Greg: All right. What’s going on, everyone? Greg and Matt here, Project Unbroken. As you know, we’re former addicts trying to get to word out there about addiction. Today’s topic is my boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse, I think they’re using, what should I do? We get this question all the time through email, through private messages on Facebook and Instagram, so we wanted to do a little video on this. If you suspect your spouse is using, whether it’s a boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband, whatever, what do you do?
Matt: Yeah, this is tough. This is probably one of the hardest situations to find yourself in when dealing with addiction, and I mean on either side, whether you’re on the side of you’re the person with the addiction or you’re on the other side and you think that your significant other is going through something. I think it’s mainly difficult because there is a big break in the communication lines there. Any relationship is difficult to begin with, but when you can’t have open lines of communication about something, it just makes it even more difficult. This is just one of those things that, of course, as an addict, I know. I did not want anybody that cared about me to see what I was going through, so …
Greg: You will use any type of manipulation to make sure they don’t see it.
Greg: Addicts are very, very good at manipulating, as most of us already know.
Matt: Yeah. It makes it difficult, but I have limited experience being on the other side of this. Again, I was always the addict that somebody was concerned about. Greg has a little bit more experience with that.
Greg: Yeah. All right, so my wife went thru addiction. She went to rehab. She’s been clean almost two years now, so congrats to her, but I have been on the side of being the loved one of the addict, and that’s almost harder in some ways. We’ll talk about that in a different video, but it’s very challenging. Even knowing what I knew being an addict myself, knowing the manipulation was there, I didn’t always pick up on it, and I still tricked myself sometimes where I’m like, “Well, it’s just alcohol. She just likes to drink.” I just always made excuses, right?
Matt: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Greg: I think, as the person that … you want the relationship to work, you love the person, so you almost start making excuses for yourself. When people write in and they ask me my advice, it really depends on the situation because there’s so many different things that we have to know before we give proper advice, but when it comes to specifically to heroin or opiates or things like that, I’m like, “Look, if it’s to that point, and you’re seeing this many signs, go buy a drug test, bring it home, and give it to them, and make them take it on the spot.”
Greg: Now, one thing I can guarantee you to expect and that they’re going to do is manipulate you out of taking that test. They’re going to do anything they have to where they will not take that test whether, “You’re crazy,” or, “You don’t trust me,” or, “You don’t do this.” They’re going to say anything they can to get out of that test. If you truly believe and you truly suspect that they’re using, you need to make them take that test right there, right then, in front of you.
Matt: Yeah, in front of you. I’ll tell you something pretty crazy. It was about six months after I quit using heroin, and I was in my [Subox 00:03:15], and I was doing really well, and I was really proud of myself for getting this far. It was the farthest I’ve ever got in recovery from heroin. My mom, and I wasn’t living with her at the time or anything, but she found a baggie of something, and she didn’t know what it was, and she brought a drug test. She was like, “You got to take this right now.”
Matt: Being clean, then I … I will say that, at first, I was a little bit offended because I wanted her to believe me, but I also knew that I needed to earn that trust back, and so I took the test, and it worked out because I was clean. I didn’t make her feel bad. I didn’t put that against here because she needed that for her to know that whatever she found … whatever. It wasn’t the same old story again. Greg’s 100% right. Expect some backlash. Expect some manipulation.
Greg: If they’re using. If they’re not using, I don’t think you really going to get backlash because if you asked me to take it and I’m not using, I’m like, “Sure.”
Greg: “Will you stop bothering me on this? Here. Here’s the test results. Stop bugging me.”
Matt: Exactly. They’re going to try to pull at your kind of feelings a little bit, and they’re going to say like, “Don’t you love me? Don’t you trust me?”
Greg: I’m going to be honest. Most people probably won’t take it. They’ll probably leave and make an excuse, bounce, and they just won’t take it. I’m telling you, that’s a big, big sign right there.
Matt: Yeah, yeah. It might as well just test positive as far as I’m concerned.
Matt: I mean that’s just the step one. I mean there’s a lot beyond that. That’s just immediately see … that step right there is either just proving you right or wrong, and then what? I mean there’s a lot of different moves you need to make. A, what if it tests positive? Now what?
Greg: Well, depending, again, it depends. It all depends on what the situation is. Is it your wife or husband? Do you have kids together? How long ago did you meet the person? There’s so many different questions we would have to know to answer that one, but I think the biggest thing is this video that we want to cover is I think my spouse is using. It’s how do I confirm it? That’s how you confirm it.
Matt: That’s absolutely how you confirm it. I would say think about where you’re at in this relationship. When I get this question, I’m assuming that the people that are writing in, and we do get a lot of this, and it does seem like the people want their relationship to work, they’re invested in the relationship to some capacity. If that’s the case and you’re not sure what direction to turn, you have to have an honest conversation with the loved one that you’re concerned about.
Matt: Whether they take the test and it shows up positive, whether they don’t take the test and they just bounce like Greg said, they make up excuses, you need to consider your own well-being or the well-being of your family, whatever that situation is, and talk to that person and say, “If we’re going to try to make this better, you need to, A, you need to … you have to want to get help and, B, we need to set up a game plan in order to do that.”
Matt: Assuming you want this to work, and you’re in their corner, and you’re going to be their support system, and they agree to it, I think you can start making strides in that direction. If they do not seem like they’re at that point right now, you need to maybe make a tougher decision and see if you need to let that person go from your life. That may be very difficult. That might be somebody who is a parent of your child or somebody that you’re married to, but usually, addiction will sink the entire ship, and you need to make sure you know when to pull that cord.
Greg: Yeah, and so I think another important topic here is what to look for, kind of, because we get these emails in. I got an email, I think it was two days ago. She’s like, “My boyfriend …” A lot of times, it’ll be someone on Suboxone or something or on methadone, and they’ll be like, “Well, he says he’s on Suboxone. I don’t see him take it every day. Should he be nodding off on that, and should he still have new track marks in his arms?” I’m like, “Oh, they’re using.” You know what I mean?
Greg: That’s another big thing is someone says they’re taking Suboxone or says they’re taking methadone, you got to make sure that they’re taking it every day, because we used to use Suboxone as a crutch. We would just take it when we were withdrawing, and we would survive that day. Then we would get our heroin when we could find it. You know what I mean?
Matt: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Greg: You got to be very careful of that too. A lot of the times, if you suspect that they’re still using, they’re probably still using.
Matt: Yeah. You got to go with your gut.
Greg: Again, it goes along back to what I was talking about where when I knew my wife had a problem, I tried to make every excuse I could. Why? Because I wanted it to be easy. I didn’t want to have to deal with her going to rehab. I didn’t want to have to deal with me confronting her. I didn’t want to have to deal with us possibly breaking up. Why? Because that creates a hard situation in my life, right? I want things to be smooth sailing, “Oh, no. She doesn’t have a problem. Everything’s good.” You got to be careful of telling yourself lies based on trying to get the easy way out. You got to tell yourself the truth and then deal with the situation.
Matt: Yeah. If not, I mean that’s why people enable. That’s what it is. It’s you don’t want to cause any riffs. You want everything to go along nice and smooth, but there’s no easy fix out of this thing, and you’re going to have to make some tough decisions on both ends.
Greg: The longer you wait, the harder it’s going to get.
Greg: Hopefully, that explains I think my spouse is using, whether it’s a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, what to do. That first step, get that drug test out right away, make them take it. If they resist at all and they don’t want to take it, likely, they’re using. I can tell you that. If they’re not using, they should be able to take it, test clean, and that should be it. That should be the end of the discussion, at least, unless major things come up again.
Greg: All right, cool. That’s the end of this video. Make sure you like, share, comment. Let us know what you think. Let us know if you have any more topics you’d like us to cover, and we’ll see you all in the next video.
Matt: See you guys.