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Will you be a survivor of Meth addiction?


Will you be a survivor of meth addiction?

Desperate Housewife
I started writing this post in response to your comments on the “I forgive myself today…” thread when I felt you were showing a lack of understanding of Cementracer and other recovering addicts. My reply has grown in the past few days as I have continued to read your posts on other topics. It has ended up being a very long post but I hope you’ll persevere and read through to the end because it may help you to see that people are not being ‘rough on you’, only concerned that you begin to understand how addiction works and how to deal with it.

Many of us read the posts on this forum daily and we are now quite familiar with your story. You have certainly been through a difficult time. I am really sorry to hear this. It must be absolutely awful…for your whole family.

Like many of us, you are suffering because you are living with a person who has a disease called Addiction. This illness, particularly when the substance involved is Meth, causes people we love to behave in the most uncharacteristic, destructive and horrifying ways. Being around them and being caught in the tornado of their addiction we can also become infected by this illness – in the form of codependency - and it can make our lives a living hell.

So you’ve been there and you’re still there, it hurts, you’re afraid and it’s not fair. We get the picture. You’re posting to people who have ALL been through the suffering meth brings to our lives…one way or another.

I don’t want to trivialise your suffering but, believe it or not, if this was a competition to see who had the worst addiction horror story you might not actually win it. This site is not about who has suffered the most, it’s for the SUPPORT of those affected by their own or another’s use of meth and it’s about RECOVERY for ALL of those involved.

As an addictive substance Meth, in particular, often seems to disable the part of the brain that deals with conscience, morals and emotional accountability. It makes previously decent people do the most disgusting and alarming things in order to serve one aim i.e. ensuring the continuity of supply of the drug itself.

What you may not understand yet from your experience with your husband is that, when the meth wears off, many addicts become acutely aware of the guilt and shame they feel for the things they have done while using. Their sense of self-loathing and disgust is so immense and overwhelming that the only way they know how to stop their self-hatred is to again use the drug that takes it all away and makes them not care any more.

This is particularly so for addicts in the early days of their recovery. They have no cottonwool between them and their shame and pain; it’s all very ‘raw’ and intense. They don’t need any of us reminding them of their ‘sins’. They are all too acutely aware of that. We don’t need to ask them to feel bad for things that other addicts have done to us. Their own shame and guilt is more than enough for them to cope with.

This site is here to SUPPORT EVERYONE involved with addiction. That includes addicts in early recovery and addicts who come here thinking about quitting.

Addicts in recovery have a really hard time forgiving themselves for the awful things they have done while using. Self-forgiveness is essential if they are to leave the past behind and move on into recovery. Without self-forgiveness they are forever trapped in the self-loathing that is a key trigger to using again to eliminate their shame.

Scolding, recrimination and dumping guilt on an addict is completely counter-productive if our primary aim is to assist and support their recovery. Everyone here is entitled to share their ‘stories’ but there are ways of doing this that don’t imply someone else is responsible for the situations we have found ourselves in - particularly on a discussion thread devoted to self-forgiveness.

You changed the title of Cementracer’s topic on “Today I forgive myself…” to “The ones that hurt us the most our (are?) ourselves”.

To that I say, “Yes, absolutely!”

So since you selected this new title, have you taken a good look at how that applies to your situation? Have you explored the ways in which you are hurting yourself by continuing to remain in a situation that hurts you and, it appears, every other of your family as well?

If you’ve taken some time to read extensively through this forum you’ll start to notice that there are some real ‘survivor’ stories here - addicts and codependents alike. People who have been through hell whose lives have been forged by pain and seemingly insurmountable challenges but who have climbed back on top to become pure shining gems of human beings.

So I have a question for you: Do you want to become a true ‘survivor’ of addiction or do you want to be a loser with a really good horror story to tell?

Just as an addict has a choice to quit their drug habit and recover, you too have a choice about whether you will be a survivor or continue to be a loser to addiction.

What I have noted throughout your posts is a consistent theme of referring to the ways in which you have lost out or may lose out to your husband’s illness and yet very little reference to what you are doing to help yourself and address the problems in your family. I have also noticed that you refer to yourself as a ‘victim’ of his addiction.

If you wish to survive and recover from the illness that is affecting your family, you will need to redefine the terms by which you identify yourself and the way in which you are approaching the situation. If you stay in blaming your husband and even your parents for your situation, your energy will be invested in proving them ‘wrong’ instead of taking the appropriate actions required to alleviate your problems.

The situations we find ourselves in today are the results of the choices we made in the past. We can blame our addicted partners as much as we like for their poor choices that created the mess in our lives, but ultimately we made the choices that brought them into our lives and we make the choices and decisions about whether we remain trapped in unworkable situations.

So right now you can make a choice whether you want to be ‘right’ (that they are all responsible for your demise) or whether you want to be happy, free of this situation and a ‘survivor’ of addiction.

Surviving requires a decision that you’re ready to quit being a loser to addiction and start the actions steps that will lead towards your own recovery. One cost of this decision will be that you’ll have to be willing to give up the identity, attention and sympathy you’ve been getting from presenting yourself as a big loser to addiction.

Those of us who have suffered as loved ones of an addict can get very attached to our victim stories. They give us an identity we’ve become familiar with and sharing our tale of numerous losses can become an habitual thing. We begin to define ourselves as “I am the wife of the man who done me wrong and did such and such and this and that to me so I have the excuse to just sit here and cry or drink too much or be a bytch or do whatever…”

But what happens when we take away the ‘story’ of how someone has done us wrong? Who would I be if I wasn’t the ‘victim’ of this man’s addiction and instead was a person who is solely responsible for whether my life works or is a total mess? Who would I be then????

Now that takes us into scary territory, yes?

That ‘void’ of no longer defining oneself as the victim of someone else also has the most wonderful possibilities, because we can use it as an opportunity to completely redefine our lives the way we want them to be. No longer sitting back and relying on someone else’s decisions and f#&kups, but reliant on our own decisions and choices. Scary, but wonderful. You’ll be surprised to discover abilities you never even guessed you had in you.

In reading your recent posts to this forum I have recognised the desperate pitch of a voice that has been all too familiar in my own mind from time to time. I call her “The Opera Singer” because her plaintive cry goes: “But what about Mi-mi-mi-mi-mi???”

What I have learned in my own recovery is that “The Opera Singer” is screaming because she needs attention and she needs to be heard. But the person who needs to be listening to her is ME, not anybody else. She is the voice of my own fears, my own needs. The more I ignore her, the louder she sings. She’ll sing to anyone else who’ll listen. But in singing to others my frustration only grows, because they cannot fix my problems. It is ME who needs to hear her because, ultimately, I am the only one who can give her what she needs to soothe and silence her desperation.

So what is your Opera Singer trying to tell you, Desperate Housewife? What are you not hearing when your voice is projected outward instead onto your own attentive inner ear?

You seemed to think Loraura was being ‘rough on you’ when she suggested it was time to start seriously thinking about what proactive moves you need to make for your own survival and recovery. Actually she was being very supportive in encouraging you to recognise the severity of your situation and bringing your attention to what you can do if you want to survive this.

After all, what kind of support would we be giving you if we just agree with you that your situation is hopeless and that you’re nothing but a powerless victim to your husband’s addiction? That would be like the recovering addicts here saying to an active user “Hey man, sorry to hear you’re forever stuck with this and it’ll mess you up for life. We managed to get ourselves off it and survive but we’re not gonna tell you how we did it.”

So what’s it to be? Will it be divorce and property settlement before you husband’s addiction chews up every other material asset he’s provided for you as well as your parents’ life savings? If you’re concerned about your physical safety, are you going to get a protection order to prevent his continued physical abuse? Will you take yourself off to Naranon or a counsellor with experience is codependency who can help you understand how to live with an addict? Will you ask Sam to leave until he’s ready to get help with his drug addiction?

Or will you just stay there and ‘sing’ some more and blame others for your predicament? Will you allow yourself to be physically abused so your kids can look over your coffin and say, “Yeah poor Mom, she was so ‘right’, Dad is a messed up addict and a psycho.”

Another thing I noticed in reading your posts was that you didn’t seem to mention having any positive feelings whatsoever for your husband. Maybe you’re just putting on a ‘tough act’ to hide how much it hurts? Or maybe your disappointment and anger for the loss of your shared dreams are masking any love you have for him? You don’t seem to be one of these people who’s desperately in love and can’t let go or someone who thinks they have to hang in there because they’re trying to ‘help’ their partner get well.

So it seriously begs the question: “Why are you still with him when it’s such a bad situation for you?”

You’ve mentioned that you used to have a good career, so you obviously have the capacity to earn your own keep. You mentioned that you had your own home, so obviously you can claim at least some equity in the material assets you still own jointly. Your parents are obviously entitled to take some share in the assets if the partnership is dissolved, so they won’t miss out entirely.

So it’s not clear to me what’s holding you there in a situation where you say your physical survival has already been seriously threatened?????

If your reasons for staying are to retain the security of the material assets of your marriage, then you don’t need to read far into the posts on this site to realise you can expect to lose all that as well if you stay with a husband using meth. Surely a nice house and keeping up the appearances of being one big happy family (with just you as the suffering Mom) are not worth the danger you’re putting yourself in???

Your parents may not be comfortable about having to make more changes at their age but they, too, will need to face the reality that the current situation is unworkable and only likely to get worse. How far are you going to let it go before you start to save your own skin and your parent’s as well if possible?

From what you have told us, it seems your husband’s disease has progressed to where is he already a very sick, and potentially dangerous, individual. If he has been a good husband and provider for most of your marriage then coming to terms with the changes in his behaviour that meth addiction brings will be very distressing.

It sounds like he had the best of intentions in building a house and welcoming your aging parents to live with you. But if you read through the stories on this site, you’ll soon understand that, despite their best intentions, addicts are increasingly unable to deliver on their promises.

Your feelings of disappointment and anger are understandable, but they won’t really alter the way this is progressing and the quicker you can move through your anger and into your own recovery plan, the better off you’ll be.

Here’s why. If an addict has been using meth to enhance their ability to perform and meet expectations, then the more pressure you put on them to perform the more their addicted brains will tell them to reach for the drug from which they think they get their ‘energy’.

If meth is what the addict uses to take away feeling ‘bad’ (guilt, shame, sense of failure), then the more you try to make them feel bad with expressing your anger, disappointment and guilt trips, the more they’ll reach for the drug because it helps them not to care any more what you think and feel.

So while your angry reaction to this situation is completely ‘natural’, it just doesn’t work if what you want is for the meth problem to go away. Addiction is a form of ‘mental’ illness and when you’re right in the middle of the horrendous behaviours that are symptomatic of this illness, it’s easy to take it all ‘personally’ and fail to see it as a disease.

You might find it easier if you understand that addiction is like having polio of the mind. So would you expect a person suffering with polio to run a marathon? Would there be any point getting angry and making him feel guilty or kicking him in the legs because he could no longer run the race?

The longer we stay in beating our heads against the brick wall of a loved one’s addiction illness, the more we’re just going to end up with very sore heads. The more we yell and plead with that brick wall, the more we’re simply wasting our breath. It doesn’t work and we only hurt ourselves.

So if you’re waiting for your husband to make the choice to quit using drugs before your life gets better, that’s the equivalent of sitting by the kitchen stove waiting for a polio sufferer to run to the shop and buy the supplies for dinner. You’re gonna get mighty hungry before that day ever comes.

When our addicted loved ones mess up their lives and fail to live up to our expectations of them, it’s easy to adopt a position of self-righteous superiority and say:
“If only he’d admit HE has a serious problem and start to DO something about it. HE should quit being dependent on the drug. HE should do whatever he needs to sort himself out and start fixing the problems in our marriage.”

Life with an addict teaches us very clearly that we have no power to control another person’s decisions and actions. The only place in which we can exercise any power is over our own decisions and actions.

If we at our judgements on others, we can learn a whole lot from turning them around and seeing clearly where we need to exercise the power we have to effectively change the situation.

Then it goes…
“If only I’d admit I have a serious problem and start to DO something about it. I should quit being dependent on him. I should do whatever I need to sort myself out and start fixing the problems in our marriage.”

If you plan to stay and support your husband’s recovery, then one of the best things you can do to facilitate this is to alleviate some of the financial and emotional burden of your dependency on him. If he is to get well again, it’s likely he’ll be out of action for at least some months.

Sam may need to go into rehab or be off work for a lengthy period, so the more you can contribute financially or make some decisions about downscaling your lifestyle expenses, the easier it is going to be to survive on one income. It will also make it much easier for him to recover if you take on board the comments I made earlier about the effects of scolding addicts for the things they did when using.

If you have decided the marriage is not worth salvaging or Sam shows no signs of being likely to quit meth, then you will still need to establish financial and emotional independence.
I know it’s scary as a mature woman having to contemplate going it alone, but with your background in real estate and inner strengths you haven’t even discovered yet I’m sure you’d be more than capable of dealing with single life and with divorce and property settlement.

No one welcomes change when they’re accustomed to a relatively comfortable situation. And in contrast with many of the women on this site who have had to walk out on meth addiction with small children or grandchildren to care for, few employable skills and no material assets, your position would seem quite enviably ‘comfortable’. Addicts and codependents alike, many here have already lived your feared ‘homeless and poor’ and emerged much better people from the experience.

Perhaps the relative ‘comfort zone’ of your current living arrangement is why it is even harder for you to recognise the seriousness and danger of your situation. When you share stories of your husband’s verbal abuse and threats to your physical survival, you shouldn’t be surprised when others become alarmed and urge you to take immediate action. You may not see it, but you’re already in hot water up to your knees and, with meth addiction, the tide is only going one way.

So please don’t think people on this site are being ‘tough on you’ when they make practical suggestions for how you can address your problems. You’ll find plenty of encouragement and support behind you, but you’ll need to make the moves yourself. In dealing with addicts…and with codependents…we learn that you can’t help anyone until they’re ready to help themselves.

So now it’s your call, Desperate Housewife, and what’s it to be? Another meth victim who falls by the wayside…or one more star survivor who wrests her life from the meth demon and blazes a trail for others to follow?

Wishing you all the best in the days to come


Re: Will you be a survivor of meth addiction?

I read much more than I post and have picked up a lot about each one of you. I always said we are born with one mouth and two ears for a reason. If you really take the time to really listen (read in this case)much can be discovered about yourself and others on these boards.

K8 I think your comments are profound and I agree with every line.

I obviously shared a few one on one talks (types) with you desparate housewife and I got the impression that once you got a message from me you did not agree with, or did not want to hear, you backed away. Correct me if I'm wrong and perhaps that coversation should be reserved for one on one.

As I read this thread, I think K8 is exactly correct with the assessment of your situation (from all the things you told me and I read here). Please don't take the comments as attacks, or judgement. I think the comments here are truly constructive and it helps sometimes to hear candid comments about ourselves.

I hope all is well.


Re: Will you be a survivor of meth addiction?

Yes..Yes..Yes!! You are so right about my fears and I have learned alot, especially from you, Thank you for taking the time for me, I wish you well also. I agree with most of what you said, I do feel like the victum, but I never realizes just what I might be doing to feed the monster!!

I'm just tired of the fighting, the aggravation.
I want to help us. But, from touching each of you, I now realize only I can help ME!!

I appreciate all your feedback, it gave me much needed insight into this problem & burden I have chose to carry with me.
I am so enlightened just from your reply.
You did good by me, I wil re-read this, and take it & start applying it!!


Re: Will you be a survivor of meth addiction?

Of course..No one likes to read or hear anything that may make them think real hard, but that is why I'm here.
Like you, to get a better understanding of the drug, of the different views, and I have looked deep into myself lately.
I haven't been avoiding or nor do I feel insulted by anything you've said, you guys are here, we are all here to either help or be helped,I just needed to tell my story.
Was I looking for anyone to agree with mi-mi-mi-mi?
I got the truth,that's what I wanted, i really hate sugar coating!! So, that is why I came to this site and I have really been educated here!!
All the wisdom that floats around this site is amazing!!
All is calm now, but that's when I feel so tired! After i read your reply, I just needed to absorb all of this and take a good long look at what I was trying to do.More important...Why I was trying to be the Ultimate Fixer?
I've read all my posts, and re-read the replys, it was from that I discovered so much about all the pain, no contest here, i do know how much this effects everyone.
I started out here, not knowing, or even caring about the Addict, Thankfully, I realize that I too have a problem.
Why else would anyone stay in this situation so long?
I, now have a new outlook and it is all due to the insight of this powerful site.
I hope all is well with you, but I just needed to vent, and vent I did
Now I will just take it slower, not put his back against the wall so much. I needed to hear different views and I sure did!


Re: Will you be a survivor of meth addiction?

Excellent post! Not only for desp_housewife, but for anyone suffering from the actions of an addict.


Re: Will you be a survivor of meth addiction?

Thank you, I truely wanted abetter understanding, and what a bargain! All this advice and for free, we all paid already!! You are all so astute, smart and so caring,I feel all your pain in the words and post here,
just glad some of you are helping me through this also, and it seems like I making progress...THANK YOU


Re: Will you be a survivor of meth addiction?

I know this post was directed at Desperate...but your words K8, hit home with me.
Lots to think about.


Re: Will you be a survivor of meth addiction?

DESP HOUSEWIFE..i am glad you are going to work on bettering things for yourself...i know that you are a strong woman and you can do anything you set your mind too..i cant wait to hear of all the great things that you are about to do...hang in there, stay strong, and keep us posted.


Re: Will you be a survivor of meth addiction?

I'm so glad you 'got it' with what I was trying to say to you. There lies the experience of many years of doing it all wrong and so if I can help shortcut it for someone else, that's wonderful. I do hope this makes your road easier.

Although my partner had already been clean five months when we found this site, I still wish I'd found it when I was in the thick of his using time because there is so much wisdom and support here for those who are ready to reover.

Good luck with your reinvention of a whole new you.


Re: Will you be a survivor of meth addiction?

I know that you were writing this to deppie but boy you sure hit home. I thank you for you long thought out honest, truthful response. Thanks so much for your words of wisdom. And for the explanation of how an addict feels after using. I guess that I personallly always want to yell about me, me, me. You did this and you did that. Do you realize what you are doing? Yes, he does. Thanks so much for your post. It makes me stop and think "What have I done that he has forgiven me for?" Plenty. He is sick right now. And he needs help. No amout of my bitching, yelling, screaming, or ignoring is going to haelp him a bit until he wants to help him self. I have got to worry about me and our children. We are the ones who are well, and if we do not focus on staying well, we to will delude ourselves into some other form of illness. Sorry for rambling. Thanks so much for your words of wisdom once again.

See also:

Life After Meth

Quitting Crystal Meth / Methamphetamine

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