Avatar universal

My husband: substance abuse question

Dear All,

I am so thankful for this community. It is truly wonderful. I have been married to my husband for 3.5 years. We have a 2 year old boy together. I will try and be as impartial as possible. Where to begin? My husband and I have been together for a long time. Approximately 15 years. Looking back, we have always had a victim-rescuer relationship. My husband is the victim and I was the rescuer. This dynamic persisted for a long, long time. Something happened after my son was born. He is truly the best gift given to me in my life. I started going to therapy as I was so anxious about making mistakes with my son. This was the tip of the iceberg. Long story short, for the past year I have worked on my self esteem, my family of origin issues, and I now know that I deserve love and happiness and that I am lovable. I have compassion, I give grace, I listed and I can control my triggers. I am no longer a rescuer. Enter my husband. He is still a victim. He has cheated on me...a number of years ago now but I didnt believe I deserved better. He uses marijuana....alot. And, most recently, I have discovered cocaine...2 weeks ago almost. And, 2 nights ago, I found Adderall. I told my husband I have had enough and that I am done. I deserve love, happiness, safety, security and fun and that he does not provide these things to either myself or my son. I told him that he has a choice. He can continue down this path of drug abuse or he can get help and move on from his victim mentality and process his family of origin issues and learn to be in relationship. I gave him 1 week to figure this out and, if he decides he wants to continue down the path using drugs he can leave the house because I am not interested in this kind of a life. I will follow through on my bottom line. I have a therapist and I still see her 1 time per week. But, I want to know from others, do you think my husband has a substance abuse problem? Did I do the right thing is giving out my bottom line? I think I did (but this is me)...I am not willing to sacrifice my 1 life or my sons 1 life for this nonsense. It is complete and utter nonsense. I have given too many years away because I was not aware of my own issues and now that I have moved on and am ready to accept love I cannot put up with this anymore. I would love to hear your thoughts.
26 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi  welcome to the forum  we see this kind of thing all the time and it saddens me....I was once that guy...I abused one drug or another for 35yrs I looked good on the outside  at the time I had a great sales job 2 new cars a home and was a great provider but inside I was a wreck I would tell my wife that I deserve to unwind at the end of my day and if she dident like it there where pleanty of wemen that would love to fill her shoes I just wasent ready to quit  as it saze in N/A ''we put drugs in front of our family's wife and kids we had to have drugs at all cost''  unfochantly like my wife there was little she could do you cant force someone to quit they have to be ready to stop and often have to hit rock bottom...the desire to get clean must excide the desire to get high for this to work    addiction is a progressive disease the drugs are a outward sign of a inward problem and like all diseases it need to be treated for me I did not see growth until I hit the rooms of N/A the progam is a simple 12 step approach that can arrest the disease and then recovery is possible I cant stress this enough we are not ''normies'' we are addicts and it is difficult for a normie to understand we just cant stop my advise is to approach your husband with this option unltamadems rarely work just know when he is ready there is refuge in N/A the only requirement to go is the desire to quit you dont have to be clean  today I have a little over 5yrs clean the program has changed my life today I manage my disease by going to 4 meetings a week it is a cheep price to pay to remain clean I wish you all the luck in the world and I will pray for you and your family keep posting for support...Gnarly
Avatar universal
Oh dear wow. I'm so sorry for you!! It's amazing what we addicts put our family's through :( I don't know what adderal is,but I do know cocaine is a bad one. I also agree with gnarly,we don't quit until rock bottom. It's sad,we have all these beautiful things in life and when were using we don't them,we just see when our next fix is. Doesn't matter who it hurts or effects we are going to get that fix no matter what! I don't know what I would have done if someone threatend to take my kids from me though? I think for me that would be rock bottom. Take my kids you might as well take my life. I don't drink, party or take any kind of illegal substance. My drugs came right from my own doctor for after cancer patient care for 11 years. I woke up last Friday and just said no more,I can't give them anymore of my life. I don't know if I'll slip up and take another one,but for now I'm 8 days clean and so damn proud of myself and I don't want to take another one. Goodluck. You're a strong women and a wonderful mum!!
Avatar universal
Thanks for your responses. Gnarly, if you are willing to answer, are you still married to your wife? Thanks for you prayers. I am grateful. I guess I do not see my bottom line as an ultimatum. It is really me saying I am not willing to continue on this lifepath with you. He is bringing unhappiness, sadness, and loss of connection into our home and I want happiness, connection, and honesty. If he is not willing to at least say that he is willing to move towards my vision of our family then I do not see how we can move forward together. I don't expect him to be clean within a week. I understand that this is not realistic....but I do expect him to be able to decide if he wants to let this go and then begin on that path.

Krissy, Adderall is a prescription drug for ADHD. It is essentially a legalized form of cocaine. It works on similar parts of the brain and provides a similar, albeit longer, effect. Congratulations on being clean for 8 days!! May you find the strength and courage to continue on your positive new journey.
Avatar universal
One last thing: I will support him if he chooses recovery. I am a very supportive and compassionate person. I believe that everyone deserves a champion in their life! However, I will not be able to support him if he does not want to change his ways. It is too much of an emotional price to pay for me and by extension by son.
Avatar universal
Hi Alisa, like Gnarly wrote, we see this all the time. However, you see to have your head on really straight, that will aid you in this.

Yes, your hubbie is exhibiting drug abusing behavior. And yes, it only gets worse. You have the right 'tude: keeping yourself and your son safe and away from the insanity of addiction. My suggestion is that before you make a huge life change, go to an alanon meeting. The whole purpose of Alanon is support for the loved one of the addict. Your whole world and perspective will become clearer when you go to meetings. Give it a try, what do you have to lose?

Good luck to you. Post as often as you need to:)
Avatar universal
Hi Alisa im glad you asked... my wife and I have been married for 32yrs had 5 amazing kids all grown and out of the house now 4 grand kids now we where the last of the hippies and use to get high together my wife got clean 23yrs ago but I kept on....addiction is a disease of the brain   you can mri and eeg brain activity and it is different from the ''normies'' there is no cure only recovery witch is something you have to work on daily  ever day I wake up with the same decision... am I going to use or stay clean''  today I made the right decision even after many years clean the addict in my head still screams at me to get loaded  this is a daily program we do this just for today  your husband is a sick person and will continue to be sick until he seaks help if you want to recover there is no better place then N/a  I tryed counselors  my pastor at church and even a substance abuse counselor but it just wasent working  I was still left with the addict and addictive behaviors....for me N/A has been the only thing that works   it give you a place that is safe to share your life and its struggles with people that understand you  it also give you structure something very few addict  have   any way if you like message me I will be happy to awnser your questions...Gnarly
Avatar universal
I will look into alanon. ..thanks for the tip!
2083449 tn?1381354708
Hi Alisa,  I'm sorry you are in such a difficult situation.  Through your therapy you have made a lot discoveries about yourself, and your rescuer personality. Congrats to you for dealing with this and accepting therapy.  What you are asking and seeking from your husband is certainly reasonable and understandable. The question is, is your husband capable and willing to provide that. His substance abuse is Definately putting up roadblocks in your relationship and marriage. You need to do what is best for yourself and your son.  I do agree with jifmoc above. Before you take any major step, do check out Alanon. There you will get some in person support and information that will help.  What does your therapist think about this situation?

Take care, I wish you all the best. You sound like a great mom, and a caring and compassionate person.
Avatar universal
Hi sonrissa,  thanks for your words. Therapy was difficult at times when you make some deep revelations but it was also awesome. Therapy is a gift. Yes, my husband's substance abuse is putting up barriers in our marriage and our family life. It is a big problem. He is frequently absent and I am tired of making excuses about his whereabouts to my son. Where are his whereabouts I don't really know. He tells lies and is dishonest. I last saw my therapist last Monday which is after I discovered the cocaine. That Wednesday I talked to my husband and told him my vision for our family. I focused on self responsibility, turning toward each other, and creating a safe atmosphere. I asked him if he saw himself in this kind of a family.  He said he did. A week later I found the Adderall and got really upset. I felt lied to and as though he is completely unable to be honest with what he needs and wants. I he see my therapist this coming Monday.  She is supportive of my decision to ask him to leave because I know what I need in life moving forward and I am taking the steps I need to to honour those needs. I feel like I don't have a husband and that ***** you know?
Avatar universal
I got bleeped! Lol. Rhymes with ducks.
1926359 tn?1331588139
Hey Alisa-

Wow girl, good for you.  I left a marriage much like yours, and did the work on myself too.  I ended up the strongest and happiest I've ever been.  My husband refused to get help though, and he also began abusing me, so really there was no hope.
You've done yourself, and your son, AND your husband the best service you can.  Stay strong and continue to seek support for yourself.  Al anon is great.  Really and truly wonderful.
You deserve a true partner.  I finally found mine after 3 years alone, and it is AMAZING.  I never would have done this had I not found the courage to work on myself, and learn to love myself unconditionally.
I wish you the very best.
Avatar universal
Hi lulu. Thanks for your story. How have I done my husband a good service? I feel in many ways that I have left him down. As painful as this is right now I feel as though I have to do this....he is bringing me down with his issues...it's feels horrible. The whole situation feels so horrible.  
Avatar universal
If I may answer for Lulu, you did your hubbie a great service by giving him consequences to his using. Consequences are the bricks that pile up to make the using life intolerable. In other words, keeping things cozy equals keeping things the same. And worse.

Go look up that alanon meeting. Everyone will understand you there, too:)
Avatar universal
Thanks jifmoc. I found one Monday night in my area.
Avatar universal
Dear All,
Thank you very much for all your support. I wanted to let you know that my husband has decided to move out of our house. In the end he told me he just wants to be independent and 'make lots of money'.

In a strange way I feel sadness of course...but also relief.

I appreciate all your insights and wish you so much strength in staying clean. Reading some of your stories has really been heartbreaking for me. You all deserve peace and happiness. Xo
2083449 tn?1381354708
Hi Alisa,  I am so very sorry to hear this.  I guess your husband has made his choice.  I do think that you gave him every opportunity to change. Something had to, because you certainly could not continue with the way things were. I hope that you will be able to move forward and find happiness for you and your son. Keep up with your therapy. I will keep you in my prayers. Take care, I wish you all the best.
Avatar universal
Sorry to hear your husband wants out.  I laughed when I read that he wants to make a lot of money, how is he gonna make a lot of money when it drugs cost a lot of money??  sorry to laugh at your pain....really.

I feel sorry for your husband.  I think you are so smart and have so much to offer.  I was so proud that you could be so strong in your convictions.  I am so envious of that.  I'm so proud that you went to therapy to get help.  It's a huge gift that you gave yourself.  Amazing. Awesomeness.

Please still go to the meeting tho, it will help you even tho hubby walked out.  You'll get support that you need right now.  

Hopefully your husband will realize that he is throwing away so much.  I hope he can see that.  And I hope he can  realize it very soon.  The life he wants to lead will go nowhere fast.  

I'm proud that you can recognize the roles you play.  Your not the one who needs to rescue victims all the time.  It's not healthy.  You need a partner.  A team mate.  I wish many good things for you and your son.  You deserve love and peace and happiness.

Your spot on making your home a safe place.  In the world we live in with all the daily stress, you deserve a place that is safe.  Your son needs that.  And so do you.

I think you did the right thing by having the deal breaker talk.  It's a hard topic.  But a must have discussion.  And, your husband showed you his character.  He sounds immature and selfish.  To just walk out of his sons life.  And yours.

I'm here if you want to talk.  Much love and support....cyber hugs.....bama
Avatar universal
Alisa, yes please still go to the meeting. You will need LOTS of "in person" support right now.

Of course, I don't know what's in your husband's mind, but from the info you gave his statement of "I wanna make lots of money" sounds like a euphemism for "I want to do drugs w/o having to feel guilty about it."  He is in a really confused, effed up state right now. And one of the many things I've learned from meetings is that what's happening TODAY does not reflect what will happen. It's just for right now. So, if you can, try to look at your husband as a sick person, who doesn't know what to do. It is NOT personal. Drugs are first for him...right now.

Good for you for taking care of yourself. Keep focusing on YOU. And even if the meeting feels "weird", keep an opened mind. You will start to get comfort:)
Avatar universal
Hi honey:  I just read through this entire thread...sorry I missed it initially.

You know that the person who said he wanted to move out and make lots of money is not your husband, its his disease (the addiction), right?   I feel very badly for him; this will not end well unless he decides to choose his family first.

He is the father of your child, and I'm sure that even with the difficult decision you've made you still wouldn't want anything bad to happen to him.  I hope you DO go to support meetings, and that you also let him know that if he ever changes his mind, his family will be to support his decision.  

He isn't going to make a lot of money unless he starts dealing drugs, and that is a very bad road.   He's going to have to pay child support, possibly alimony, and also support himself.  I'm positive he doesn't realize all this now.    

Leaving someone who isn't willing to face their substance abuse problems is very difficult, and I commend your bravery.  Please keep posting and let us know how you are doing.  

Avatar universal
Thank you all so, so much! You are all so kind and compassionate. I have a little time right now and wanted to just get a little more off my chest, if I may. To begin, I realize that none of this is HIM...I know his brain is just not in the right place right now. I think he is really an awesome person and think that he has so much going for him. He is smart, fun, and I have seen his kindness. This is what I held onto for so many years....ignoring the dishonesty, the lack of respect and the unkind words said to me. He was so cold last night when he was talking. He said to me that he was sorry...but in the most non-emotional way...as though he stepped on my foot by accident. He then went on talking to me about our past and brought up events such as when I asked him when he was going to stop getting drunk and 'grow up'. This happened like 12-15 years ago. I can see now how substances have always been an issue with us. Alcohol is just more acceptable to me in the sense that it is socially acceptable and something that I also consume on occasion. All of his 'complaints' were about specific instances. He fails to see the big picture of what he is part of. He has no connections with his family. They are of a most conservative culture which he has not followed and so there is no connection there for him. He was molested as a child. His mother ignored him when he went to her.This literally breaks my heart and I cry every time I think about it. How could she ignore him? How could she be so cold? I wish I could hold that little boy and tell him how is he is the most amazing thing on earth and that I will protect him no matter what. He has never dealt with these issues. He says they do not bother him. I have such a hard time believing this. I denied my own pain of my parents chaotic divorce and it has wreaked havoc on my life until I finally took responsibility for my actions because I wanted happiness. I cannot imagine how being molested and ignored cannot effect a person. I just cannot imagine this. I soooo soooo wanted him to heal. I tried so hard. I wanted to save him. But instead he used substances to cover up his pain...or this is what I think. And even last night he was talking so coldly....he was in that place. Completely dissociated and just wanting to run. I asked him what he values. He told me he values 'live and let live' above everything. How this is something that is more important to him than anything else including honesty and trust or anything else. And how his current addiction...which is corrected to obsession...is to make lots of money. I cried inside. This is not what I value. I value family, health, alone time (I am an introvert) and love. There is no way I can change someones values. There is no way we can come together on this. There is no foundation to build anything on. Not once did he mention me or my son. Not once. He then said that he needs to know how to 'financially uncouple' from me. It was so cold. So unloving. No emotion. None. At the end I asked him how he felt. He said nothing. That he had thought about what he needed to say to me and he delivered his speech. I asked him if he needed a hug. He said he has no need for one. I needed one. So I gave it to myself upstairs in my room. The adderall I found. Turns out he turned it around and sold it for 30-40 dollars to 'some schmuck he doesnt care about'. He said he just wants money. So I asked him...so now you are dealing drugs? He said, is 1 time considered dealing drugs? I said everything starts with 1 time. He said well he has no where to store it and no where to manage it so no he is not dealing drugs.

I dont know to be honest. I have always valued a drug free life. I do lots and lots of yoga and try my best to feel my emotions (now). This has all been so much for me to bear. So much. It is just beyond my comfort zone. I feel so sad for him. He is in such a bad place. But no one can help him until he decides he wants help. Of course I love him. He is my husband. He is the father of my son. But he is just not the man I need him to be. It just rips my heart out to let him go. But last night I realized that I had no choice. I have to let this man, and my dreams of a connect happy family go. For now, it is my and my little guy. And that is enough. We are good enough together. I love him so much I cannot explain in words. I will do anything in this world to make sure he is safe and that he knows he is a worthy, loved, lovable and loving human being. Like we all are. But we need someone to tell us this...it is learned. I want my loving words to be his inner voice.

Well, I have cried my eyes out writing this. Thank you for listening. I will definitely still go to that meeting. The pain that drug abuse brings is unfathomable. There is so much suffering. Again, congratulations to you all in your fight. Be kind to yourselves and know that you are doing amazing. xo
Avatar universal
One last thing. I have to protect my son. I recorded our conversation on my cell phone.
Avatar universal
God I hate this diease....so here is a example of what you can expect if you keep using...first off you have to know as a addict is active addiction nothing will come between you and your drugs even your family so he is doing what most addits do  run from the problem this is a progresive diease and only will get worst with time  im so sorry this broke up your family because it is preventable we can only hope that he sees the light and gets help the meeting will help you understand addiction and will be good for you to go and get some support we have had many family's break up over drugs in our fellow ship...N/A saved my life and I have seen many family's healed by the program  but everybody need to hit there rock bottom b/4 most get help  I would keep encouraging him to go if he dose there very well can be a happy ending to your life I will pray for reconciliation for your Family...........Gnarly
Avatar universal
Thank you gnarly. I will pray for that too.
Avatar universal
I chatted with my husband for quite some time. He seems pretty committed to the idea of therapy. I think he was genuinely shocked that I followed through on my bottom line (since I was always the rescuer). I will pray every day that he makes the changes and grows into the beautiful human being I know he can be.
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