't stand to tell her it happened again because I knew I'd just end up going back to him and she would think I was crazy. And so, as we know, I bottled it up in the bottle. Mom knew my resentments toward Jake were what led me to relapse, but she does not blame Jake. She is not "ignorant" by any means. She told me every day to go to meetings and often discussed treatment. She even came over and read to me from Dr. Milam's book about addiction in an attempt to educate me about my illness. She researched every inpatient program from Arizona to Washington and she checked me into the one she thought was best. Her father, nephew, and just this month, her sister, have all died from addiction in some form. She "gets" this disease and her heart is absolutely tremendous.
Just as Jake's is :)
Third, seeing this again was part of facing a painful past, of which, I wasn't proud. When I mentioned it, my (female;) sponsor suggested I read this piece of history as a person in recovery and try to read it not with embarrassment and anger, but with a new understanding of who/what this disease created in me and a fresh perspective, so as to see it for what it is now and what it must certainly remain - "history."
"WE DO NOT REGRET THE PAST, NOR DO WE WISH TO SHUT THE DOOR ON IT"
While it is great that in your opinion on this post you feel that you are a caring friend and have noticed all of the above. However, if she refuses to be honest with you, then there is not really a friendship there at this point and you should remove yourself from her presence. You have confronted her and as you stated, she is a liar, has an addictive personality, an alcoholic, among other things, and you have spoken to her about your concerns and there seems to be no positive response or at least some type of responsibility or action taken on her part in order to retain her friendship with you means that she is not ready to let go of her addicting behaviors and right now, that is more important to her, than her friendship with you.
Being honest. I mean, I know your looking for some answers, but the way you wrote up the post I would not want a friend of mine writing up a post like this on me and it goes to show, your not a real friend either. You speak of your friend in a way that makes one not want to share anything with you. You cannot be trusted as a friend. Sorry, but speaking the truth.
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