For the reason that substance use disorder is very sensitive in nature, I have to write this blog anonymously. I need to protect the identity of my immediate family. This blog is strictly for my healing and I would want to keep it honest with my feeling. Every story I share here represents my own experiences only. It does not represent those of my husband.
I am a Mom in my mid-30’s, living in Virginia with my husband of 12 years and our 3 beautiful children.
My husband developed a substance use disorder from prescribed medications (opioid: percocet (oxycodone) ; stimulant: adderal ; sedatives: ativan (lorazepam) and klonopin (clonazepam) for 2 years and almost died.
A substance use disorder is a medical condition in which one or more substances leads to a clinical impairment or distress. Tolerance, physical dependence and addiction are all distinctive components of a substance use disorder. However, tolerance and physical dependence alone may cause secondary unwanted effects (adverse events) as severe as those of the addiction even when the medications are taken exactly as prescribed.
In my husband’s case, he had developed tolerance and physical dependence to the medications even if he took them exactly as prescribed. His symptoms were anxiety, depression, pain, insomnia, drowsiness and irritability. These contributed to his relapse on alcohol and the development of marijuana addiction.
What was supposed to be a pain control for 2 weeks ended up being 2 years of physical, emotional, mental and financial hell for not just for my husband, but for all of us!
As of today, he is now in recovery, and completely off the medications, however the long term use of the drugs, has created problems with his heart, as well as depression and anxiety.
As for me, years of extreme stress have taken a toll on my body, thoughts, feelings and behavior. I have gained weight, feel anxious, and depressed. The three big parts of my recovery are stress management (eat, drink and sleep well, exercise 3 times a week, and go outside more); do things I enjoy: singing, journaling, visiting families/friends, volunteering; and last but not the least, forgiveness: let go of anger and resentment towards him.
I’m not being pretentious or shady, but I have reasons to get well than increase my risks for developing heart attack, stroke, cancer, etc…The fear of leaving my 3 little kids motherless terrifies me.
One lesson I have learned from this whole experience is that, the only way for me to help him, and save our marriage, is to put myself first and be willing to walk away, for good. It took me years to do this, but when he was served with restraining order, loss of custody of the children, and divorce papers, he stopped taking the medications and quit drinking.
Having said all that, with everything going on, i still have moments here and there where i feel genuinely grateful for what i have: a sober husband who is no longer taking prescription meds, 3 beautiful kids, a supportive family, a flexible job, cool bosses, a roof over our heads etc…
I would like to focus on my recovery and become the best version of myself.