Category Archives: addiction recovery

One Year Later

We have said goodbye to marijuana.

She hasn’t shown her funky green face here for a year now. She is not missed.

It’s been a hard road. There have been fights. There have been tears. Lies, broken hearts, scars, wounds, screams, regrets – both good and bad.

But there have also been long talks. Good talks. Open doors, open hearts, forgiving souls, forward motion.

We’ve learned some difficult lessons through all of this. The biggest lesson of all is to keep moving forward and not linger in the past. For if you are not careful the past will painfully dig its claws deep into your heart and never let go. You will suffer catastrophic heartache if you cannot leave the past behind.

Philippians 3:13 -15 sums it up well: “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things.”

I know our journey is far from over. I’d be an ignorant ostrich if I didn’t admit that there are many bumps in the road ahead of us. Burying my head in the sand won’t do anyone any good in the long run.

This past week has been rough. I’ve been hashing last year’s events over in my head – the soft rain falling as my fingertips and toes went numb after my car crumpled into another vehicle in the dark night. The rescue worker who spread his arms and jacket above me to shield the rain from my face as I was lifted into the ambulance. Memories of sitting in our living room wrapped in two blankets as I clutched a cup of coffee and with a quiet anger read the riot act to my husband for my three hours in jail.

Last night we had a great talk as we sat on the front porch with a couple of pre-embargo vintage Cuban cigars. I admitted I had occasional regrets about not having seized the opportunity a year ago to leave. As good as it felt to get this off my chest, I am glad I’ve stayed.

I’m glad I’ve been here for the rebirth of my husband. He’s truly come into his own and has shed quite a bit of old skin. I’ve been reborn too – learning patience, forgiveness, peace, strength, and love all over again. I’m excited to see what the next year holds for us. Right now, we’re on Day 7 of The Love Dare. I gave it to Chris for Christmas but we waited until Fireproof came out on DVD to start. It’s making a difference already.

I want to take a moment to thank my husband.

Thank you. Thank you for being man enough to admit you had made a mistake. Thank you for growing. For being brave enough to shed your shell and let people get to know the real you. For not hiding behind the marijuana anymore. For truly accepting God’s word into your life and your heart. For stepping it up and coming into your own as a father and as a husband. For finally being here for our family. I’m so lucky to know you. I’m blessed to be married to you. I’m thankful to be by your side as you emerge from your chrysalis. I can’t wait to see your shining colors. I can’t wait to face whatever challenges lie ahead of us. Together. Forever. Just as we promised on June 15, 2002. All I want is you. It’s all I ask for – the real you. I love you.

Michael Phelps and Marijuana

The story broke over the weekend – Michael Phelps used marijuana. A photo of him using a bong led to his admission of pot use. It will damage his career, his endorsements, his reputation. It has probably hurt those around him and affected their ability to trust anything he says or does. How do I know that other than the fact that every single news article states these facts?

I know this because I am married to a recovering marijuana addict. My husband has worked very hard at his sobriety over the past 10 months. Along the way we have had pitfalls and are just now realizing how much damage his addiction has done to our marriage and to his habits. He’s got nearly 23 years of addiction related habit developments to undo. I am proud of how far he has come and how much he has done to prove his dedication to our family and our marriage.

My heart goes out to Michael’s family, to Michael, to his friends. I can only hope that this will serve as his wake-up call and allow him to leave the pot use behind. I know this is a hard thing to do and I will be praying that God is using this as an opportunity to work with him. I wish Michael all the best as he deals with his addiction.

His Turn…

This one gets personal for me. Very personal.

I am recovered from Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive/Depression. It’s taken some time and been a very hard and long road. The darkest depths witnessed me collapsed on the floor sobbing in tears after yelling at my husband in front of our then two year old daughter, fleeting horrible images racing through my head every waking moment, curled in the fetal position rocking back and forth willing myself to stay there so that I wouldn’t hurt myself or my children, and admitted to a psych ward.

The lessons I learned? Absolutely invaluable. While I wouldn’t wish my experience on anyone else in the world, I know that it was priceless and has truly carved me into the woman I am today. I know now that I cannot control what others think of me and I cannot give them permission to hurt me. I know now that God is with me and I feel his presence each and every day. I know now that I stand strong and breathe deeply because of His sacrifice for me. And I know that I will not let another family struggle the way mine has if there is something I can do to prevent that from happening.

All that said, my journey and growth is not yet over. Yes, I am recovered. But now it is my husband’s turn  to collapse and my turn to support him, to show him the same compassionate understanding, loyalty, and guidance he showed me when I too couldn’t tell which way was up.

My husband was a drug addict when I met him. At the time I thought it was merely recreational and did not realize how deep his problems went. The use became worse after our second daughter, again, unbeknownst to me. Nine months ago I was involved in a car accident and quite a bit came to surface. He had been spending nearly $100/month on his habit while we were struggling to barely pay our bills. He hadn’t paid our vehicle insurance and I went to jail for his mistake. Together we hammered out a plan and got him to a therapist, a psychiatrist, and a faith-based recovery program. He is still sober today.

But we are now in what we’re calling phase two of recovery. Dealing with the nasty habits the drug use hid and the habits that are residuals of an addict like lying. On November 18th he told myself and his family he had been laid off from work. The Sunday before our son’s first birthday, I phoned his boss to find out if this was true. It wasn’t. He had resigned without another job lined up and lied to us about the entire situation. I played my conversation with his ex-boss for him. He called the state’s Mental Health Crisis Line and had an intake appointment made for him at a local clinic the very next day.

Meanwhile I was left to ponder our marriage. Every single shred of trust that had been rebuilt now lay in shards – descimated by one single act. How could he do this to us? How does someone seemingly forget they have a family to provide for? Why does someone do this? Do I stay and continue to be satisfied with the baby steps forward or do I flee? These are the hard questions I’ve struggled with for most of the past year.

We’ve lost just about everything and yet we still have faith and know that we will come through this – as long as we work at it together – something we both excel at. Give us a crisis and we can power our way through it in now time. This time around is a little harder and I am certainly shaken to my core. We have a lot of hard questions and choices ahead of us but I have no doubt that no matter what the answer is, we will both be able to survive.

The reason I tell you all of this is to ultimately introduce my husband’s new blog to you. It’s entitled Diary of a Real Man. He’s posted his first entry tonight and I would really encourage you to go check it out. Share it with others including any men in your life that may be facing similar circumstances and just need to know that they are not alone.

I would also encourage you to visit Married to Depression for a wife’s insight into what it’s like to live with a man who’s depressed. Another blog I’ve also started reading is The Junky’s Wife. She offers quite a bit of insight into what it’s like to live with an addict.

The Little Things

This morning for breakfast, I had a muffin delivered and unwrapped by a three foot tall princess in a beautiful purple gown. That muffin was the best muffin I’ve ever eaten!

I am so blessed to be able to appreciate the little things each and every day in spite of all that is going on.

Speaking of everything that’s been going on, Chris has achieved 30 days of sobriety. Today marks day 31. He has been going to two meetings a week now and we have been doing devotionals and praying together each night. We have no secrets from each other and frankly, I’m relieved everything is out in the open which I know is one of the reasons I am doing so well with everything.

I bought Chris a cross necklace for his 30 day mark. I’m so proud of him.

The Hand of God

The direction of our lives took a sharp left turn this past weekend. The following post was written last night and I sent it to my husband for approval prior to posting it today. I am prefacing it with the response he sent me regarding the post.

 Though this post is intensely more personal than I expected it to be, I believe that you should post it. I have nothing to hide anymore. I only hope that someone else can learn from my mistakes so that they don’t have to go through this horrible experience. Thank you for being there for me and also for your willingness to help others at the expense of your own privacy. You are an amazing, strong, and beautiful woman. Even though I haven’t really shown it much lately, I love you and respect you. I am actually excited to see what wonderful work God is going to do in our lives and our marriage in the coming days.
 
Love forever,
 
Chris

As I sit here, I am taking deep breaths and my hands are shaking as they hit these keys. What I am about to share with you is starting to truly sink in and I am thanking God that I am already in His Hands,  already on anti-depressants, surrounded by a powerful support system and have access to a wonderful therapist.

Saturday continued to be a very rough day and at nine p.m. that evening I went out to Borders to escape and breathe. I ordered a Honey Latte and meandered about the store, even purchased a few things. Once I left Borders, I headed over to Wal-mart because Chris had forgotten to pick up a can of air and I needed to pick up a few grocery items as well. I never made it to Wal-mart.

At precisely 10:00p.m., I rear-ended another vehicle just one intersection away from Wal-mart. This vehicle’s driver had slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting a white pick up truck threatening to swerve in front of him. After having hit the brakes once, I slowed down with him, then the car sped back up and then slammed on his brakes again and I would have stopped had it been dry but with the wet road and light mist, my car slid into the rear of the other vehicle. I strongly believe the white pick up truck symbolized an angel even though it caused me to wreck my vehicle. The driver got out and asked if I had a cell phone and I did – I phoned the police and then Chris to let him know I had wrecked the car. He was understandably worried about my well-being. At the time I felt ok. However, by the time the police arrived and we moved the vehicles off the road, my fingertips and toes had started to tingle and feel a bit numb. I opted to go to the hospital even though I do not have health insurance right now. (In the process of getting Medicaid set back up) I was put in a C-collar and on a backboard.

As the EMS was taking my vitals, the police officer started to inform me that there were a few problems. He didn’t get past the first one which was that my tag was expired and had been expired since September 2007. My jaw dropped and I told the officer that my husband had taken care of the tag and that it had been paid, the decal was on my tag! There HAD to be a mistake. No, the officer said, it was not in the state of Georgia’s computer and my decal was fake. My blood pressure was 170 over 100 or so at the scene and they kept checking to make sure I didn’t have a history of high blood pressure. Upon arrival at the hospital I waited for ages to be seen and finally was cleared to be released. The diagnosis was strained neck (whiplash) and believe me, I was praying to God and thanking Him for letting me be there staring up at the lights. It could have been worse. God was with me the entire evening, holding me and comforting me. I felt his presence as soon as I hit the other vehicle. My in-laws had come to the hospital to be with me.

As I was discharged, I left the room only to see the police officer from the accident scene. He informed me that not only was my tag expired but that I did not have insurance. I grabbed onto my father in law to keep myself from falling. My mother in law sat me down. I feared what was coming next. The police officer had to take me to jail for not having insurance even though I believed I had insurance. He did not put handcuffs on me and was extremely apologetic the entire time. I was escorted to the local county jail and sat there for three hours while my in-laws got my prescriptions filled then got a transfer bond to get me out. The entire time I was sitting in jail, Psalm 40 and James Chapter 1 vs. 1-3. Of course, Psalm 40 kept repeating as the U2 song but hey, it’s almost word for word.  I did not return to home that evening. We all got back to their house at 5am and I slept until 7am.

I called my mom to tell her and she shrieked. I also called my therapist’s office and had a discussion with the therapist on call. My mother in law and I had a two hour conversation before I came home. When I finally came home I nursed Cameron and then sat down to talk with Chris. I talked for about three hours, I think. I truly lost track of time. He had informed his dad the night before that he had a drug problem and needed help. He admitted to me that he had been using for the past two years and spending nearly $100/month on his habit. He had lied to me about several financial items and the insurance had lapsed two months prior to my accident.

After our discussion, I had him bring me his wallet and I removed all of his debit and visa gift cards. I went through the bag he takes with him to work. I will continue to randomly check his belongings as well as randomly drug test him throughout the coming months. We also put together a Recovery Goal plan, starting with just one week at a time. I have given him until the end of April to be genuinely making forward progress with his recovery and if he has not been doing so, I will become a single parent because I refuse to stay in this situation and I refuse to raise my children in this situation. This week he is staying with his parents and took the day off yesterday to make phone calls to get his recovery started.

So far he has been doing everything we set up and I sincerely hope he continues on this path. Chris seems to be genuinely remorseful regarding his actions yet I am continuing to be cautious, understandably so.  As with any recovery path, there is forward movement and there is backward movement and as long as he is continually fighting for forward motion, we will be okay. The outcome and status of our marriage is in his hands as he will need to prove to me and not just tell me that he is doing better.

You will find that additional links will appear that provide information for addicts and their family while going through recovery. I am blogging this because my goal with this blog, while focusing on PPD, is ultimately about being honest regarding the human experience in relation to the response of emotions during times of trauma. In that vein, I feel that I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t share this experience with you. The direction of my blog is not changing; I will still primarily post regarding PPD however I will definitely update regarding this situation as there are changes to share. In the meantime, I could certainly use all the support and prayers that you can send our way.