Blogs


Notices

When the addict is your spouse...

Old 03-25-2013, 02:15 PM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 625
When the addict is your spouse...

My wife is an addict who recently relapsed. She is currently incarcerated as a result and is facing life wthout the possibility of parole. I am an addict in recovery and have over twenty years continuous clean time. While my time in recovery has given me many tools to deal with problems as they arise, this particular issue is not one that I've faced before and I made the decision to attend Nar-Anon. I have attended two meetings now and plan on going to one this evening.

Both the meetings and my reading through many of the posts in this section of SR have left me feeling uncertain and with questions that I can't quite formulate yet. For instance, almost everyone at the meetings is there because of a child who is using. The boundaries one might set with a child are, in my opinion at least, dramatically different than the boundaries one sets with a partner.

So many of the boundaries and choices these folks have given to their child would constitute domestic violence (particularly financial control) if I were to use these on my wife. Where does enabling stop and controlling begin when we are talking about a spouse and partner?
legna is offline  
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to legna For This Useful Post:
Ann (03-25-2013), AnvilheadII (03-25-2013), Lily1918 (03-25-2013), suki44883 (03-25-2013)
Old 03-25-2013, 02:24 PM
  # 2 (permalink)  
RIP Sweet Suki
 
suki44883's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: In my sanctuary, my home
Posts: 32,349
The thing to remember is that boundaries are for YOU. They are not rules for the addict to follow. Boundaries are things you set to protect yourself. They don't require the addict to do anything other than what they decide to do. If they cross one of your boundaries, then you follow through with whatever you decided to do when you set up that particular boundary.

Boundaries are things such as:

I will not live with an active addict. I must see long-term evidence that she is clean and working a strong program before I will consider co-habitating.
I will not be around someone who is actively using. I will remove myself if it isn't possible to remove the addict.

Things like that.
suki44883 is offline  
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to suki44883 For This Useful Post:
AnvilheadII (03-25-2013), laurie6781 (03-25-2013), legna (03-25-2013), Lily1918 (03-25-2013), MadInBoston (03-25-2013), NorCalGal (03-27-2013)
Old 03-25-2013, 02:33 PM
  # 3 (permalink)  
Member
 
AnvilheadII's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: W Washington
Posts: 11,590
hey there. i don't think boundaries are THAT different from child to spouse or sibling etc - except that with minor children. it all comes down to what is acceptable to us...and what is not and what WE will do when faced with unacceptable behaviors.

i'm VERY sorry your wife relapsed and is facing such onerous consequences. with her currently incarcerated and possibly for such a long time, your boundaries might look a bit different than most.

stick close to your support groups! i hope you find some good face to face time with Naranon, good for you for reaching out.
AnvilheadII is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to AnvilheadII For This Useful Post:
laurie6781 (03-25-2013), legna (03-25-2013), Lily1918 (03-25-2013)
Old 03-25-2013, 02:43 PM
  # 4 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 625
First of all, thanks for responding. With your idea's here, it gives me something to share my thoughts on and perhaps you or someone else might tell me where my thinking might need correcting to become more healthy.

Originally Posted by suki44883 View Post
The thing to remember is that boundaries are for YOU. They are not rules for the addict to follow. Boundaries are things you set to protect yourself. They don't require the addict to do anything other than what they decide to do.
I get this, I truly do...or at least, I truly believe that I do. However, I just read a suggestion in this forum that said, "Lock down your money. Bank accounts, credit cards, car titles -- all the rest." Yes, I understand that some people do the 'his money', 'her money', 'our money' thing in a marriage these days. I am not one of them, never have been and changing the financial rules twenty five years into our relationship because it protects 'me' where there has only ever been a 'we' is something that feels dishonest, duplicitious and frankly, does damage to my sense of self - which is what I am trying to avoid.

This is but one example, there are others.

Originally Posted by suki44883 View Post
If they cross one of your boundaries, then you follow through with whatever you decided to do when you set up that particular boundary.

Boundaries are things such as:

I will not live with an active addict. She must prove she is clean and working a strong program before I will consider co-habitating.
I will not be around someone who is actively using. I will remove myself if it isn't possible to remove the addict.

Things like that.
Neither of these particular boundaries, which I understand you were only using as examples...but neither of them are ones that I would employ for a variety of reasons... but in both cases, the consequences to me are far reaching.
legna is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to legna For This Useful Post:
suki44883 (03-25-2013)
Old 03-25-2013, 02:51 PM
  # 5 (permalink)  
RIP Sweet Suki
 
suki44883's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: In my sanctuary, my home
Posts: 32,349
I get this, I truly do...or at least, I truly believe that I do. However, I just read a suggestion in this forum that said, "Lock down your money. Bank accounts, credit cards, car titles -- all the rest." Yes, I understand that some people do the 'his money', 'her money', 'our money' thing in a marriage these days. I am not one of them, never have been and changing the financial rules twenty five years into our relationship because it protects 'me' where there has only ever been a 'we' is something that feels dishonest, duplicitious and frankly, does damage to my sense of self - which is what I am trying to avoid.

This is but one example, there are others.
Well, I understand what you are saying, and if this wasn't about addiction, I would agree. However, an addict can deplete your entire bank account very quickly. She could ruin you financially in short order if her addiction is bad enough. The fact that she is currently facing life without parole, makes it apparent that this addiction is pretty serious.

Addiction changes everything.
suki44883 is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to suki44883 For This Useful Post:
AnvilheadII (03-25-2013), EverHopeful721 (03-25-2013), Lily1918 (03-25-2013)
Old 03-25-2013, 02:53 PM
  # 6 (permalink)  
Member
 
AnvilheadII's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: W Washington
Posts: 11,590
the problem with mingled finances is if one of the parties decides to go on a tear and blow thru ALL the financial resources. that can leave the other party in a pretty rough spot, if not downright destitute. when my husband was out rippin' and runnin' i made SURE to get all the money i could out of his way - that meant he only spent about $300 that night.

what boundaries are YOU willing to employ if not any suggested? what IS acceptable to you and NOT acceptable? she's in jail so i suspect things went horribly awry to say the least.
AnvilheadII is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to AnvilheadII For This Useful Post:
legna (03-25-2013), Lily1918 (03-25-2013)
Old 03-25-2013, 03:10 PM
  # 7 (permalink)  
Member
 
atalose's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,104
perhaps you or someone else might tell me where my thinking might need correcting to become more healthy.
In my opinion I think this thinking needs to be worked on:

changing the financial rules twenty five years into our relationship because it protects 'me' where there has only ever been a 'we' is something that feels dishonest, duplicitious and frankly, does damage to my sense of self - which is what I am trying to avoid.
atalose is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to atalose For This Useful Post:
legna (03-25-2013)
Old 03-25-2013, 03:11 PM
  # 8 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 625
Originally Posted by AnvilheadII View Post
what boundaries are YOU willing to employ if not any suggested? what IS acceptable to you and NOT acceptable?
I don't know. This is my wife with whom I have not found it necessary to implement a boundary to keep myself safe in twenty-seven years. This is new territory and google-maps is offline for my life.

Originally Posted by AnvilheadII View Post
she's in jail so i suspect things went horribly awry to say the least.
She did 24 years in prison from 15 years old to 40 years old. She's been home for 15 months. We had three unexpected deaths in 26 days in the family, including mom, and she picked up. I'm not excusing that, but I understand it to be a mitigating factor as well as an indication that she has work to do that she has not yet done.

Using is a violation of her parole. She committed no crimes, checked herself into detox and has (even before getting caught with a dirty UA) worked with her mental health provider to find herself a bed in a treatment center. Her PO told her that was great, stay in detox until they released her ad then come to hisoffice and check in while awaiting the treatment bed. She did as he asked, we went to his office straight from detox and he invited her back to talk. The handcuffs were on before the door closed.
legna is offline  
Old 03-25-2013, 03:15 PM
  # 9 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 625
Originally Posted by atalose View Post
In my opinion I think this thinking needs to be worked on:
Seriously, thank you. Any suggestions on how? How do I get on board with this mentally and emotionally? I asked her for the cards and access to the bank accounts and she agreed. As it stands now however, with the principles I hold now, she gets them back the day she asks for them. How does I change my thinking between now and then?
legna is offline  
Old 03-25-2013, 03:15 PM
  # 10 (permalink)  
RIP Sweet Suki
 
suki44883's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: In my sanctuary, my home
Posts: 32,349
Wait. You are 25 years into a relationship with someone who has been in prison for the past 24 years? You had 15 months with her out of 25 years?
suki44883 is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to suki44883 For This Useful Post:
AnvilheadII (03-25-2013)
Old 03-25-2013, 03:22 PM
  # 11 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 625
Originally Posted by suki44883 View Post
Wait. You are 25 years into a relationship with someone who has been in prison for the past 24 years? You had 15 months with her out of 25 years?
I said twenty-seven years...athough I sometimes round it out to a quarter of a century...though I can't see where I did this in this thread. And, for what it's worth, I am curious if you would suggest that when she waited for me when I was on deployment and held prisoner as an enemy of the state overseas as time that didn't count either?

Yes, that was a bit snippy. That was wrong of me. If I could figure out another way to say it and make my point I would erase it and say it that way - but I cannot. So I'll let it stand to make my point and ask that you please accept that the venom had nothing to do with you.
legna is offline  
Old 03-25-2013, 03:29 PM
  # 12 (permalink)  
Member
 
AnvilheadII's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: W Washington
Posts: 11,590
so someone who spent the majority of their life institutionalized and only OUT on the streets for a little over a year has full access to your funds??? i mean except for right now. and has already violated her probation (that IS a crime) which will likely put her back in for life??? obviously her freedom didn't mean THAT much to her if she was willing to risk it get high......

i guess i'm not sure what is you are asking here...but i know you are reaching out, sorry if i'm missing the mark.
AnvilheadII is offline  
Old 03-25-2013, 03:33 PM
  # 13 (permalink)  
RIP Sweet Suki
 
suki44883's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: In my sanctuary, my home
Posts: 32,349
I am not suggesting anything, I'm just trying to understand. You said...

She did 24 years in prison from 15 years old to 40 years old. She's been home for 15 months.

It doesn't matter. I don't think I'm communicating with you in an effective manner. I hope you able to find the support you are looking for.
suki44883 is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to suki44883 For This Useful Post:
AnvilheadII (03-25-2013)
Old 03-25-2013, 03:47 PM
  # 14 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 625
Originally Posted by AnvilheadII View Post
so someone who spent the majority of their life institutionalized and only OUT on the streets for a little over a year has full access to your funds???
Yes. Who says intonation can't be head in type? Your judgment came through loud and clear. Opinion aside, I also live in Washington so I can tell you for a fact that the law considers it 'our' funds - not mine.

Originally Posted by AnvilheadII View Post
i mean except for right now. and has already violated her probation (that IS a crime) which will likely put her back in for life???
Violating her parole is not considered a new crime. It refers back to the original charge. If she was released, even after holding her accountable for violating her parole, and she is asked if she has committed a crime in the last ten years (as WA law allows for), she can honestly answer 'no' - because a parole violation isn't a crime.

Originally Posted by AnvilheadII View Post
obviously her freedom didn't mean THAT much to her if she was willing to risk it get high......
Wow. Just wow. Here's what I understand about addiction:
It is my belief that I became addicted to drugs and alcohol because I used drugs and alcohol as a solution to life's problems. Six year old me didn't have a solution for being molested or beaten or verbally abused. First I tried to stuff those feelings and got my very first ulcer at eight years old. That didn't work. Next I tried to swallow my feelings and developed anorexia. That didn't work. I tried other things as well but they didn't work either. Then I found alcohjol and drugs and oh my goodness! Eureka! Solution found! The feelings just went away like magic! I felt ten feet tall and bulletproof. Nothing could touch me any longer! Life was grand! Until it wasn't.

The only way I had ever learned how to deal with my feelings and cope was through drugs and alcohol. Take them away and I have zero coping skills - zero, nada, zilch. And so, for me, cutting drugs and alcohol out of my life wasn't near enough - I had to learn and develop healthy coping and life skills of a ten year old while an adult - and work hard and fast to get myself up to speed before something happened that I wouldn't be able to cope with and turned to drugs and/or alcohol all over again.

There's a reason that the DSM-IV makes a distinction between alcohol addiction in remission and alcohol addiction in remission in a controlled environment. One has to learn whole new coping mechanisms on the outside.

Originally Posted by AnvilheadII View Post
i guess i'm not sure what is you are asking here...but i know you are reaching out, sorry if i'm missing the mark.
I'm trying to find out how to go forwad, not be belittled and judged for my past and the decisions I have made to love and be with my wife because our relationship doesn't look like everyone elses. I've made lots of poor choices in life. Loving her is not one of them. Treating her as a valued and equal partner in this marriage is also not one of them.
legna is offline  
Old 03-25-2013, 03:47 PM
  # 15 (permalink)  
Member
 
atalose's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,104
I don't think money is the big issue here, it was an example of your confusion regarding boundaries and control.

Where does enabling stop and controlling begin when we are talking about a spouse and partner?
Enabling - when you clean up her consequences, making excuses, covering bad checks, lying for her, etc. she gets to act out without having to pay the price. But right now she is paying that price, she is in jail because of her choices.

Controlling - trying to get someone to do things we want them to, we nag, we manipulate how ever we can in order to get someone else to do what we want them to.
atalose is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to atalose For This Useful Post:
legna (03-25-2013), WanderingGypsy (03-25-2013)
Old 03-25-2013, 03:48 PM
  # 16 (permalink)  
Member
 
Lily1918's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 1,618
Blog Entries: 1
I have a joint bank account with my BF, and we each have a card for it, but I also have a separate account that he does not have access to and does not know about. When the card came, I cut it up, so the only way to get money out of it is to go into the bank and show my ID. It keeps me safe financially, and he is none the wiser, it works for me.
Lily1918 is offline  
Old 03-25-2013, 03:50 PM
  # 17 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 625
[QUOTE=suki44883;3881158]I am not suggesting anything, I'm just trying to understand. You said...

She did 24 years in prison from 15 years old to 40 years old. She's been home for 15 months.
QUOTE]

Yes I did. And two sentences before that I said we had been together for twenty-seven years. Whatever - I miss things too. But you're right - this is not working. Thanks for the effort...
legna is offline  
Old 03-25-2013, 04:50 PM
  # 18 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 23
Legna, I'd like the thread to get back on track to what you were originally discussing.

If I read your post correctly, you explained that you don't feel comfortable locking down the credit cards, cash, etc. I advise you to think about a future possibility, that your spouse blows through thousands of dollars and jacks up the credit cards with purchases or cash advances and you are stuck with debt because you are married to her. At that time will you wish you had just locked down everything so she can't abuse the money? My guess is yes.

In just 6 months my husband blew through $2000 in cash, not to mention what he pawned and what he charged on the cards when he didn't want to spend cash because cash was for drugs. The credit cards are in my name, my husband WAS an authorized user but I have removed him, first from one card and just this morning from the other. Now he has no ability to charge anything. He recently applied for a credit card in his own name, and of course didn't tell me about it when he did it but lobbed it on me later. It hasn't arrived yet and I have the key to the mailbox, so I'll make sure I cut that thing up. He'll still have the card account, he just won't have the card. Let me tell you, I don't feel one bit guilty about doing this. I will ensure that he has what he needs, it won't cause him a problem.

Fortunately we have no joint bank account. He does have some money in his individual bank account, but it's not a lot so if he blows through it it won't be a major disaster. I have access to view the account details so I'll see what he's doing.

You sound like a very very intelligent and reasonable person. Don't worry that you are being excessive. You are the person in your relationship with the good sense. You need to protect both of you. It's bad enough that your wife is ruining herself, it would be worse if she ruined you too. Don't even let it get there.
MadInBoston is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to MadInBoston For This Useful Post:
legna (03-25-2013)
Old 03-25-2013, 05:21 PM
  # 19 (permalink)  
Member
 
dasiydoc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 183
I was recently asking a question similar, but opposite. How do you support, but not enable. And in my case my boyfriend who has been in treatment for a month. I didnt get a lot of responses, other than worry about you, not him. Which is basically what you are getting too. But I believe there is a middle ground, where we can have boundaries, offer support, take care of ourselves, and have a fulfilling relationship.

No one here should judge your relationship. People hall all sorts of relationships, and different versions of marriage, and if it has been working for you most of these years, then you are better off than many people.

I recently had to make a boundary for my boyfriend. It was difficult for me because I have had full trust in him, which he earned over a years time.

I do think boundaries are for your benefit, but what I learned is they do not have to be handled in a mean, angry, vindictive way. Which I see here a lot.
Someone suggested to me that I use a cost/benefit chart to look at my needs and the effect a boundary would have on it. Whatever the issue Im concerned about, these are the options I have to protect myself. If I implement this boundary option what affect will it have on me. What good will come of it, what bad will come of it in terms of my safety, emotions, my relationship with the other person.

I respect your feelings on the money, and maybe investments or other things you own. If your wife comes home and she is in active addiction again then I mean it wont take long for her to get picked up again. But overall I would think about setting up a separate account for necessary bills, and you would be responsible for this. At least for a while.

That is basically what I did with my boyfriend, took away his key to my house for a while. But in time he will get it back. In my case, I actually had him help me create the boundary. I expressed my concerns, and asked him to figure out what he could do to reassure me. He actually came up with a stronger boundary than the one I did. So he was happy when I just took the key back, And said he would earn the right to have it back. Boundaries can be used to help the other person understand your needs, and create an easily understood way for them to meet your needs. A positive for the relationship, not a negative. If you do it right.

Assuming your wife comes home, and gets treatment then in time you will be able to loosen or remove the boundary.

If it was me, I would also have a joint account with money left over, and allow her to write checks, do whatever. She will have freedom, and watching how she handles money will give you confidence.

Based on what you have said. I hope that your wife gets another chance. It would have been very hard to lose that many people so soon, and you are right. She was not emotionally prepared. That is not a moral weakness, and has no reflection on her desire to stay clean. She only needs more help in coping to deal with feelings without drugs. If she is willing to get this help, then it speaks more than anything.
dasiydoc is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to dasiydoc For This Useful Post:
legna (03-25-2013)
Old 03-25-2013, 05:26 PM
  # 20 (permalink)  
Member
 
Kindeyes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: The Jungle
Posts: 5,435
Blog Entries: 3
Where does enabling stop and controlling begin when we are talking about a spouse and partner?
That is truly a good question. Enabling is doing something for someone that they are capable of and should be doing for themselves. Controlling is exercising manipulation, physical force, mind games, emotional or psychological gymnastics in order to coerce someone into doing something that they may not want to do or participate in. In Nar-Anon, just like NA, we learn what we do control (ourselves) and what we don't control (other people). I learned how to control my emotions and my reactions (still learning actually....lol). I learned that I am accountable for my own happiness and I can take measures to better my life, regardless of what the circumstances are that are going on around me.

You have been in this relationship under unusual circumstances for a very long time. If that has worked for both of you, then there are not necessarily any immediate decisions to be made. I hope that you will use this time wisely to look closely at yourself and see if there is anything that needs to change.

Take your time. Use this time while she is incarcerated to decide how you can best take care of you.

gentle hugs
ke
Kindeyes is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Kindeyes For This Useful Post:
legna (03-25-2013)

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:18 AM.