THIS Gets Him Addicted to You Forever (Matthew Hussey, Get The Guy)
How I Missed My Husband’s Addiction — and What I Did When I Found Out
Stage 1: Rationalization
From the time we met, I found myself rationalizing my husband’s drinking behavior. We were recently out of college. Wasn’t going out and drinking part of the culture? He started getting “sick” or having “food poisoning” more often, and I’d accept those excuses. I never let myself believe he had a serious problem.
Stage 2: The Need to Control
A few years into our relationship, the bad times started outweighing the fun. I confronted him about his problem and he denied it, so I broke up with him. Secretly, I thought this would be enough to make him stop – especially if he loved me enough.
He decided to seek help. He went to a 12-step group and got a sponsor. Eventually, we started dating again and after he had been sober for three years, we got married. Life was perfect again. Until it wasn’t.
Stage 3: Denial
Two years into our marriage, I was struggling with my husband’s sobriety. I missed having wine with dinner or going out to drink with friends. My husband also stopped going to 12-step meetings and started saying he was “fine” and could drink socially. I convinced myself he must be right.
At first, we’d drink socially without any issues. But with increasing frequency, he was turning back into “that guy.” I found myself coming up with excuses for him: It wasn’tthatbad. It was only occasionally…maybe I could live with this?
I’d read stories about husbands who drank and drugged nonstop; that certainly wasn’tmyhusband. Looking back, I can’t believe I accepted his behavior and covered for him. I’d lie to friends, family, his work….myself.
Stage 4: The Breaking Point
My life became completely unmanageable. I couldn’t control anything – my husband, his addiction, my feelings. I was so ashamed. I was a fixer. Why couldn’t I fix this?
I remember the last straw like it was yesterday. My husband was supposed to pick me up after work. He never came. I called and got his voicemail. I texted, and on my screen, I kept seeing the three dots that pop up when someone’s typing. But, he never sent a text. That was always his tell. It meant he was sitting in his room, intoxicated, and didn’t know how to respond.
Stage 5: The Turning Point
Thankfully, by this time I’d started going to a 12-step group and was acquiring tools to live my life. With the support of my friends, I asked him to leave. I still don’t know how I had the strength to do it. Neither does my husband!
After a week, he called and said he was going to treatment. I didn’t really care. I was done. It was just another story I’d heard before.
Stage 6: Treatment and Healing
I experienced many emotions while my husband was in addiction treatment at . Why did he get all the attention while I was stuck trying to keep it together at home; lying to family and friends; pretending everything was fine at work. Every time we attempted to talk, I’d blow up. Years of bottling my emotions turned into an uncontrollable release.
But with the help of therapy, I started learning how to cope with and understand my emotions better. I understood addiction as a disease and started seeing my husband as a person separate from it. Our counselors helped us reconnect and communicate about sensitive topics.
Stage 7: Rebuilding Our Relationship
Nearly three years later, we’re still a work in progress, but we’re amazed at where we are today. We share our feelings openly (which we NEVER did before) and talk about what we’re each facing. We’ve learned how to communicate, share, and hold each other accountable.
It was a long and hard road, but I’m extremely grateful for where it’s led us. I’m happier than I ever thought possible. Who knows what’ll happen down the road, but all I know is that for today, I’m taking care of myself and now have the tools to live my life to the fullest regardless of what tomorrow may bring. And for tomorrow, I am incredibly hopeful.
Jaime Slives in New Jersey with her husband, and together they work to raise awareness about issues of addiction.
Illustration: Neil Webb/Getty Images
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