It’s easy for us to lose sight of ourselves and our marriage when our children struggle with addiction. Our sole focus becomes saving them, and others, inadvertently, can fall to the wayside. My own marriage was crumbling at one point, everything became toxic and unhealthy. I mean LITERALLY everything.
The blame game was in full force for a long time. I felt he didn’t support me, he felt I was enabling her every move.
For me, personally, I became OBSESSESED with saving my daughter Brittany. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I spent so much time trying to FIX my daughter, that I lost the connection with my husband that we once had, mentally, spiritually even physically. It certainly wasn’t intentional, I think I just became so lost in my own pain and fear, that I didn’t realize that my husband needed me too.
EVERY SINGLE CONVERSATION WE HAD REVOLVED AROUND BRITTANY.
Going out to dinner, the conversation almost always led to Brittany…and it usually ended up heated, discussing doctor bills, what sober house she was at now, how much I spent on her this month.
Making plans for a vacation, we talked about Brittany…should we bring her, can we leave her at home, what if something happened while we were gone?
This time of my life was absolutely, hands down, the most difficult I have ever experienced. I was losing my daughter, myself and my husband. I was so broken in every way, I truly felt like I was drowning and there was no way out. I could barely get out of bed, movements throughout the day were automatic. I couldn’t stand to get on social media and see everyone’s HAPPY lives, or bad days. I would scream internally, “You have NO idea what a bad day is like!”. I was angry with the world.
Until I reached my own “rock bottom” of sorts. I had to stop the damn pity party. I realized I had a choice to make….Do I want to live miserable the rest of my life? Or DO something about it?!
I realized I couldn’t STOP my daughter from using drugs, but I could certainly change how I reacted to it. I also knew I had a husband and younger daughter that needed me to be present and in the moment. Not just going through the motions.
So what did we do to save our marriage? While I wont go into all of the personal details, I can say these few tips helped us TREMENDOUSLY get back on track.
- I stopped working harder on my daughter’s recovery than she was. Think about that. Say it out loud. Read it again. You know exactly what I mean moms.
- I started looking at myself again like a woman. Not the mom, not the wife, not the co-worker. I had to identify with MYSELF again.
- I had to look at my husband as a MAN again. Lets be real. We get comfortable in our marriage, and lets face it, marriage is HARD WORK!
- We started going on marriage dates again…and made a pact to NOT discuss Brittany, nor would I take calls from her during our dates.
- We both took an honest look at ourselves, our own actions, and started open and honest communication. It wasn’t easy. Many times I didn’t like what he had to say. Many times I didn’t agree with it and likewise with him. But we had to truly LISTEN and VALIDATE those feelings, not judge one another. Man, that was hard.
As a family, we had to begin look at enabling RECOVERY, not addiction. Addiction will create some damage on relationships in one shape or another, there is no doubt. But HEALING and PEACE can come, not by fixing each other, but by mending OURSELVES.
If you or someone you love is struggling, we have resources that can help. Please don’t hesitate to reach out, you are NOT alone.
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Author, Public Speaker, Treatment placement, family recovery coaching