Sunday, February 15, 2009


Posted by Anonymous.

What do you do when you can’t get over the anxiety and fear that your husband might betray you?

I have, on the surface, a perfect marriage. We have a beautiful daughter. We have a lovely home. But I spend every day dealing with a fear that my husband may not be able to fight his demons and be too weak and take prescription painkillers (opiates).

It started in February 2005. He became ill and went on the painkillers (doctor prescribed) as a result. But he got hooked and after the doctor stopped filling his prescription, he secretly bought them online. Then he faked a back injury to get pills at the hospital. And finally, he came clean to me in June of that year. He said the pills got rid of his social anxiety. Made him feel like he was Superman at work. Made him feel “on top of his game.” I felt so betrayed and so angry.

He went to a shrink. Got on anxiety meds. He took a urine drug test whenever I asked, to help me feel secure. And I guess I got over it, at the time. Time passed, things were great, and we had a child.

Then, last year. He had to have surgery on his leg. Serious surgery, and he needed pain meds. I kept the bottle and dispensed them to him. Things seemed okay, but then he began having major stomach issues, unrelated to the leg surgery. We’re talking pain that landed him in the ER over and over again. After months of doctors saying, “I have no idea what’s wrong” they finally removed his gallbladder and viola! He was better! The bad news? He’d been on pain meds (between the leg and stomach issues) for nearly seven months.

After the surgery and some recovery time, I tried to wean him off the meds. He got angry and demanded the pill bottle. He took nearly a whole bottle of meds in a 24 hour period. His anger and irrational behavior scared me, and I realized that months on these meds had made him dependent on the drugs yet again. Even though he wasn’t LYING to me, I felt sick about the whole thing. I felt scared. I realized that these drugs can get a grip on you and never let go.

And now… fast forward to today. It’s been a YEAR since he stopped the drugs (that I know of) and I battle fears that he is using some sort of opiates. My husband has taken drug tests whenever I ask, and they have always been negative. He offered to go on a drug that would make him ill if he took opiates. He tries to understand why I live in fear of this, but I can tell he gets frustrated. I do feel like he makes an effort to help me feel secure, but it’s not working.

EVERY DAY I look in his eyes and evaluate his pupils. Do they look super-small (a sign of opiate abuse)? Do they look huge (a sign of withdrawal)? My whole goddamned life revolves around this FEAR I have of being betrayed and of him getting hooked on something that will ruin our life. I obviously don’t trust my husband… I don’t trust that he can fight the possible urge to do those drugs, and I have this NEED to be in CONTROL. To be VIGILANT. To KNOW if something is wrong. It’s like I REFUSE to be betrayed again, to be a FOOL who has no idea what is going on. But my hyper-vigilance is ruining me.

It’s going to ruin my life and my marriage. Already, I feel numb and I feel like I am letting happiness pass me by, because I am so obsessed with this. I just don’t know what to do. I’m going to a therapist but so far I haven’t seen any difference in my feelings.


Mr Lady said...

Pumpkin, you are being a co-dependent. That's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just what it is. You need to go to Al-Anon. Period. Right now. Tonight if you can. You have to find a way to detach from this, and that's what al-anon is for. The second you start checking pupils, looking through bags, smelling breath (in my case) etc, you've lost control of it.

You'll hate it the first 3 meetings. you'll want to stop going. You'll think it's not only not helping, it's wasting your time. And then one day, you'll sit there and drink your coffee and the lightswitch will go off. So stay the distance.

Remember this: It's not his addiction that's your problem, it's your reaction to it. You need help to fix that. They can help you. I am alive, right now, because of al-anon.

Good luck. No more checking pupils, okay?

Anonymous said...

Thank god for Mr. Lady! Truly! You are one spot on supportive, wise commenter. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Someone close to me is going through this right now. The story is so similar that you could be her.

If you are, I want you to know that you are loved. That you're not alone. That there are lots and lots of people in your life who are willing to help you and your child get through this. All you have to do is ask, and we'll be here. We won't judge you or blame you, because we know that you've done everything you could possibly do to keep it together with your husband and to help him beat his addiction. Anything you need from us, anything we can possibly do is yours for the taking, and we WANT to help. We pray to find some way of helping you. We just don't know what to do, and we don't want to embarrass you or make things worse for you by offering. So we let you pretend that everything's fine, even though I know you're barely holding it together.

I love you. I wish you would let me help you.

Jaelithe said...

I think it will help if you just keep reminding yourself that your husband has an illness. That's what he has-- and illness. Not a desire to betray you. Not a lack of care for his family.

His body and his brain are made such that when he ingests a certain substance, he becomes addicted. All right. This is true of lots of people. Smokers, for instance. Have you ever watched a smoker try to quit? Sometimes they lie and say they're not smoking. Sometimes they even steal cigarettes from other people. Sometimes they ask their spouses to help stop them from doing these things. Sometimes the spouses of smokers get suspicious and start checking up on their quitter.

People don't usually get angry at smokers, or their spouses, for this behavior. They understand it's part of the journey of quitting an addictive substance.

Your husband has an illness, but he wants to fight it, for you, and you love him enough to want to help him. That he wants to fight, and that you want to help him-- those are good things. I wish you both the best and I hope you can overcome this. I think the advice above, to seek out a support meeting, is excellent. You need to take care of yourself first if you're going to handle this situation.

Anonymous said...

Mr Lady is right, get thee to al-anon. You aren't wrong in feeling the way you do and others who in the same position will help. I think your marriage depends on it.

Anonymous said...

agree with Mr Lady. take the advice. get free from this fear. it won't help you. stay the course for yourself, for your marriage and for your child. you can do it!

Michelle said...

I'm going to nth what Mr. Lady said - go to al-anon.

I did something very similar, and worse, with an ex-boyfriend that was on meth. It took me a long time to figure out that what is their problem is THEIR problem, not mine. MY problem is my reaction to it.

GO TO AL-ANON. Get help for yourself.

Anonymous said...

Helping someone to overcome an addiction is one of the most painful things that one can do it seems. I've battled my deamons in the past with drugs (not pills but more illegal stuff) and its hard to trust people who have done things like that.

Maybe for you this will just take a long time and its amazing that your husband has been able to overcome his illness and be a father to your child and a husband to you. Remember each day how lucky you are to have him and keep working through this.

CageQueen said...

You need to get yourself to Al-Anon ASAP!!

Courtney said...

My husband is an addict, too. I am a control freak, as well. The single hardest thing for me is that I cannot do this for him. I cannot work his program. I cannot love him clean. I felt so much peace when I came to the realization (and accepted) that I cannot control his addiction. All I can do is be vigilant for signs of protect our daughter. There will come a time when you will not check his pupils daily. It does get easier. Along with the suggestion of Al-Anon, may I suggest that your DH give Narcotics Anonymous a try? My husband (who has now been clean for over a year) gets a great amount of help from meetings and his sponsor. All you can control is yourself. In closing, might I also suggest you keep the Serenity Prayer in mind. I find it comforting to remind myself of my lack of control through this prayer. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. I wish you luck.