March 21, 2008,
S.E. asks from Scotts Valley, CA on March 08, 2008
I Really Need Help Right Now....
I will try to make this brief, I am so mad and I just don't know what to do right now. I am a chronic pain patient after suffering a neck injury many years ago and under-going numerous surgeries. I have been on very strong, and very regulated, medications for years. Two years ago I found out my husband had been taking my pain medications. He was unhappy at work, and just in general. I guess my pain meds had improved his mood and outlook. Anyway, we went through a lot at that time and I had found my way back to trusting him again. Well, I just caught him yesterday, literally with my medication bottle in his hand. Mind you, if I run out of this medication early, I CANNOT get more. If I run out of this medication I will go through a physical withdrawal so severe I will be hospitalized. He swears up and down to me that he was monitoring my medication use to see if I have been hurting more recently and not telling him the truth. I have NEVER lied to him!! I have NEVER taken more medication than what I am prescribed!! I watched closely today and he's complained of maybe coming down with a bug, sweating and then being chilled...etc. I have been through withdrawals through all my medical treatments, I know what the signs are. I have not confronted him yet that I know he's experiencing withdrawal and I know he's lying. I am so upset, mad (trying to keep it clean here)!! He stole from me, he lied and is still lying to me, he broke my trust again, and he has put my condition and my health in jeopardy! In his line of work, if he was suspected of abusing medications like this he would be immediately terminated, not to mention we could be sued. This only skims the surface of what keeps going over and over in my head. I cannot talk to anyone I know because it would completely change the way they view him. I cannot tell my family or friends because they would never look at him the same. I don't know how I will ever look at him again, trust him again. I love my husband. We've been married over 6 years and know that we can make it through anything. How do I make it through this? I have my meds under lock and key again, it's a terrible thing.
So What Happened?™
We talked again and he has admitted everything to me. It took a lot of courage on his part. It was hard for him, but he realizes he is an addict because he so quickly and easily loses control, thinking 'just one more'. Anyway, he is getting help and we will both start counseling. You moms really helped hold me together when I thought I'd lose it, I can't thank you enough for your support. THANK YOU, YOU ROCK!!!!
Thank you ladies for your kind words, time and advice. Because of your support I didn't feel so alone and was able to calm down and see things a little differently. I talked with my husband last night and we made a lot of progress, both baring our souls and we will be getting some help. You moms ROCK!! Thank you so much.
A.B. answers from San Francisco on March 10, 2008
You literally caught him with his hand in the cookie jar! I am certainly no expert in drug problems and can not diagnosis him. But if I were you I would ask him to get his own meds or therapy to deal with whatever is bothering him so much that he wants to numb out. You certainly have the right to ask him to go see someone about this because when the trust is gone in a marriage it is hard to get it back. If he decides not to make an effort to make it right then you might consider another serious option.
J.S. answers from Stockton on March 10, 2008
I can't imagine what you're going through. The only thing I can think of is suggestions to him NA meetings. They're supposed to be confidential and wouldn't jeapardize anything, but maybe he'd get some help that way?
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S.B. answers from Redding on March 10, 2008
It is so good that you are reaching out. I totally understand being afraid to talk to anyone you know, but you need to get some help. Listen, I have been through the chronic thing too. I went through numerous operations and my husband was taking my medication too. At one point, he literally put me in the car and took me to doctors to say that my medicine wasn't good enough and I needed something stronger. When he asked me to share my medicine and I said no, he reminded me that he was the one paying for all of it and he couldn't believe how selfish I was being. As a result, I resorted to hiding my medicine. I told him that I didn't have any. What ended up happening was that I wasn't getting the medicine correctly because I had it stashed all over the house so it would be there when I needed it. And that is no way to live. It's very disfunctional. I don't know what meds you take, but after one episode in the hospital that almost killed me, WHILE I was pregnant, of all times, I was sent home with Fentanyl patches. I had been on I.V. Fentanyl for 3 months in the hospital. Talk about hard core and regulated....it can be lethal under improper conditions. Anyway, true to form, my husband demanded one of my patches. I said NO. First of all it would be illegal for me to do that, second of all, he had no legitimate reason and no idea what he was trying to mess with. He informed me that his back hurt really bad and if I was a good wife, I would share with him after everything he had to put up with by me being hospitalized. He verbally, abusively badgered me about it. So, as ill as I was, just to shut him up, I gave him one. He put it on and within 3 minutes he was screaming like an infant for me to get it off of him because he could not move his arms and legs at all and was freaking out that he was going to die. To be honest, all I really was thinking was...."Tried to tell you, idiot. Now, you have wasted some of MY medicine because you thought you could just have fun getting high." I divorced him after I had the baby. I have a friend whose husband is addicted to Vicodin after his knee injury and if the doctor won't give him anymore, he finds and takes anything that she has. I don't agree with it, but she will not take her meds and gives them to him because it's better than the tirade if he doesn't have any. I broke my leg last September and I refused pain medication. I do not want to be one of those sorry people. I'm on seizure medication and it is so freeing to know that I don't have to worry about some doofus wanting a pill. For the fun of it. If you can't trust your medicine in your house around your husband, kids, friends, whoever.....there is a problem. If your husband is the kind of addictive personality that there can be no meds in the house, then you have stop taking your medication OR get him out of the house and into treatment, for the sake of your family. My husband refused to get help or acknowledge any of it. So he's gone. Your husband may be better than that. Hiding it isn't going to change anything. Seek help. Talk to your doctor. Talk to a counselor. Talk to someone who can help. If you don't.....it's gonna get worse. I wish you all the luck in the world, I really do. But luck is not going to help you through this.
* Just as a side note: I was 33 and my husband was 43 when our son was born. We had a 9 year old daughter at the time.
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T.C. answers from Sacramento on March 10, 2008
I read all the advice given so far. The only correction I can give you is, an addict WILL LIE to you, looking directly into your eyes. You want with all your heart and soul to believe him. His addiction has taken over his heart and soul. His addiction will lie to you. His addiction will cry real tears. His addiction will promise you anything. His addiction will be so convincing. And there you are, wanting this to all go away, loving the man he was (appears to be when he has his "meds"). Nothing matters to the addiction except getting more of what it needs. Only the addict truly doesn't believe that. The addict truly thinks he has everything under control and that you are over-reacting. Using the safety of your son and your personal health needs will probably not matter to the addiction. If the addiction is in place long enough, it has control over the man you love and he doesn't care (regardless of what he tells you). The addiction will not go away just because you lock up your meds. I am so sorry to be so blunt. Addiction sucks.
Consider that perhaps losing (or walking away) from his job might be a good idea. Perhaps the pressures of this job are what prompted the the drug use. If so, there is no way he can go through withdrawals and work the rehab process while under the same pressure. If you are ready to see this through, be prepared for the financial fall out. Again, I am so sorry to sound so negative. Your husband can beat this. You can come out OK. But it won't be easy.
Rehab will probably be the answer. Expensive. Usually needs at least 3 tries. With all of the heartache in between. I am not trying to discourage you. But this is the reality of addiction. Rehab is also public, so to speak. Your family and friends will know. I have complete empathy with you wanting to keep this private.
In an effort to keep "privacy" I found a program online with a workbook. The Jude Thaddeus Home Recovery Program. Maybe this will help help lead your husband to an in-house rehab program. My adult son never even got to see it. He has been dead 3 years now. He would have been 30 on his birthday this year. His addiction was not prescribed meds, but the premise of addiction, be it tobacco, alcohol, prescribed drugs, or illicit drugs is the same.
From my research: Addiction is a brain disease. Relapse is part of the disease but not necessarily a sign of failure. Addiction is a treatable illness. The longer an addict is in treatment the greater the chances treatment will be effective. Addiction is NOT a moral failure. Drugs and alcohol can "hijack" the brain's reward system and pleasure pathways. The risk factors for addiction may include genetic and environmental factors such as stress and availability. Treatments for addiction are as effective as treatments for other chronic relapsing diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma.
I speak to groups regarding choices. I hope to be able to affect at least one life, but mostly I do it for me - so that I can feel the child's life that I gave birth to has meaning. If I had the magic words to say to your husband i would. I don't. But keep trying and trying if you have the emotional strength to. But don't forget about your son. He needs you too. Whatever your decision is, it will not be wrong. You are in a tough spot. My heart truly aches for you. I wish my son's wife was strong enough to have worked to get him the help he needed. Maybe your husband's mom feels the same. You might get support there. But I know very few people understand addiction and you might have to spend a good deal of time educating others.
Addiction is not easy to deal with but many, many people work through it. Keep educating yourself, weighing advice you are given, and keeping yourself - first and foremost - healthy. All good wishes go out to you.
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T.S. answers from Chico on March 10, 2008
My heart goes out to you! I've experienced a lifetime of addiction through my parents and I can tell you two things that I truly believe to be true. One is that addiction is a disease. It's as simple as that. It isn't a matter of pride or what others will think about you or your husband. And it isn't about betrayal and trust. It's about a chemical, physiological, and emotional dependency on this substance. If he is addicted to pain meds he WILL be found out. The disease will run its course and will come to light one way or the other. The second thing is that there is not one thing that you can do to force your husband to address his illness if he is denying the problem. Believe me, I know about this. I tried to get my mother to stop drinking for the last ten years and it took over my life. It was only after she decided for herself to seek treatment and reclaim her life that she stopped drinking. Unfortunately, addiction infects those around the addict as well as the addict himself. Denial, making excuses, misery, co-dependancy, are all experienced by those who love the addict. You need to seriously think about yourself and your children right now - I realize it's easy to say, much harder to do - but unless your husband comes to see what he's doing and what's at stake, and until he decides to seek help, you can only prolong the inevitable.
I will not forget your letter. I hurt for you. I will keep you in my prayers. Best wishes and healing strength to you! T.
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J.I. answers from Bakersfield on March 10, 2008
I think this is something he does not want to be doing. He knows it's wrong. He loves you. He is struggling with the temptation of the meds, and I would be blazing mad too, if I were you. Tell him right away you and him will need to talk about this, but on a day when you are both ready....with a deadline of 3 or 4 days. While you are waiting for the agreed upon day, pray to God for the right words. On the day, hold his hand and begin to talk. When your turn is over, listen completely to his turn for when he talks. Consider saving whatever answers you get on your computer from this site for showing him the bigness of this problem and how it hurts you, if he still is hiding from the reality of it. You two will have to brainstorm and maybe write down ideas of how to solve this problem. Get help from someone outside your marriage, and remember: most of, if not all, of your families have had problems as bad or worse than this. You just may not know about them. J.
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G.P. answers from Modesto on March 10, 2008
Why on earth is he taking your meds? Those are prescribed for your condition. The doc that gave them to you are going to suspect something is going on. Get them under a locking key. Nothing wrong with that. If he's so depressed, he should see a doctor and stop taking yours. Anytime someone gets off pills there is a possibility of withdrawal. Some prescribed meds can be addicting. Hide those pills from him. If he cares about your health, he will stay out of them.
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L.T. answers from Modesto on March 10, 2008
Your anger is justified. You do need to confront your husband, but it's a good thing you "typed" out your initial anger to the mamas before talking to him. Have you thought that he may need a rehab program of some sort to assist him? Perhaps a very calm discussion about is what you need. I'm sure he isn't meaning to be hurtful to you in regards to your pain and need for medication. Rehab is not about a pride thing, it's about getting help he needs. He knows what he's doing is wrong, but he clearly can't control himself. I would try not to be too focused on the trust aspect of your marriage - as in other things going through your mind (unless you have other reasons that you didn't mention). I hope he'll be open to seeking care.
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N.P. answers from Modesto on March 10, 2008
Even worse than not being able to sooth our children is when we are having emotional troubles with our spouse. It's so hard for us to be a loving parent at these times when our emotions are distracted. They DO happen, but your situation seems a little extreme. I am so sorry that you are forced to decide whether you can "trust" your husband or not. That is something that I hope I never have to deal with. But, in trying to help you this morning, I am trying to decide what I would do in your situation.
I think I would do the same as you....put your meds under lock and key. This will probably create more friction between the two of you, due to lack of trust on both of your parts, but in order to keep your meds safe and there when YOU need them, it seems like the only temporary solution.
Question: Is he NOT allowed to go to his own Doctor for treatment to deal with his anxiety? Why doesn't he have his own prescription if he needs something so bad?
Or, maybe he has an addiction, and truly doesn't NEED it but only DESIRE'S it. If this is the case, I think you have a whole other "ballgame" on your hands, and it will NOT be easy to deal with.
I think you need to deal with this one step at a time. Answer one question at a time, and treat it one step at a time. Simplify it for yourself in order to make the best decisions. Like, can he have his own prescription....yes or no? If yes, then get him one. If no, then talk why he thinks he needs it. If it's his job stress that leads to meds, then he should switch jobs to avoid an addiction, right?
I'm not sure, S., but if you need someone to "talk" to, then I will be here for you. I know what it's like to NOT have anyone to talk to about your husband. My husband and I are in a very WIDE circle of friends and family who all love my husband. But if I ever need to "vent" about something serious, I don't want to discredit the man he really is....after all I was only venting :o) Anyway, I understand that part of your problem, so I will be a good "listener" for you if you need it.
That's all I have to offer today, it's not much, but I hope it helps your heart.
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J.R. answers from San Francisco on March 09, 2008
I would love to encourage you two to get some help. Addiction is a powerful disease and you aren't really dealing with your husband that you love and once trusted- you are talking to his disease. addiction is not something to handle yourselves and it can easily destroy a good marriage with the elements you have already experienced -lying, stealing and mistrust- not to mention the possibility of losing a job and the stress that may bring. Please call someone- addiction counseling, a hotline of some kind - to find support and programs in your area. God Bless you and your family!
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