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Damaged Goods

Old 02-18-2013, 11:27 AM
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Lightbulb Damaged Goods

My husband is a recovering meth addict. I feel as though there is no point in marriage to him anymore, and would just like some perspective. Basically, I feel like because of the meth, he is permanently damaged on every level. I feel like because of the intense "pleasure" or whatever from the drug, and the damage it does to the "pleasure centers" of the brain, he will never enjoy things in our life together as he should. I feel like whats the point? Dont I deserve someone who can exactly feel real joy, someone who when we have sex feels like that is great pleasure? Whereas my ex-meth-addict husband always has the meth experience topping everything else. I want someone who is fully together, and neurologically intact, I didnt marry him broken, he chose this for himself...I dont care that hes not using, hes still damaged in my eyes and I just cant move past this feeling for the past month. I no longer relate to him, or understand any of his decisions at all... I cannot empathize what makes someone go use meth and abandon their wife and three kids... I am embarrassed by him, I feel I deserve so much more... Is this normal? ?
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:15 PM
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I don't know how long your AH has been in recovery, but I do understand what
you are saying.

I can also tell you that there is hope if he stays in recovery. We can rebuild the
'fried' pathways in our brains. My brain scans are proof of that as are the brain
scans of other A's that my neurologist has seen over the years.

So 'damaged goods'? Maybe, but and that is a big BUT, those that find recovery,
work on their recovery and live their recovery, actually find quite a bit of joy
and excitement and pleasure in life, and I dare say sometimes more so than a
normie who has never fried their brains.

I believe part of that, at least in my case, and those I have sponsored and know,
is that we are just so damn grateful for actually being able to have a life that
we really experience both the happy and the sad times to the fullest.

You will have to decide for you, whether you want to go ahead and leave now for
good, separate for a while to see if his ACTIONS show he is in recovery and
starting to live life again, and then decide whether to get back together or go.

You will probably never see the man you knew before the addiction, however, in
recovery he can be an even better man than he was before addiction.

Only you can make the final decision. Maybe some discussion with a therapist
might be beneficial to decide this issue you are struggling with.

Feel free to PM me if you feel I can answer any of your questions.

Love and hugs,
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:04 PM
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Thank you Laurie, your post was very helpful to me.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:03 PM
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I think your doubts are very justified, Newbeginnings, and I admire your gut level honesty.

A very very small percentage of addicts get sober and of those, a small percentage achieve a balanced mind, an ability to feel empathy, and an ability to build intimacy and trust in a relationship. I have read many books on this subject and have talked this through with my therapist, a Jungian with 40 years experience. And this is the information which I gathered.

Most recently I read of a Harvard study which evaluated the psychological health of people in their first 3 years of sobriety, and until they hit that third year, the majority of them tested as psychologically unstable. After three years clean, they had a stronger footing in mental health, and after ten years recovery, most tested within a normal range of mental health. Mental health, however, is generally regarded as the ability to accept and to deal with reality. It does not, however, address the issues of spiritual growth and emotional sensitivity and the willingness to reveal oneself with trust and openness in an intimate relationship.

Many of our members have been married to addicts who got clean and who have been attending AA or its equivalent for many years and who still continue to be abusive to other people, negligent parents, and adulterers. I used to be very naive about program people and I had a very immature notion that sitting in the rooms of AA for many years conferred instant integrity on a person. It does not.

I personally would be terrified to build a relationship with a meth addict who had less than 5 years of recovery and of professional, weekly therapy throughout that period of time. And to be really honest, even a meth addict with 10 years clean and sober would still be hard for me to trust. It is an intense drug which creates intense personality changes and acts of violence and in truth I would be afraid. If we cannot be honest about this topic in these forums or in the rooms of Nar-Anon and Al-Anon, then we are not in a safe place for our recovery. So that is my honest response to your post.

As to the brain's ability to regenerate: that is true in certain circumstances but not in all. In the book "Cracked" by Dr. Drew Pinsky he writes that after a certain number of uses of the drug Ecstasy--he says generally about 10-15 episodes--the user's brain can be changed permanently and the individual will suffer depression for life. (page 141 in the book). I have also read that long-term cocaine addiction can also create permanent lifelong depression in some users (the book which included this information is "The Noonday Demon" by Andrew Solomon).

My experience with a longtime recovering heroin addict is that even with years of sobriety he was evasive, abusive, and narcissistic--traits I was and have been unwilling to attribute to him but which my therapist insists are facts about his behavior.

Your meth-addicted partner may become one of the success stories. But if you do not want to wait 5 years, or 10, or 15, to find out, you need never feel guilty about not having the necessary conviction to get on that train.
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