An Addicts Story
From Co-dependent to Addict, A Mother's story
Warning, This is gonna be a long one, a difficult one and I am expecting a controversial one. I would like to thank anyone who reads this as I hope you will all understand. I didn't know I was an addict until it was too late. I want everyone to know I was given the strength to write this by Cosette. Her blog Addiction is a true account of what it is like to be the child of an addict. Everyone who is, was or knows an addict should read it and praise her for it. I have a feeling she held a lot back, just so people could read it. The reality is often worse than she lets on.
I met my first husband in August of 1979. I won't go into those details, just that I had tried drugs and not really had a problem. My only addiction at the time was cigarettes. They had just begun calling alcoholism a disease. Vincent was more than an alcoholic. He was a junky. I was a Christian girl, raised in the church and I thought I could fix him. I loved him and he loved me. Love conquers all, right? And I had God on my side, didn't I?
Fast forward to January, 1980. We got married and I was already pregnant, but he married me so that's okay, right?
I guess the day he taught me how to kill him... Just in case he ever did anything that made me think he would have harmed me or the children should have been my first clue that this was not a normal relationship. That maybe I would need help. I thought I knew everything. I was so naive, so young, so innocent.
My Father had passed away when I was ten years old, and I was the youngest so everyone was married but me by the time I was sixteen. It was just me and Mom, and Mom was on medication. Okay, you've got me, insanity runs in my family. That's a disease I was already familiar with. My mother had seventeen nervous breakdowns by the time I got married. She was an incredible woman, beautiful, slender, funny. She was a writer and an artist. Never famous though. Maybe fame would have saved her, it was what she needed, adoration. Instead she got fibromyalgia, bursitis, hormonal imbalances. People tend to call you crazy when you have pain no one can explain, see things no one else saw, hear things no one else heard. My mother was a victim of lucid dreams, but she never knew that. I don't know if it is classified as a disorder yet, but what happens is due to the pain you are not fully asleep when you dream. She suffered from severe depression and mood swings, because the meds she was taking were never quite correct. This results in sleep deprivation which in turn can cause hallucination. The brain must dream, whether you sleep or not. Because of this the dreams enter your memory as if they were real events. It has happened to me and the memory is there for weeks before I realize it is not real.
So of course when Vince taught me to kill him, just in case, I thought he would never really hurt me. I had dealt with insanity. Besides that point, God would protect me. He always had and always would! I was quite sure of that.
Years pass. How many times did I throw him out? Leave him? physically fight with him? I guess it would take a book to catalog those events. Were there good times? Of course there were. He had the greatest laugh. I loved him. But there are only so many times you can lose your paycheck before there is a problem. There are only so many times you can lose your job, forget to come home, get a DUI and go to jail, when I have to go to work and you are supposed to be home with the kids... I have to go to work I can't call a bail bondsman it's 10:00 at night, and he said he wouldn't get you out again...
Then you realize that your money is paying for the drugs and alcohol so maybe you should get to have some fun too. No I will not justify the decision, but I thought if I did the drugs I would understand him and we would stop fighting. I only did them when the kids were sleeping. No depressants and no needles! How righteous I thought I was. I would only allow the clean drugs. Cocaine was okay, but no crack or heroine. Speed and acid was okay, but no opium. Pot should be legal anyway, right? Please forgive me, this is how I thought. It was the eighties, there were a lot of people who thought the same way and I was friends with most of them. We thought cocaine made us smarter, and speed made us faster and thinner and acid was a way to laugh till you cried. And pot, we thought alcohol and cigarettes were worse.
I am an extremely competitive person. I like to win. I am bringing in the money, paying the bills, he is not working, now it is all on my terms. I say when and who and how much. I say who we get the drugs from and who we have in our house around our children and when they go to bed the company can come over, but not before. I think I am shielding them, I think they don't know I think I am in control... Then I catch him with a needle, he is injecting one of his friends...
Well, that was it. If someone dies in my house on my bathroom floor I will lose my children. I put a stop to it that night. We still owed the drug dealer money and I will not brag about the ensuing months as I set things right in my household, paid the dealer off and thought I had fixed everything. It was not easy. I called the help lines for addiction and they wouldn't take me in anywhere because I had no insurance. They said I could turn us all in, go to jail and get help that way but first I had to give up custody of my kids and then try to get them back later. This was not an option for me, so I suffered through the withdrawals on my own.
Forgive me for the use of the word suffer, but it is an extremely painful process, cold turkey. So if you or someone you know is going to go through it let me explain.
- The first step is realizing you have a problem.
- Next you must realize you are in this alone. You got yourself addicted and you alone can break the cycle. You must quit everything at once, the alcohol too, even if it is not a problem for you. No pot. (Coffee and cigarettes is up to you.)
- It will hurt. You will know that relief is just a phone call and a few dollars away. You must go through the pain, do not try to wean yourself it does not work.
- Do not take a legal drug that will help you because you just become addicted to something else. People often go back if they take the drugs to get clean, and the clean up drugs are often deadly too.
- As the pain gets worse, you will cry, throw up, Pray and beg God to take the pain away, or kill you, but he won't. Then you'll tear your house apart looking for any possible left over drugs... Do not call your dealer. The pain is helpful. You are learning to hate the drug.
- When the hatred of the drug comes, get a hold on it, and keep that hatred of that drug close, it is your only friend.
- You will learn to hate the drug, what it has done to you, your family and your friends. You will despise it for having control over you, and you will realize how important self-control is.
- Now you are halfway there. You are not clean yet. Now you have to rebuild yourself and your life. You will have to spend the rest of your life turning down situations that will bring you face to face with that drug.
- Learn to say no. Probably the hardest part. You will lose the friends you did the drugs with, because they are not ready to give it up. And in the end, all of the good times you had together had the drug in common.
- Start apologizing. You have alienated people, you have lost jobs... You know, you have to go back and make amends to those that you've hurt, even if they didn't know why you hurt them.
Thank God That's Over
I am sure there are more steps, but I'll move on now to living again.
It is after the battle, I have come through it okay. Vince... not so much. He continued to drink and do drugs. We made a new deal. No drugs in the house. Go somewhere else. I will not fund your drugs do not ask me. If you feel the need go somewhere else, come home when you are sober and clean. Of course that didn't work, but I was a Christian, and did not want to divorce him. I cheated on him because he cheated on me, as if that too was a contest. Hurt me I will hurt you more... We split up and got back together, I lose count of how many times.
Finally he said he could not get straight because he had me throwing him out hanging over his head. It was too much weight to carry all the time, that I could just throw him out any time if he screwed up. So new deal, again... I will never throw you out no matter what you do, but no drugs in the house, no drinking and driving, if you are drunk sleep in the car...
I caught him in the bathroom.
I had been sleeping when he got up and I heard him. I glanced at the clock and went back to sleep. I woke up a half an hour later and he still hadn't come back to bed.
The bathroom light was on as I padded to the door. The door was slightly ajar.
"Vince? Are you okay? Did you fall asleep?" As i opened the door I saw his hand going behind his back as his other hand dropped the rubber hose on the floor. It took a second to realize what the yellow tubing was for.
I charged at him "What do you have in your hand what is in your hand?" He opened his hand and showed me the needle. I shook, I stormed across the room and back to the bed. I sat down and lit a cigarette, I got up and paced. I growled I stomped I stifled my screams in my throat so as not to wake the girls.
He waited a good while before he came out. "So what now, you gonna throw me out?"
"No I am not going to throw you out. I promised I wouldn't." I said in a defeated tone. I swear he had a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. "I'm not throwing you out, but I am going to give you a choice."
He stood there shifting from one foot to the other, uncertainly like a child who has just realized he has to choose carefully.
"I know you love us, me and the girls. But I have to think of them. If you died in there I would have lost them and I have fought to hard to keep them. I wouldn't even know how to tell them if you died. So it's the drugs or us. No more drugs ever, or go do your drugs and come back when you're done."
He said, "Do I have to decide right now?"
Vincent left us a short while later. He went on to remarry and re-divorce and he passed away in a fire in February of 2005. My girls are still dealing with the fact that he was never a part of their lives until they became adults. I still reel occasionally over the fact that he tried to get alimony in the divorce... Because I had crippled him by always supporting him. The judge refused his request for alimony. He never paid any child support, I never sued him for it. He moved back to Ohio, and we stayed in Florida. You cannot chase the man to make him visit his kids. I didn't have the money to move.
The worst part is I still love him. I still miss him, I still hear his laugh, his voice. He never spilled a drink, not a drop in all the time I knew him, and that ruined me for all other men, because the first time they spill their drink I think, oh yeah, you know how to hold your liquor. And I can't look at them any more, it's disgusting to me.
I regret that I could not be strong enough to make him change! I thought I tried everything. Maybe if I had tried something else... I will never know the answer to that question.
I do know this, I went on to remarry and had a son, who would not be here if I had been able to fix Vince. As much as I love Vince, (and hate him,) and as much as I miss him, I would never trade any of my children for one more day with him.
My regrets are for my own mistakes not the mistakes of others. I wish I could make my daughter's see that it was for the best that he left. They just feel the emptiness, that something missing, that Daddy's gone feeling they have had since they were young. Except before there was always time, but time ran out on Vince.
Links to other Related hubs
This is an important hub by Ladyjane1:http://hubpages.com/hub/Suicide-is-not-Painless