Substance Abuse and ADD

I am in a relationship with a partner who I have known for almost 20 years and recently (4 years ago) we decided to become romantically involved. We've been living together for a little over a year and it's been a difficult transition for both of us.

We believe that he has been living with undiagnosed ADD since he was a teenager. As a result he isolated himself for the last 10 years only having minimal contact with freinds and family. About 5 years ago his best friend died of skin cancer at the age of 34. He was devastated and started to self medicate with alcohol and marijuana just to get through to the next day of stress and confusion.

The abuse continued on until I came back into the picture. He hadn't addressed the loss of his best friend and continued to used alcohol and weed to quiet down after a day of work. Then he lost his job. As you can already tell, life's stressful circumstances seemed to continue to grow and he still unaware that he might have ADD continued on with the substance abuse.

Flash forward to today and the ADD still hasn't been confirmed and he's been to see someone about the substance abuse but is hesitate to stop. I believe he thinks that alcohol and weed help him cope and he's afraid (I'm hoping not lazy!) to stop.

He had made grand statements saying that he wanted us to get married. Gave me family heirlooms and jewellery to reassure me and thought that would be enough. I've given everything back until he understands what those things represent to me and if he can't understand I don't want them back.

We are going tomorrow to get another referral from our GP for an ADD assessment with a local hospital. I'm hoping it will happen. He's avoided going to see anyone about it and claims that he isn't bothering anyone, that his neurotic and obsessive negative thinking, avoidance and anger is who he is and that I'm the one who is overly demanding. I can accept that for the first few months that I was overly controlling because I didn't really understand what was going on, that perhaps it was the adjustment period of living together. A year later and a couples therapist, little has changed and has in fact gotten worse. I've realize my part in making things worse and I've really tried to make a positive change for my own mental health. I've distanced myself from him when he is ranting. I've gotten back in touch with old friends and am trying to have a more separate life of my own. I don't need him to make me a happy person but his behaviour has impacted my ability to see things clearly sometimes. I've given him 6 months to figure this out, to get an assessment, treatment (and meds, if that is what is recommended) and sober up. I've also told him that it's not just the diagnosis it's also the ongoing treatment and care of his condition. He always jumps to saying he's going to figure it out because he doesn't want to lose me and then just lets things slide as time passes thinking that just by him saying he's going to do something is enough to make me happy. I've been waiting and waiting, I'm still not happy.

I'm not very hopeful that he will be successful and see that there is a real possibility that I will have to move on. Living with ADD and substance abuse is intolerable. The ADD traits he does have become even more extreme and sometimes conversations are pointless as he claims he didn't have one with me. I don't drink unless it's a social occasion and even then I'm less likely to drink because of what I constantly see at home so I know I had these conversations! He is always trying to out smart me, or get me to be ok with things (like going out with his buddies) when responsibilities at home haven't been taken care of. I pretty much take care of everything, meals, bills, cleaning, appointments etc. He constantly complains that I do everything but then I let him take things on and they either don't get done and I am angry or it takes him forever to get around to things. For example the cleaning of the bathroom and kitchen garbage are his designated duties. On principal, I left the garbage to stink for 4 days until he figured out it started to smell bad in the kitchen, he heroically walked across the hallway and dumped the garbage down the compactor, this after a very grandiose speech about how he needs to help more around the house! I said nothing but almost burst out laughing at his announcement! I had originally thought if he was ok with doing these things and taking ownership of them he could successfully help with other things. Did I mention he gets overwhelmed easily? One chore takes the entire day! The cleaning of the bathroom becomes an epic all day event, with beer breaks in between rinses. It takes me a half hour with no breaks. If it's bathroom cleaning day for him we can't go to dinner or go see friends. It just takes everything he has to do one thing! I just go out myself, even if it is bathroom cleaning day. (These days don't come often enough! Even though I have had to clean in between!) Honestly, it's become a comedic episode of "what will he or won't he do today?"

His family are at their wits end and there is some denial about his condition. They completely blank out when I mention ADD and oddly enough, I suspect his own father has undiagnoised ADHD. They play right into his moods and I suspect they have a big part in his previous isolation. When I came onto the scene, they were happy that someone else got to deal with his problems.

I'm hoping that someone out there has a success story that will make me feel like there is a glimmer of hope in my situation as I love him dearly but I love myself more. As you can tell I try my best to keep my sense of humour about things but I'm waiting for the 6 months to be over so that I can either get on with living with ADD minus the substance abuse or living ADD free.