||Practical tips for surviving a spouse's addiction
I've been reading all of the discussion of
the tips. The core message is great, under the right
circumstances with the right spouse. However, from my own
experience, there are some practical things a spouse must do to
survive an active addiction.
I asked my husband if there was one thing I did or didn't do
that helped him the most during his addiction.
You disappeared with the kids.
The one thing I've done or haven't done that has helped in his
You don't give me shyt about going to meetings, and you take
away my excuses when I say I can't go.
So, from my experience, these are my tips...
1) Put yourself between the addict and the children. Be willing
to throw yourself in front of a bus or an active addict for
them. Putting a little piece of paper with a judge's signature
on it between the addict and the kids is helpful, too.
2) If you don't already have one, get a job - you need to be
able to support yourself financially. He's got other plans for
the money he earns (if he earns any at all).
3) Move the money... and keep it moving. Open a bank account in
your name only at a different bank that the one you use
together. Go paperless - DO NOT have statements mailed to your
home. Find a personal banker and tell her what's going on.
She'll help you keep an eye on your accounts.
4) Protect your assets. I'm talking about mutual assets. If
you're married and in a community property state, that means
everything you've acquired in the marriage. If you don't want it
to end up in pawn, nail it down or hide it away. If you have
unliquidated financial assets - liquidate and hide them, if you
can. He'll thank you later when you still have a television and
a pot to pee in.
5) Find a back-up. Your mom, a trusted friend, a neighbor -
anyone. You'll need somewhere to leave the kids when things at
home get heated. Not to mention, your addict won't really be
available to help with those two-person household things, so
find someone that you can call on in a pinch to help you fix the
leaky faucet or move the dresser to the other side of the room.
6) Be prepared to run at a moment's notice. Is your luggage full
of off-season clothes and tucked behind a giant stack of boxes
in the garage? Fix that. Plan like you have to leave for a
weather evacuation. Make sure you can quickly and easily grab
important paperwork and sentimental objects. Things happen, and
sometimes, you have to run.
7) If you have kids, especially infants or toddlers, no drugs or
paraphernalia in the house. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts. Do
spot checks (I'm not saying rifle though his stuff, but make
sure nothing is hidden in places where your kids can get to it.)
My daughter found a pipe in a pillowcase. A baggie of shyt fell
out of his sock.
8) If you have sex with your addict, use a condom. Doesn't
matter if he swears he would never cheat or that he isn't a
needle user. Addicts lie. You can't "help" him if you're dead.
Plus, the last thing you want to do is bring a newborn into the
mix. (I know whereof I speak.)
9) Get some distance... at least emotional distance. Addiction
is like an undertow - stand in the middle of it and it'll suck
you right under.
10) Get a life or go on with the one you've already got... take
every opportunity to be around normal, healthy people. Isolation
Okay. Those are my tips for now.