When James was less than a year old, I called 911 because Eli had overdosed on over-the-counter cough syrup. It was something he read about on-line and seemed new and exciting. It was a terrifying day for me. Thankfully the kids didn’t see them roll him away on a stretcher. I put on a video in our bedroom and they remained clueless. I thank God for this every time I remember that day. He came home from the hospital that night and 2 days later did it again. Obviously this was a problem we would have to deal with. We have spent the last 10 years going to support groups, counseling, and rehab to help with this problem. I have also spent a lot of time in prayer.
In addition to overdosing on cough syrup, he looks at pornography to further his high. This hurts me even more deeply. As a woman and as a wife I have had my self-esteem shattered by this habit. He has been seeing a therapist that specializes in this kind of behavior for almost 2 years now. There has been some progress, but I still live a life riddled with lies and deception. There is a double life that he leads that keeps me second-guessing my intuition and sanity. Catching him in the act of using or finding clues that tell me has done it recently make my heart shut down and my mind reel. I feel like a detective in my own house. I have spent many years working on my issues and trying to be the best wife I can be for him. I have committed myself to reading God’s word every day and trying to make his addictions about something other than me. And yet, they feel so personal. Every time. I often remind him that every time I catch him in a lie or high from substances, a little piece of my heart dies and closes off to what we could have as a couple. I long to trust him and share with him, but I feel guarded because of this behavior.
Recently he was caught shoplifting while getting his drug of choice at a Rite-Aid. He is now banned from all Rite-Aid stores and we are paying a fine of $300. I don’t really know that this behavior will ever end. I know that he has struggled with depression all of the years we’ve been together and I have been supportive as much as I know how. His therapist has also added a severe mood disorder to his diagnosis. This means that I live with extremes all of the time. I am exhausted and heart-broken and I don’t know what else to do. When he lost his job 2 years ago, I had him stay at his parents' for 6 weeks while I let my heart mend. God has been so good to me. He softens my heart every time I feel betrayed and gives me a new love for my husband. It has been truly amazing.
At this point, however, I am not willing to wait for the softening of my heart. I am now 40 years old and starving for a marriage that feels real and honest. I want nothing more than to build a life with someone and share all of me. I don’t think this will ever happen for Eli and me. I still love him. I love him desperately. But I can’t live like this anymore. Please forgive me. Please know that I have tried everything to save this relationship. Please support me and support him and support our children. This road will not be easy. It is truly the last thing I want to do.
I wish I only had to introduce you to ME: dad, husband, songwriter, pastor. That’s the guy I see in the mirror. I love my kids, I’m good at fixing things, I love to read or chase my dogs around the house. But I lose track of myself sometimes when I’m hurting. That’s when my addict comes around, the bastard who would throw it all away for a moment alone with his drugs and his porn. He cuts me with a razor and he steals things just for the rush. He’s even tried to kill me. But there’s a huge difference between us, and I’ll tell you what it is: He’s a coward. And I’m not. I won’t let him have my kids, my beautiful wife, my job or my home. And since he hates exposure, I’m going to tell you all about him. I’m Eli, and I’m an addict.