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Old 12-17-2013, 10:00 AM
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Wife of Addict
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My Story

I posted a small introduction yesterday... but I'm feeling the need to post my actual story. I hope I can get some feedback on where my road in headed.

My husband and I have been together for five years, married for three. My husband has been an addict for going on 20 years. In that span of time, he has tried EVERYTHING, but mostly falls back to marijuana. When I met him he had resolved to only using MJ and (at the time) was a social user. In our five years, he has gone from complete sobriety to completely tragic addict. For the first time in his life before Thanksgiving, he decided to start attending AA/NA meetings. This has proven rather difficult for him because he is finding that he wants to be sober but he also wants to be high. He is fighting constant battles with his identity.

To describe him, he is a pathological liar by every sense of the word. He has no control over it. He can't stop telling lies and I catch him in them constantly. He then in turn feels guilty and begins his cycle again of drug use. I have come to realize that our entire marriage has been one giant lie. He has admitted to feeling like an outsider, or "not of this world" and we are currently in couples therapy but he doesn't really do his homework from the sessions. He's just kind of there. He doesn't ever want to deal with life in general and uses drugs to escape reality. Lately he is never home and would rather sit in his car for 5 hours playing games on his cell phone than spend a moment at home with me.

To describe me, I am a control freak and I readily admit that. I was raised to always take care of everything if you wanted it done right. I'm also known as "the play maker." I make things happen in our community. When someone needs something done or wants something to happen, I make it happen. I have always been like that. I am highly reliable and I always live up to my commitments. I have a really good job and I am an entertainer on the side. So, I am kind of living a double life, one could say. I have my real world life of working as an accountant and dealing with my drug addict husband who is never home and when he is home he doesn't ever want to be. I also have my outside entertainer life where I perform on stages locally, nationally, and most recently, internationally and everyone thinks I have the best life and that things are just awesome. I put that front out there to give off the illusion that everything is cool because I need to earn money. But, I have already said that I would give up the second life so that I could have my real world life back to normal again. I want my loving husband back.

Back in Sept 2012, he managed to obtain a really good paying job, which required sobriety. So, in order to maintain his need to be high, he began smoking the legal synthetic MJ that he could buy at any smoke shop. He proceeded to become insanely addicted to that. So much that he was spending twice his paycheck on the stuff, taking out payday loans everywhere just so he could buy more of it. He describes his addiction to it as "worse than heroin... not the high... but the itch for it." With the synthetic MJ, he could smoke it and be high for about 15 minutes (instead of 30-45 with regular MJ) so he would need to buy it in mass quantities to maintain his needs. The synthetic stuff is crazy expensive for the amount you get thus his constant bankruptcy.

This addiction still persists today. He lost the good job due to the effects of the synthetic MJ were having on his body. He has anxiety towards apply for jobs so he continues to smoke it. I do not fund this. He goes and sells his plasma to get money for gas, cigarettes and the synth. When he needs to, he goes to his mom to get money and she gives it to him. Over the years I have begged her to help me break him of this habit by cutting him off financially and she said she would but that was a lie too. Then I am made out to be the enemy because I'm not being a supportive wife but then again, she is only hearing his side of the story and never cares to find out what my side is.

Anyway, I suppose I could still go on and on and on about this story and still have more to say. Right now I'm at the crossroads and I don't know what to do. I love my husband with all of my being and I have always been there to help him. I give him job leads, I provide him with clothing for job interviews, I keep him fed and clothed and give him a home, we attend couples therapy sessions together because I want us to work things out, I provide him with reading materials on how to beat his addiction and gave him websites to help him find meetings. All of which, I guess looking at it as I type, is taken for granted... but I do it all out of love and pure desire for him to overcome this addiction disease and I encourage him always. But now I am suffering... phyiscally, emotionally, financially. I'm not exactly sure how much I can handle anymore.

I've always been the kind of person to just "do." If something needs to be done, just tell me and I will do it. So, I guess I need some guidance here on things that I can "do" to help me cope with this crazy madness that I am dealing with.

Thanks in advance for your time.
-SN
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Old 12-17-2013, 11:46 AM
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Sorry for what brings you here.

Originally Posted by SNelsen23 View Post
I've always been the kind of person to just "do." If something needs to be done, just tell me and I will do it. So, I guess I need some guidance here on things that I can "do" to help me cope with this crazy madness that I am dealing with.
I am glad you used the word "cope" instead of "control" in regards to the chaos of loving an active addict. You can't control his addiction or his recovery. Hence the crazy madness. All you can control is YOU.

I would direct you to the stickies at the top of the forum page, the ones here for substance abuse and the ones for F & F of Alcoholics. Learn as much as you can about addiction...not to learn how to help him, but to learn that you CAN'T help him.

Learn what you can about co-dependency.


And I would run, not walk, to the nearest Nar-anon meeting.
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Old 12-17-2013, 02:36 PM
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Many of us are "do-ers".....unfortunately......just like addiction, being a "do-er" can take on an extreme that is unhealthy......an addiction of sorts.

As a "do-er" myself, I often expect others to be "do-ers" too.....and when they aren't, it causes considerable discomfort for me because I then feel that I have to "fill in the gap" by "doing" my part and theirs too. What does that do? It breeds contempt and/or resentment. What an awful existence that can be......for both parties.

I had to unlearn my "do-er" behaviors. I needed to learn to do for me and be happy with that and only do for others if there were no strings attached (on my part) to my "doing". And no expectation for them to "do" back for me. I found that that's a bit difficult to do in the partnership of marriage. It felt more parental (to a small child) than a marriage.

I had a choice.....I could either change my situation......or change my attitude toward my situation. I chose to change my situation.

One thing I have discovered in my life is that I seldom have problems.......I usually just have solutions I don't like very much.

gentle hugs
ke
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Old 12-17-2013, 02:51 PM
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Welcome. I agree that you should take the time to read the stickies at the top of the page. There's so much info here and should help you is understand better. The famous saying here is "you didn't cause it, you can't control it, you can't fix it." It's very true. I know all too well. My daughter and my son are addicts. If there was a way, I would've found it already. You're going to have to stop doing what you're doing (supplying clothes, giving job leads etc). You'll realize that when you start to read more here. It's THE most frustrating thing to go through. To want to help them (or smack them upside the head sometimes lol) and say "hey do this, or do that, or stop it"etc. it doesn't change them. They have to want to change. Keep reading, keep posting. This is a wonderful, caring family of people here. There always someone online who's willing to respond.
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Old 12-17-2013, 03:30 PM
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You have no idea I said to my AXH "Are you a pathological liar?" and I meant it honestly, he lied about EVERYTHING. That alone was reason enough for filing for divorce. I could not trust him at all. I thought that I once could, but he had gotten progressively worse and I could not take the lying anymore.
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:20 PM
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SNelson, I am glad you are here, but sorry for what brought you here.

Respectfully, I know that you love him dearly (most of us DO love our addicts... as they were before addiction) but I have a few questions for you to think about. You don't have to answer them to me, here, or even out loud, just to yourself...

What are you getting out of this relationship; are your emotional needs being met (apart from the loving to "fix" things... :-) ) and can you continue this way and for how long if nothing changes.

Has he DONE anything to show you he is ready for recovery? Forget the words, look at his ACTIONS.

What do you think will improve if you continue doing all that you have been doing for him that he is capable of doing for himself in regards to HIS recovery.

Knowing and having seen firsthand that this is a progressive disease, do you envision continuing to care for him in increasing capacity over the remainder of your life together?

And then remember that:
You didn't cause it...
You can't control it...
You can't cure it ~ no matter what you do to try and fix it, YOU can't...only HE can.

I too would recommend the stickies on this board and also checking out a Nar-Anon meeting... It will be eye-opening.

Sometimes we have to make changes to how we react to the madness...

It's hard and takes time and work, but you can find peace!

With mucho support!
Kat
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Old 12-17-2013, 05:04 PM
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In response to some of you... I have attended one Nar-Anon meeting but it was in a "not so good area of town" and I did not feel comfortable there AT. ALL. There were only two women in the "meeting" however I did open up some about my situation and I did listen and learn in just that one visit that I am not alone. I DO plan to attend a meeting tomorrow night in a town that is closer to home and hopefully it will feel more comfy.

My husband *says* he is attending AA/NA meetings but thanks to today's technology, I can see that when he says he's there, he really isn't. He's sitting in a parking lot somewhere playing games on his cell phone. I know that he *has* been to at least ONE meeting because he came home with a bunch of pamphlets and a coin. I don't really understand why he chooses to lie and say he's going to meetings when he really isn't. I'm sure he's just lying to himself by doing that as well... whatever he needs to do to get my off his back.

I HAVE READ THE STICKIES TODAY! and I have learned a lot. I printed a bunch of the material out to keep here on hand as a tool for me to grab when I'm feeling vulnerable and feeling the need to take control. I am very self aware of my problems in regards to this and how I seem to be aiding in his cycle of destruction. I'm hopeful that with the reading materials, this forum and the meeting I attend tomorrow night I can start to grasp what needs to be done in my life. I desperately want to save our marriage... but I have always told him that our journey back to *us* begins with him.

Thanks to everyone so far for your kind responses.
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Old 12-17-2013, 06:44 PM
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You are on the right path SNelson!

Keep reading and posting!

There is no judgement here. So many of us have been where you are now...

Welcome!!

Kat
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:16 PM
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Couples therapy with someone in active addiction just does not work.

It does not work because the addict mind is threatened and will not participate in the process of couples counseling because the addict mind knows that the goal in that counseling is to coerce sobriety. The addict mind will have no part of that.

I recommend long-term individual counseling for you alone in order to dig deep into the pattern you have of manager, rescuer, and martyr. Codependency entails all those behaviors and none of them do anyone any good. Those behaviors make the codependent obsessive and controlling. They make the addict resentful and dependent. Those behaviors create distance from friends and from family because the codependent is so wrapped into the addict's existence she can see no one else and can be present to no one else.

He is not the problem, ultimately. What we learn in recovery is that the problem is us. What we are doing, what we are thinking, the chaos and the insanity of the way we are living when we continue in a destructive relationship....it is all on us. We project onto the addict our interpretation of his problems and what we think are his solutions, while remaining in total denial of our own. Denial as in the inability even to see what our own problems are. This is where the professional insight of a counselor makes a difference. Our friends are not qualified. Meetings are helpful but very general, though deep work with a sponsor can bring real change over the long term.

Anyone who has lived with an active addict knows and understands how distorted the partner's thinking becomes. Rational thought and effective action are gone.

One to one counseling over the long term, with the adjunct of Al-Anon or Nar-Anon meetings, is what is best for you or for anyone who is very codependent and tightly involved with an addict. Then later, when you have your head together, and if he has found sobriety and has his head together, marriage counseling is the next step.

Saving the marriage is not the top priority. He has a fatal condition if it is not arrested. And in your obsession with him, you as well will become very sick, both mentally and physically.

The only way is individual recovery. And only you can work yours. Only he can work his.
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Old 12-17-2013, 09:48 PM
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I would also suggest you look into private therapy for yourself. I would suggest you look for a therapist or an addiction doctor (most work with family also) and find one that is familiar with the CRAFT (community reinforcement and family training) method. This has a dual purpose – It is designed to improve your life (stop the financial and emotional toll his addiction is taking on you) by teaching you not only about enabling behaviors but also creating boundaries that fit your life. This is similar to the Nar- Anon approach, but CRAFT believes your love does have power… you cannot cure him of his addiction because it is a medical problem. You couldn’t cure him of cancer either… What he needs is professional treatment (individual therapy, or in this case with a 20 year dependence most likely inpatient rehab followed by continued care). CRAFT can teach you how to maintain a caring and supportive relationship while using positive reinforcements that encourage him to want to enter treatment. It has proven results at increasing the odds loved ones will enter treatment. I think it is like 7 out of 10 people have success. Once he gets into treatment then it is up to him to do the work.

When my husband was in rehab, the therapist introduced me to the methodology, and I have used it to support my husbands early recovery. She also suggested a book on CRAFT called: Get Your Loved One Sober Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading, and Threatening, By Robert J Meyers PhD.
You can google CRAFT, and the book.

Private therapy was a HUGE help to me and I always suggest this if you have the option; I learned so much about myself, about addiction, and it is something I will always be grateful for. My husband and I did start marriage counseling when he was about 6 weeks clean and in rehab. I think it is positive that your husband is attending sessions with you – No it doesn’t sound like he is fully engaged, but he is showing up – that is a lot more effort than many addicts / early recovering addicts put forth. I learned a lot from the marriage counseling sessions & it opened up more questions for me that I in turn talked about in my private sessions. The two go really well together IMO.

The other thing I would suggest if you have not already done so is read up on addiction from a medical perspective, how it affects the brain, the symptoms of disease such as denial, lying.... a good place to start is National Institute of Drug Abuse as they have info on everything, and offer advice for families. Your post about his being a pathological liar really fits... he has been an addict for 20 years and lying ( a symptom of disease) has become his norm in order to protect his addiction, and help create an identity that is not necessarily true to who he is...

Whatever you do remember the oxygen mask rule: if you don't attend to your needs first, provide yourself with "oxygen" to live your life, then you wont be able to offer assistance to anyone else.
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