If you haven’t read the first post I did about addiction, please read it HERE so you understand why I’m posting these articles.
No seriously, go read it.
Now here’s an essay written by an incredible friend of mine who is the wife of an addict. Addiction can feel like such a hopeless disease. Like recovery, long recovery, sustainable recovery, true recovery is nearly impossible.
But this story. This story brings hope. And proof that addicts CAN and DO stay sober.
“My Beautiful Addict”
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
My Beautiful Addict
What does being the “wife of an addict in recovery” mean to me? To begin with it means in my case the title is only half earned. I met my husband days after his two month stay in a treatment facility. I missed the marital destruction of active substance abuse. With that said, I do know that my six-foot-three, two hundred twenty five pound, crazy strong, charismatic husband’s drug of choice turned him into a nearly house bound, one hundred sixty pound shell. He was thirty seven years old and addiction cost him a successful career, financial independence and personal relationships. Any hope of lasting sobriety meant leaving his lifelong home and starting over in a different state with next to nothing.
Three years out of treatment, one relapse, two years of dating and with one year of solid sobriety my husband and I married. When you hear an addict say they are never cured believe them. Today my husband has twelve solid sober years, two children who should never know him otherwise, a three year service mission with the LDS Addiction Recovery Program and the ability to visit his home state unsupervised. It hasn’t been an easy journey. Years of perfected addict behaviors take even more years to disappear. It’s been a long time since he’s threatened the “I’ll just go smoke crack” phrase during an argument and challenges with personal honesty are becoming less challenging. Dangerous relationships were hard to leave behind and sadly it took the relatively recent death of his favorite drug friend to eliminate the last of the phone numbers that shouldn’t have been on his contact list. Even sober, his battles with narcissistic addict behavior are the hardest for me; it can feel like an unbearable mixture of loneliness and frustration yet at the same time I find the behavior ridiculously humorous. Loving a sober addict is similar to loving someone with a horrible disease in remission; the longer they’re clean the safer you feel, but recovery and sobriety do not equate to cured.
Early in our marriage I realized I was really bad at being co-dependant and really good at creating a stable home environment. Simple acts of love such as consistently making dinner, doing laundry, keeping a clean house, loving our four children and being proud of him are my contributions to my husband’s sobriety. I’ve watched this man rebuild his destroyed career, rebuild his destroyed financial life, repair the destruction of his poor parenting, build his trust in himself and build a future of sobriety. I cannot begin to claim I know anything about his private battle to remain sober. It has taken more determination, faith, humility, self- control and continual hard work on his part than I can possibly imagine.
What does being the “wife of an addict in recovery” mean to me? It means I know recovery is never easy and never ends for the addict or their spouse. It means my efforts to establish a stable home with clean laundry, happy children and a good dinner are vital. It means I see my husband sitting in a twelve step meeting giving hope to someone only hours sober. It means I hear my husband testify to our children the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real and saved his life. Being the “wife of an addict in recovery” means being married to a beautiful person and witness to the long process of a miracle.