When to Let the Addict Go
As I stood there looking at him I didn’t feel much. I had grieved a few years before with my therapist when he went through his second time of almost dying and was in an induced coma. When he got out, he went right back to his fix--the love of his life. So, going to his viewing, I was prepared. I knew it was going to happen eventually if he had enablers around him and didn’t care to help himself.
I was married to him years ago. I didn’t know he had an addiction until the very end. I met him when I was a young girl at twenty years old. We had the time of our lives in the beginning. I was a naïve small-town girl who met a man whose life was full of lights, limos, expensive alcohol and countless connections. At first none of this meant anything to me. I was a country girl who had never worn a pair of heels in her life.... but once he buttered me up with flowers and gifts, I was sucked in.
I didn’t realize at the time that he had a girlfriend before me—one who wanted to grow up and they were supposed to get engaged--until he found me. Now I was his new partying girlfriend. He would cover up his issues by always finding a new 20-year-old so that he fit in with the crowd. We had a blast, so I didn’t think anything of his partying ways. After we got married I decided I was ready to grow up. However, his new business venture had caused a young crowd to surround him. He met a new set of friends instead of his usual group- since I, along with his friends were growing up as well and wanting to start families with 8-5 jobs.
His new friends were anywhere from the ages of 18-22. He was 28. Parties started happening at our home even on weeknights. His anger got worse. He would get mad if I wasn’t into his ideas of going out or drinking on a work night. I was tired and exhausted from trying to keep up. I was tired of the life he kept wanting to live. He would say the most degrading things to me. He would drag me out of the bed at 3am when he got home from the bar so I would sit up with him. He was on a high and didn’t want the party to end. It was a work night for me and I had to be up by 6:30am. I would constantly be making excuses about why I was late for work. My work ethic and job performance plummeted, and I kept thinking that the problem was myself.
Eventually, I found out I was an enabler. His words would make me feel so guilty about myself that it was deflecting my thinking from the real issue. You see.... look up the word “codependent”. I didn’t discover this until my therapist had to basically write it with a permanent marker on my forehead. I also learned a lot about codependency from Al-Anon (families of alcoholics), which by the way is a great place to go for support. It isn’t full of old sad people... it’s full of all ages, and man did I learn SO MUCH from people who have been through more with their addict, due to their age, and had so much wisdom. They don’t tell you what to do; they listen. It’s confidential and so private...what is there to lose?
I didn’t realize I was feeding the addict by staying. I finally escaped in September of 2011. I have had years of therapy, support from Al-Anon, and have kept my circle positive and small with an awesome army behind me. As is usually the case, I found out I was connected to a lot of toxic people, not just my ex. They come in all shapes and sizes; some might not even be addicted to a drug, but just a narcissist. They are often camouflaged as your friends.
By getting help I have now been educated on tools and what to look for to protect myself. When I left, my ex did not stop. He did not try to get help, and when he did try to change it would be short lived and then he would go back. I knew in order for him and myself to be healthy, I could never go back to him. It would have been incredibly toxic and also his anger had gotten much worse. He acted out due to drugs and it was time I stopped using his drug use as an excuse. Because he was the drugs. They were one and the same. He had to do the work to detach and grow, not me. Why beat a dead horse? Why use so much of your energy, time, and tears to the point of exhaustion to try and change someone that is perfectly fine with where they are? He will try to tell you he’s changed.... but if he touches a drop of the drug, if he doesn’t seek help and starts using again--even if it’s just a little bit or one beer—you have to realize he is cheating on you all over again.
He doesn’t love you. You are not number one. You will never be number one. It is more important than you. When is enough? He didn’t love me. He was cheating on me all along with drugs and alcohol. If I would have stayed with him, I don’t think I would be here today. And if by some small chance I was still here, I would have been in and out of facilities, feeling drained, depressed, not functioning to my full potential, and would have been beaten down to the core. Why would I do this to myself?
I would have also probably had kids since we were “trying” the year before. Imagine if I would have had them in that lifestyle? Is that you right now? If you have kids in your life and are with an addict who stomps on you time and time again, when are you going to say enough is enough? Your children are seeing what you are going through.
To be continued...