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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:26 am 
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My husband has been clean for 6 months and Suboxon has played a large role in his sobriety. Although sobriety is what I always wanted for him, I find myself haunted by the past. There was so much pain in my life when he used. I never thought I measured up to the drugs. He chose them over me SOOO many times. There were nights he didn't come home or even call because he was using. Then of course anytime we were together he was high on something. I didn't get a chance to feel like I was enough. I felt like 2nd best. I didn't have the ability to make him feel as good as the drugs did. And unfortunately, 6 months into his sobriety I still have these feelings. I don't compare myself to other women, I compare myself to drugs. I look in the mirror and try to make myself believe that I matter more. Its just not working. He tells me I make him happy. That the drugs didn't make him happy, he was just a slave to them. I think all the hatred I should have felt towards him for the things he put our family through I have instead internalized towards myself. I forgive him...but I can't forgive myself for not being able to be enough. My feelings are now damaging our relationship. He thinks that I don't support his recovery enough because I am still so scared that one day he won't come home. I need some advice. This isn't living.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 8:40 am 
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Thanks for sharing where you are at. It is good for us to be reminded of what we have done to those who love us. First, since he is telling you this, I DO think he is being honest and I am SURE you are better than the drugs. It took a long time for his behavior to make you feel this way and it will take a long time for you to work through these emotions. I would look for a support group for people who have addicts in their lives. You could probably find something locally or even on line. You need to be supported by those who know what you are going through.

I think you KNOW that his addiction had nothing to do with YOU not being good enough. What I hear you saying is that while you KNOW it, you don't FEEL it. You may want to consider some couples or individual counseling. Addiction is definitely traumatic for the person addicted but it is also traumatic for YOU. You have been through incredible trauma from this I am sure. You have sacrificed tremendously due to the addiction most likely and no one can expect that YOU will feel better as soon as HE feels better. You need to focus on YOUR recovery too.

Take care!
Cherie


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:31 am 
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You're right, I KNOW I'm better than the drugs, but I don't FEEL it yet. And now I feel guilty for these feelings because I'm suppose to just be happy that he's clean. Addiction changes everything and not just in the life of the user.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:09 pm 
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I would encourage you to really think about this guilt you feel. You definitely shouldn't feel guilty because you aren't doing or feeling anything wrong. You are entitled to ALL of your feelings and emotions. Two things can be true at the same time. You can be happy he is clean. You can be proud of him for doing it. You can be grateful he isn't gone all the time. AND, most importantly, at the SAME time, you can feel sad about all of the time lost. You can be sad or angry about the time you sacrificed. You can be angry about the addiction. All of these things can co-exist with you and one does not negate the other. They can ALL be true.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:33 pm 
Althea,
I've been on both sides of this, so I think I can relate to how you're feeling as well as how your husband might be feeling. Sixteen-seventeen years ago, I met and married my second (and current) husband. While we were dating I was aware that he sometimes drank alcohol to excess, but I married him anyway. Real long story.....come to find out, he was not only drinking, but had gotten into drugs as well, cocaine and amphetamines mostly. It was an ugly time to say the least. I had no experience or exposure to alcoholism or drug abuse and was clueless to the whole thing. I had two young kids from my first marriage and had become pregnant with our baby within a couple months of our wedding. My husband, according to him, had everything he ever wanted in me and the kids, but he could not control his substance abuse. I could not understand it.......now I do. To finish this part of the story....by the grace of God, time apart, and a lot of work, my husband got clean and sober, and we were able to reconcile and are still together today.
Fast forward many years to the present.....I find myself battling my own addiction to opiates. Now I understand how it feels to have everything to lose, to love your life and your family so very much, to hate your addiction and want to stop using drugs but be powerless to do so. You see......although in the loved one's mind all these things are intertwined, in the addict's mind, they are not. The addiction has a life of it's own. Separate from the addict's 'real' life, if you will. The addict, if asked, every time will tell you and mean it that his/her family is more important than the drugs/alcohol. But the addiction will win out over the family because it has to. This is something that only an addict can understand in my opinion. It does not matter what is at stake, the addiction has to be fed.
So please believe me when I tell you....Your husband has a disease. It has nothing to do with you or how much he loves you or how worthy you are. The addiction is a separate issue. Let me put it to you this way.....Say your husband through some medical problem has been left unable to perform sexually. Would it be right for you to feel that because he was limited in this way that it was somehow because you were unattractive to him? Of course it wouldn't. Maybe that's not the best analogy, but it's what comes to mind right now. Point being....this problem has nothing to do with you. It affects you....affects you greatly and not in a good way, but it's not your fault. The problem really truly has nothing to do with you. Does that make any sense at all?
I agree with the others who have suggested that you get some help. These are terribly rough waters to navigate. I've been on both sides and it's difficult no matter what side of this you're on. I would suggest individual counseling for you as well as marriage counseling fot the two of you together at some point. You need a safe outlet to get all your feelings out. If you don't, you will carry resentments and fear with you every day. It will be hard for your marriage to survive, much less be healthy.
I haven't got it all figured out, not by a long shot. But you at least have a chance here. Your husband has gotten into recovery and you're still together. That is saying a lot! Get the help you need for you and hopefully with time and your husband's continued work in recovery, your marriage can come through this stronger than ever. I feel for you. I hope we have helped you some. Please come back and tell us how you're doing.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 7:23 pm 
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I'm glad that you have reached out here and hope that you will use this only as a first or early step and that you will continue to get this problem solved. Now mind you, I'm a guy, so the comments I'll throw out are from a guy's perspective.

It just seems to me when I read your comments, this really doesn't have much to do with your husband at all. It has mostly to do with you, including how you feel about yourself. Many of the comments that you have made I have heard people make in the past - many of which had nothing to do with drugs. I really think like I could throw something else in place of the word drugs and you still could have the same feelings. For example, I have heard people say, as you have, "I look in the mirror and try to make myself believe that I matter more" - [than the drugs, or how about more than his job, or more than his friends or more than his hobby?] I have also heard "He tells me I make him happy. That the [s]drugs[/s] [insert a hobby or his friends, job or an old girlfriend here] didn't make him happy, he was just a slave to them. I'm not a councilor of any type, but it seems like I often hear councilors say that these type of feelings often have to do with the person saying/feeling them and not the spouse "making them feel that way."

I can only imagine that your self-esteem has taken a beating with all of this. I can also full well understand your comments about how mad you are that he did this to you and the family. That is NOT about you. That is very valid and dead-nuts on. It's just the competition that you seem to be having with drugs over your husband that worries me. You didn't cause his drug use and there is nothing you could have done to prevent it. There is no way you could have been prettier, more interesting, funnier, whatever than drugs. This is a competition that you can't win. What's more, I'm willing to bet that it's one that you should not even be trying to fight. I'll bet you are a pretty awesome person on your own - no matter what your husband or anyone else thinks, says, chooses or does. Again, he has to own all of the addiction issues. You can't take any of those on. On the other hand, you have to own all of the self esteem issues, as he can't take those on. There is likely nothing that your husband can ever say or do to convince you that you are more important than anything to him -- until you first convince yourself of that fact. Until you believe and understand how important you are, he is not going to be able to convince you of it.

And I have to now stop as I'm already over the line of an armchair shrink. I have no formal training in this. Everything I say is based on my life experience and knowledge. I'm just trying to throw yet another angle out there. Like several others have already said, I really think that you should go get some help for you. I think with a good councilor you'll be able to again see how great of a person you are and that your husband’s love affair with drugs has absolutely nothing to do with you! You have my prayers and best wishes in moving forward.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:42 pm 
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Thank you all for putting the time you did into your replies. I am definetly taking multiple things away from each reply.
I know that life is full of struggle and the good times wouldn't be quite as good without them. But boy, these struggles can be rough!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:26 pm 
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Althea, it took alot of courage and honesty to come onto an addiction recovery forum and tell us how you feel. I'm not a therapist, but I do know that's a great first step in dealing with all of those feelings. Feelings, by the way, that you have every right to. I can't tell you that my husband felt the exact same things, because we're currently in marriage counseling. It's been a struggle for him to express those difficult feelings. I'm saying this because repairing a relationship/marriage from the damage of addiction will take more than 6 months. I've been in recovery for 15 months and we've been in therapy for about 6 of those. I used to beg him to tell him how I can repair the damage I had done...it just takes time. It took him time to even trust that I was going to stay clean. He still has triggers that remind him of when I was using.

My point of all this is to tell you that the repair CAN happen, it just takes time and hard work and a lot of honesty. It sounds like you're both ready to do this. I would also advocate for some marriage or relationship counseling. It can be so beneficial. It saved my marriage after I almost ruined it.

Please let us know how you're doing.

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-As I have grown older, I've learned that pleasing everyone is impossible, but pissing everyone off is a piece of cake.

-I'm only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.


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