Family Recovery Stories > Husband > John (Anonymous)
Where do I start? To think that I would ever have a family member, let alone a wife that needed drug rehab, recovery, 12 steps, detox or any of these things and I would have thought you were crazy and there was no way that would ever happen to me. People that suffered from addiction were not like me or my family, those were dysfunctional homes or families where something or someone was broken.
You see I was/am the typical "perfect family." I had graduated from college, BYU to be exact, had found a successful career and was always active in my ward(s) and my wife had everything going for her. What more could either of us or anyone for that matter want? Our marriage like I assume most, had its struggles and ups and downs, but all was good, like I shared, we were doing everything right so it seemed and we had no reason not be happy.
I cannot put my finger on the exact time or cause, but over time something changed and before I knew it, I was not happy any longer. Now for those that knew/know me this may seem crazy or not possible, because what we did great was live in a way that from the outside looking in, we were doing awesome. Not only were we doing awesome but if you were to see us out, or on social media or on Sunday, well hey we were the picture perfect young couple who had it all. The truth is, though it was not always like this, something had changed and what we had were nightly arguments, full blown yelling matches, days without real communication, lots of bitterness, and for me I believe I fell into a state of depression. I was never diagnosed with it and I hid it so well from everyone, even my kids, but I was sad all the time, felt like I was trapped in my marriage and to be honest the point where I feel it must have been the lowest, I felt like if something bad happened to my wife, that just then maybe I would have a way out.
Why do I share this with you? I am not proud of it, and I do not wish it on anyone, but I have come to find through my own personal recovery and that journey includes supporting my recovering wife with her recovery from addiction, that many like I was, may be lost and suffering alone with no clue what to do next or why they are feeling the way they do or what they did to deserve it!
The unique thing about me, and our situation is that I did not have a clue that addiction was in my family or to blame for the chaos we felt. It is a bit crazy, but when I came to know for sure my wife was addicted to pain pills, I was relieved. I now had something to blame my misery on and I no longer had to blame it on a bad wife. You see, I figured it must be my wife who was to blame. Why did she always find fault with me, why was everything an argument, why was she so mad, why so sad, why always sick? All of these why’s prior to the reality of addiction allowed me to blame her and be more angry with her which in turn made us both more "sick" in our own way and less willing to be with each other. So you can see, finding out that drug addiction was in the picture, allowed me to direct that anger somewhere and trust me I was angry, very angry.
I do not mean to share all the negative feelings and "downer attitude" but I want those hearing my story to know that I know how you are feeling. What I cannot wait to share with you is my/our story of healing and recovery!
The day my wife finally admitted that she needed professional help and could not quit is a day I will never forget. It was the first time in what felt like forever that I saw real feelings and humility and it allowed us even in that time of lowliness to connect and feel a way we had not felt in a long time. She needed me again, not the money, the house, the worldly junk, but she needed me and I actually needed her. I for the first time in a long time felt like something good was around the corner.
Don’t get me wrong, shortly after these short lived good feelings, I too went through some times of resentment and blame and all of the sudden felt justified for my negative feelings that I had held for so long, BUT all of this quickly began to change.
My wife went through an intensive outpatient treatment program and I joined in once a week at the treatment center to work on my own recovery. Working my recovery seemed so backwards at first. Why did I have to change or work on myself, I was not doing drugs? I mean, all the issues we had over the last few years had to have been caused by her usage right? No! I realized that though I did not cause her addiction I was a very big contributor to it. I realized that when I went days without paying attention to her to "teach her a lesson" that I was actually driving her addiction even more. All the comments about the "pill popping UT county moms" oh how that must have cut deep.
What I started to realize is that though my wife had an addiction to drugs, I too had so many character weaknesses that if I could overcome them while she overcame her addiction and of course her weaknesses, that together we would grow to understand and love each other in a way that we never could have done prior to going through this.
I recall the first night when I dropped my wife off at the recovery center, before they took her to detox, that Tyson told me I would be grateful for the addiction in my home and to be patient. Well I thought he had lost his mind and had no clue, but the truth is I am grateful. I am not grateful for the pain it caused us and especially my wife, but I am grateful that it brought us to a place of real humility and a need to really access the atonement and to meet friends that I am eternally grateful for.
It was so amazing from almost very early on to see how much my wife dove into her recovery. It was as if though she was in college and she had studies, reports, assignments and the more she studied, the more she glowed and the more I wanted to be with her. She literally changed physically through a completely spiritual experience. I give most the credit to her. She suffered all the family and relationship turmoil that I did, but along with that she carried a secret with her that caused her to hate herself and though it was never admitted to me during the addiction (remember she hid this addiction for a long time) she blamed herself and her addiction for the family’s unhappiness.
My wife literally started glowing, she loved others and forgave others like I had never witnessed, her patience with me and the kids was very Christ like in nature. She literally lost herself in recovery and the 12 step process and became a new person.
If I could share her story of change and recovery I would, but again as a family member I want you to know that recovery is real, and there are many just like you suffering and many like me that have but have come out on the other side of addiction with a new life and a new understanding of the atonement.
Please if you are struggling or if you are a family member struggling, reach out to the Dixons, they are amazing and you will be so glad you did. There is help for you the family member of someone struggling and though the goal is for your family member to find recovery from addiction like my wife did, the truth is that you deserve happiness regardless of what your family member is doing. This is possible.
I must mention that a very crucial part if not the most crucial part of my personal recovery and journey was carried out through the support and love I received while attending the Renaissance Ranch Family group meetings. From the very first moment I walked into the Ranch I felt a Spirit that was so comforting and it is crazy but here I am almost 18 months later and each week that I attend I feel that same love and Spirit that I did the first day. I believe it is possible to find personal recovery and healing without going to a treatment center, however I am very doubtful that I would have. The Dixon’s seemed to know exactly how I felt and they had been through so many similar experiences that I was instantly able to love them and connect with them like I have not been able to at other 12 step meetings. I am eternally grateful for the love, support and ongoing guidance I receive there.
I admire my wife who is an addict, but she is enjoying long term sobriety and so am I along with her. We are still actively working a 12 step program because we know even after initial recovery, that the winds will blow and things will happen that can easily drive us both back into our ways, and we can quickly find safety and peace through working our program or recovery, which for us involves the Savior Jesus Christ and his atonement but we understand it better from working the 12 step principles.