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My wife is an addict what can I do

(25 Posts)
sunshineandbooks Wed 13-Jul-11 23:30:36

Hi all,
this is my first post so please forgive me if I ramble.
My wife and i have been together for 15 years and throughout our time she has been addicted to cannabis and various prescription and otc drugs.
her addictions have led to real psychological problems which at one point almost resulted in her being sectioned.
Our grown up kids suffered from her serious mood swings and her total lack of interest in family activities and such. For most of the time I have felt like a single parent despite which I still love her deeply and Ive always tried to see her addictions as an illness.
We now have a 5 year old ds who is a complete delight and I'm worried that unless i do something he'll suffer like his elder siblings. DW is lovely with him at home and loves us both but her addictions overide everything.
she wont go anywhere with us or take part in any normal family activities and wont even do the normal things like parents evenings and school trips. Although i work full time its me that does these things.
She is currently taking 9 different kinds of unnecessary meds every day (about 20 tablets) and spends about £100 a month on dope which we cant afford.
If I try and talk to her about it she blows up and we have a horrible atmosphere for days and still nothing changes.
She has a poor relationship with her family as she has hurt them all over time with the way she shuts them out and they are all scared of her violent reactions to any criticsm.
Im 50 now and Im wondering whether i should settle for this and the complete lack of concern for my and ds welfare or whether especially for his sake I should take a stand and tell her to get help or we,ll leave.
Sorry for the length of the post but any help appreciated.

pickgo Wed 13-Jul-11 23:40:04

Sorry you're in such a difficult position sunshine.

I think you've probably got to give the ultimatum - you owe it to your DS, especially when you have witnessed the effect on your older DC.

As with any other kind of addiction, you can't do anything about it, your DW is the only one who can decide to change her behaviour. Perhaps leaving her (or getting her to leave preferably) will give her the impetus to start to sort herself out.

By the sound of it your life will not practically alter much as a lp.

barbiegrows Wed 13-Jul-11 23:43:16

I'm sorry to hear about your situation and quite impressed by your resilience to still be there for DW after all these years and throughout her addictions. I really don't know a lot about this, except that Alanon exists to help the families of addicts. This may be a good place for you to get support and advice from people in a similar situation as yourself.

You have done the right thing to question the situation, and to try and make some changes in your family's life. I think with addicts it's a case of being able to just let them go. They need to fall and hit rock bottom sometimes, before they can rebuild their lives. I think you know this is not a healthy situation in which to bring up DS but I can understand also why you can't let her go.

WillIEverBeASizeTen Wed 13-Jul-11 23:56:24

When I first met my XP, he smoked cannabis. He was going to give it up blah blah but never did. I endured 18 years with 2 kids with his habit and experienced much of what you did. I was, in effect, a single parent.

Couldn't take any more, so after 18 years we split. Have not looked back, was the best thing I ever did and should have done it years before.

Cannabis IS addictive and the affects are devastating. Unlike cocaine/heroin, cannabis can be deemed as 'acceptable' in alot of social circles as it is seen as 'harmless'. Oh lord, what little they know.

I can identify with your situation, feel free to PM me..

cestlavielife Thu 14-Jul-11 10:39:16

time to take a stand yes, your DS should enjoy his childhood - think about how he will describe his childhood when is older?

maybe living with dad in happy stable secure home - and having visits with mum when she ok - would be best memories

GetOrfMoiLand Thu 14-Jul-11 10:47:07

Oh poor you OP. How horrible. I agree totally with Williever. Pot addiction is so terribly pernicious, and I think it is far worse than any other drug (other than heroin/crack). It is hideously addictive, creates mental problems for the user and EVERY pot smoker thinks that they are the one whom pot smoking has no ill effect. They are incredibly selfish and self obsessed in my experience.

My mother has been addicted to pot for years. It has been a contrubutory factor to why I no longer talk to her, and my brother has moved to the other side of the world and can barelt tolerate a day of her company. She is hideously selfish and has never even considered giving it up, despite having been begged by her children. Me and my brother are absolutely zero tolerance about drugs as a result. It is awful. I fully sympathise with you.

It sounds like you have given her as many chances as possible. She won't change, pot smokers rarely do. You are 50 now - is it worth wasting any more of your life with this relationship?

Re your DC - if you left would she automatically get cutsody (do you work FT and is she a SAHM, I think that would tip the balance. With her drug problems if she had FT care your son would be vulnerable). It sounds like a ghastly situation. sad

NO sympathy with pot smokers. They are losers and feckless wasters (I know that I am harsh but that is my honest opinion, obviously formed by my own personal experience with my 'mother')

cestlavielife Thu 14-Jul-11 11:51:38

i work full time and my exP was allegedly a SAHP - but i got residence due to his behaviour. it depends how much a) she would want residence anyway and b) how much of her behviour/addiciton is recorded/proven.

also what child care would Ds get if he lived with you? after school club?

Apocalypto Thu 14-Jul-11 18:05:02

I'm not sure giving her ultimatums is going to help the OP. If this marriage ends she will get the house, the kids, and an income off the OP for life.

It will be for him to prove that she's a dopeheaded unfit mother, not for her to prove that she's not. He married her, ergo he has to keep and house her forever, end of.

Before doing anything else, I'd want proper advice on what the actual legal exposures are here. You can't just accuse her of being a dopehead and expect to be believed. You'll have to prove it. If you can't, you'll look bad, not her. Even if you can, you may still look bad:

Judge: So what'd this unreasonable behaviour by your wife you complain of?
sunshineandbooks: She's a pothead, m'lud.
Judge: Since when?
sunshineandbooks: Long as I've known her m'lud.
Judge: Oh, right, and it's only just started bothering you now? Don't make me laugh. You're another, you hippy. Give her the house, you liar.

I have no idea if that's a possibility, but it might be worth checking it out. Also, what happens if she accuses you back? Maybe you're a racist, or a whoremonger, making up lies to make her look bad.

It might be wise to find a way of getting her drug addictions documented somehow. This will take careful thought because if you produce a video of drug stuff in the house she can just say it's yours. Is there any way you can get her on film doing it, maybe get her arrested in possession a few times?

Failing that, there's always "Strangers on a Train"...

chriskathome Thu 14-Jul-11 22:01:12

Hi dont know what happened but i didnt choose the nickname sunshineandbooks, anyhow thanks so much for your advice and kind words.
The pot is just part of the problem just as worrying is the pills. over 70 a week none of which she actually needs.
All this leads to erratic behaviour and complete self obsession. for example her normally healthy mum who lives a mile away collapsed and began fitting on a shopping trip recently and she didnt even visit her.
As for getting custody her medical history would back up my claims and her entire family are behind me.
The difficulty is my DS, i just want to do the right thing for him. he loves his mum but I can see his expectations already lowering. We ve lived opposite a park for 6 years and shes never taken him so now he doesnt ask her.

sunshineandbooks Thu 14-Jul-11 22:32:54

I am the real sunshineandbooks and will can confirm that the original OP has nothing to do with me.

The OP is actually chriskathome

What's going on MNHQ? confused

PeterAndreForPM Thu 14-Jul-11 22:35:20

sunshine, I did notice this and gave a hmm

MN is going mad at the moment

didn't call it because I assumed a mistaken identity, since your other posts could not be further from the premise of this one confused

PeterAndreForPM Thu 14-Jul-11 22:35:54

sunshine (the real one), report the post

sunshineandbooks Thu 14-Jul-11 22:38:32

I have reported. I was going to say something supportive OP but am worried that it will end up totally confusing everyone now. I'm sorry that you're having a difficult time though.

chriskathome Thu 14-Jul-11 22:38:52

Sorry sunshine it wasnt me Ive enough trouble without upsetting anyone

PeterAndreForPM Thu 14-Jul-11 22:39:43

chris, MN has gone haywire the last couple of days

lots of mistakes and stuff happening

sunshineandbooks Thu 14-Jul-11 22:45:46

chris it's fine, don't worry. smile

sunshineandbooks Thu 14-Jul-11 23:03:22

Chris I hope the name mixup hasn't put you off too much. I rather enjoyed the "I am spartacus" moment so please don't fret about it.

Back to your original problem, I think the best thing you can do is get in touch with your local drug and alcohol service. If you contact your district or county council they will be able to point you in the right direction. They will be able to give you good, confidential advice on what to do.

Good luck. It sounds horrible and you sound very much like you have tried your hardest already. sad

mummakaz Thu 14-Jul-11 23:05:09

I agree with others, it's time to give her an ultimatum. Your ds needs to be put first. As you have said above your other children have suffered and you have a chance now to make sure it doesn't happen to your youngest before it's too late

I think it's going to be very hard for her to change her ways unfortunately

chriskathome Fri 15-Jul-11 14:28:39

Thanks all,
it would be so much easier if she'd talk but the moment I mention it (and I try to do it in a supportive way)she blows up, storms out and doesn't speak to me for days.
I've been to the drugs projects and such but ultimately it all comes back to the same result - only the addict can decide when they wont to stop.
It breaks my heart because i see her vulnerability and love her so much but the damage she does to me and will do to my ds is hard to bear.

aliceliddell Fri 15-Jul-11 18:19:20

I guess Narcotics Anonymous has a family/spouse organisation like AA has AlAnon. They will be able to advise you. Good luck.

Lizzabadger Sat 16-Jul-11 07:18:56

Things can't continue as they are, can they? I agree with others that you do need to take a stand and face the possibility that you will be raising your son on your own. I hope you have plenty of support. Horrible situation for you.

barbiegrows Mon 18-Jul-11 11:07:47

Hi ChrisK, apocalypto is right, you really need to get prepared before you leave, get all the evidence necessary. Be quiet about it. She may be a dopehead, but she is a mother and will more than likely to fight fiercely for ds. Try to look at whether her behaviour amounts to neglect - in the eyes of the law this can be a form of child abuse (sorry to be so blunt) in which case child protection matters will in and take precedence over your case.
But don't do anything to deliberately incriminate her, that would count against you (and would of course be wrong). DS's wellbeing is paramount as you know.

vogonmothership Mon 18-Jul-11 11:21:19

Chris, you could be my brother. After 20 years of marriage he recently took the decision that he had to get the children and himself out. She went, did not contest custody. All she is interested in is as much money as possible to fund her habits.
The kids had suffered years of neglect and abuse at her hands, she did not join in with family life, took no interest in their schooling, friends etc, everything that you mention. Did did not work and my brother worked full time which , as you, makes things difficult.
It was the best decision he could have made.
I would make an appointment with a solicitor that specialises in family law. Get your related post sent to work so she can't open it.
If you were a woman posting this we would all be shouting get out and get out now. As a man there is no difference. I hope you find the strength and courage to get through this and make a life for you and your ds.

Apocalypto Mon 18-Jul-11 12:19:42

@ vogonmothership

As a man there is no difference

Unfortunately, in law, there is a huge difference. The default assumption in a divorce is that the children get to stay in the house, and that she keeps the children. Therefore she gets the house and a guaranteed income off the OP, for ever and ever and ever.

There is almost literally nothing she can do that's so bad it will get him out of this. Even if she then spends all this income on drugs, he still has to pay it to her and it will still be her house. I doubt he gets the kids and the house back if she neglects them. He's going to have to prove it for starters.

The OP needs a lawyer very badly because when in possession of all the facts, he may not want to prove she's a dopehead. There may be all sorts of potential dimensions he'd never imagine. The way it is now could be as good as it gets.

A friend of mine got divorced and had so much money taken off him he ended up renting a one-room bedsit. It was all he could afford. He was then denied visits by his children, because he was judged not have adequate accommodation.

For all anyone knows, the same could happen here. Exposing the wife as a dopehead could mean she keeps the house and income, but because he works full time, pays her all his money and lives in a shed, the children go into care rather than coming back to him.

There are law firms that will do you an hour's meeting and lay out all this stuff for you. That's what the OP needs. She clearly couldn't give a shit about anyone but herself, but the law is still on her side.

If it were me, I would be trying to get her jailed, because it would be the kindest thing, but this is of course v. easy to say when you aren't part of it.

barbiegrows Mon 18-Jul-11 13:29:22

As I said Apocalypto, the law is on the side of the children, not the mother or the father. If there is a child protection issue then they will support him to care for dcs. They (SS) just need to know that Dad's going to be the best carer.

Also remember, that child maintenance is for the children not for the mother. The mother only gets maintenance because they were married and while the mother is main carer of the children, precisely because she can't work full time in the way that a single man can. I don't know what happened with your bedsit friend - it's unfortunate but this is bound to happen when two households need to be supported with very little income. Doesn't mean he can't see his children.

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