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Wife of an addict

Discussion in 'Prescription Drugs' started by firefairy, Nov 13, 2015.

  1. firefairy

    firefairy Member

    My story is long so I’ll spare you.. To sum it up, my husband has been an addict for as long as I’ve known him. We have been together 13years. He has been an on and off alcoholic since I met him. I always knew they he liked pain pills and they he took them from time to time… but I wasn’t prepared for what our life has become. About 3-4 years ago he started spiraling downwards. He seemed depressed, antisocial and distant. He smiled less and we fought more. He became hostile and mean. It got to the point that I had to ask for a separation about a year and a half ago. 6 months after he moved out, he admitted to being hooked to Ambien for a year or more. He detoxed on my couch and I took him back because I finally had something to blame for the reason he was treating me. Things got a little better for a little while but then they started going bad again quick. I asked for a separation AGAIN.. 5 months after letting him come home. He moved out again. We still talked and spent time together trying to work out our problems. There were lots of times that he looked high or seemed off but he denied being on anything. Recently, the addiction peaked to a point that it was hard to deny. I could see it, I could feel it.. it was getting obvious! He was nodding out. His pupils tiny. He was foggy and forgetful. He was needy and insecure. I confronted him. He admitted to being addicted to pain pills. He admitted to never being sober for more than a day or two in the last 20 years. He admitted to crushing them. He admitted to taking 5 Percocet 30s at a time. All the money wasted. He was just getting to the point of lying, borrowing and stealing. He was just getting to the point where he soon would have switched to Heroin because it is cheaper. Well he finally came clean to me, his parents, his friends. He admitted that he needed help. He went to a 4- day detox treatment center. He came home and he looked alive again for the first time in a LONG time. He looked healthy. Was eating. Of course he was miserable with withdrawal for about 10 days after he got home. But he was doing ok. Until he went back to work.. his work is a cesspool of addicts with every drug imaginable available daily. He admitted to slipping. I could see there was more to it. Days he wasn’t admitting to. I can see it. I can feel it. His eyes. His voice. His body language. He is slipping away from me again and back into his addiction. I finally got him to admit that he is slipping.. but I don’t know what to do to help him. He thinks he can’t be happy sober. He thinks the pills help him. He says he can’t stand living in his own mind. He can’t see the obvious.. they are destroying him! Not helping him!!
    Me.. I am struggling. I am making mistakes at work. I am consumed with watching.. searching.. trying to read him.. trying to decipher the lies and manipulation that I’m being fed. I am consumed to the point that I am not living my own life. I’m not happy. I’m trying to be selfless and be there for him.. but it is hard! I am trying to be loving and understanding but it is hard! It is hard knowing that he is slipping back. It is hard knowing that he is lying to be again. It is hard worrying about how it will affect our children if it gets control of him again. It is hard!!! Almost unbearable at times. All the nights I pray. All the nights I cry. All the nights I shake uncontrollably because I’m that stressed out that I can’t think straight. The pacing. The searching. The emptiness I feel when he won’t talk to me. When all he wants to do is sleep. The silence when he doesn’t message me. The fear when he isn’t home on time.
    I feel like the weakest person in the world. I wonder how others do this. How do people live like this. I’ve been reading about boundaries and detachment. I have been reading about codependency and addicts. I am a MESS! I feel like I have no one. Everyone keeps telling me.. you need to be there for him. You need to be selfless. You need to give him space and be supportive. Some say, you need to leave him and move on with your life. Not one person has just held me and let me cry. Not one person has acknowledged how hard it is to be the wife an addict. I feel to utterly all alone in this world. How many friends I have lost because I don’t leave me house often anymore. Too afraid to go anywhere. Too afraid to leave him with the kids. Too afraid to let him drive the kids anywhere. No energy to do anything for myself because living with an addict is so stressful and draining that it takes everything out of me. Too afraid that he might need me. All those friends that are just so sick of hearing me complain about it all. I can’t blame them. I’m just as sick of living it!!
    Any advice? Any hope? Has anyone had any success with detachment and boundaries? Any advice on how to establish them and enforce them?
  2. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    @firefairy... First of all, welcome to the community and thanks for sharing so honestly with us. We are glad you're here.

    Loving someone who struggles with addiction is one of the most challenging situations anyone can be in. I am the father of a 25-year-old son in long-term recovery from heroin and my wife and I went through several years of hell before our son got clean. I can only imagine what it's like to be married to an addict. My heart goes out to you.

    I would like to tell you that YOU are the most important person in your life. Instead of being selfless, you should be practicing self-care. Taking good care of yourself should be your number one priority. That is not being selfish, either. It's being practical. Think about what they tell you just before your plane takes off: In the event of an emergency, put your OWN oxygen mask on first...then start helping others. The reason is simple: If you don't take care of yourself first, everyone is going to suffer.

    One of the problems with loving an addict is that we tend to become addicted to their addiction. The crying, shaking, stress, and emptiness you describe are all a result of that. Your day-to-day life and happiness have become dependent on how your husband is doing. And if he's consistently not doing well, then you're not doing well either. That's not fair. You deserve to live a happy, healthy life. You need to take care of yourself and your kids!

    I admire the courage and dedication you've shown so far. But, unfortunately, unless your husband wants to change, nothing you do will help. You didn't cause his addiction, you can't control it, and you can't cure it. Only the addict can make things better.

    It took my wife and I years before we were able to put an end to enabling our son, and realize that OUR lives were being destroyed by HIS addiction. When we finally came to our senses, we set a clear boundary: He couldn't live with us and use drugs. When he ignored this boundary, we told him he had to go to treatment or leave our home. Period. He left our home for a few days, but then returned and said he'd go to treatment. That rehab stay was the one that turned him around.

    My heart aches for you because I know that you're pretty much going through a living hell with your husband. You and your children should get away from that situation for a good bit of time. You've done so much to try and help him, but it just doesn't seem like he wants to change. And it's affecting all aspects of your life. I've been there and done that with my son, so I know how maddening it can be.

    I don't have an answer for you. If I had a magic wand, I would gladly send it to you and let you borrow it. One suggestion, if you haven't tried it already, is for you to see a counselor. I think they might be able to help you sort out your feelings and feel a little more grounded. Therapy saved my life while my son was battling his addiction. Also, Al-Anon can be a fabulous thing. My wife will tell you that Al-Anon saved her life.

    We are here for you, whether you need support or just want to vent. So don't hesitate to reach out whenever you need to. And be sure to look through the other threads in the forums here, because I know there are others who have experiences similar to yours.

    I will keep you and your husband in my thoughts and prayers. Please remember that you are important. Self-care isn't's essential.

    Sending you peace, positive vibes, and big virtual hugs.
    MrsJones, kgord and L_B like this.
  3. firefairy

    firefairy Member

    Thank you so much!! Everything that you wrote made me feel more at ease.. like I’m not alone.. like someone out there understands!!
    “And if he's consistently not doing well, then you're not doing well either” This comment really hit home! This is exactly what it is like for me. I think about him and his addiction more than I think about myself.. what I need, what I want. I tried setting some boundaries yesterday. I am still trying to figure out what I need and where I drawl my line. I told him he is not allowed in the house on days that he “slips” that he must spend the night at his moms or his sisters. I told him I will not tolerate being lied to or manipulated anymore either. But even knowing that he might come home with tiny pupils today and I will have to enforce my boundaries is making me sick with worry already. You know the weird thing is, I’m not worried about kicking him out for the night because the house is less tense without his addiction in it.. I’m just worried that I won’t see it.. that he will be able to hide his use from me and then I will be a fool all over again.
    The most confusing feelings that I have is that all I have been thinking about lately is an escape. I keep thinking about moving away. Getting as far away from him as possible so he can’t manipulate me into giving him another chance.. so he can’t lure me in again and again. So I can start over. I can get help. I can breathe without having him control my mind, thoughts and emotions. Then I feel bad for thinking those things. But if I could be brutally honest for one minute… That’s what I really want! To escape his addiction and all the pain it causes me!!
    I am glad that your son was able to overcome his addiction and that you and your wife were able to get the help that you needed to get through it.
    Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!
    MrsJones and L_B like this.
  4. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    Hey, @firefairy... There's nothing wrong with thinking about moving away, wanting to start over, and wanting to get help. So don't feel bad. And if that's what you really want, then maybe you need to think more seriously about doing it. Please don't get me wrong. I'm not telling you that that's what you should do. But I will tell you this: Life is too short to go through it being miserable, especially if that misery is being caused by someone else who you've tried over and over again to help.

    Also, kudos to you for setting some boundaries. Now that you've done that, make sure you stick to them. I learned the hard way that there's nothing worse than setting a boundary for an addict and then not enforcing it. That just makes them feel like they've won (again) and sets you up for more manipulation.

    If you want to keep trying with your husband, you should check out a book called Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change. It's a book written specifically for partners/loved ones of addicts. It talks about how to communicate better with an addict, using love and empathy instead of anger. It also covers other topics, like setting boundaries, letting the addict suffer natural consequences of their behavior, and--most importantly--how to take care of yourself. It's really the closest thing there is to an "owner's manual" for loved ones of addicts. I wish it had been around when my son was struggling.

    Remember, my friend: You and your children are at the top of the "Most Important People" list. So you have to make sure you get to live the kind of life you deserve. Just like your husband is the only one who can change his life, you're the only one who can change yours. And whether you decide to stay or go, you can make positive, healthy changes.

    Get that book and read it. I think you'll be really glad you did.

    Peace and hugs.
    MrsJones and L_B like this.
  5. L_B

    L_B Community Champion

    Hi firefairy. Thank you for sharing your story. Living with an addict is difficult. It is emotionally and physique exhausting. You need to take care of you and your children. It is hard to help him if he doesn't want to help himself. If you would love to move far away then start looking into it, planning it and maybe things will fall into place. Even if you don't go it will give you something to focus on and something to dream about. You got to have hope. I get what you are going through and I know how draining it is. You are not alone. We are hear for you to help in any way that we can. There are so many others here who are going through the same thing. Sometimes just having people to talk to who truly understand lifts a huge load off your shoulders.
    MrsJones and deanokat like this.
  6. Jasmine2015

    Jasmine2015 Community Champion

    You sound like a very loving and caring person. You have to remember to take care of you so you are not emotionally empty and drained. There have been times when I have suffered from burn out due to having to help care for my siblings but there are times I must take care of me. It's one of those instances where I have to be selfish to make sure I have my sanity and that I'm functioning the way I'm supposed to. Your husband has had his ups and downs and will continue to have them. Have you tried helping him look for a new job so he doesn't have to worry about returning to the same environment that got him trapped to begin with?
    deanokat likes this.
  7. firefairy

    firefairy Member

    This weekend was exhausting. Friday he didn’t speak to anyone. Went to bed as soon as he got home from work. Caught me examining his eyes and gave me an attitude about it. Saturday he came home being a jerk to me.. blaming me for his pill addiction because I wouldn’t let him be himself and drink. He blamed me for everything negative in his life and basically backed me into a corner until I told him “fine, make your own choices, I can’t control you.” So when I got home from going shopping with my daughters, he was drunk. Sunday he was in a good mood.. but I was not. I am mentally and physically exhausted by how consuming this all is. I am broken and destroyed inside. I need help and can’t wait to get some counseling. I expressed this to him which turned into talks about divorce. He was going to leave.. but changed his mind and said he wants to really try this time. So I just went on with my day. Then I got a phone call from a friend that told me he tried getting pills from them last week and on Saturday!! Funny… they wouldn’t give him any because of me and perhaps that’s why I got all the attitude on Saturday?! He just can’t stop hiding things from me!
    Today I am focused on detaching. I need to detach. I cannot let this consume me anymore. I need to focus on the good and not the bad and let this ride out whichever way god is intending it to. I ask myself, why do I stay? Why do I keep giving him chances when he continues to manipulate me, blame me and put me down? Why am I not stronger? Why do I let this destroy me? Why do I feel bad for hurting him? How do I begin to heal? How do I redirect my focus? What do I do when he breaks me down? How do I find the energy to live for me and my girls? What can I do to better myself?
    That’s where I am at today. And as much as I want to detach.. I am still fearful of what his eyes may or may not look like this afternoon. L
  8. firefairy

    firefairy Member

    Jasmine.. I did try talking to him about finding a new job. He is not very open minded about it. He has been with this company for many years and is comfortable there and other reasons that I am sure he won’t admit to me.
  9. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    @firefairy... I'm so sorry to hear about your weekend. It sounds like it was a struggle for you. Big hugs, my friend.

    I must say, though, it sounds like you are asking yourself all the right questions. And focusing on detaching is a good thing, too. As I said before, you and your daughters are the most important people in your life. If you continue to live the way you're living, and nothing changes, the ramifications will be great. So remember to take care of YOU.

    I wish I could make things better for you. But since I can't, I will do the best I can, which is to send positive, healing vibes and virtual hugs your way. Know that we are here for you anytime you need us.

    Go forward, be brave, and keep the faith.
  10. I'm so sorry you and your husband are struggling like this. I have no answers for you but just wanted to acknowledge your story.
    Winterybella and deanokat like this.
  11. kgord

    kgord Community Champion

    It sounds like your husband needs a total life reboot and a long term rehab. Obviously, this has been a long term process for him and a 4 day detox is not going to cure many years of SA. I feel for you. Are you getting help through Alanon or a place where you can get ongoing support? I mean I don't see how you can continue to live this way. You need to get support for yourself first...Please rely on those who have some of the same issues...You are not alone!
  12. firefairy

    firefairy Member

    What does detachment mean? I am having a hard time grasping this concept. There are parts that I understand.. and parts that I don’t. Being hard of hearing, I am really observant. I notice if things are moved or missing. I can see shady behavior. My mind works like a detective trying to piece together the things that I cannot hear. So when I notice something missing.. or feel like something is off, do I ask? Do I confront? Or do I let it go?
    Everything I read about detaching and detaching with love stated that I need to let go. Realize that I have no control over anyone accept for myself and learn to live and take care of myself while letting the addict, my husband, make his own choices and take accountability for his own decisions and actions.
    How does this work with boundaries? If I am not watching I may not see. If I don’t see, he may be able to cross my boundaries without me knowing. One of my strongest boundaries is that he is not allowed in the house if he is using. He is not allowed around our daughters high. But if I am detached.. How will I know if he is using or not?
    This is all so overwhelming and hard to grasp. I want to make the right choices for myself and my children. I need to learn how to detach so that I can grow as a person and as a mother. I need to become stronger in dealing with his addictive behaviors by learning to not obsess and let them consume me. But at the same time.. I am fearful that if I detach too much, he will be able to go back to old ways behind my back and make me a fool once again. Sometimes I think my obsession is my way of trying to protect myself even though it really just destroys me.

    kgord.. I have an appointment for counseling set up.. but they couldn't get me in until next month. Small town problems!
  13. firefairy

    firefairy Member

    I want to thank you all for all of your comments. I appreciate each and every one. This is a really hard time for me and I appreciate being able to come to this site to vent and be acknowledged... because sometimes that is all I really need.. To feel like my feelings are relevant and that I am significant too!
    deanokat and kgord like this.
  14. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    @firefairy... I think this article offers up a pretty good explanation of detaching with love.

    Detachment with Love Gains New Meaning

    Give it a read and let me know what you think.
  15. sillylucy

    sillylucy Community Champion

    I think you gave him more than enough free chances and he clearly is showing that he will never change his ways. He is going to put himself above you and any type of life that you want to create together.
  16. 111kg

    111kg Community Champion

    What I have to say may seem harsh, but I think it's important for you to get this advice: my father was an alcoholic for all his life and has never changed. Most of the alcoholics will value more their drinks than their close ones, because they take their SO or relatives for granted, while they have to pay for their drinks. He's been taking you for granted and he will always do the same thing.

    Get out of the relationship, record him being drunk all the time and file a divorce. You have plenty of time ahead to rebuild your life again.
  17. firefairy

    firefairy Member

    Thank you, Deanokat. That article did help. I printed it out and highlighted some sections for quick reference while I work on my journey!
    I told everyone when he went to detox that I had one last fight in me.. this is it. If I leave again, I will file for divorce and move on with my life. He has been doing good the past few days, from what I see. His eyes look clear.. but perhaps he found something less noticeable to numb him?! But I won’t obsess. I won’t search. I won’t wonder. I will continue to detach. Continue to build myself back up. Continue to get help for me.
    MrsJones and deanokat like this.
  18. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    @firefairy... I'm glad the article helped. And I'm glad that you're working on detaching. It's definitely not your job to police your husband's activities. Besides, no matter how much you may want to, you can't control him. Period. If he doesn't stay clean this time, do what you have to to make your life better. Because YOU are the most important person in your life. You and your daughters.

    Sending you peace and hugs, my friend. We are here for you anytime you need us.
  19. firefairy

    firefairy Member

    Happy Friday! Last night was the first time that I had to be strong and enforce my boundaries. He slipped. He admitted to slipping. I am glad that he is being open and honest about his struggle with recovery.. BUT I had to ask him to leave the house for the night. I told him I had to protect myself and my daughters and that he could not be at the house when he is using. Today he is talking about outpatient programs and possibly trying subutex treatments. I personally don't like that method of getting clean.. but its not my battle and not my decision so as long as he is trying to get clean and learn how to live a sober life, I will support him in his recovery. Last night I relaxed and watched some TV. I didn't let anything stress me out. I didn't let it consume me. I went on with my nightly routine without him and I was fine! One big step for me! I still have a long way to go but I think detaching and setting boundaries will help me!
    MrsJones likes this.
  20. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    @firefairy... I'm sorry your husband slipped, but I am incredibly proud of you for sticking to your boundaries and making him leave the house for the night. Good for you!!! The fact that you were able to do that shows your husband that you're serious this time around. It also shows me that you are learning and growing. How nice was it that, even though your husband slipped up, you were able to relax, watch TV, and go through your evening without stress??

    I understand your concerns about Subutex, but try to keep an open mind. My son had great success with Suboxone while he was breaking free from heroin. It wasn't my first choice of treatment, but it was his problem and it was under a doctor's supervision, so I went along with it. The bottom line is that it might just help your husband get clean. And if he's clean, does it really matter how he got there?

    Keep sticking to your boundaries and taking care of you and your daughters. If your husband wants recovery, support him in his efforts. It's good that he's talking about outpatient programs. It really is.

    Thanks so much for updating us. Remember that we're here for you! :)