How loving an addict affected my life
How it begins
It starts with a doubt and a question. And then he makes you feel guilty for doubting him. You’re the one with the problem, not him. You want to believe him, because you don’t want to fail again, so you tell that nagging voice in the back of your mind that it is overreacting, there is nothing to see here, move along. The first time you turn a blind eye, you’ve opened up for more deception, much of which comes from yourself. You’re in denial, and slowly you begin to lose bits of your soul, all for the sake of loving someone more than they deserved.
Help for when you love an addict
Starting out blindly
The relationship began like a fairytale, as you only see what your heart wants you to see. All that you see is a situation that appears better than the current one. You were unhappy where you were, and now here is this promise of something better. A man who cares and pays attention to you, the attention that you had been sorely lacking in your former relationship. As a loving and accepting person, you overlook all of the red flags and only see the things that make you happy. By the time the red flags become impossible to ignore, it’s too late, you are hooked, and now you want to fix the problem, breaking yourself in the process.
You don’t want to fail again, not after so many failed relationships, so many bad decisions, and so much heartbreak. You just hope for the best, push away the signs of trouble, and hope you can love him enough to make it alright.
The first red flags
The first sign of trouble was his inability to bring in income. You’ve been down this road before. Unemployed or underemployed, either way, the bills aren’t getting paid. The pressure is on you to bring in money to make ends meet. Of course, with these guys it’s never their fault, it’s always someone else’s fault, or some bad luck or unforeseen circumstances preventing gainful employment. Things will be so much better once work picks up and we don’t have to worry about money anymore. But that day doesn’t come, and you ignore it, because you don’t want to be the fool again.
How to leave an abusive relationships
The problems begin to grow
Then he begins hanging out with the neighbor. Every night, having a beer or two. Or three. Or more. Then one night he stays up all night. “How can you do that?” you ask, knowing that you would never be able to function without any sleep. He says he just doesn’t require much sleep, he’s always been an insomniac, his mom was the same way. Then the next time he stays up all night, when you wake for work in the morning, he’s all cheerful, with coffee and breakfast ready for you. The next time he stays up all night, he does the same, and the house is spotless. He’s so happy, and he’s trying to make you happy, so you are reluctant to question him. He says he’s just trying to make your life easier.
Before long, those all nighters go from waking up to a cheerful face to waking up to find an angry gremlin in the garage. He still denies using, even after you see him with your own eyes, he tells you that you didn’t see what you thought you saw. No more clean house in the morning, now he’s in the garage, working on projects and fixing things. He’s bringing home useless junk that he finds on the side of the road, or someone was going to get rid of, convinced that he can fix it. He focuses on one project intently for hours but never finishes it; he loses his focus and begins another project.
It begins to spiral out of control
He begins to have angry outbursts at work, causing friction with co-workers, until one day when he blows up at his boss, who promptly fires him. Now he’s angry at home, acting as though the world owes him something. He’s been treated so unjustly.
Then one day you get a phone call.
He’s been detained by the police. They pulled him over, and they found the drugs in his car. He insists that the neighbor planted them there and then called the police. Any time you find a hole in his story, he has an answer that makes you sound like the one in the wrong.
The police release him with a court date, where he is offered a deal: go to mandated diversion classes, weekly, with drug tests included, to avoid a permanent record.
Things start to improve
Suddenly, he becomes Mr. Sober. He stops everything, even drinking beer. He looks healthy, he’s happier, things are looking up. He’s going to meetings and befriending other recovering addicts. All while still denying that he ever had a problem. You tell him, he knows how strongly you feel against the drugs, and you make it clear: use again, you lose me. And the kids. He promises that you will never have to make that decision.
A year passes, and things are looking better. The only problem now is the money situation. He comes into a sum of money, and you feel that you’ve been blessed, all is now finally right in the world.
The money proves too big of a temptation to him. At the same time, he begins to reconnect with some old “friends.” You to see the cycle begin again. Up all night, happy in the morning, house clean, garden is beautiful. Then the all-nighters become more frequent. This time it’s worse. More projects that never get completed. More junk being brought home to be “fixed.” Now it is more on the level of a hoarder. Mess is everywhere, and it is all you can do to keep up with work, commuting, kids, and trying to maintain the house. Besides the usual “kid” mess, there are tools and parts and beer cans everywhere, inside the house and out. He’s become so involved in the drugs, so focused on his projects that he stops bathing regularly. He’s dirty and he smells bad. If you say anything to him, he lashes out in anger. You talk to him about how unhappy you are, but it doesn’t faze him. His hands are always black with grease from his projects, and he leaves grimy hand prints all over the house. The smell of stale beer becomes a regular thing, but it never stops disgusting you.
Further down the rabbit hole
Now his temper is out of control. He is lashing out about unreasonable things. He’s scaring the kids. He’s become a monster you no longer recognize. He still denies using drugs. You begin to find more disturbing secrets he’s been keeping from you. Now all of his drug buddies are at the house all the time, all hours of the day and night. You never know what you will find when you come home from work, and you worry what the kids are experiencing when you are away. You realize that you are so intertwined with this person’s life that you cannot walk away easily, but you know that you must, if for nothing else, the kids. You feel like a fool because you know that they all have been lying to you, and here you have been ignoring it, trying to make the best of it, all while letting your kids have to deal with the same situation.
Rebuild your life
He will always love his addiction more than he loves you. And finally, there comes a point where you realize, you don’t even love him anymore. You think that he has changed, but then you wonder, was he ever really the person you fell in love with? Did you ever really know him, or did you fall for a façade he put up to win you over? And you break free from your addiction. Leaving an addict is much like becoming a recovering addict yourself. You realize that you were an enabler, sacrificing your loved one’s health, your own health, and the health of all of your family members. As you take more steps away from the situation, into your freedom, you look back and realize how much you turned a blind eye to, so much so, that you continued to deny the situation until it was no longer deniable. The further you step back, the more clearly you see things, and that is when the guilt sets in. How could you have been so blind? How could you subject the kids to this? How could you let yourself be treated that way, especially after previously leaving an abusive relationship, swearing not to ever put your kids into that kind of situation? But you can’t punish yourself for your mistakes, you can only move on, hope to make better choices in the future, and realize that there is nothing wrong with you. Love is not supposed to hurt.
I had already been divorced twice when I met him. He was charming, and he made me feel special. I fell too hard and too fast, then I got myself in too deep. Once you are in, it is not easy to get out. Despite what friends and family had to say, I still kept defending him, making excuses. When we finally split, with a tremendous amount of help from my parents, it took several large truckloads of dump runs to clean up his hoard, all while he stood angrily by and watched us work, placing blame on me for ruining our lives. Now, a year later, we are still recovering. I was in that situation for seven years. To this day, my children still talk about some of the things that happened, things that I either didn’t see or chose not to see. Counseling has helped some, and I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have the help of my family. I still feel guilty for putting myself and my children through this, but we live and learn and move on. I can only hope that my family forgives me for my bad judgement, and that we continue to heal from here on out.