Marriage, Fatherhood, and Recovery: It’s Not Always Easy
Marriage in and of itself is not always easy, let alone when you throw addiction in the mix. When my wife and I met, it was also the beginning of a very nasty relationship with opiates. I had been using at this point for nearly ten years, and my use was all over the map. It didn’t really matter what the substance was, as long as it changed how I felt at the time. Little did I know that shortly before meeting the love of my life, the one that was healthy for me, I was dancing with the thing that would damn near kill me – opiates.
In The Beginning
As my wife and I began dating and through the first couple years of our marriage, I was able to keep my addiction well under wraps. She knew I drank and even that I was smoking pot, but I was able to hide my opiate abuse. However, as time marched on, my use increased, and so did the money I was spending. I always had a cover story for why I was taking money from the account. Although I thought my lies were foolproof, her suspicions began to rise. It wasn’t until the end of 2012, seven days before Christmas, that it all started to crumble.
We only had one car at the time and I left work early to ensure that I could score, get high, and still make it back to pick her up in time. It was a great plan… all the way up to the point that I nodded off at a stop light and the cops were called. I was crushed hearing the disappointment and fear in my wife’s voice when I called to tell her I was being arrested for DUI and she needed to have someone drive her to pick up the car.
I couldn’t understand how I was hurting someone that loved me so much. I thought, “This is it – I am done.” That was the first time I tried to quit using altogether. By sheer grit, I was able to string together a little over a month. It felt good not having to lie to her about things. Being that it was the first time, her trust came back pretty quick and I thought things were good. The thing is, I had not done any work and was not doing anything to keep myself away from using again. It didn’t take long before I was back at it.
I started out slow at first, smoking a little here and there, and a couple of beers on the weekend. Before I knew it, I was back to sneaking money out of the account and buying pills. Again, just like before, I thought I had everyone fooled with stories I believed were bulletproof. This went on for another year and a half. In November 2014, we welcomed our first child. I knew our son would be the thing to get me out of my personal hell. I knew while holding him that it would be all I needed to make my life worthwhile again. Boy, was I wrong – no pun intended! I continued lying and stealing in an effort to feed my ever-growing addiction for another seven months.
Coming Together as a Family
On June 3, 2015, it all came to a head. My wife found numerous pill bottles I thought had been skillfully hidden. I was confronted when I got home from work that evening. I couldn’t face the hurt and disappointment any longer. For the first time since we had been together, I was completely honest with her. I answered all of her questions and told her I needed help. After talking for a few hours, I set out to find help and four days later checked into rehab at Stepping Stone Center for Recovery.
It has been nearly four years since that fateful day. The time I have been able to spend with my wife and son in recovery is nothing short of amazing! The first year was rough, but that is to be expected. I had to allow her the time to heal from all of the hurt I caused over the years. My wife had never known me sober, and because I had been in active addiction for so long, I didn’t know me either. It took a lot of time for her to be able to put her trust me again, and I work hard every day to ensure that trust remains strong. I had to not only figure out who I was as a person, but who I was as a husband and a father.
To this day, my wife remains my biggest supporter. Without her and all of her sacrifices, I am not sure I would be writing this story. While I had to get sober for myself, I strive to stay sober for her and our son. While this journey has not been easy, I wouldn’t change a moment of it. It brought us so much closer and taught us the enduring power of love.