It’s time to address a tough topic: addictions. Addictions are really scary to deal with, and something we sadly all come into contact with way too often.
Personally, I think addictions are something we don’t talk about enough. So, let’s change that.
At Gurl, we think it’s incredibly important to talk openly and honestly about addictions. That’s why we are answering 5 of your toughest questions about addictions. Read on for some information that could help a friend in trouble — or even yourself. But, most importantly, always remember that we care about you. Through the silly times and the hard times, we care.
“I found out yesterday that my ex is addicted to prescription drugs and has had a few hits of heroin. I’m really upset over this and don’t know what to do. We went our separate ways three years ago. What is this affecting me so much?” — Anonymous
I have been in your exact position before. A few years ago, I stumbled across the Tumblr of this guy I was in a really toxic relationship with for my early high school days. The entire Tumblr chronicled his use of various drugs, including rankings and descriptions of how he felt on each. It was so odd because during our relationship, he was completely set on being sober and straight-edge forever.
When someone who you were super close to becomes addicted to drugs, it can almost feel like mourning the person you use to know. Addictions can change people drastically, which is super scary. Since you are already distanced from your ex’s life, the best thing you can do is make sure they have support systems in place that are looking out for their well being. Does your ex’s friends know about the addiction? How about your ex’s family? Is your ex already in rehab? Once you know the status of their well being, it will make it easier for you to do something super important. That thing? Focus on your feelings.
Take care of yourself in this scenario. It is super important to process what’s going on and work through your feelings. For me, I talked a bit about it in therapy. And when my ex got in contact with me to try to have a reunion, I politely declined by telling him I was a really different person than I was when we dated and I had to look out for my best interests. Yeah, I still wonder about him and care about him. And I’m sure you still care about your ex. But taking care of yourself is super important — and definitely not selfish. Good luck!
“I’m trying to stop cutting. I haven’t done it since October, but I want to do it again. I have been cutting for about 3 years. I do it because I like the sensation and it’s an escape from my problems, if only temporary. I’m not sure what to do to stop.” — Zeinab
Here’s something I haven’t talked about on the site before: I actually use to cut myself on-and-off for about seven years. It was a really difficult thing to overcome, but I have managed to stay clean for a couple of years now. So, I know how you feel. I did it for the same reasons. And I still have urges to cut when I’m extremely stressed or when seemingly random things trigger me (like the smell of A&D ointment, which I use to put on my cuts).
I think it’s hard to say what will work for you when you want to stop harming yourself. Everyone is different. For example, I tried a common “remedy” of snapping a rubber band at my wrist for a while, but realized that was also only a way to inflict injury on myself. Meaning it wasn’t a good replacement for self-harm because it was self-harm. Ultimately, what helped me was realizing I didn’t want to spend my time hiding scars and broken safety razors anymore. I wanted to be good to myself. I stopped on my own, relatively cold turkey. Relatively because, yes, I did have a few slip-ups here and there. But I stayed committed to recovery. And I continue to stay committed to myself every. single. day.
When you have an urge, reflect on why you are feeling that way before harming yourself. Stay grounded and in touch with your feelings. Know that cutting is a temporary relief that will not solve your problems. In fact, it just creates more. Trust me. Most importantly, tell an adult you trust today. Now. I know this is super scary and you really want to avoid this advice. But, from someone who has been there, it is something I wish I would have done years before I did. A trusted adult won’t shame you, won’t hate you, and won’t think your weird. They will love you. If you feel like you have no one to turn to, call Self Abuse Finally Ends (S.A.F.E) at 1-800-366-8288. I care about you, and I hope you will take the steps to care for yourself.
“My girlfriend and I have been in a serious relationship for about a year now and she is continually cutting and threatening to kill herself. Her family is constantly putting her down and I’ve stopped her many times, but it gets more and more difficult every time. I’m worried that one time, I may not be enough. What do I do?” — Micah
Helping someone with an addiction to self-harm and with suicidal ideations is a lot of responsibility. It can make you feel overwhelmed and scared and a lot of other things. You obviously really care for your girlfriend, which is amazing. But, by now, you probably have realized you cannot be her sole support system. That doesn’t mean you have failed as a girlfriend. It means you have the chance to succeed as one.
Being someone’s partner means being with them through good times and bad times. And sometimes it means helping them through tricky situations. You have the chance to do that now. So, here’s a few questions you should ask yourself:
Is her family really uncaring about her well being? If you think they actually really do care and don’t realize how harsh they are being with their put-downs, you may want to talk to them. Sit them down and say,”Your daughter is going through some stuff. I’m concerned and you should be, too.” Tell them exactly what’s going on. If they still show that they are uncaring, then you should not give up. You should move on.
Who else can I turn to? A trusted adult is the best answer to this question. They can help you and your girlfriend deal with the situation and find the right resources. And, again, calling Self Abuse Finally Ends (S.A.F.E) at 1-800-366-8288 is also a fantastic option if you can’t think of a trusted adult who will be on your team.
Can I do all of this with my girlfriend on-board? This is a really important question. Your girlfriend might be so deep in addiction that bringing up getting help will only make things worse. In that case, it’s better for you to go through this process solo and then bring her in when plans are in place. But if you mention getting help to her in a time where she is not triggered and she seems game, go for it together as a team. She deserves to have a role in this if she’s willing to confront her addiction on her own terms.
Point is, you need reinforcements. Both you and your girlfriend deserve the help in this situation. And always remember: While you work on taking care of her, also take care of yourself. This is a high stress situation that can also take a toll on you. So check in on yourself and practice a bit of self-care. You are doing the right thing. Good luck!
“I think I might be anorexic. In school, I eat a yogurt for lunch. I go home and do my daily exercise, then say I don’t feel good so I don’t have to eat. If I’m forced to eat, I will exercise for about two hours more. I look in the mirror and see a whale and I cry. I don’t want to tell anyone, but I don’t know what to do. Please help!” — Justine
From the way you are describing it, it certainly sounds that you have a troubling relationship with eating. Avoiding eating by lying about how you feel and trying to work off more calories than the very few that you are consuming are both a sign of disordered eating. If you think you are anorexic, you probably have a reason to feel that way. And, to be honest, you wouldn’t be concerned about your health in this way unless there was a reason to be concerned.
I know you don’t want to tell anyone, but it is a really important step that you absolutely need to take. You need to tell someone. You deserve to have people helping you through this addiction. And you deserve to eat. Tell an adult you trust or call the National Eating Disorder Association at 1-800-931-2237. You won’t be judged by those who truly care for you. In fact, you will be cared for. You and your body deserve the best. I promise. Good luck.
“My partner gets nasty and aggressive when he drinks. One time when he was drunk, he pushed me and hit me. He never said sorry for what he did. I’m still with him, but I think about what happened almost every day. I keep asking myself if I should keep trying at the relationship. He can be a nice person, it’s just the alcohol. I feel guilty when I think about leaving as he hasn’t hit me since. I don’t know what to do.” — Jodie
This is a really serious and scary situation that I encourage you to get out of as soon as possible. I know your partner can be a great guy, which keeps you holding on. But he also physically hurt you, which no woman ever deserves. Alcohol is not an excuse for abuse.
But I also understand that leaving an abusive alcoholic can be extremely difficult and scary. So I encourage you to let others in on what’s going on. Telling your parents, trusted adults, mutual friends, and close family is important. It will help you create a support system of loved ones who will be there for you when you call everything off.
Most importantly, break it off with your partner in a public place or with people from your support network present. With people around, he won’t be granted the opportunity to hurt you anymore. If the situation seems impossible to leave, I promise you it isn’t. But it could help to talk to a professional who had dealt with similar situations in the past. I encourage you to call the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474 for more tips that will help you deal. This addiction is scary. This abuse is scary. And you do not deserve either of these things in your life. Be safe and best of luck.
Have you or someone you know struggled with addiction? What’s the best way you’ve found to cope? Tell us all about it in the comments below.