In our small town, drugs are everywhere. Marijuana, pain pills and even methamphetamine: drugs are all around. Every family that I know is affected by drugs in some way or another. Knowing families that are affected by this horror is one thing, but seeing them in your own home? No not us. Not my house. Not my husband.
After getting married at a young age and having our first child, my husband and I began adult life just like many others. He worked, paid bills and provided for our family, and I stayed home and raised our three children. Life was just like that of so many other young couples.
After eight years of marriage, we finally bought our first home. It was big. It was beautiful. It was all we had ever dreamed. Being that we were self-employed John could work, or not work, all the hours he wanted. It seemed as though he was gone, a lot. John left early in the morning and stayed gone until dark. Every single day.
John had always been a wonderful father. He was the “hands-on” type. From pillow fights to wrestling matches, he had still made time for his children. They loved him dearly. All 3 of our children think that John is the most influential man on planet Earth. He loved them the same in return. This was one of my husband’s most exceptional qualities. I could never have ever dreamed of a man to be a better father to my children. He was the perfect man for the job.
Now that he was working so much it seemed his time with the children became shorter and less exciting. He seemed to stay gone more and more, and we all saw him less and less. And something was happening to the man who used to think I was the prettiest woman in the world. We were drifting further and further apart, and he now seemed to resent my presence. Me. The one who used to be his best friend was suddenly someone he despised.
One night around 2 a.m. I was awoken by the sudden urge to empty my bladder and noticed that my beloved husband was not in bed beside me. I looked all around the house to find my him anywhere. To my surprise, there was John in the garage working on a car. At 2 a.m. he is working as hard and as fast as he can on a car that we have not even driven in nearly a year. How odd. After asking him “What in the world, he was doing at this hour?” he simply says “Honey, I could not sleep and got bored laying in bed.” The thoughts of the kids’ 6:30 a.m. school bus came to mind, so I silently turned around and hurried back to bed.
I had so many questions running through my head. Why was John so different? Why did he always seem so angry? And why in the world did he never seem to sleep anymore? I made up my mind I was going to confront him as soon as he got home from work. The minute he walked through the door I said “Honey, you are so different. What is going on?” As I was questioning him, he began undressing because he was filthy after a long day at work, and he stopped me dead in my tracks. He started shouting, screaming and raging in a way I had rarely seen in all our years of marriage. I was so shocked; I fell silent and began to observe this man who had become a stranger. He was so thin. He was now stripped down to his underwear, which were nearly falling off, when I noticed his legs. My, they were much smaller than mine. They did not seem to be much more than bones with just a little bit of skin stretched over them. John had always been a big, strong, healthy man. When did he get so thin? He had not been sick nor dieting. Then, like a ton of bricks, the thought of Methamphetamine hit my mind.
“John are you on meth?” That was all I could get out as tears flowed down my face. I couldn’t believe what I had said. Surely this could not be true. After nearly an hour of arguing, screaming and yes, many tears my husband had finally admitted he had been using meth for several months now.
I decided that was it. No more drugs or I was going to file for divorce. John begged and promised that he would stop and this was the end of his use of drugs. One week passed, and I still noticed small things he would do that didn’t seem right. So I popped a surprise drug test on him, and he failed it. The threat of divorce did not have the effect I had hoped. All my nagging and complaining was not having any impact on my husband.
Although my heart was shattered and I cried myself to sleep every night, I did not tell our kids about their beloved father’s addiction. They were small, and I felt this harsh reality would only hurt them. This was mine, and John’s secret and the children must not ever know. As I tried to keep my family together, this new revelation felt like it ate me from the inside out. I thought I had always been a good wife. So what happened? Where did I go so wrong that my husband turned to this dangerous addiction? I no longer wanted to be married to a man so sick with addiction, yet I wanted my children to have their mother and father in the same home. So I stayed.
After several years had passed, John remained the same. He visited many places I would never dare be seen. Places ordinary people called “dope houses.” He would stay in the mirror for hours at a time picking bumps off his face. My once handsome husband now stayed covered in large nasty sores. He had such an odd smell. Even after showering something about him still seemed so dirty. And intimacy was one of the most challenging things for me. It was like making love to a stranger. A man I did not know. I felt like a troubled teenage girl who had found a man she had never met and went to bed with him. How could a woman feel so sickened by a man she once loved and cherished?
Our dark secret had somehow stayed protected from our kids for several years. But as they began to get older, they too started noticing things that seemed strange about their father. He continually hid the fact of his meth addiction, but I knew once they were teenagers, they would find out one way or another. I will never forget the day my oldest son told me he knew his daddy was a drug addict. We both cried together as he said to me he now understood why I had been so distant from their father for all these years.
John never did get help, and he never seemed to want to stop using. Our kids are now grown and seemed to have turned out alright. Although the inner fight within, tormented me daily, I will never regret staying with John to keep my children’s home together. They still love their Daddy, but they look at him somewhat differently than they did as kids. Still, I have never shared with them that he was on methamphetamine for all those years. Drug addict or not they love him, and I would never want to take that away from them or John.
John and I are still married, but we do seem to live separate lives. I run my own little dress shop which keeps me busy, and he still is the same old John. Just older and now with a scarred face from all those years of constant picking. And his beautiful smile, oh that smile, is now not much to look at as there are not many teeth left and what is there, are now turning black. And John has aged much faster than normal. More than once people have asked if I was his daughter. And for the life of him, he still can not figure out how or why I look so much younger than he does. I guess after all these years I have given up hope that he will ever stop using. I do still love him though. It’s not the same admiration and respectful love I once had for him. I think its more of a sorrowful love. Sorry, he is miserable, sorry he has missed out on so much of this beautiful thing we call life.