My husband and I have been together for four years and marriage for over one and we have kids. Going on almost a year now, he has been addicted to synthetic marijuana. He has been finding ways to hide it from me but somehow I manage to always stumble across facts that he is still doing it or started up again. It has been a cycle of consist lying. This lying has created an impact of plenty of other lies along with it which I noticed has increasingly picked up. His compulsive lying is to the point where he is caught up believing his own false words. I just don't know what to do anymore or how to help or anything. He admits he has a problem and says he will stop, we will be good for a few days maybe even a week or two and then the vicious drama starts all over again. Prior to this he used to be an alcoholic, then after battling that he would completely immerse himself in video games, and now he is smoking this crap. It's always SOMETHING. He has used this addiction and took money out of our kids savings, taken money from me, spent all of his money, and so forth. It's out of hand and stressing me out so much it has sent me to the hospital from being sick. I don't feel respected or loved anymore because of it. The long it drags out the more I fall out of love and resent the thought of marriage.
I know I can't help someone who cannot be as dedicated in return or does not want to be helped. I just want to know how to cope and trust and save our marriage....save our family. It's hard to not have doubt when it's been such a roller coaster for almost a year now. I just keep getting let down.
I'm sorry for rambling, but any advise to would help.
I think you might find hope and encouragement in Al-Anon meetings, if you can find one in your area. There, you will find people coping with similar problems, and learning how to take care of themselves. You'll find out you aren't alone, you will feel the care and support of others. I've found that 12 step programs for my issues really do help, and I was never a believer in them until my problems got so out of control that I had to admit I was really sick.
I can relate to you on so many levels. I too suggest that you try Al-anon and some IC would help even more. I really like the book Co-dependent No More by Melody Beattie and the companion work book.
Lies go along with the addiction. It is not an excuse but you should really consider what you can do for your self. Find what works and take care of you first. You could drive your self to death trying to force an addict to recovery. I tried and do not recommend it.
I just want to know how to cope and trust and save our marriage....save our family. It's hard to not have doubt when it's been such a roller coaster for almost a year now. I just keep getting let down.
He's doing what addicts do. You can't trust an addict. Commit that to memory. You can't save a marriage based on addiction and the lies that accompany it. He isn't a compulsive liar, he is a liar because it allows him to protect his addiction.
At this point in time, his addiction comes first. You and the kids are a distant second, if that.
I lived with it for many years. Al-Anon got me to take my focus off the drunk in my life and get it on myself. I quit protecting him from the consequences of his actions. I learned to live my own life and make my own decisions. I finally left. He's still an active alcoholic and apparently feels no burning desire to give up drinking entirely. Fine by me. His life. His choice.
You won't have any peace of mind as long as you are the only one doing the heavy lifting to support a marriage like this. You will drive yourself nuts and burn yourself out.
Yep, Codependent No More is necessary reading. Al-Anon will give you support to find your way through this, and IC will help you vent and discuss your own issues.
Stand back from the addict. Give him the respect to crash and burn all by himself. Hard. But true.
From a scientific perspective, chronic abuse of alcohol, street drugs, marijuana, nicotine, etc., will eventually damage the executive function, future planning part of the brain.
Once the area is damaged, the person is all about immediate gratification. It's all about how to get that quick fix NOW. It's very difficult for these people to think beyond the addicted substance and recognize the consequences of their actions. Just like your scenario, even if they do stop, it's very easy to relapse into it again.
There's not much our current technology can do to repair the damage. However your husband definitely can benefit from professional help.
I'm sorry to hear about your situation. I cannot imagine living life with someone like that.
Hi Lost for words,
Your husband is an addict. I know you know that... But what you may not know is that it is a disease - not a moral issue although it may feel like that sometimes. I will help explain a little about both lying and addiction below. I hope it helps.
I need to differentiate between “PATHOLOGICAL LYING” and “COMPULSIVE LYING”.
I define “Pathological Lying” as “the actions of someone who deliberately and intentionally lies for financial, material or some other gain with no care or consideration to how their lies will affect or harm others.”
I define “Compulsive Lying” as “the compulsive need to lie as a normal and reflexive way of responding to life.”
However, as “compulsive liars” often premeditate their lies as well as lie when driven by the compulsion to do so, I do not feel the term “compulsive liars” adequately covers the condition of lying as a reflexive way of life.
“ADDICTION” on the other hand is defined as “The fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.”
So, “LYING ADDICTON” is therefore hereby defined, for the first time, as “The condition of being addicted to lying as a normal and reflexive way of responding to
life where the intention is not to cause harm to others.”
The “lying addict”, therefore, is not someone who, say, is cheating on a loved one and lying all the time about it (although lying addicts could do this of course – like anyone could). A lying addict is somebody who is addicted to lying in order to live.
THE SCIENCE OF LYING ADDICTION IN SIMPLE TERMS
Constance Holden, writing in 2001 in “Science” magazine - the worlds leading journal of original scientific research wrote “Scientists have traditionally confined their use of the term “addiction” to substances that clearly foster physical dependence. That's changing, however. New knowledge suggests that, as far as the brain is concerned, a reward's a reward, regardless of whether it comes from a chemical or an experience. And where there's a reward - as in gambling, eating, sex, or shopping - there's the risk of getting trapped in a compulsion.”
Lying as a behavioral addiction is “rewarding” for the lying addict (as we shall soon see) and, therefore, just like any other behavioral addiction, causes physiological changes in the brain and body just as any other drug addiction does. Today, brain scans of addicts (including behavioral addicts) reveal defects in the brain’s pleasure center that processes the “pleasure chemical” dopamine.
Whether these defects happen as a result of the addiction itself or are there at birth is irrelevant. What is important however is that the more a person feeds their addiction, the more extensive the defect in the brain’s pleasure center is over time. And in addition, over time, a person - including a lying addict - will need to do more of the drug or activity or engage in riskier and riskier behaviors to get the same “fix” or “high”.
Science also shows us that not only do certain drugs affect neurotransmitters in the brain but behaviors associated with doing that behavior do too. For example, just seeing a syringe can stimulate a rise in dopamine levels in the brain of heroin addicts because of the learned association between syringes and their drug addiction. In the same vein then, just the thought of lying in lying addiction can cause a rise in dopamine levels too.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SEEING ADDICTION AS A DISEASE
Seeing addiction as a disease is essential to understanding addiction and, as a society
and world, to do something about eradicating it. Addiction has been scientifically proven to be a disease through many brain studies and therefore by default this fact conclusively bypasses all moral questions.
Not that you would know this listening to the mainstream voice on addiction which – unless you are a celebrity – treats addicts like scum of the earth. The mainstream voice is bullying to addicts – pure and simple. The mainstream has zero interest in helping our collective addiction problem. Instead it hinders it with it’s holier than thou judgmental poison.
But whether the mainstream voice accepts it or not, addicts do have a disease and should be treated as such. Whereas someone with cancer or diabetes gets sympathy, flowers and chocolates, addicts get hatred, are ostracized and are ridiculed. But none more so than someone who lies all the time. They are probably the most hated of all people with an addiction. This is very wrong. Non-pathological lying, as defined above, is an addiction like any other.
It is not a moral issue and should never be treated as such.
The following section is to help lying addicts self assess. Maybe you could show this to your loved one.
ARE YOU A LYING ADDICT?
If you suspect you are a lying addict, the following self assessment questions will help you determine whether you are or not…
1. Is your life out of control because of your lying?
2. Is your mind obsessed with your lies or lying?
3. Do you lie every day?
4. Do you fail to do what is important and normally expected of you because of your lying?
5. Do you risk aspects of your personal safety and the safety of your loved ones in order to lie?
6. Are you in danger of losing loved ones because of your lying?
7. Does your body crave the experience associated with lying so strongly that you feel you have to lie?
8. Have you ever decided to stop lying and lasted only a couple of days?
9. Do you ever wish people would mind their own business about your lying and stop telling you what to do?
10. Have you had problems in the last year because of your lying?
11. Has your lying caused you problems at home?
12. Will you lose your support system if you tell people about the lies you have told them?
13. Do you tell yourself you can stop lying any time you want even though you keep lying when you don’t mean to?
14. Have you ever felt like your life would be better if you didn’t lie?
A “yes” response to any of these questions suggests you may be a lying addict. Also, the more “yes” responses the more likely it is that you are a lying addict. However, only you can define yourself as a lying addict. That is nobody’s job but yours.