Recently, I went back and re-examined one of my posts, Satan’s Favorite Drug Ever – Meth. It is by far the most viewed piece on this site, and a glance at my analytics shows most of the traffic I’m getting these days are people looking for answers about drug addictions either in their own lives or in the lives of their loved ones. This is a big difference from the once reigning The Ministry of Mike Warnke and 3 Boobs, because neither of those pieces can really help or hurt someone reading them. I feel differently about the meth piece because when I wrote it, I was in the throes of a lot of pain, not having found some emotional stability yet from the crushing blow of losing a lot of things in my life I really cared about. Since I remember how desperately I looked for help on-line, I feel some responsibility to not steer others in the same predicaments in the wrong direction.
I stand by most of it, but the clarity of some time and healing makes me want to caution about some of the things I was doing when I wrote that piece.
- Don’t Hide Things Until It’s Too Late For Anyone To Help
It blows my mind just how illogical things are when you go through something like this. When my husband became a drug addict, it took me months to tell anyone. Instead of going to certain friends I can trust for some help and direction, I let things build up to insurmountable heights. By the time I knew I needed help, things were so bad, and I was in such a panic, I looked like a raving lunatic. I believe it was hard for my friends to understand why I was flipping out. As far as they knew, this had all just begun to happen. They didn’t know I’d been sitting on this time bomb for six months.
I tried to change my husband myself. The crazy thing is my sole motivation for doing this was so that he wouldn’t be embarrassed.
Embarrassed?!! After it was all said and done, the amount of humiliation he and I both suffered is immeasurable. One of the true regrets I have is not asking for help until things got too bad. Addictions never form overnight. They seize a person slowly, gradually, and the hold is never so evident until the person actually does try to stop. Chef tried several times to quit, but it was too powerful by that time. When I finally asked for help, there was nothing anyone could do.
- The Devil Made Him Do It
The second thing I would like to address is the obvious reluctance I had to hold Chef accountable for his own actions. I am a Christian, and I believe with my whole heart that satan made an appearance in my life through all of this. But Chef was the sole captain of our ship-wrecked lives.
Infidelity is a weird thing to experience. Even though I had been betrayed by this one person I trusted the most in this world, I had a really hard time launching my full anger at him. It is always easier to blame anyone and everyone else, because love doesn’t take bloom in seconds, and it certainly doesn’t die in seconds either. I’d never even once had my heart broken, and I was ill-prepared for just how much it hurt, and how long it took for me to accept that Chef had chosen to break that trust, and blaming satan wasn’t going to help him.
Satan presents us all with opportunities, but we ultimately are the ones who choose to accept the shit he offers us. In my case, I found a pattern I’d fallen into for decades with Chef. Anytime he’d do something really hurtful, I’d play down his responsibility for it, and accept part of the blame for things I really had no control over, or blame the devil. I’m not afraid of being wrong, so I helped teach Chef all these years that he could always depend on me to make him feel a little better about what he’d done because we could blame satan, or I could see where maybe I’d done something that made him stumble. This is not a good thing for any wife to fall into. Even to this very day, Chef is struggling with accepting the full brunt of his own actions without trying to lay at least a little of the blame on those in his life he hurt the most. We do no one any favors sugar-coating the truth. No one held a gun to Chef’s head and made him pick up drugs again, and not even the devil can be blamed for his decisions.
- Advice Is Nice, But Therapy Is Quicker
I’ve been dating a man we’ll call Simon for a while now. Before I launch into this part, let me say this — this has been an on-again, off-again thing, I never dated anyone else when I was with him, and I don’t write much about him because he’s part of my life that I protect fiercely as my own. I had a little sniping argument with Chef one evening where he tried to make me jealous, so I changed my relationship status on Facebook in retaliation (because sometimes I can be petty and spiteful myself) and People Went Nuts. Yikes!! I don’t know if I should be flattered so many of you care, or insulted that so many of you thought I couldn’t land me another guy. 🙂 I’m going to choose the be flattered. I also would like to note for the record, I learned a very valuable lesson about cans of worms and unforeseen consequences, as well.
Ok. Back to the story at hand.
For months after I left Chef, I found myself interacting with him daily anyways. I would call him pathetically hoping he’d have some magic words that would fix all of this pain he’d caused. I lived for every text, despaired over every day my phone wouldn’t ring, and hoped for his knock on my door, and cry, cry, cry every time he’d let me down, which was every, single time. Even though he’d moved the girlfriend into our home, gave her my clothes and jewelry, and made a mockery of everything I loved, I still seemed unable to be angry at him specifically. It was easier to be pissed at the girlfriend, the motorcycle club, the drug dealers, the devil…but not him. I was stuck in this tar-ridden hell for months, until Simon started to help me break free of these very codependent actions.
During that time, I had a whole little army of people who loved me and wanted to help me get through this, including my children. My son Dj would sit and listen to me for hours, and he would point my thoughts to the good things about his dad, which actually wouldn’t help me much. It made what I’d lost feel so much harder. Rebekkah refused to talk about any of it, so I knew I couldn’t even mention his name around her. Weirdly, that made me want to talk about him more. My youngest daughter, Caitlyn, hadn’t really been around for much of any of it, being stationed in Japan, and she tried helping me by shaming me into being stronger. I promise you, that is a really, really bad tactic. No one stops doing anything because of shame. It just makes you feel worse while you’re doing it. At the heart of all three kids, though, was a genuine desire to help me.
I had friends, too, who tried one or all of these tactics on me as well, and it was pretty obvious, I was emotionally stuck. Then Simon came along, and he did the very best thing that could be done for me at that time. He just listened. He didn’t try to fix any of it. He let me be angry when I wanted to be angry. He let me cry when I wanted to cry. He waited patiently when I shoved him away and he was kind to me even when I’d taken something out on him because of Chef. He didn’t side with me, per se, or join in when I was verbally tearing Chef to pieces; nor did he defend Chef even when it was obvious I wasn’t being fair.
Basically, he listened to me sort through how I felt about all of it all by myself. He couldn’t have known that while I was attacking Chef, I’d be the first one to defend him should someone else attack him. He couldn’t have known that had he risen to my defense, I would have felt pathetic and weak, and wouldn’t be at all happy for the help. He only expressed confidence that I would find my way out of all of this eventually, and assured me that I had every right to find all of this very hard to handle. He expressed the logical opinion that any person who’d lived their entire adult life with one person is going to be codependent to some degree, and that wasn’t something to be ashamed of. I wasn’t sick or weak, I was wounded. There was no shame in having loved someone as much as I had.
I think God personally dropped Simon in my life right at the moment I needed someone like that in order to begin healing. On my best days, I’m not a very easy person to even get to know, and people misread me daily. During the whole separation process, even I was surprised at some of my own reactions, and I really couldn’t have guessed what any of them would be from moment to moment. I needed someone to have a little faith in me, and to let me figure it out alone.
If I was to ever re-write Satan’s Favorite Drug, I would want to blame satan less, emphasize that it’s okay if it takes you awhile to accept that the person you love bears the lion’s share of the responsibility for the pain you are experiencing, and to encourage people to ask for help the minute something like this makes an appearance in your life. Not so that you can rescue the person you love from the clutches of addiction, but to set up for yourself a support system for the flood of destruction that you will soon find yourself in the midst of.
That being said, I also would want to emphasize caution about taking to heart everyone’s advice. Most of what truly good-motivated friends were telling me didn’t work for me at all, and in some cases, it even set me back a bit. Simon did what most people go into therapy for…he just listened. Good motives don’t always equal good advice.
- Appreciation For The Experience
I went through all the stages of grief, but I’ve found something else lately. I’ve moved past the acceptance, and I can honestly say I now have a true appreciation for the whole experience. I’ve come out of it all a different person, but not a worse one. Yes. Knowing what I know now, I’d have still loved him.
PS. Man. I’m seriously glad it’s over though! I thought that hell on earth would never end!!