Caught in a Drug Addiction

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I am unfortunately caught in the grasp of a wicked prescription drug addiction. My husband is an active-duty servicemember and is very close to divorcing me.

I have tried traditional month-long rehabs, and they haven't worked. I would get clean for a month or so and relapse and get back to where I was before.

I am now entering a yearlong, faith-based rehab program and I need to do whatever I can to show my husband I am trying to change. He still loves me and wants to be with me, but he is really struggling.

He's concerned for his clearance, which is understandable, and also for our three-year-old daughter.

He has agreed to wait at least six months to make a decision. I don't know how I'll be able to show him I'm changing when he isn't likely to come visit during that six months. I can only make two phone calls a week. I will be able to write letters, and hopefully he'll write back.

He is also talking about volunteering for a deployment while I'm gone, since he hasn't deployed yet and it would be good for promotion points. I worry that he will be overly concerned about me and my progress while he's gone and won't be able to focus on the task at hand.

I'm also afraid that I would constantly worry about him being deployed and that could affect my recovery. Do you have any advice for us?

I want to be clean more than anything, and I'm willing to do whatever it takes, including being away from my child for a whole year. I just don't know how to show him that.

Sincerely,
Trying to Change

Dear Trying,

You are going to be just fine. This is a tough situation for you and for your family. On one hand, you are a wife and mother concerned for your husband and your daughter.

On the other hand, your addiction has spiraled out of control so you will have to be somewhat selfish right now so you can avoid relapse. Just thinking about all of this could be causing anxiety for you and cause you to return to your old coping habits.

To avoid this, you must do exactly what you are doing now -- build a support network. Believe it or not, you have started this process by writing to me. I may not have all of the answers, but you can definitely write to me when you are feeling stressed. Writing and journaling help to decrease stress and anxiety.

Your marriage can survive this situation. Your husband probably wants to deploy so he can be away from the situation. I think it would be more helpful if he doesn’t volunteer to deploy so he can be home for your daughter.

What will she think if both of her parents are away when your husband could in fact be there for her?

I also think your husband should continue to be supportive of you, even though he may be experiencing a lot of emotions that make him want to end the marriage. People who are caught in an addiction can be manipulative, tell numerous lies, isolate and hide, steal from people they love, etc.

If you have done any of these things, you can start by apologizing to him for your behavior. Your husband should start by learning all he can about your addiction. Perhaps he may even blame himself in some way. Who knows?

I know this is tough for him too. Just like you need a support network, he will need one too if your marriage should stay together. Hopefully, your treatment program has a family component that will give him the opportunity to participate in your treatment process.

I also highly suggest that he join Families Anonymous.

Families Anonymous is a 12-step fellowship for the families and friends who have known a feeling of desperation concerning the destructive behavior of someone very near to them.

When you come into their rooms, you are no longer alone but among friends who have experienced similar problems. Any concerned person is encouraged to attend the meetings, even if there is only a suspicion of a problem. Again, I encourage your husband to reach out for support, education and other resources.

I am so happy you have committed to long-term treatment, no matter how many times you have relapsed. Many people give up and think they will never be able to live a life of sobriety but you can.

Please keep in touch with me and allow me to be a part of your support network.

Sincerely,
Ms. Vicki

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Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, is married to an active-duty Soldier and has three sons. She has a Master's of Science in Social Work from the University of Louisville, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and currently works as a therapist with military servicemembers and their families. She provides services for a wide array of concerns such as combat stress, PTSD, couples and marital problems, depression, grief and loss, stress and coping.

Ms. Vicki also writes an advice column "Dear Ms. Vicki" that appears in the Washington Times, the Fort Campbell Courier and the Heidelberg Herald Post. Ms. Vicki also hosts an internet radio show and blogs on her community site with the Washington Times. If you want to ask Ms. Vicki for advice about your military life, please email her at AskMsVicki@military-inc.com.

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