Tag Archives: addict

Co-Dependency: Sitting in the Suck and Gratitude

Co-Dependency: Sitting in the Suck and Gratitude

What a difference a year can make. One year ago today, I was living with my husband of 10 years and our two children in a nice house. We had great neighbors, good careers and while our marriage was struggling, I thought we’d see it through. The first five years of our marriage were great, but the second five – things started spiraling. Addiction and alcoholism… he always said he wanted to get help. He’d go to counseling for awhile, but eventually, things would get busy and it would get pushed to the back burner, and then *shocking*, another relapse. I thought we could get back to where we were the first five years of our marriage. I always hoped that we would.

Until one day in the spring of 2018. Everything changed in an instant, and there was no fixing it – no more hope. I’d always said that domestic violence was my no-go. You don’t come back from that – put your hands on me once, and it’ll be the last time. I meant it.

Fast forward to today. The kids and I moved. I don’t think he knows where we are. I hope not, anyway. Through some investigations, I found out that he told some of his coworkers that he was going to put a tracking device on my car. I found pictures of other women on a flash drive. Did I mention that I was really sick for months, requiring hospitalization, a home health care nurse, specialists… and three specialists now believe that he was poisoning me? POISONING ME.  After countless tests they all told me, “there’s no medical reason why you were so sick”, and have all come to the same conclusion. Looking back, it makes sense but boy, is that a bitter pill to swallow. (If The Lifetime Channel would like rights to my story, have them give me a call).

I’ve come to realize that I had no idea who he really was, or rather, who he became. Ten years of marriage. TEN YEARS.

At the time, I didn’t realize how bad things were. I didn’t realize how much I was walking on eggshells for fear of “triggering” him to drink. I took on all the responsibility of the household – bills, cooking, cleaning, shopping, working two jobs, pick up and drop off of the kids… all so he wasn’t stressed. I put my needs on the backburner. As though it was my fault when he drank… my responsibility to maintain his sobriety.

Amazingly, it’s actually easier being a single mom of two kids than being a single mom of two kids and one grown man-child. I don’t worry about holes being punched in the wall when he’s drunk, I don’t worry about having to clean up a bathroom floor covered in pee because he was too wasted to hit the toilet. I don’t have a near panic-attack when he doesn’t answer his phone and has the kids. It was so bad, but it got bad slowly, and like a frog in boiling water, I just hung in there. I trusted that if he just got to the right therapist… if he just got the right treatment, it would be okay. We’d be okay. The thing is though, that I wanted it more than him. He never wanted it. Our insurance would have covered treatment – inpatient and outpatient – 100%. I made the calls, the referrals. He never really wanted it… he’d go for a bit to appease me… I just didn’t see it.

Regardless, I have so much to be thankful for.  I have a solid, amazing support system -my friends rushed from their workplaces to the scene that spring day, and have never left my side. They’ve attended court dates and hearings, they’ve cried with me and have sworn like sailors with me. They’ve given gift cards and wine and took my kids when I was exhausted. My extended and immediate family is incredible. The kids and I are in an apartment and the bills are a challenge, but I can pay them. I’m not getting child support and I don’t ever expect to, but for now – we’re safe. We’ve been protected, I’m sure of that. I had an incredible divorce attorney who kept me focused from his attacks against my integrity and character.  The prosecutor and victim advocate in the criminal case were both phenomenal. I am so thankful.

Sitting in the suck is so important. Probably not the most eloquent term, but that’s sure what it felt like. Many nights I would literally sit on my couch and allow the waves of grief and loneliness to settle in. Grief over the loss of my marriage, the loss of my (our) future plans, the loss of my children growing up in a home with two parents. Grief over the loss of their innocence – they were so young, and they saw and heard way too much. In those moments, it would have been easier to just sit and scroll mindlessly on my phone, to drink a bunch of wine or to somehow occupy and distract myself. But… I knew I had to feel it. In order to get past it, I had to sit in the suck and feel the grief and pain, and allow processing to happen. This will not control my future, and the only way through the pain is the hard way – to feel it.

The kids and I have all benefitted enormously from counseling. EMDR therapy is incredible – I’ve been able to break through the co-dependency and see it for what it really is. I can relive the events that happened that awful spring day without the physiological symptoms welling up. The importance of a support system and the importance of therapy cannot be underscored. If you’ve been through trauma, if your kids have been through trauma – get to a good therapist. It might not be the first one you meet – my first therapist said I was “fine”… I just had “hope”, even though I told her I don’t feel “fine”. It wasn’t “fine” for someone to allow themselves to be controlled and shoulder every responsibility for the household. The second therapist agreed with me, and we delved deeper, and EMDR was a good option. It’s cliché, but truly, there is no shame in seeking help.

The past year has been incredibly hard, but I can see light now. The kids are doing great. I love our new town and the people. The divorce and criminal cases are both resolved, the protection order case will be soon. And while I don’t know if I’ll ever be with anyone again, I’m doing my best to heal, move forward, and set a good example for my kids. We’re going to thrive… there is no other option.

-Elaine

Addiction Has Changed Me

I’m not an addict but addiction has changed me.

I worked hard, as my parents did, and earned my way to my independence as a young adult. By the time I was 26, I purchased my own home, had a new car in the driveway, my bills were paid. I was gainfully employed and was well respected in my career. I did not live a life of luxury but I did not want for anything either. I had accomplished some goals in my life sooner than others and I was confident in my abilities. I was happy.

I grew up in a structured family environment, full of love and support. I was a successful adult, still, I found that I was ill prepared for some of what life had in store for me, most of which revolved around my failed relationships; more specifically, conflicts within those relationships. There was never any conflict in my childhood home – NONE. I never saw my parents fight. I only saw respect and honor and dignity.

After I married and began my own family, I would soon find out, however, that I had absolutely no idea how to deal with conflict. Furthermore, I had not the first notion about addiction and its cunning ability to destroy whatever it touched.

Addiction stole my independence in the physical form of my home, my car, my job, my financial freedom, and so much more. And it momentarily buried the strong, driven woman my parents did such a fine job creating. Addiction affected my life by kicking the door in like a thief in the night, pillaging everything sacred inside me, cheating me out of my peace of mind and my ability to trust.

One of my favorite quotes is from Maya Angelou; “I may be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.” I tell myself that everyday. Where my self-esteem had dropped drastically in my marriage, I have been able to rebuild that self-image since my separation. Though I may seem hard to some now, those that know me well, and the home from which I came, can see beyond my protective layers. I am happy again and impervious to projections. That strength and purpose in character coupled with my unconditional love is what my daughter will benefit from most.

Addiction holds no bias. It knows no boundaries. It affects all races, classes, sexes, ages, sexual preferences, religious preferences, and so on. Addiction, at its best, will destroy families, jobs, incomes, and the physical and mental health of both the addict and that of their loved ones. At its worst, addiction is fatal. At its best, it destroys.

Addiction is a very real societal issue that requires understanding, consistency, and perseverance through the face of some individuals’ worst evils. It must be recognized and treated as such with as-necessary intervention and medical supervision.

But if you ask me how to treat addiction, you have to treat its root cause. No, I’m not an addict, but addiction has changed me.

Mental health matters.
Josie

The Grip Of Addiction

My thoughts and feelings on addiction have always been about my Dad, this time it’s someone else, someone I haven’t seen in many, many years, but have much love, care,  and concern for I am worried, for her, her family, her friends. I know what the grips of addiction on a loved one feels like but no two people’s addiction is the same.

Young

Beautiful

Energetic

Intelligent

Worthy

Happy

Ambitious

Those are all words I would use to describe her, her potential and who she is and should be…

Aged beyond her years.

Hardened

Desperate

Manipulative

Denial

Scared

Angry

Sad

Death

I imagine those are words that some would use to describe her now…

Addiction is a strange thing…deep in the moments with my Dad’s addiction I would know he was all these negative things to people on the “outside”.. he was those things to me. Yet, I would get so defensive of anyone whispering about him, making fun of him, judging him.

Addiction plays games with EVERY ONE. I have been told it’s a disease, a much larger issue for the addict, then those who are affected by and are around the addict. For those of us on the outside looking in on our family member, friend, our loved one. ..we see and hold on to who this person was BEFORE. The potential this person has if they would just quit, if they could see it for themselves.

There is a lot of debate, discussion and studies on whether addiction is a disease or whether it is not.  There are days I will agree that it is a disease….some days  I get frustrated with the why’s and how it can even be compared to a lethal illness that someone didn’t choose to get. Addiction is a lethal disease that started with a choice?….a choice. That’s hard for me to get past.

I have made the personal decision after knowing that I have done all that I can, to discontinue a relationship with my Dad. Doesn’t mean it makes every day any easier-I still wonder, worry, am saddened, angry, defeated, disappointed, exhausted, confused. So many emotions.

My Dad’s best friend for many, many years, starting with their childhood, passed away a few weeks back. My brother and I talked back and forth as to who was going to tell Dad-not something we want to tell him under normal circumstances and certainly not something either of us want to tell him under these circumstances.

My brother told him.

I received a voice mail from Dad that night, he thought he was leaving a message for his drug dealer, careless on his part-seems like a “rookie” mistake-which also tells me he is in deep again. I wonder how bad one has to be to confuse his daughter’s phone number with his dealer’s phone number.  That hurts..A LOT!  I still have the message. I have held on to it these past few weeks feeling like I need to, for a “in my defense” when someone wants to judge me for not speaking to him. Ridiculous, huh? Having to explain why I don’t want to be around a junkie, who lies, steals, takes advantage, is erratic and so on.

I know that this is not a choice everyone will make or even want to make. Addiction is not a cookie cutter situation from person to person and family to family.  The one thing that is constant and that I am for sure of is that addiction is evil. And hard, ever so hard. There are so many casualties of addiction. No one wins besides the addiction.

Much Love,

Kim