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DearSugar Needs Your Help: Is It Bad to Date Someone Who Was a Drug Addict?

DearSugar and Am I Being Naive? Nikki need your help. She likes this guy but is worried about his drug-abusing past. Should she let this affect her decision to date him?

Dear Sugar,

I have a bit of a dilemma. I'm 21 and going to college in Pennsylvania. I met this great guy online through a close friend of mine. We chatted online and totally clicked, and he said he would love to meet me in the flesh so we can get to know each other better. I'm not so worried about the meeting part, but I am concerned with who he was in the past. I'm not perfect and have definitely made my mistakes — who hasn't, right? — but he was diagnosed with bipolar type II disorder and is a recovering drug addict. He's used heroin but has been sober and clean for more than eight months. Right now, he's living at home, working as a bus boy, and attending community college. Is it bad idea to date someone with such a crazy past? One of my friends says that I'm better than that, and why should an ambitious college girl date an ex heroin junkie? I do like him, and I don't want to be judgmental, but I don't know if it would be a bad idea to date him or not. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

—Am I Being Naive? Nikki


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lessieloo lessieloo 7 years
I am very surprised at all the negativity in this comment, especially coming from people who have never dealt with addicts. I am a recovering addict. I am a recovering HEROIN addict, who is still an addict in every sense of the word. I am on Methadone. Just because someone has an past that is littered with addiction and junkiedom, doesnt say too terribly much about their future. Yes, they say that part of recovery is relapse. Yes, he may relapse. However, if you are sincere about this person then you must understand the issue at hand. You must be willing to support this person, and love him...not chastise him or get angry if relapse happens. If you like this guy..GO FOR IT. Him being a recovering addict doesnt mean he is a bad guy, and it doesnt mean he will even ever use again. It also doesnt mean the opposite, but you know what... There are bad people. Period. You could meet a man tomorrow who is an "ambitious college guy" who never even so much as smoked pot...and he could treat you like dog shit on the bottom of his perfectly polished shoe. I would advise people to knock the chip off of their shoulders, and take their judgmental heads out of their tightly wound assholes. EVERYONE's situation is different. I have been off of Heroin for almost two years now and have never relapsed. Like I said, I am on Methadone, but if you know anything about Methadone you know that it doesnt keep one from relapsing at all. You have to give people a chance. In ANY relationship you go into you have to be willing to love, and support your partner. There are hurdles in every relationship and for the people here acting as if they are perfect..oh is just disgusting. We are all human beings who act and live as human beings. Being human entails mistakes, pain, 'sins'...for all of us. ALL of us. Dont act like you are better than someone else due to mental illness and addiction. With all of that said...a vast majority of addicts are mentally ill. I am also Bi Polar. Nurture this, and the addiction will be less of an issue.
katiemack katiemack 9 years
I would say definitely stay away, at least for now. He needs to be clean and sober for AT LEAST a year before even considering dating anyone. It is understandable that you don't want to be judgmental, but he had (and still has; he will always have to work to stay clean) a very serious problem. I would say stay in touch with him, be as supportive as you can, but leave romance out of the picture for now.
Jeny Jeny 9 years
Let me give you a piece of advice-My ex who i've named 'Bob' in my latest blog used cocaine recreationally. One night, we went back to my apartment after a night out and I went straight to the restroom to potty as he took the pup out for a walk. Well, 10 minutes later I hear the puppy at the door and wondered to myself why 'Bob' wasn't letting her in. I open the door and BAM!! There's my ex shooting up RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY FACE. So if you don't want to experience anything like that, because Heroin is in fact one of the most addicting drugs there is, steer clear of this guy! Because history shows most people relapse on something so addicting. Find someone on your level and leave this guy because it sounds like your in a world of drama especially if he is bi-polar.. you can NEVER know what his mood will be like from minute to minute.
kaenai kaenai 9 years
Mental health is nothing to take lightly, especially something as potentially serious as Bipolar Disorder. That said, it's good that you give him a chance, but don't kid yourself that his being clean for such a short time is a definite thing. I won't say you should walk away, but you should tread lightly. His drug use is a symptom of his illness, most likely, and BPII is an illness that doesn't go away. He will be living with it for as long as you know him (longer, actually). He's probably just learning how to live with it himself. In his manic state, he likely did it for the emotional rush, and in his depressive state, he probably did it as an escape. I've been told I may be bipolar as well, and it's hard, especially bipolar II, where you're more depressed than manic (and hardly manic at all), because even some doctors don't know how to properly diagnose that, and a lot of people don't even know the difference. The best advice I can give is to take it slowly. Have fun, but don't take yourselves so seriously just now - you'll need to build trust together, since he's probably used to people bailing out on him. Be there for him, even if you eventually feel that you can't be there *with* him.
notoriuskitty notoriuskitty 9 years
First, a heroin addict will ALWAYS be an addict, it is something they must live with for the rest of their life, and trust me, relapses happen. Almost everyone I went to high school with was an addict and it is very sad to watch people throw their life away to get high, and they lie all the time. Just be careful if you really want to get involved with this person, and be ready to deal with a relapse if it happens, which I'm sure it will. I had a friend who was clean for 3 years and then relapsed. Heroin addicts love their high and drugs more than anything :(
tdale tdale 9 years
As someone who has dated a bipolar II man, I say do NOT get any more involved! He will be the most charming, sweetest man to you in the beginning, and you will get roped in. After he gets comfortable with you (or has a manic/depressive episode), you will see the real him. He will be controlling, manipulative, and he will still love you when he does all of this. It is the most difficult situation in the world to leave, but you have to realize that this illness does not EVER go away. I can guarantee that the drug use was his way of self medicating. It's hard enough to deal with a family member or someone you love that's dealing with this illness. Get out before you get any more attached!!!
1QTPIE 1QTPIE 9 years
Be very careful on your decision. Calling himself clean doesn't mean he's clean for good. He's young and to have gotten caught up in all that mess means he wasn't making any right decisions. Now he may have gotten his head together somewhat... but no one can guarantee that he will not relapse. Your young and your doing things with your life. Have fun, enjoy college, and just be a good friend to him. Sit back and check him out. See how long he really is willing to stay clean. Talk to him on that "friend" level a little longer and figure out what he's really about....
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
I would watch out for him having an addictive personality. His bipolar disorder is going to add A LOT of stress to your relationship. You need to decide if you have the energy for that. Also, if you're in college there are tons of ways to meet people without having to use the internet. Get more involved with campus activities!
Vsugar Vsugar 9 years
Yeah, I agree completely with the people who are saying to be more concerned about the Bipolar disorder than the drug addiction. The drug addiction isn't a GOOD thing, but people do recover. Bipolar disorder is something he is going to have forever. One of my closest friends has bipolar disorder, and I love him, but I don't know how his wife handles it - she is a saint, and much stronger than I am - I don't think I could do it. But she loves him, and has obviously found someone who she wanted to be married to. But you have to take it REALLY slow and easy and make sure make sure make SURE it's something you could handle before you got really serious about him.
hikitty hikitty 9 years
Whoa, I've been in a similar situation about a year ago. In it I was feeling the whole "oh he can change, he IS changing" --but less than a year later it struck me that he was just putting on a front. He was back to his old self in no time. and like you two... we met off the internet, and I wasn't there to witness his "bad past." And double-whammy; the guy I dated was also bipolar. Like someone mentioned above, it's not so much the drugs, but the bi-polar state which you should be worried about. Is he TOTALLY willing to get help for it? Does he recognize it and realize that he has to do something about it? If not-- I don't recommend getting any closer with this guy.
brittany8 brittany8 9 years
i know quite a bit about being in a relationship with a bipolar person. people with bipolar are prone to drug use and really struggle with it. also, they seem to constantly switch on and off of their meds, which causes really awful mood swings and irratic behaivor. be warned, it's extremely drama-filled.
trixiefire trixiefire 9 years
He hasnt even been in recovery for a full year. AA and NA programs recommend at least a year of sobriety. Its too soon to tell. Spare yourself and high tail it out of there! Its nice that you want to be trusting, but yes, you are being naive, and drugs hold a particular powre over their victims, something that no amount of love and trust can budge, sometimes. Move on, you deserve someone without any baggage. P.S. No matter how charitable you might be, having a mate with bipolar disorder, even treated under medication, can be incredibly trying to one's patience. Its a distraction, when your focus should be on school.
vanyvrgs vanyvrgs 9 years
Hmmmm.... well, I think you are jumping the gun as you have yet to meet him. Why not try to meet him and see if things click as friends first. With that said, he lives at home with his mom is not going to college and is bipolar and an won't be easy but you are running before you learn to walk -- see what happens first when you meet him and see if you can even be friends.
sass317 sass317 9 years
I know people can change, I have a very dear friend who managed to turn her life around, I also have an ex who I thought at the time WAS turning his life around. I was wrong, and it didnt take very long before he stopped coming home at night, was drunk and/or high all the time, lying to me, cheating on me (thank god I tested negative for everything) etc. I was a mess- I couldnt sleep, couldnt function bc I was so stressed out- more often than not I was up all night wondering if this was going to be the night that I would get the call to bail him out of jail, or that he had been in an accident and was hurt or dead or had injured or killed someone else. The thing was when I met him he seemed he was totally getting his life together, going to therapy, taking his medication, working hard at his job- but it didnt last, and it took a lot out of me, I left that relationship very very damaged. I should have run, not walked, away from him from the very beginning, but I gave him a chance and it very nearly destroyed me. Do yourself a favor- dont go there, its SO not worth it.
CoMMember13630786602261 CoMMember13630786602261 9 years
eight months is not long enough for a person to say "Im clean and sober" especially if they were using herion. I dont think dating someone who has a past with drugs is a bad idea. People can change and break the habit and come out on the other side. (Im one of those people) But it takes much longer than eight months. You dont want to end up being this persons crutch. Not only that, but you are only 21 years old. I dont mean this to be offensive, but I dont think at 21 you have the wisdom, or self control to deal with dating an ex junkie. It can be done, but YOU have to know who YOU are, and know what you want out of life, and be able to stand up for yourself and your believes. If not, it would be far too easy for you to get sucked into that life. Because if you arent strong enough, if he goes down, he WILL take you with him.
pequeña pequeña 9 years
I used to date a guy who was a drug addict. I thought it was just cocaine and speed but it turned out that he also tried heroine. I couldn't handle it and we broke up. Back then he only cared abut parting and he refused to take the AIDS test. Now he's with another girl and he's not an addict anymore, he's studying and he's clean. People can change, I believe everyone deserves a second chance. I would say you give him a chance, just be careful and don't go too fast. Try to find out if he's really clean or not, because many addicts say they're clean but take drugs every now and then. If you really like him, give him a try.
sassy-sugar sassy-sugar 9 years
everyone deserves a second chance. sure, eight months is a short time span. if i were you, i would keep it very casual for now and just enjoy his company but nothing real serious and let it be known that you are only giving him a chance because of his current clean and sober act. good luck in your decision.
indielove indielove 9 years
druggie AND Bi-polar. better grab your shit and run for the hills, girl.
Marci Marci 9 years
There are so many solid, well thought out comments here. I'd suggest reading them over several times and weighing them out. I do want to specifically mention popgoestheworld's and leeluvfashion's. Good food for thought in those two. But I will add my own thought here: My fiance is a recovering alcoholic; hasn't had a drink in 10 years. He considers himself an alcoholic, lives by the AA 'one day at a time' credo, and attends meetings regularly. There are many people who, when they hear about his drinking days, think I'm crazy to be with him. I'm aware that the possibility always exists that he might one day fall off the wagon. I don't know what I'll do if that happens. But I do know that the man I met and fell in love with is absolutely amazing, despite his dark past, and it was dark. I wouldn't trade my life with him for anything.
Masqueraded_Angel Masqueraded_Angel 9 years
The man is an addict. Even if he has dropped the heroin, he has an addictive personality, which means he'll find another addiction whether it be with drugs or not. That's just the way it is. It's a lifelong struggle. So you have to ask yourself...will you be comfortable in a relationship when you're always wondering if he's using or not? You'll start stressing yourself out looking for clues and signs that might or might not be there.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
You should get to know the guy really well as a friend and definitely see how things are. It would be so hard for you if he has a relapse and you have to live through it. If he's young it easily could have been a mistake and he may have grown up and realized what a mistake it was. If this guy ends up being someone you would like to spend time with romantically then I say go for it as long as you keep your eyes open for problems. Just give it time as friends to see if he's even worth contemplating.
wrngco wrngco 9 years
Run don't walk Run I say this from experience we ladies will take any guy to "not be alone" and find one redeeming quality however there was a popular study that a large number of men would rather date a current drug abuser than an overweight woman AGAIN RUN DON'T WALK FROM THIS GUY you don't need this
Carri Carri 9 years
My mom has bipolar. Trust me when I say that you DO NOT want to be with a person like this. Maybe he'll be good and take his meds like he's supposed to, but maybe he won't. This will always be a struggle for him, and it will be a struggle for his future wife and children (especially the children). If I were you, I'd run for the hills!
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
popgoestheworld, i'm happy for your sister and your family. these stories are always so full of heartache. one of our family friends (goes back 3 generations) is about your sister's age and it hasn't worked out for her. she's had 2 children, both of which were taken from her by the courts (10 years apart) and one abortion. they have never given up on her though and still hope she will turn her life around. :hug:
Cate-McG Cate-McG 9 years
Be nice, but cut the tie. This has disaster written all over it. You've never even met this guy; you owe him nothing, so you shouldn't feel guilty for distancing yourself. Why, at the height of your potential, would you get involved with someone with two major strikes against him? He will always be an addict (whether or not he's using), and he will always be bipolar. Both of these issues could seriously complicate your life. And this is a time when you should be completely focused on your career and your own growth as a person, not on dealing with someone else's problems. Especially someone you don't even know. There are so many great guys out there who are clean, mentally stable, and achievers like yourself. So don't sell yourself short; it's better to date no one than to date someone with major issues. And if this guy is really a wonderful person and the one for you, you'll find him again when he's in a more stable place.
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