Why Leaving My Wife Saved Her from Addiction

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The hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life was being married to a meth addict. The smartest thing I’ve ever done in my life – for bothof us – was leaving that same meth addict.

The Honeymoon Was Over

After three years of marriage, it was a terrible shock to find out that my wife was using crystal meth – while I was at work, while she was away “visiting family”, and virtually every chance she got. The vows say – “in sickness and in health“, but they don’t say anything about drug addiction. I didn’t know what to do. I’m sure that my reaction was wrong – yelling, cursing, name-calling, crying, and of course, asking again and again – “WHY?” She didn’t really have an answer but I found acceptable – she said it was no big deal, she said she would stop, and made all sorts of promises.

“Get your loved one the help they need. Our substance use disorder program accepts many health insurance plans, this is our residential program.”

My Crazy Behavior Probably Didn’t Help

Over the next year, we became locked in a sad cycle:

  • She would stay sober for a while – maybe even a couple of months
  • Life would begin to wear on her, and she would start using again in secret
  • I would start seeing what I thought were signs of her drug use and start to try to control what she was doing –
    • Calling and texting her obsessively when we were not together
    • Staying home from work to “keep an eye on her”
    • Checking her phone
    • Counting the miles on her car
    • Searching the house
    • Keeping track of how much money she was spending
    • Driving around looking for her when she was gone too long
  • I would “catch” her in some way, she would deny it, then she would admit it, then there would be a huge fight – again with the accusing, screaming, begging, and empty promises.

Every now and again, she would half-heartedly go to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, but never regularly. She DID sign up for an outpatient rehab program once, but she dropped out after a couple of weeks, saying it was too much of a “hassle”. I was at my wit’s end – I WAS THE ONE going crazy, and SHE WAS THE ONE using meth.

pain body

I Left and NOTHING Changed

Finally, I reached my breaking point. I told her that I loved her and wanted our marriage to work, but if she didn’t get help for her problem, I was going to leave. Of course, she tearfully swore that she would never use it again. Two weeks later, she disappeared over the weekend. I used the time to pack my stuff. But here’s the thing – even though we weren’t in the same house anymore, everything that happened was still affecting me – I was depressed, nervous, and angry ALL TIME. I kept blaming myself for not doing something about it, even though I didn’t have a clue as to what that “something” should have been. It didn’t help that she was constantly texting me or leaving me voice messages. Looking around online, I found that there were support groups for people in my situation. I had never known that. I mean, I had heard of Al-Anon, but that was for alcoholics and their families, wasn’t it? I didn’t know what they could do for me, but I was ready to listen to anything. I was literally reaching out for life preserver.

“We treat both addiction and co-occurring disorders and accept many health insurance plans. Take a look at our inpatient program.”

I Got Help for ME, and EVERYTHING Changed

Going to a 12-Step meeting really surprised me. I went there expecting to be told exactly what to do to “get her clean”. What I found was a group of men and women who had suffered and were suffering just like me. Their stories sounded just like mine. What really shocked me was how no one is talking about fixing their addicted spouse, child, etc. – they worked on fixing themselves. They were working on their own peace of mind, regardless of the other person. Over the next several meetings, I started to understand what I should’ve already known – that somehow, my wife’s addiction had made me just as sick as she was. Although I wasn’t the addict, my life had become just as out-of-control as if I was. I researched a few local drug treatment facilities to see if they had services for people like me. They absolutely did. I started seeing a counselor who specialized in helping family members of addicts and alcoholics. I learned a couple of new words:

  • Codependent – Part of the reason I felt so depressed and guilty was that I was defining myself by what was going on with her. The worse her addicted behaviors got, the worse I felt.
  • Enabling – Every time I “protected” her or ignored what was obviously true, I made it easier for her to go on using meth.

Every time I forgave her unconditionally, every time I covered up for her when we were around her family or friends, every time I let her use OUR money to buy drugs – I was enabling her addiction. Before I could feel too guilty about that, my therapist let me know that by leaving her because she wouldn’t get help, I had done the exact opposite of enabling her. Now, because I wasn’t there to clean up after her, my wife would have to start facing the consequences of her own actions.

support hug

Saving My Sanity and Saving Her Life

Slowly, I started to see ME again. I wasn’t as angry, nervous, or depressed anymore. I wasn’t making myself sick staying up all hours of the night. I still loved her and was worried about her, but I had come to the realization that until she decided to get help, it was out of my hands. That’s where she is right now. My leaving may have been the best thing for her. Not surprisingly, she got seriously busted for possession. Lucky for her, where we live offers an alternative to jail – rehab. She chose rehab, and she is currently in a residential facility.

“We accept many health insurance plans. Get your life back in order, take a look at our residential program.”

Before she left to check-in, she called me, and it was a very bittersweet, conversation. She told me she was scared and she told me she was sorry. I told her to focus on herself and to work hard, and that I would be praying for her. Then she asked me the question that I was both hoping for and dreading – she asked me if there was still hope for us. I gave the best, most loving answer I could – “Don’t worry about that right now. We’ll talk about that later. Get better.” Obviously, the future of our marriage is still up in the air. I DO love my wife – for better or for worse – but right now, I’m just glad that she is somewhere that can help her.