I don't consider myself a substance abuser but I did grow up in a chaotic household with an addict for a dad. He abused alcohol, heroin and occasionally, my mother. Since my childhood, and my dad's untimely death from a heroin overdose at age 37, I've found myself crossing paths with people of all kinds of addiction backgrounds. My first serious boyfriend was addicted to smoking weed. Yeah, most weed smokers would laugh at this. But I consider it an addiction if you can't function without it all day. I was literally competing for his attention. He was also a weekend drinker and a party goer with a gambling problem. Our fights (sometimes physical) reminded me too much of my mom and dad's crazy relationship. I didn't want to end up like my parents, so I took our son and just left, after 4 years of hoping my love would change him. Years later, this ex still lives a chaotic life, having numerous children out of wedlock, unstable jobs, bouncing from couch to couch and no savings to speak of. He is prone to blaming everyone but himself for his life's challenges. The only constant in his world is drugs and alcohol. He is an expert at getting people to throw him pity parties and to enable his bad behavior. I used to feel guilty about giving up on him. But I learned my lesson from remembering my dad's situation. In the end, no one can be helped if they don't truly want change. People should work not to be in denial about their own condition and those of the people they care about. Now, I'm married to a man who labels himself a recovering addict. In the 5 years we've been together, I've never seen him take a drink, smoke a cigarette, party, gamble or do drugs. He was clean when we met and has stayed this way. When I ask him why de doesn't get tempted to go back to his old ways, he simply says I've helped him with encouragement and understanding. He says it's therapeutic for him to vent his feelings and thoughts to me without being judged. Even though the temptation is there, it's easy for him not to give in to it. Really? Is it that simple? I guess my love and supportive attitude sinks in with my husband because unlike my ex, he was very serious about changing and bettering his life. He was determined not to let the addictions control him. So he latched onto whatever help, support and encouragement was made available to him. I've gotten over my guilt about giving up on my ex. Sometimes it's not the addiction that is keeping the person chained. It's their own sense of self worth and their inability to work through their traumas. The addiction is just how they mask and treat their true ailment- emotional pain. As a supporter of recovering addicts, I think it's important not to lose oneself while trying to help another. My husband likes to give me credit for helping him not to relapse, but I sincerely believe it's his own will power and self love that has helped him to resist. Does anyone else have experiences with the result of supporting one addict versus another? Are there recovering people out there who have seen a difference in their recovery attempts based on their own attitudes despite having a support system?