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Letters From Family & Friends of Meth Addicts

  • Mar

    Laurie's Story

    Hi. I just wanted to tell my story, as I have been reading the discussion board here and digesting all the really helpful info and support and have found so many of the stories similar to mine. Although I am living a burden which in writing this account I have found some lightening in doing so. My thanks in advance for reading my story it has been a therapeutic writing endeavor.

    My name is Laurie. I am 47 and have been married to my husband for 28 years. All throughout our marriage up to what I considered a major turning point, we used one thing or another mostly lightweight consumption. We were able to compare ourselves to those around us, who we could see had really bad addictions. Heroin and Crack we never touched these two. So we considered ourselves fairly "normal" low intensity users who pretty much kept things in check; for we had responsibilities. Just a couple of happy go lucky partygoers. For instance we never smoked anything, just snorted; knowing the risk for a more stubborn addiction was via the smoking route. Had "dead friends" too, more pleasure for us. They couldn't walk away from their addiction they were "wheeled away" instead, straight to a coffin.

    The biggest problem we had was with cocaine in the 80s a fairly long and regular usage, mostly on the weekend. After working long hours, we felt we needed the energy to get us home a two hour drive. Thankfully, a dear friend inspired us to give up using. She said that she did not like our personalities when we were on it. Her opinion was respected, and so we quit. I love her for that. She has no idea though, that I had a drinking problem as well, which I had not stopped. I would have become an alcoholic too. The paranoia was also starting to set in. When high, I'd think the cops were outside the window, waiting to burst right on in.

    My parents were alcoholics at the time I moved away from home and then married, but they came to grips with their addiction, and recovered on their own years ago. I think they knew they would die unless they changed their ways, and dealt with it. I am so proud of them for that, and love having them around, and alive today. My boys have two Grandparents who love them, living ones. Due to this history, I think I was always a bit cautious, and instinctively knew I could easily become a serious addict. I recently found out that my Grandpa had been on prescribed meds and was hooked on sleeping pills for years. I did not know this, my parents recently told me. My husband's parents, my in-laws, were "legal druggies", who had real lifelong health problems, and both passed away young (late 40s). One to mostly drinking, but also smoking and prescription drugs. The other to a weak heart and smoking, and prescription drugs, which lead to his death from a heart attack at age 48 my husband's father. We packed up about 3 big grocery bags full of medicine bottles, the week he died, it was amazing.

    My husband started snitching prescription drugs from the family medicine cabinet as a teenager. I now think that without his leadership in this lifestyle throughout our relationship, I would never have sought out drugs on my own. I was the follower the joiner. I don't blame him; I was willing enough. He smoked pot for many years' right along, as well as tobacco. Other substances of choice ran the gamut: bennies, acid, mushrooms, downers, mescaline, hash, crank, and then coke. Pot and drinking were the true mainstays, throughout our marriage.

    I smoked pot in my youth but gave it up early on, as I hated the way it made me feel, physically. A big turning point came to us about 12 or 13 years ago, when my husband started reading pro American literature. This lead to our going to a Church that someone recommended for the first time in our marriage. My husband had been a churchgoer as a kid and was saved and had saved parents, but they had fallen away from attending church long beforehand. He was pretty much a 60s generation kid, with a wild youth.

    I myself had only that classic "faith of a little child", all throughout my childhood and youth. I basically had no religious upbringing, so when I was introduced to this church life, I readily heard the call. I became saved, baptized, and wanted to know Jesus. My Husband rededicated his life to Jesus at this time. Together we lead the music service, at that church, as we are both musicians. I could not have been happier. I felt it was a true turning point for us, and felt in myself the "new creature" in Christ, still do. I also saw the world in a different light. I was now in my mid-thirties, and the reality of "straightening out" made the notion of having a family a real possibility. Before, as users, I would not dream of having little ones, not an option, I was too responsible to bring kids into the equation. This was always a sad point for me. I thought at one time that there was no changing our lifestyle, no escape from it. God can do many things; He gave me my life back, and helped me along in my utter stupidity. Before I was saved, I could have perished countless times in so many different instances. It is nothing short of amazing to me. His hand was constantly helping me, which I can now clearly see, in hindsight.

    This is where I think I was naive in thinking my husband had REALLY changed, and that it would be any kind of a "permanent" thing. I was hoping beyond hope, I guess. We had both smoked cigarettes all our married life, and upon attending this church, it was the first bad habit we kicked. I was and still am so thankful. I was a hard core smoker. Camel straights, up to 3 packs a day! The cocaine use period had made it a "super habit", as when using you tend to almost light one up, while extinguishing another; like a human chimney. :-) Please note, I don't condemn those who still smoke. I know strugglers, and love them in spite of any weaknesses they have. I've been there, too.

    About a year ago (or more) I found a couple of small clues about home that lead me to suspect my husband was getting "help" in his work. I did not dig to find them; they were carelessly left, and then easily found. He has to work super long hours, plus long hours driving to and from work. With his past history, I knew there was a possibility that he might go back to using something, it's simply his nature to embrace the lifestyle. Starting in 1992 with me at home with the children, then babies, the work that we had shared for 17 years (flea markets) was his to carry on; however he was now on his own. I was not around to keep him "in check", anymore. That's how he began smoking after a whole 5 or 6 year break. Had I been there, it maybe would not have happened, I don't know. I was so upset with his return to smoking; we now had the boys. I simply could not believe that he would make such a stupid choice! In addition, in the time since the conversion at church and up to the present he kept up and reinstated contact with his friends who were users and providers (sources), and kept that link open and alive. It did not bother me as I figured it was a Christian thing to do, to remain friendly, and not shun these old friends altogether.

    When confronted about the drug use, beginning about a year ago, he of course denied it. So I let it go what else could I do? Once it was an empty bag, another time a straw, both with residue. (Taste test confirmed who, having used, could ever forget the potent chem smell/taste?) About a month ago, I found hard evidence. (Washed up bag in washing machine with remaining miniscule chunks inside.) That really backed up some physical changes I had being seeing in him for some time. Maybe even as far back as a year, or more. I really don't know anymore. The obvious indicators such as: late hours awake puttering around (mostly in his van, in the driveway), tweezing arm hairs (I had remembered reading a big newspaper spread about meth users, and the hair pulling link), and total crashing, pretty much sleeping 2-3 days after returning from a long work weekend. Not to mention other indicators such as: a wildly racing heart; and hot temperature flushes. He has had a couple of these scary. Although he thinks it was minor sunstroke, from being outdoors at flea market. He could be right, though I of course think it could be drug related, as I read it could be. Plus sweating profusely after a shower, constipation periods, scary hangover type headaches (truly severe), the classic stuffy/alternately runny nose and overall change in personal character and demeanor. I can see it in his facial expressions when he is under the influence! (I have been there, done that--I know what it's like!) There are other strange behaviors that are too personal to mention, (embarrassing) which he thinks are normal, he says people change. I am watching him going downhill before my eyes. He can't see these changes in himself, like the anorexic who thinks she/he looks GOOD in the mirror. He doesn't look healthy anymore. I try to be gentle when I tell him these things, yet he refuses to see or agree, in anyway.

    I don't trust him like I used to. Sadly, he first lied about starting back to smoking after a 5 year break from it. (His boys don't know, he has kept it a "secret". Says it is to protect them. Yet at times he reeks. It is pretty obvious really, and how will they feel about dad not being truthful. Even if it is a white lie, it's still a lie?)

    The first time I confronted him about meth use he went into a real denial, never confessed outright. (He knows my attitude is no=zero tolerance. I guess I can understand his reluctance to fess up. We have two darling boys, age 10 and 8. I cannot figure out why he would take this risk, (it's because he thinks there is none), putting everything in jeopardy. All of this is so classic. Right down to his denial reaction and his refusal to believe the facts. He says everything printed is propaganda, even the true health info - which I have printed out for him to read - refuses to read it. What has happened oddly is that when confronted, he turns the blame back around to me when I bring it up. Kind of like I'm one of the causes. I am really under "mental" fire, and it's scary! He has begun to resent my opposition, and can be downright mean and unfriendly at times. I know I'm not alone, especially after reading the letters posted on the discussion board.

    I carried the burden for a while by myself, before finally telling close family members, which helped lighten the inner stress. All the while I have to hide this knowledge from my boys, hide the stress, the worry. I know I need some counseling, and have told him I will seek it out. He says that's fine, but won't go himself to any drug counseling, etc. Said he would go to marriage counseling, but when I said that "the true problem" must be discussed when there, that was out, refused of course. I have extracted no out and out promises from him about quitting completely. His use is low level, but regular, I think he is just inhaling, not smoking. I hope he knows better... He would in my opinion be a VERY reluctant quitter, and resentful of my imposing my will on him. In fact, I think he used this past weekend again, but has denied it. When brought up by me lately, in his defense he's pretty much said that I will be to blame if he drives off the road from tiredness on a long road trip from not using / having the help / boost he needs. This I know is true, he would have to take real time away from work to recoup physically, maybe a month or better. The Crash aspect really scares me. He has had road trips recently where he has trouble getting home, has to "sleep" at various points just to make it! Right now we have some funds that could cover this lost work time, and that would have my blessing, should he choose to take time off.

    I think I am in a waiting period right now. If things don't change, I will probably move out. Maybe it would be a wakeup call for him. He'd know my stance is real. I have to consider what is good for my family too. He has a CWP because we had a store and at one time business was really good and he applied for one for protection because he carried large amounts of cash. Couldn't the combination result in felony, should any traffic situation arise? He says all my fears are unfounded, these things would never happen which causes me to doubt myself. I feel it is so irresponsible I can't believe it. The health and legal risks involved. I worry that it is only a matter of time before something terrible will happen-like a heart attack or stroke. He is 51 and overweight, although he thinks he is fine. The Boys would really have no Dad, then.

    I am a stay at home mom; the boys are with me 24/7. He's not a threat. At least I don't think so. H has never been before, but has promised that I will be the "family wrecker" if I do move out which I have said I will do, if he continues his use. However, he said in response that I could NOT move out, that he would NOT consent to a trial separation or divorce and that he will NOT move / stay away. I said I did not want him to live here, if he did continue to use - to that he said he would not leave. Also last week, he said I could NOT take the boys should I move out and in with my parents. That he WOULD lie in court about me. Call me crazy or implicate me saying the drugs I found were mine, not his, resulting in him getting the boys. All this talk, his reaction to my gently put "no tolerance" is VERY scary, even though none is true about me. I could never, would never, and have no desire whatsoever to go back to that lifestyle, and I thank God for that.

    For my attitude I have been called "too straight" and on a high horse! He has begun to resent me, for what I represent. He retaliates by telling me I have no real friends, and picking on me personally. He ends up belittling me, and it hurts. I am a mother first, and as such I don't get out so much, socially. I have also overseen my boys schooling; they have attended both Christian private schools and last year we homeschooled (2'nd year). This past year our (mine and the boys) associations were with many other homeschool families; yes, straight people, I like 'em! I also am in charge of our 1 acre plot and old home, I care for the yard on my own, it's a big job watering and mowing. I also have sold items online at ebay for about 3 years now, to supplement our income, although it adds not much $ wise, really. All in all I am, very busy. I love my boys fiercely, they are my life. I know that he has fallen in with a user crowd. I don't know any of these people; they are his friends, however.

    I wonder how he could have become so poisoned. I really think he is afraid of losing all he really cares about; his family, home comfort and stability, but through this ultra-powerful substance he has lost control of good sense, reasoning capability. I have tried to be gentle in the discussions that I bring up, I've printed out health info that as far as I know he has not/won't read. He has had a very bad lower back while sleeping lately that he has blamed on beds here. I have changed them around, to no avail. After reading the health effects online, I think it could easily be kidney pain, from toxins. One day I noticed his ankles swollen and puffy, liquid filled (renal failure?) His Jekyll/Hyde personality does kind of scare me; I wonder how long I should wait. If nothing appears to change, am I enabling? (Like the mom who threatens discipline, but never delivers the child them sees and uses the loophole knows that mom is full of hot air).

    I have pondered many things. He snores, and I am pretty sure that snoring cessation (sleep apnea--which he has) depletes serotonin levels. I know it robs the brain and body of oxygen. I wondered if he went to this because of a bodily need to self-medicate, or altered brain chemicals. He has always had a lot of muscular pain, (again, self-medicating to remove pain) and is not in great shape physically overweight, and smoking. As far as entering a program, I suggested that and he told me I was crazy. Meanwhile it is UP and DOWN, the swings are nothing but mini withdrawals of usage and recovery and physical misery for him, and hard on the family. He is either gone working or at home recovering. The boys of course see his all day sleeping, and wonder why. Of course I admit he works too hard for one man, it is true. He is our provider, and we together we own a home that is mortgaged, and bills that must be paid, and so he is under that stress, at all times. Lately everything has suffered: family life, business, health, he just does not see it happening.

    I realize the breadth and scope of this drugs effect on this county, its people especially its youth is enormous, and it is SO sad.

    We together had seen worst of speed abuse in a friend about 12 or more years ago. Mostly a friend of my husband, who lived in San Francisco, and who became really hooked on speed. Shooting I think, she pretty much had hit rock bottom, busted too, and so and we took her in. She came to live with us temporarily (this was shortly after we had begun our church attendance) , as she was pregnant and almost due (did not even know her due date, and had not seen doctors). We had a little house but had a travel trailer out in the backyard that where she could stay, while in "rehab" with us. I personally went through her withdrawal with her, it was quite scary. I really didn't have a clue it would manifest the way it did, and all this while she was in her final trimester of pregnancy! If ever, I came close to seeing someone demon possessed, that was it.

    God acted in her life; she had many people praying for her through our church and she cleaned up for a short while. She delivered a healthy baby girl, but soon afterwards while still in our care she relapsed. While a brand new mom, after a trip to SF then back to us during which she used. Hormone levels were already rampant, of course due to pregnancy, and postpartum. When she returned she totally freaked out, went absolutely wild. She started smashing the house up and I had to snatch the baby away and run to the neighbor's house, and call the cops. All this in order to protect the newborn baby. I did not have a choice. She had this fit in response to our telling her she couldn't use. She had just had the baby and figured that she could go back to that lifestyle, as soon as possible. She really had no control over her cravings! Anyway, she moved back to SF hating us, led a wild lifestyle. She then got busted for stealing credit cards (fed crime), lost her daughter, and was sent to prison. That straightened her out, and I think she is still clean. What I am trying to convey is that I have never seen such outward wild behavior. She had the strength of an OX under its effects, just went wacko. She regained her daughter after her prison time. Thankfully the daughter has suffered no ill medical effects that I know of, is now about 13 years old, and beautiful.

    After personally seeing this tragedy, the power of such a drug; how could my husband embrace something so awful? I think yes, that Satan is real, and yes, he uses those tools such as hate, drugs, alcohol, to bring humans to a downfall. Chalk up a winning score for him, but don't count ME in! Upon becoming a Christian, I really saw His creation (me) as something that I need to take care of, or I cannot serve Him, Jesus Christ, in whatever capacity, even if it is only raising up my two boys in a godly manner. You have to love yourself, bottom line, and it doesn't hurt to love someone even more than yourself like I do, for I answer to Him, who gave me life. Pretty simple.

    I am not on a high horse; I too have faults, as most everyone does. In fact I bite my fingernails, and have since the age of about five. I consider this an addiction, so does my one of my sons. It leads me to wonder if it is actually linked to brain chems, and genetics.

    I just have to be strong for myself, and now my offspring as well. I love my husband, but not what he is becoming. Seems like all we do is fight and argue. Although subdued, never loud, or in front of the boys. It really takes nothing much to irritate him. I bug him, and he bugs me. We sure don't have the love we once did, even physical love has tapered off, and sadly the boys don't see that kind of love displayed in the family, that they should.

    I cry to hear of the stories so much sadder than mine; lost loved ones; the boy who wandered in the snow without shoes; the list goes on and on. So much loss, so many broken homes, lives.

    My love and prayers to all those trying to help someone away from this trap, and helping yourselves (stay strong, life can be great!), and each other in your struggles. I hope if nothing else, this passage may have been a support to someone out there, it was certainly not meant to be a condemnation. Thanks for reading, and may God Bless and keep you and yours.


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