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End of the Rope: How My Husband's Addiction Is Ruining our Marriage

by Laura
(Columbus, Ohio)

We met working in a bar/restaurant together and if anyone's had any experience with that, well servers and bartenders are generally a young, partying bunch.

I smoked my fair share and drank a bit, but that lifestyle got old quickly and I wanted to go back to school. He worked hard, was funny and confident and we started dating after knowing each other a good while.

Before you know it, we packed a U-Haul and moved across several states after I got into law school. We lived together. He worked hard. I worked hard finishing school and passing the bar exam and then we got married.

Here we are almost 12 years later and I've been living with the trials and tribulations of alcoholism and cocaine addiction for a solid 3 years and I'm at the end of my rope.

He just relapsed again and this makes 4 institutional attempts at rehab. I've had counseling; he's had counseling; we've had counseling.

He was fired from his last "real" job in Fall, 2006 (it's April, 2009 now) and hasn't worked much at all since. He's ran up thousands in credit card debt. I haven't paid on my 90K plus in student loans because I can't afford it.

I've taken him off the checking account and savings account and am paying every bill. Meanwhile he's not working, doesn't seem to have any interest in finding a job and enjoys free rent, insurance, utilities, cell phone, gas for his car blah blah blah.

Because he has no job and (finally) no access to the checking/savings accounts, now he's taking cash advances on his credit card. I cut it up but I suppose he can always get another one.

So here we are and I've had it. I've tried everything. I know I can't control him or cure him and I didn't cause this. I love him. I love his family. My family loves his family. It would be awful to divorce - when isn't it?

I think the last thing we haven't tried is separation and him going into a sober living facility. He has to become an individual again as I think of him as a shell of his former self.

I meet with him and his rehab counselors later this week and I think I'm going to say he can't come home. I think he should try sober living for a while and let me know how he's doing in 3 months or so. It's about the last arrow in my quiver and I might as well use it. Wish me luck.

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Jul 23, 2012
Mike - you can overcome
by: Anonymous

Mike - I watched my husband do this and throw so much away. The key is to believe deep down you are worthy of love and connection. Let someone in to know your pain. Ask any of these women and they will tell you they believed in their partners more than the partners believed in themselves. This life of sneaking and lying keeps you from experiencing true joy. Hiding makes a wall, and your spouse will go crazy trying to connect again. We all had a taste of a good man, then that addict showed up and wrecked everything. Where's that good man in you? Go tell your wife you can't have these pills in the house. She'll understand. Find a way to lock up the meds. It's not a judgement, it's a reality, those are going to fuck you up, so tell someone that as sober and great things have been- you need the drugs inaccessible to you. Period. Get that shit away, be honest that it's causing a problem and threatening your sobriety. The reason people don't tell their spouses is because they want to keep using. Tell her, get your ass to a meeting and knock this shit off. You KNOW how it ends, tears, anger, regret... Do you really need more evidence? Please Mike, you are worth more and created for more than being a lying, deceptive, disconnected man.

Jul 21, 2012
I am one of those home wreckers
by: mike

I just wanted to let you know that I am one those people that completely ruined a 32 year marriage, divorced and remarried and after being clean for 4 years, I find myself stealing my wifes meds. This has been the 5th time I had done this. I feel like a prisoner locked into this stupid behavior, yes its sick. I had help so many times, but its the same thing over and over again. I am one of those unfortunates, basically, Love will not come into my life for sometime after the 2nd marriage, its either time to work on whats wrong, get it fixed, make amends, and go about my life like a real man, eventhough I worked for the same employer for 32 years with a half pension, and a war veteran of 23 years, it still does not make things right for any reason. I must walk alone for a while.

Dec 28, 2011
by: Author

It's been so good to read all of the responses posted. They always seemed to come just when I needed them.

Today, it's 12/28/11. My divorce isn't final, but my husband has the papers and everything should be wrapped up next month. A happy new year awaits.

I let my husband come back for one last try in the fall of 2009. He disappointed me again - using, lying, stealing. Surprise. I asked him to leave for the last time just before Labor Day 2010. He stayed in town for a while, using and running up the credit card we'd paid down most of the year. Then he quit his job and, like a small child instead of a man in his 40s, ran home to his parents.

He's been there ever since, living off his parents and not working. And I finally got the divorce underway this fall.

In the mean time, I let another man in my life. Nothing I looked for, but it's been the first time in a long time that I've had some joy in my life. We've enjoyed laughs and travel and seen each other through some tough spots as well (he's a widower).

I am blessed for this and blessed as well my husband and I did not have any children. Divorce is still painful. I care for him and he's hurting but I know, now more than ever, that it's the right thing for both of us.

All I can say to anyone is to be strong; if you issue ultimatums follow through on them; and do what's right for you because in the end, it's the only thing over which you have control. Be happy: no one and no thing can bring you happiness, only you can do that. It's okay to be sad or to be angry and to mourn what's lost, but make it a point to be happy with yourself. Life is short and you're the only constant in it, don't waste too much energy on the bad stuff. My best wishes to all of you out there who shared some of my path: be strong and take care of yourselves.

Dec 28, 2011
Me too
by: Anonymous

Loving an addict can make you crazy. I have a visual of my life with my husband. We are in a boat together with our son, and the boat is leaking. I am bailing as fast as I can and he is making more holes in the boat. I cannot bail faster than we are sinking. I am exhausted. I finally let the boat sink, I was the only one doing anything to keep it going anyway. My husband ruined the foundation of our marriage with his lies, sneaking, hiding, secrets. Once you have those trust busters , nothing can be built that will stand... Like a house on sand. I made it look good for years. No one who wants a good relationship lies to their spouse. These were no mistakes... He had a pattern of being a detriment to every good thing. In the end he decided to get better in another state at a residential rehab and never came back. Left his son, doesn't pay a dime & his family supports him. I put in 19 good years thinking this man would some day grow up and clean up and stop doing such stupid things. Waste of my life, my love & my resources. The addict only cares about his needs, you unfortunately are just someone he will use, they cannot love properly. It's warped & sick, and real loving partners will not do this to their loved ones or their marriage. Addicts can't honor their marriages. It's a disease blah blah , I get it, he's sick. But he has made everyone else sick & in pain too and has zero remorse. I hate that my husband is weak & immature and that I picked him. Divorce is final now but I live with such a sense of unfairness. He's living a life free of responsibility and left me with his mess & I was the one who believed in him. He's a user & I was a sucker. Run fast and far and don't ever go back. Real love awaits and it isn't with an addict. I promise!

Aug 17, 2011
Tough Love For Addicts
by: Anonymous

The first week in August 2011 I was doing laundry when I noticed an odd object on the floor near my husband's side of the bed. It turned out to be a crack pipe. I confronted him and he arrogantly said yes he had gotten him. We are both in recovery, he was coming up on 5 years and I am coming up on 8. Within a week my life turned into complete chaos. All that I thought to be true about our marriage and our lives turned out to be a lie. He had lost his job, benefits without telling me and all money that he supposed saved was just about gone; $10,000 evaporated within weeks. I changed the locks after he went out on a run one night. When he started threatening to beat me and break up the entire apartment, I filed a complaint with the police. My sister called the police too since he called her in the middle of the night in a rage saying he was going to hurt me. She had no idea what was happening between us and called 911. I filed a complaint. A warrant was issued for his arrest. I had text messages from him saying he was going to beat me and break up the place too. I think this was a cry for help. The police arrested him. He resisted and was maced. I now have a full order of protection. All this happened within 8 days of my finding a crack pipe. If you would have asked me a week earlier I would have said we were happily married. He is telling people I am to blame for his relapse and his family is siding with him after they asked me to take him back and I refused. The police said I did the hardest thing someone can do since I do love him. I don't know who he really is. I'm barely making ends meet financially. I have to have a medical procedure but will delay it until I can get coverage from my job. But I will say this to anyone who is going through what I went thru -I now have peace of mind. Peace of mind is truly pricesless. My husband is now mandated to a program. Note, I did ask him to go and he refused saying he wasn't done yet. He made the choice to pick up not me. I refuse to be a victim. If I can do this, you can too. Don't let them be comfortable with their addictions. You may be killing them as well as yourself.

I don't know if I will get a divorce. I will make that decision a little later. First I have to get further help for myself.

Best of luck to all!

May 24, 2011
I've been there
by: Anonymous

I know this is an old post but had to reply as I have been dealing with this as well. I have been with my husband for 34 years. We were young when we met and we partied like most young adults did. I grew out of it. He didn't. His father was an alcoholic and I should have seen the writing on the wall, but I was in love.

My husband never worked through our marriage (couldn't keep a job), used alcohol, cocaine, crack, and valium. He cheated on me and even had a child with another woman. Most of the time he would just pass out but there were times he could get abusive. He once locked me out of the house in my pajamas and wouldn't let me back in for two days. Another time he threw my car keys down the sewer drain because I wanted to leave. He would call my boss and accuse him of having an affair with me. I was working three jobs just to pay the bills and he was stealing the money to buy drugs and alcohol. If I stopped giving him cash or took away his bank cards, he would sell my belongings. At one point, he traded my three year old car for some drugs. I took my marriage vows seriously but I think what I had to endure was more than God had intended.

When he was younger my husband would apologize, quit drinking and really try to get his life together. The problem is he could never stay sober for long. In his late 30's he started to get sick and went into rehab again. While there he had several grandmal seizures. I think this was a wake up call for him as I could see a real change in him when he returned home. I didn't want him to come home but I felt guilty putting him out on the street. He was actually making a real effort to clean up his life. He cut all ties with his "friends" and really made an effort to try and please me. I thought my personal hell was finally over. Well here it is ten years later and my husband now has a new problem. Last year he fell at the neighbors and herniated his disc. The doctor gave him Vicodin for pain. Now he's addicted to pain killers and uses his back as an excuse to not have to do anything around the house at all. We are right back where we were all those years ago.

I am now 50 years old and look back on my life and realize that I have given up everything for this man. I was always the happiest person in the room. Now I'm depressed most of the time. I wanted a big family but only have one child as I did not want to bring children into this environment. I used to be very social but now I have no friends as I was too embarrassed to ever invite anyone over to my home. My career suffered as a professional woman because of this situation. And we all know how addiction affects finances. I missed out on my life for someone who loved drugs and alcohol more than he could ever love me.

Take it from someone who wasted her life. Move on with YOUR life. Take care of YOURSELF. Do what makes YOU happy. You are responsible for your own happiness just as your husband is responsible for his.

Dec 30, 2010
I am in the same boat
by: Anonymous

Hi, i am adding to your story because i am in the samething. My husband and i have been married for 23 years and of those years 15 of them he was addicted to alcohol, and now for the last 4 years he has gotten himself addicted to drugs. We have 5 children together of which 1 is already graduated from high school and now moved out. Our other 3 are a 11yr old and a set of 8yr old twin boys. I am at my wits end and ready to walk out, I can no longer live like this. My life has gone to HELL in a hand basket.

May 16, 2010
This is new to me!
by: Anonymous

About a year ago, I started to suspect that my husband was using cocaine. As the year moved on, I knew for a fact thats what was going on. He has gone from a loving husband and father to a raging mess! He has lost interest in almost everything. He has disconnected from me and our 3 kids all under the age of 11. I have a great job and that is what is holding this together, but I am stressed to the point of no return. We have been together for over 15 years and married for 11. So many questions go through my mind, I honestly thought he could beat this alone, but from reading everyones's comments I see that he can't. I never thought I would ever want him to leave, but I need some sort of piece of mind, because I am overwhelmed! Thanks for sharing, and I hope there is hope for me too.

Apr 21, 2010
End of the rope and then some...
by: Anonymous

There with you. After 6 years together, we wed in 2009. 19 days later, he told me he had been spending all his money on drugs- cocaine. before the wedding, he had been buying pills.Vicodin to Percs to Suboxene. Confronted him about it and the truth came out. Finances were still bad I pretty much paid for the wedding. back to 19th day after. I flipped, I asked series of questions. said it hadn't become a problem until spring of 09. That's when the demon took over.I stayed by his side. Committed to our family and my vows- Said, he's going to rehab, counceling etc. He said whatever it took. We had a "intervention w/the parents". They suggested NA meetings and for me to take over finances. He agreed to everything. Every payday,was a fight. It took him 5 weeks to hand it over. He still cashed it. I asked for the receipts. I took over his bills and got them up to par, things were getting better. I thought we were reaching the light. He said, "all I need is my family, you're my angel, my rock" then he got confident. After 2relapes,then two months of sober "Its time you trusted me" He wasn't handing in money or doing 4 NA's a week. I compromised. Said,pass a drug test every 3 months, I'll let up on the money and NA's. After that, things became more distant. Started the suboxenes again. talked about baby steps, big demon, middle demon,quite smoking. I didn't see the end coming. We had two fights that could have ended in a talk and a hug. The slightest things pissed him off or "brought him down". A feeling, opinion, anything- his walls of defense went up. He was tired of living under the "microscope" that being, having to communicate,account for money,stop lying. After a stupid fight, he said it was time for him to leave. "he was tired of the microscope". He left us 2 mnts ago. I'm devistated but a lioness with her cub. We do visitation. He agreed to take a drug test before our son stayed overnight. Two weeks ago,I gave him a pop COC test-it was positive. I caught him before the end of the driveway and removed my son. He has denied the test to everyone. He really is a good dad but I would be an awful mother to let my son go with anyone who tested positive for coke. I didn't want to believe-even researched if Suboxene could have made it + and called the manufacture. He's put blame on me, I'm the bad guy. He's in denial. I love my husband dearly. 7 months ago we wed. now I'm faced w/ the reality that I may have to take legal action to protect my son.Looking at the papers makes me sick I can't afford anything and I really don't know what I should do. Happy Family, sucessful man, respected, good salary - who would have thought. People said this will be his "rock bottom" things are only getting from Col-OH

Apr 07, 2010
your story is like mine :(
by: texas resident

my husband and i will celebrate ??? our 3rd wedding anniversary in july. he also has had and continues to relapse into cocaine, marijuana and alcohol use. i finally asked him to move out last weekend. we are counseling as well, and he is also attending those meetings for recovering addicts. i also love him very very much. but, i had to show him that that is unacceptable and i had to show my daughters and my son and HIS daughter (ages 15 thru 27) that it is unacceptable and that i do respect myself enough not to allow that in our home. i feel very sorry for him and for us; nevertheless, i felt that as painful as it is, SEPERATION IS A MUST. my prayers are with you! may the lord bless you and your family.

Jan 19, 2010
Your Singing My song Laura
by: Anonymous

Hi Laura, just read your story and it's like reading my own life right now. We've been together now over 3 years and tho he has many great qualities, unfortunately it hardly matters when it comes to his drug addiction. I actually kicked him out this New Year's Eve, I was so mad I could of....he has been staying at his brothers until today when he left for a treatment program, he says he wants to stay for 6 months. At first, it was real hard for me to be alone and not have him around but I'm ok with it now and also feel positive about the seperation. It has given me the much needed time to really think about what I want and having a break from narcotic watch. We are keeping in touch. I think you should really consider a separation for your own sanity as well. At some point,women in our shoes have got to take care of ourselves, right? He and I were at the point of no return so I figured we didn't have much to lose. Good luck Laura.

Sep 21, 2009
It is a long long road..
by: Anonymous

My husband spent a year in rehab, 5 months in a different rehab, tried sober living houses multiple times, has been in constant therapy for months and months and months, is mixed up with the courts, on home detention, and he is STILL USING. We have two boys, 10 and 14, and he doesn't care that they hate how he is when he uses. He uses pills and crack (never in our home) and seems to think he deserves a "nice little high" as he puts it, whenever. I know I should throw him out but somehow I can't do it--my younger son especially loves him like crazy, and when he is sober he is a more than decent father. We depend on his pitiful income to make our house payment and pay our utilities, and I work more than full time as well, so it is just a big stressful mess. I have leukemia which necessitates taking a chemotherapy medication (GLEEVED) for the rest of my life, which means I don't have a lot of energy or stamina and I struggle with feeling sick frequently and being low energy most of the time.

I think he still loves me, but it is hard to tell.I just wish somebody would step in and tell me how to do what needs to be done without me actually having to buckle down and do it--I just don't have the strength or the energy to fight him.

Sep 13, 2009
My story
by: Anonymous

dated husband 10 years. he was fundraiser, i was unemployed lawyer. later i got a job. we both liked to party. later i stopped and he did not. we eventually got married. he lost hi job weeks before we married. promised me he'd be working soon but i got pregnant on the honeymoon. he never worked again. said he would be best to raise our child as my salary was bigger. i hated that plan and begged him to work. He was drinking and with the baby. he hid the drinking pretty well for a few years until it got really bad. passed out half the time. then, on my threats of divorce, he entered rehab, then relapsed, then rehab again, 2 times in a year. now, he is living in sober house. just got a min wage jog. hates the thought of work. wants to come home. i desperately don't want him to come home and feel i cannot live through all that again. the more he stays away the better life gets. he never did contribute financially and also kept the place a gross mess. very negative and rageful. i dont think he will ever be mentally healthy. enough to get a life, keep a job, work and care for himself, pay bills and do what adults do. my son wants him back but i really really dont. sometimes i miss him, but i think what i miss is the dream of the person i hoped he would be to me. not who he really is. every time we talk i feel really sad, bad, fearful and angry. i love our child. thats the only good to come of it all.

May 11, 2009
Ruining our marriage
by: brenda

I WISH YOU ALL THE luck in the world. you just wrote my story I TO LOVE MY HUSBAND VERY MUCH.nothing I do will help cry beg tell him he is ruining our marriage. I have even told him I will leave him if he don't stop. He went to rehab for 21 days told me he has no desire to drink anymore 3 days after being home he went back to the vodka.We have build a good life together nice house kids. I DON'T want to lose are life together. Maybe I should do what you are leave for awhile maybe it will wake him up I WISH you luck from someone that knows how you are feeling.

Apr 13, 2009
Thanks for Sharing Laura
by: C-P

I agree with you Laura. I also think you should tell his counselors that he can't come home. So yeah, good luck with that! However hard and painful it is for you - I think it's time your husband be held accountable for his drinking etc. - and not have you there to always get him out of his mess. Once other avenues have been tried, tough love is the only route you have left. Hopefully that brings him to the realisation quicker of what he's actually doing to himself and your relationship - and will then be ready to change.

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