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Addicted or not?

Discussion in 'Helping an Addicted Loved One' started by Boings, Feb 14, 2019.

  1. Boings

    Boings Member

    I think my husband has a problem, but need a knowledgeable opinion. He is 52 years old. When he was 16-22 he was a heavy alcohol and drug user (LSD, pot, etc.). His parents and his older brother were all alcoholics. He hadn't used any substances or consumed much alcohol over the first 15 years or so we were together (we've been married 20), but his alcohol use began to increase about 5 years ago. He only drinks out of the house, so I don't know how much he's really drinking, but he is definitely drinking 3-4 times/week, often alone during his commute (rail) home. He claims he's only drinking 1-2 drinks each time, but his behavior is definitely different when he's been drinking.

    Over the last 10 years he has also become severely computer/phone/internet addicted (no, not in the way that 'everybody is'). He is glued to his phone or computer 24/7. If he's driving, the second he parks he picks up his phone and starts compulsively checking the news or facebook. He brings his phone to the bathroom. He sleeps with it. If he's waiting for me in the car with my son, he is on the phone. He walks from the kitchen to the bedroom (up stairs) while looking at his phone. And so on.

    Now, last week, I found out he somehow obtained a medical marijuana I.D. card. We are in NY, and he does NOT have any of the medical conditions for which medical marijuana can be legally prescribed in NY, so he must have lied in order to get it. He already has two different prescriptions for medical marijuana. Six weeks ago he had told me he was just using CBD oil, and has "no desire to get high." Apparently, that wasn't true.

    I know if I ask him about the MedMarijuana he'll find some way to justify it and minimize the significance of him using it. I need to educate myself about the effects of MM--can he really get high from it? I'm so afraid he's going to be driving with me/my son in the car while high, and we won't know it until it's too late (I can't drive due to medical issues).

    It's the secrecy that has me most concerned. He thinks that I'm the one with the problem, because I don't like him drinking and because I "don't like his phone," so I'm sure he'll think that "I'm the one with the problem" when I ask him about the I.D. card.

    Am I blowing things out of proportion, or does he have a problem? Is he really just a social drinker and using the MM to help himself sleep? The electronics addiction I know is not my problem. But the alcohol/MM--am I overreacting?

    Thanks so much for reading!
  2. Dominica

    Dominica Recovery Advocate @ Moving Beyond Codependency Community Listener

    @Boings hey there. thanks for reaching out. i don't know a lot about MM. it does sound like he's on a slippery slope toward addiction... phone addiction is popular... and that would be annoying, so i hear you on that. i know for me, i wouldn't like that at all in a partner...and i'd have to lay some boundaries for myself...

    doesn't sound like he's going to be up front with you... not sure if you're overreacting, but what you want and need in a relationship matters.... what is it that you want? for him to not drink at all? how much is "too much" on the phone? do you have a problem with MM if it doesn't make him high?

    i'm sure you do want him just to be open and honest with you.... there may be something going on under the surface... is he prone to anxiety? depression? work stress? gravitating toward addictive behaviors can come as a result of such... but only he can really know...

    is his behavior after drinking bothering you? i mean, what is it that is different?

    not sure if this helps.... just trying to get a clear picture.
  3. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    Welcome to the community, @Boings. I'm not a medical professional, but my opinion is that your husband definitely has addiction issues. You don't have to drink every day or at home to have a problem with alcohol. And lying to get medical marijuana is a sign, too. As far as whether or not you can get high off of MM...of course you can. There are different strains of medical weed available at dispensaries, some higher in THC (the stuff that gets you high) than others. The secrecy is a big deal, too. Addicts love to hide stuff from and lie to the people they love. It's how they keep up their habits. Again, this is just my opinion, but I think you have quite a few reasons to be concerned.

    Like @Dominica said, you need to set some boundaries. Sit down and have a conversation with your husband and tell him what behaviors of his are and aren't acceptable for you. You have every right to do that, because YOUR life matters, too. Your son's life matters, too. If you don't speak up, things will likely spiral out of control even more.

    One important thing that Al-Anon and Nar-Anon teach us about a loved one's addiction is that we didn't cause it, we can't control it, and we can't cure it. That said, you CAN control how you react to your husband's issues. Stick up for yourself and your son. You should not have to live with your husband's issues if they are making you unhappy or uneasy.

    We're always here to help, support, and listen. Please don't hesitate to lean on us anytime you'd like.
  4. Boings

    Boings Member

    Thank you, Dominica, all good questions!

    There is no way that I have found to communicate with my husband about his phone use. He immediately gets nasty and attacking. I am completely sure that his phone/computer use would be considered a serious addiction problem. Step 1 in terms of boundaries, for me, would be that he needs to make eye contact with me several times a day. That would be an improvement over zero (no exaggeration here!). He has difficulty with sustained eye contact to begin with--he has pretty significant ADHD, so focusing in general is hard for him, except where electronics are concerned. He works in the computer industry, and uses that to justify his phone use, but that's just an excuse.

    In an ideal world I would want him not to drink at all, but I understand social drinking is an acceptable behavior in our society. The problem is that he gets nasty when he drinks. He's an angry person to begin with, and I think a little alcohol just loosens his inhibitions a bit, so that he can't hold it in as well. He also gets very strangely-intensely--excited when the possibility of having some alcohol is mentioned--others have noticed this, so it's not just my bias. At one point he was drinking wine in our basement, so that I wouldn't know. I only found out because we do keep alcohol in our house, but largely for cooking purposes, and when I went to use it, it was gone.

    I would have no problem with him using MM if it didn't get him high, but the prescriptions he has are designed to create a "full bodied high," as per the description on the products' websites. The other thing I have a problem with is the fraudulent acquisition of a MM I.D. Card.

    Y'know, now that I'm writing all this, I realize that I wouldn't have a problem with any of this (except the risk of driving while on something) if he were a nice person. But he's not. Ever. He pretends in public, but he's really not. People who know him casually would be shocked if they knew how he behaves at home...
  5. Boings

    Boings Member

    Thanks for your support, Deanokat. I've been feeling concerned for all the reasons you mention.

    I wish I could sit down and have a conversation with him. There's no such possibility, unfortunately. No matter how carefully I approach him (and I AM extremely careful with my wording, tone, etc.), he will either deflect from the issue and start talking about "all the things" I do "wrong" (e.g., not keeping the house clean enough, overcommitted to helping others and so on) or attack me verbally and tell me how everything he does is my fault. There is no way to even get him back on topic. I usually ended up walking away, for my own sanity and protection. I used to stick up for myself much more, but he's so explosive that I just try not to make waves.

    I'm going to have to approach him about the MM by tomorrow, since we have a long drive on Sunday and I want it confirmed that he will not have taken anything (like MM). Not looking forward to that 'conversation!'
  6. Dominica

    Dominica Recovery Advocate @ Moving Beyond Codependency Community Listener

    @Boings living with someone who is mean... oh, i'm so sorry you have to go through that... i think learning the art of setting boundaries will serve you well. you don't have to tolerate verbal or emotional abuse.... no maam!

    if you're in need of extra support, consider al-anon. you'll get to share with others in similar shoes and learn a lot about how to best be on the opposite side of someone in addiction... and, learn how NOT to go crazy in the process. and take care of you too! (as opposed to always focusing on him...)

    sounds like he's in full blown denial. it's not uncommon for them to get angry and then deflect back to you, like you're the crazy person with the problem....

    you're bringing things to light that are not alright. you have every right to do this...what you want and need matters!! (married or not) but doing so can cause some mighty waves to come crashing; he won't like it.

    thus, you're on a new journey.... not sweeping things under the carpet. not staying silent. not allowing him to be mean to you. not allowing him to manipulate. etc. it's not an easy journey, but necessary if you want to have a life where you feel peace and joy.....

    we are here to listen.... anytime...
    deanokat likes this.
  7. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    You're very welcome, @Boings. I'm sorry that you're having to deal with everything your husband is throwing at you. And it's a shame that he has to be mean on top of everything else. My favorite author, Anne Lamott, once said that a good marriage is one in which both parties feel like they're getting the better end of the deal. Obviously, you don't feel that way. If things don't change, maybe you'll have to make some tough decisions at some point. You deserve love and respect, for sure.

    Hope your drive today was uneventful.