Dear Syd -
I stumbled upon your blog a few weeks ago, and it has become a permanent "go to" site on my phone. I often pick topics that are relevant to me that day, and your writing has provided me with a lot of peace and hope.
I have been in a ten year relationship with an addict (not alcohol) who I love deeply. It has been both my greatest joy and my deepest heartbreak.
If you'll allow me to share, here's the background on our story:
I was a good two years in the relationship before I realized there was an actual drug problem and the full extent of it. He was highly functioning and ambitious and although there were signs, I chose to believe him that everything was "fine".
Following the admission were three solid years of him trying to "beat it" on his own. The sixth year was a stint in rehab, from which he came back in full recovery. For that year he stayed clean and worked with his sponsor. In year seven, we were happy and hopeful and got engaged. We were finally putting all the plans and dreams we had put on hold so many years into effect. Things seemed promising until year eight.
We visited his family with whom he has a complicated relationship (they are all active alcoholics), his sponsor passed away, and he stopped working the program. Almost immediately he relapsed. It started as once every few months he'd use. All the while saying he'd get it under control again. Of course it slowly escalated, as I feared it would, as he wasn't working a program.
By year nine, the wedding had been put on hold, and his finances were in a mess. Year ten came this july. He went back to meetings. Found a temporary sponsor. And started seeing a psychiatrist in the genuine and high hopes that he would help him further. The psychiatrist, to my utter amazement, prescribed him about 4 different types of pills, two of which are highly addictive. His personality has changed to the point where he is a dull shadow of his former self. The pill intake has steadily gone up. And the drug use persists.
I am in Al-Anon. I have a sponsor. I do three meetings a week. And I am determined to find my sanity one way or another.
That said, there are many dark days and heartbreak as the happy (albeit imperfect) ending I whole-heartedly believed in has not ever come.
I am now 39 years old. I pretty much may have lost my chance to have children because I decided to stay in this relationship. I have accepted that, but sometimes it makes me incredibly sad.
I can honestly say I don't blame him. I know he has a disease. I know I chose to stay. But I feel I am realizing I can't stay much longer. I simply don't know how to co-exist and find serenity with active addiction. Last night he relapsed, after a month sober. He said he was going to the gym, and didn't come home until 6 in the morning.
During that endless night, of which I've had many, I tried to use the tools I've learned in the program. I tried to take care of myself, read some literature, prayed, took a bath, tried to sleep... but it's too much. I just can't do it. Not knowing if the person you love is okay or if this is the time that they don't make it home is too much to bear anymore. As the morning hours creep in, the feeling of despair and panic rise to almost unbearable levels, and I start to prepare myself for the worst. Would the police come to our door? Would I have to go to the morgue? How could I stand it? How could I bear it?
Tonight I think he may have used again. He should have been home by now. The feeling in my stomach is familiar. I want off this merry go round. And yet he is the great love of my life. What a pickle, is it not?
I hate this disease. I hate what it's done to him. And to me. And to the life we both dreamt of so many years ago.
I don't know how this story will end. But I know I am powerless over his disease. And I know I need to get better somehow, whether he does or not, because as utterly hopeless as I feel right now, I have not forgotten that this life is a gift.
Thank you for taking the time to read my words. Thank you for sharing your journey with me and so many. I am so glad your wife is sober today and I wish you continued peace and recovery.