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Relationships and Addiction Whether it's drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, pornography, or anything else, addictions can be detrimental to the health of a relationship.

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Old 06-01-2013, 11:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Need help marriage drugs infidelity

For the last 25 years I have been a cocaine addict. Not all the time, there have been years that I have gone without and when I went back I did not feel that I was an addict. Looking back it is obvious. About 5 years ago I went through some financial problems. Income went down by half. This was because of the industry that I am in, not my addiction. I am sure my addiction had some part in it, though not a major one.I have always been able to work but I see now that I was not working as well as possible. My effort was lower when I was using.
For the first 20 years powder was my choice. After that amount of time, the pain in my nose became high enough to make me try crack. This was a mistake. In the last 5 years I have used crack 3 or 4 days a week at about 100.00 per day. I have a beautiful loving wife and 2 great children. The problem was that I was completely oblivious to the fact that they were even there. Apathy and laziness ruled my life. I went to work came home and either went looking for rocks, if I found some I would lock myself in our bathroom and smoke them. When I didnít find any and afterward I would lie down in bed and read or take ambien and go to sleep. I have sent the last 5 years of my life letting my wife do everything. She raised our children, she kept our house spotless, and she apologized for me and lied to her family about why I didnít come to family functions. All the time I did not see what I was doing to our family. Our children both ended up seeing psychologists as well as my wife. All 3 of them are on anti-depressants. After 5 years of this my wife had had enough. She had prayed for me, prayed for our family, but after 5 years she lost hope in me. She met a man at work that she enjoyed talking with and within the last month she had began an affair with him. I did find out immediately. She was painfully truthful about it. I was at first hurt and mad and said that I had been faithful for 16 years; I could not believe she could do this to me. She then told me something that put everything in perspective. She told me that drugs were my mistress and that she was not going to live like this any longer. This was no slap on the wrist saying get straightened up or things are going to change. This scared me to death. I could not imagine my life without my wife and kids. On that day 5/5/2013, I vowed to change everything in my life immediately. The sleeping and ignoring the family ended, the drug use ended, even the thoughts of drug use ended. I took over all of the household chores that needed done. I took the kids to all of their activities. I changed my eating habits and have lost 20 pounds and feel much better physically. I expected this would be enough to let my life begin to forgive me. This has been going on for 4 weeks now and I have not changed my behavior one bit. What I found out is that you canít make up for 5 years of neglect in 4 weeks. At this point my wife cannot say that she loves me any longer. She actually says she does not. There has been too much hurt and it has hardened her heart. I am doing everything I can, but nothing is happening quickly. She is at home with me and our family, but I fear she is thinking of the other man that she met that was so good to her and may end up making the decision to end the marriage and go with him or simply move out on her own. I know that it is hard for her to believe that I can put a 25 year habit down and never look back, but this is something I have been thinking about doing for 2 years. In 4 weeks I have not considered changing anything about my new self. I am afraid that my wife is staying with me to keep our family together, keep from getting into financial issues as a separated family would as there are double the expenses. The other fear I think she has is that if she goes with other man, it may not work out and then she would be left alone. I have all of these thoughts swimming through my mind every waking minute. I donít know where to turn.
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Old 06-01-2013, 05:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by johnvw View Post
For the last 25 years I have been a cocaine addict. Not all the time, there have been years that I have gone without and when I went back I did not feel that I was an addict. Looking back it is obvious. About 5 years ago I went through some financial problems. Income went down by half. This was because of the industry that I am in, not my addiction. I am sure my addiction had some part in it, though not a major one.I have always been able to work but I see now that I was not working as well as possible. My effort was lower when I was using.
For the first 20 years powder was my choice. After that amount of time, the pain in my nose became high enough to make me try crack. This was a mistake. In the last 5 years I have used crack 3 or 4 days a week at about 100.00 per day. I have a beautiful loving wife and 2 great children. The problem was that I was completely oblivious to the fact that they were even there. Apathy and laziness ruled my life. I went to work came home and either went looking for rocks, if I found some I would lock myself in our bathroom and smoke them. When I didn’t find any and afterward I would lie down in bed and read or take ambien and go to sleep. I have sent the last 5 years of my life letting my wife do everything. She raised our children, she kept our house spotless, and she apologized for me and lied to her family about why I didn’t come to family functions. All the time I did not see what I was doing to our family. Our children both ended up seeing psychologists as well as my wife. All 3 of them are on anti-depressants. After 5 years of this my wife had had enough. She had prayed for me, prayed for our family, but after 5 years she lost hope in me. She met a man at work that she enjoyed talking with and within the last month she had began an affair with him. I did find out immediately. She was painfully truthful about it. I was at first hurt and mad and said that I had been faithful for 16 years; I could not believe she could do this to me. She then told me something that put everything in perspective. She told me that drugs were my mistress and that she was not going to live like this any longer. This was no slap on the wrist saying get straightened up or things are going to change. This scared me to death. I could not imagine my life without my wife and kids. On that day 5/5/2013, I vowed to change everything in my life immediately. The sleeping and ignoring the family ended, the drug use ended, even the thoughts of drug use ended. I took over all of the household chores that needed done. I took the kids to all of their activities. I changed my eating habits and have lost 20 pounds and feel much better physically. I expected this would be enough to let my life begin to forgive me. This has been going on for 4 weeks now and I have not changed my behavior one bit. What I found out is that you can’t make up for 5 years of neglect in 4 weeks. At this point my wife cannot say that she loves me any longer. She actually says she does not. There has been too much hurt and it has hardened her heart. I am doing everything I can, but nothing is happening quickly. She is at home with me and our family, but I fear she is thinking of the other man that she met that was so good to her and may end up making the decision to end the marriage and go with him or simply move out on her own. I know that it is hard for her to believe that I can put a 25 year habit down and never look back, but this is something I have been thinking about doing for 2 years. In 4 weeks I have not considered changing anything about my new self. I am afraid that my wife is staying with me to keep our family together, keep from getting into financial issues as a separated family would as there are double the expenses. The other fear I think she has is that if she goes with other man, it may not work out and then she would be left alone. I have all of these thoughts swimming through my mind every waking minute. I don’t know where to turn.
Thanks for posting -- a very courageous thing to do. I've never been addicted to drugs, and so there are other posters here on TAM who can relate to your situation better. However, I was moved by your story and you are not alone in this sort of situation you find yourself in.

One thing you need to know (and I'll bet you already do in your heart) -- you need to do the hard things to really completely change for *no other reason* than you can truly have a better life and be free from drugs completely. If your desire to change is to keep your marriage together or for some other reason, it will not work. You need to be committed to this 100% no matter how things turn out with your marriage. I can't stress this enough.

I would suggest contacting a drug rehabilitation center and going through a program. There will never be a convenient time for this, and yes it will cause all kinds of "issues" with life, work, etc. But you can't face such a long-term addiction alone. You have to do this for yourself, but don't fool yourself into thinking you can do it by yourself.

Personally, I've been praying -- asking God to help me in my own situation that have been very difficult for me. I've found reading God's Word a huge help in my struggles and difficulties. I don't know what you think of turning to God for help, church, etc. -- but I've met some really great people through church that have stood with me and offered real help and support. I honestly can't explain how much help this has been in my life.

I wish the best for you in your situation. For many years you have settled for artificially subsidizing your brain. You are now bringing some clarity into the situation. I'm hopeful for you. I truly am. You have a hard road to walk, but I know you can do it. I believe you can do it. You don't have to be a slave any longer to the monster that has been your master for so many years. You can break free, but you need to break free with the intensity of a gazelle running from a lion. Go for it, and don't stop! Tell someone, get the help you need, and don't look back!
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Old 06-01-2013, 06:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi John,

I am very sorry to hear about what is happening in your marriage. Your post really touched me with it's honesty and accountability.

In many ways, I am your wife. My husband is an addict - 16 months clean now. What you described as life at home was my life except my H was also in an affair.

I apologize if this comes out harshly, that is not my intent. I hope to offer some insight into your wife.

While I never cheated on my H, I can't say part of me didn't think about it. I was pretty insane at the time. I could see what was happening, but he denied it. I was always told I was crazy (both directly and indirectly) and I started believing it. I felt trapped, no way out. Crazy brain thought an A may be the only way out. Then he would leave and I could start over. A lot of spouses of addicts I know have also had these feelings.

That doesn't make the A ok. But when you are crazy, you make crazy decisions. You know that from your addiction too. Just like you understood the drug as a mistress, look at her A like you see your addiction. She is not at the point you are now, she is more like you were in a sober period. She may not be "using" (still in the affair right now - make sure she is not btw), but her mind is still thinking about it, rationalizing, questioning, etc. She is in the "fog" and it will take something dramatic to get her out of it (sound like you?)

I see a lot of good here from my perspective though. Like I said, I was very touched by your words. If my H said that to me, I would be overjoyed. That being said, it takes a long time of good behaviors and actions to really believe it. You do not have to have patience with the situation with the other man, but do have patience with her believing you have changed. It will take a while. The more you show it, the less time it will take. Be open with her. Addiction is full of secrets and things left unsaid. Show her you are a safe place for her to be open. Something "dramatic" could be as simple as her waking up one day and seeing how different things are.

That being said, don't hold yourself hostage for your past mistakes. You don't deserve to be treated like sh!t just because you may have treated her that way. Make some boundaries and stick to them.

I would suggest you check out NA as a place to turn during this time. There are people there that have been in your situation and made it through.

All the best to you. I hope you find something useful in my ramble.
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I really appreciate the frank words of encouragement. I of course have convinced myself that the drug addiction is over, but I may be fooling myself. At this point I have no inclination, no thoughts of returning to that life, but my wife doubts me as any sane person should. It almost sounds crazy to be able to change in one day.I have been advised by my counselor to join NA and my wife to join Al-Anon. But the drug problem is second to apathy and the way I have ignored my wife, my family and the obligations that go with being in a healthy marriage. the damage I have done to my wife is unmeasurable and I don't think she is going to be able to forgive me and be happy for the rest of her life. Sometimes it seems like the most human thing to go is to urge her to chase her new dreams. maybe she has given me more chances than i deserve. 5 years of her working from 8-5 then starting her 2nd job to take care of the family may be asking too much for her to overcome. Thank you for your frank advice. That is what I need.
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Old 06-02-2013, 05:48 AM   #5 (permalink)
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First of all, I think it's wonderful that you are aware of the pain your addiction has caused. You sound like a very compassionate person. And, I am sure you didn't plan to become an addict.....the disease took "hold" of you....it wasn't a matter of just becoming disciplined.....it was out of your control. I am a wife of an alcoholic. He too decided to "stop" one day.......and without support, without going to AA, because he felt he didn't need help. When I encouraged and actually pleaded with him to go to AA daily and get a sponser because one day he will be "triggered", he responded, "I am not drinking, right?" Well he DID stop for 72 days! My life became much better.....he became more focused in his work, he maintained the house, he became kinder, sweeter, affectionate, etc. My biggest fear was my son's (from a previous marriage) upcoming wedding, which was on his 72nd day of sobriety. Yes, he did stay sober during the event! But, guess what? On Day 73 he CRASHED!!!!! I am not sure what triggered it, but he drank enough for all the 72 days he didn't drink. My life became a living hell on DAY 73!!!!! Thank God, I left the house when he started drinking on that day.....his personality changed almost instantly from those first few drinks....and he started to become verbally abusive. I left the house........and the following night I got a call from the police at midnight telling me my husband was arrested for menacing someone in our building. I am only telling you all of this to encourage you to seek help TODAY!!!!!! Do it for yourself FIRST! Of course you love your family and want it to stay intact......but you must take care of yourself and get support. Going "cold turkey" without support is just too challenging for anyone! You've already taken the first step.....in taking ownership of your behavior and your addiction. Now take the second step.....and take advantage of all the support that's out there. I wish you the best and you have my prayers.....
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Old 06-02-2013, 06:55 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I appreciate ythe advice. Even though I don't feel that I need NA, Every person I have spoken too said it is a good idea. My counselor, which has a doctorate in Psychiatry, says 15% of the people that decide to quit cold turkey. his question to me. Why take a chance that you may be in the 85%? I will consider this.
Thanks
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Old 06-02-2013, 02:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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"She told me that drugs were my mistress "

Wow. That strikes a nerve.
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Old 06-02-2013, 05:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi John,

I am glad you are in counciling, that is really good. Give NA a try - I would suggest six meetings to see if you relate. It isn't for everyone, but I have found Al-Anon has worked wonders for me. I am pretty good and normal most of the time now, but I still get triggered sometimes. When I do, I have learned all kinds of tools I can use, and it is so nice to be able to call someone any time and they will understand and help.

Al-Anon is a great idea for your wife. There are a lot of excellent resources on the Internet about both NA and Al-Anon, podcasts too. I would be happy to send you some more information if you'd like.

I understand you feel like repairing your relationship with your wife is top priority. If you are sober and showing her this new you everyday, that IS repairing the relationship. Using will hurt your relationship with your wife more than anything else right now. I heard a speaker say "I like to think I have other higher priorities than sobriety, like work or my relationship, but I need to remember if I'm not sober, I can kiss that other stuff goodbye." I hope that makes sense. I wish there was a quicker fix.

Have you thought about writing your wife a letter? The way you have shared things here is so heartfelt and powerful. That may really help. She may be zoning you out a little if you guys are just talking. I don't think she could zone out reading some of the things you have written.

I understand that guilt thinking maybe you should just let her go. My opinion is she is still with you, so she wants to try. I was not positive at all with my husband in the beginning, but I'm still here. Her actions say she is willing to give it a go.

Hang in there. You are doing great.
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Old 06-10-2013, 02:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I really appreciate all of the help and advice. I just thought I would give an update on what is going on and maybe hear some more advice on what to do. As I said before, drugs are no longer a part of my life or even my thoughts. The problem still is that my wife is so hurt by the years of drug abuse, depression, apathy, and lack of being a father for the past 4 years that being able to forgive me and give us a fresh start is something that is out of the question. Where is a bankruptcy when you need it?? LOL. I want her memories of how I used to be to be over with now so we can move on. She says that it is not possible for anyone to do this overnight. I understand that it can't happen overnight, but it has been 5 weeks and it seems that she is making no progress toward forgiveness. She says she has no interest in sex with me any more, even though a few years ago she really did. Is this because of the pain that I caused her by putting her through what I did, or because we have been married for 16 years and this is one of the things that happen, or is it that she had the affair and found someone that makes her feel better sexually and emotionally than I can, and she is not going to settle for anything else and is staying for kids. She says that she is staying and that she will get over this in time. It is driving me crazy trying to figure out what to do. I go 2 days and things seem normal and then I have a thought. I try to figure out what is going on in her mind and I get doubts. Then I have panic set in and feel physically ill. This is apparent to her and she reacts by basically doing the same thing and telling me that I need to stop scaring her and act normal. My emotions,(which I have not had to use for the last few years because of drug use) are so confused, I don't know if I am coming or going. More to come. Too much thinking.
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Old 08-27-2013, 02:18 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I'd like to say hang in there. I was an addict also. I beat the demon without 12 steps and counsel. You just have to make up your mind and walk away. My wife had an affair starting last year and my drug abuse was a contributing factor. Just trying to offer some words of encouragement. As far as the relationship hope it works out. Mine is in the crapper right now.
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:10 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Let me ask you a question. If you had cancer and the Dr. told you that you have a 15% survival rate if you do nothing, would you do it?


I bet not.
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:35 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnvw View Post
I really appreciate the frank words of encouragement. I of course have convinced myself that the drug addiction is over, but I may be fooling myself. At this point I have no inclination, no thoughts of returning to that life, but my wife doubts me as any sane person should. It almost sounds crazy to be able to change in one day.I have been advised by my counselor to join NA and my wife to join Al-Anon. But the drug problem is second to apathy and the way I have ignored my wife, my family and the obligations that go with being in a healthy marriage.
The drug use is why you treated her with apathy and ignored her. That statement is an excuse to not face the addiction head on. Right now you are in a period of heightened reaction due to your finding out about the affair. As things settle down and face more challenges with your marriage, your desire to use might very well come back.
While you are doing well today, you need to establish a support system for bad days that are very likely to come.

Iíve been through things like this with addicts in my extended family. Something happens and they quit. They feel sure that the drugs are no longer the issue. But as time goes on they fall back.

Iím not saying that you will fall back, but instead that you very well might fall back. And you need to start now to protect yourself and your family by putting in place that support system.

Your wife has a very good reason to not trust or believe that you have changed permanently. Especially since you sluf of the idea that you need help to address the addiction. You are an addict.

You will always be an addict. It has to do with your brain chemistry and physiology. NA will help you become a recovering addict.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnvw View Post
the damage I have done to my wife is unmeasurable and I don't think she is going to be able to forgive me and be happy for the rest of her life. Sometimes it seems like the most human thing to go is to urge her to chase her new dreams. maybe she has given me more chances than i deserve. 5 years of her working from 8-5 then starting her 2nd job to take care of the family may be asking too much for her to overcome. Thank you for your frank advice. That is what I need.
The best thing you can do right now is to work on yourself and be as supportive of her and your children as you can be. She will need to figure out her own path.

If you join NA and ask her to join Al-Anon, then the two of you will be working towards a common goalÖ to get your family back to healthy. Your children are on anti-depressants, there is a lot of work that you all need to do together.
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