Saturday, March 9, 2013

Living With An Addict- Part 3

If you are new to reading this series, you can click here and here to start from the beginning.

My ex husband  is an addict.  If you have ever loved or lived with someone who is an addict, this story will seem familiar to you. Every time I come face to face with a family member or loved one of an addict, I see the same look in their eyes.  It is the look of hopeless desperation, of powerlessness.  Because you can not WISH a drug addict well.  There is nothing you can do but watch them destroy themselves.  Only that individual can save themselves, if they have the desire and the strength.  Most never do.  Drug addiction is an epidemic in America today, and I am sharing my story of being married to an addict.  As I told you before, our marriage was never good.  I am sure there were good times, but after it was finally over, the marriage I mean, there were so many bad memories, and I was so traumatized, that it is no longer possible for me to remember anything good.  

I can be a big enough person to say that I was probably not a perfect wife, and I can take partial responsibility for the the fact that we had a bad marriage.  Lots of people have bad marriages.  But I take zero responsibility for the fact that he turned to drugs for some reason.  For as long as I live I will never understand why he did it.  He was brilliant, handsome, successful, and had a wonderful family.  I will forever feel that using drugs was a choice that he knowingly made.  Yes, addiction is a disease.  But why does an educated person, knowing that drugs destroy lives, go ahead and start using crack?  Yes, that was his drug of choice.  Why does someone do that?  So, although drug addiction is a disease, I will forever blame him for having this disease because he chose to use drugs.  This, I cannot understand, nor will I ever understand it.  

The first time I knew for a fact that he used drugs, it went something like this.  We had been to a get together, dinner and drinks, at my best friends house.  These friends were not drug users.  After dinner, the men migrated to the garage and the women hung out in the kitchen.  We stayed for a few hours.  When it was time to leave, I got into the car and he drove us home.  Little did I know that he had been snorting cocaine out in that garage.  And he drove me home.  How many times did I ride home, being driven by someone who was high?  I will never know the answer to that question.  But I am sure it was by the grace of God that I am sitting here today.  That is one thing I do know.  I did not find out until about a week later.  

I was at work, and my best friend called and said she needed to talk to me.  She proceeded to tell me that while in the garage he pulled out some cocaine and told the other guys someone had given it to him and he just wanted to try it.  He asked them not to tell.  No one else there participated in it.  After a few days, I guess her husband decided to tell her.  She of course told me.  I immediately left work and drove to his work.  His work, at a large bank.  His job as a mortgage loan originator, with his beautiful office, and his big salary.  He came out to my car and I gave him one chance to tell me if there was anything I needed to know.  I pleaded with him to tell me if there was something I did not know about.  

Of course he never told me.  So I told him what I knew.  I told him that if he did not agree to go to counseling, and to Narcotics Anonymous that it was over.  And I meant it.  He finally admitted it, but swore to me that it was the first and last time he had ever tried it.  He was just curious.  I believed him, I was so naive.  See, I am the type of person who believe what people tell me.  That is probably why it took me so many years to realize what a chronic liar he was.  

So we scheduled an appointment with a marriage counselor, and he went to 2 NA meetings.  I drove him to each one and picked him up.  After a few sessions with the counselor, the counselor proclaimed to me that my husband did not have a problem.  He was just experimenting.  And I, being the optimist that I am, believed him.  Bad, bad counselor!  After his second NA meeting he came out and told me that they told him he did not need to come back.  And I believed him!  Am I the most stupid person on earth?  Maybe I was.  So that was the end of it.  I believed that he did not have a problem.  He promised me that it would never happen again.  I believed him.  I told him if I ever found out that he used drugs again, it was over.  And so that honeymoon period began.

Has anyone out there ever been in a relationship that was so bad and so unhealthy that you actually question your own sanity?  Someone can turn things around on you so many times that you start wondering if there is something wrong with you.  Maybe it really is you?  That is how I felt in my marriage.  The things I tolerated during my marriage were things that I would have sworn I would never tolerate.  But tolerate is the key word.  Here is what happens:  over the course of years, when someone is emotionally abused over and over again, they develop a tolerance to it.  The limits of what they can tolerate just keeps increasing to more and more.  Until one day, they don't even know who they are anymore.  They are lost and so caught up in the abuse.  And staying is much easier than leaving, right?  I mean, how could I support myself without all of this money?  Let's not even start talking about the money yet, because that is a whole other story.  

This was me.  I was a lost soul.  I no longer knew who I was or what my boundaries were.  I was lost in my own private misery, and no one knew this.  After part two of my story, a dear friend texted me and told me reading this made him feel guilty for not being a better friend.  I say to him, I love you as my brother and you are the perfect friend.  You cannot help someone if you don't know they have a problem.  And no one knew how much of a problem it truly was, because even I had become numb to it over the years.  It was not until I was completely out of the situation that I truly came to terms with what a miserable person I had become.  

A miserable shadow of a human being who had two kids to raise!  How could I be a mother to these two babies when I couldn't even scrape myself out of bed everyday?  And how could I go to work as a school counselor and put a smile on my face in front of all of these teachers and these students who needed my help?  To this day I do not know how I did it.  But somehow I muddled through, and I prayed.  Oh how I prayed and prayed and prayed.  I didn't even know what to pray anymore but I just begged and pleaded with God to give me peace.  That is all I really wanted.  Just peace.  I honestly didn't even know how to ask for anything else, because if I did not get a little peace I was going to crack.  So I prayed for peace, for hours on end.  And you know what?  My prayers were answered.  Sometimes he gave me peace enough to just get through the night without completely losing my mind.  And a little tiny slice of peace is better than insanity, right?  I got my peace in very small doses.  

The good news is that there was a light at the end of the tunnel for me, and God did restore my soul with peace, eventually.  I am going to stop here because I have dredged up enough sludge to last me for awhile.  It is painful to put myself back in this situation.  Writing about it can put me right back there, so I can only do it in small doses.

Is there anyone out there who can relate?  What I went through is difficult to put into words.  But I can tell you one thing.  It is true that God will never give you more than you can handle, because I got through it.  I found out one very important thing about myself.  I am one very strong woman!  I lived through something that I did not think I could live through.  I came out on the other side!  I found happiness and I am whole.  And I know I could not have done that without help from the big guy upstairs.  And maybe that is the lesson I needed to learn.  That I could be a strong person, and that I could get through the worst of times.  Maybe that taught me to appreciate the good things in life.  

If you are reading my story, thank you.  Thank you for finding this story somehow and for caring enough to read it.  Thank you for wanting to know me better, or for caring enough, or for wanting to learn about addiction, or pain, or abuse, or whatever your reason is.  And I hope you will come back and read the rest of the story.  Trust me, this could go on for years.  and I am going to keep writing about it until I have written every single last word that I have inside of myself to get out.  And when I am done writing, I will be a better person.  And I will put a smile on my face, which will be coming from the inside, and I will finally put every bit of this to rest, where it belongs.  And I will praise God once again for giving me the words.

Linking up here:

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Let's Get Social Sunday