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Is My Husband an Addict?

My husband had an emergency back surgery almost three years ago and was prescribed pain pills. He gradually became addicted to the pain pills. When he gets a bottle of 40 filled he can go through them in five days. The doctor has now prescribed him Xanax for an anxiety issue and it appears he is starting to abuse these as well.

However, what he tends to do is when he gets the prescription filled he takes all of his pills in about a week and then he is out of the pills for a week. I call it a binge because it seems like he just stuffs himself with these pills to see how far he can go.

We have two children and recently he has made a scene in front of our oldest child. He has ran off the road several times due to falling asleep behind the wheel. Once he is out of pills he is fine until it comes time to get his prescription again.

All of this being said I am not sure if I am just over reacting or if he really and truly has a problem. I do know he had trouble in the past with an addiction to cocaine and I am just worried this is only going to get worse. Please help. I need some great advice. Answer

It certainly sounds like your husband has a prescription drug addiction problem, and the fact that he was once addicted to cocaine sounds like he's cross-subsidized one addiction for another.

Addiction to pain pills and other prescribed drugs is unfortunately all too common, because often it happens unwittingly. And if his abusing his medication is putting his life, and that of others in danger, you are right to be concerned and are certainly not over-reacting. Can you imagine what would happen if he has an accident and ends up killing someone because he fell asleep behind the wheel?

So you definitely need to try and intervene. Have a serious conversation with your husband and make it clear you can't stand around and watch this continue anymore. Tell him he needs to start weaning himself off the pain pills, before things get totally out of hand and he ends up hurting someone. Obviously he needs to do that in consultation with his doctor, so perhaps you can also talk to his doctor and see how best he can help with that?

There are of course no guarantees your husband will be willing to do anything, or whether he even recognises he has a problem. And if that's the case, then you need to be clear in your own mind of what the consequences will be. He may well need professional help to get clean so tell him you'll be supportive if he does that.

Ultimately your husband has to recognise he has a problem and want to get clean, because you can't force him to. But you can try and provide him with pretty compelling reasons to do so, e.g. your relationship and the kids. And if that doesn't work and nothing changes, well then you have to decide what's best for you and the kids in the long-run and whether your marriage will give you what you need.

All the Best

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