They are 10, 12, and 14 and I am unsure on how to go about talking to them about this, or even if telling them is the right thing. My marriage is greatly suffering due to all the lies, so I am sure they know something is going on and I believe in being honest, but how much is too much? I'm hoping somebody here has been in the same boat and will have something helpful to offer. Thanks.
My husband is addicted to pain pills. It is ruining our marriage. How do I tell my children?
- 17 Feb 2011 by krissy1116
- 31 July 2017
Hi... First, let me say how sorry I am that you & your children are having to go through this issue. Opiate addiction is a very hard thing to beat & he needs to WANT help. If your children already suspect there is something wrong, they are definitely old enough to be told & understand. What pain pills does he take? Do you know how much? And, is he getting these pills from one doc, more than one doc or is he obtaining them illegally? The reason I ask is because there are stages of addiction. Sometimes, it begins harmlessly by getting scripts from a doctor for pain & when the person tries to stop, they find themselves going through withdrawal, which is a miserable thing to deal with. It can last from 2 weeks to 6 months or more depending on the drug & the dose he is taking. Right now, the important thing is explaining to the kids what is happening & that dad needs help, but he must want it.
Some would suggest a methadone maintenance program, which will keep him from withdrawing but not make him "high", but that alone won't be enough. I might be better able to answer this question if I know what he is taking & how it started. I hope to be able to help you, and there are many wonderful & knowledgable posters here! I am sure answers will begin coming up soon. Hope to hear from you soon & I know from experience exactly what you are dealing with.
You are in a bad situation but one that you can survive. I have always chosen to be honest with my daughter even when she was young. You can explain that Dad has an illness. Addiction is more than just taking the pills, it is an illness that involves the whole family.
You don't have to go into great detail with your children. Keep the conversation minimal but open the lines of communication for them to talk to you. Like you said, they know something isn't right, so give them a chance to give voice to their feelings.
Have you tried some Alanon meetings? There is also Ala teen in some areas. I recommend you take care of yourself first. You need to be strong so you can take care of your children. You can find meetings in your area by looking in a local phone book (use the computer) for Alcoholics Anonymous and calling them, they can tell you were the Alanon meetings are. You can google Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous and find a local phone number that way too.
Your children don't need to deal with the adult issues of your marriage, but understanding that Dad is sick and they are not to blame is important. Children will internalize their feelings and express it through inappropriate behavior. So give them an opportunity to talk. All you have to do is open the conversation by being honest and they will do the rest.
Please feel free to post again, we are here to help,
Me again I am sure the children are aware of what is going on & therefore think you can tell them its because your husbands addiction he is sick & needs help but it has to be up to him to get the help.I think if everything fails then you give your husband a ultimatum he goes into a centre to detox for as long as it takes ! if not you must leave with the children because at the age your children are at its important to take them away from all the conflict, i know this because my first husband had major alcohol problems but I stayed in the relationship for 14 years before leaving with the kids,now I wish it was much sooner then that because now both sons are grown up they still have issues about the years we all suffered & both have drug addition and the youngest son has a alcohol problem ,I think because the memories of their early chilhood was not good so please get some advice from a counciller who deals with these issues everyday.! much love to you hope a solution will be found to your problem soon ! candypq
This is a very sad situation. I feel for you. My cousin has been going through the same thing for many years. It all culminated recently when she and her son were watching the evening news when they had a clip about an "apologetic robber" apparently a man had gone into a drug store with a gun and demanded morphine. My cousins 10 year old son said "Mom-that is Daddy!" Sure enough it was her husband who had tried to rob a drug store. He has had years of fighting addiction and it started almost the same as your husband-with a work related injury. As years went by, he did tap out their finances, ruined their credit, lost the ability to hold a job, she would tell him he needed help and she would threaten to keep the kids from him (even though it tore her heart out to do so) and he would cry and say he was going to get help and he would try a treatment program.
I think he tried Methadone for awhile but went back to using, he tried Suboxone, I know for sure, and it worked for awhile but then he went back to using. It was a vicious cycle! He would lie to her, lie to his kids and lie to himself, for that matter. After he lost his supply this last time, he fixed himself good by trying armed robbery of a drug store. Now he is sitting in jail and will be there a good long time. I still am not sure he has hit rock bottom! It comes down to the addict really, in their heart, wanting to stop the behavior. They have to want to do it for themselves, not others. It is too easy, many times, to use again and much harder to stay clean. She did separate from him prior to his armed robbery episode and is now trying to get a divorce and get on with her life. One of her biggest regrets is that her son had to see his dad on TV in trouble for robbery! Your kids are old enough to handle the truth that their dad has an illness called addiction. Addiction is an illness. It is good you are getting help for yourself in going to Nar-anon meetings. You will learn a lot to arm yourself against the BS that comes with addiction. Be truthful and answer their questions. Try not to diss their father as much as you can. Hold your own anger at him at bay for their sakes. He is their dad. I truly hope your story goes better than my cousins. I truly hope he realizes he has a problem and gets help. It may be that the ultimatum you give will be that you and the kids are bye-bye if he continues to use. Dont let yourself and the kids go down the spiral with him. Find strength in your family around you and in the Lord!
krissy, it is my opinion that you do NOT tell your children about their Dad's pain pill issue. Firstly, they are too young & secondly, you may be unfairly planting the seeds of mistrust-at ages that are far to young to truly understand. How can they be expected to understand all of the issues here, if YOU are so befuddled that you, yourself have asked for help?
First of all, you MUST establish a few things in your own mind. Number one, insist on going to his doctors appointment with him. He may not resist, especially if you tell him that you want to join him because you worry about his PAIN (Note: NOT pain KILLERS) & love him too much NOT to be involved with his medical care & recovery from his injuries. Without knowing otherwise, I'd assume this to be an accurate statement, anyway.
By meeting his physician (or if he has many, at least ONE of them), you have just made a contact that YOU can use from now on, in dealing with your husband's problems. YOU will now be able to sit down with this man & discuss your husband's condition (with him present, of course) & then subsequently, PRIVATELY confer your fears to his doctor. Doing things this way does not interfere with Dr./patient confidentiality, because his doctor will be the one deciding what & how much to tell you.
However, I CAN tell you this-it will then be up to his DOCTOR to determine whether he is getting drugs elsewhere, by doing blood tests, among other things, to determine how much of what drug(s) are in his system at any one time.
I don't know what state you live in, but I can assure you that if this doctor finds ANY reason to believe that your husband is doctor shopping, taking illegal drugs, or more medication that is being prescribed-this doctor will cease prescribing anything at all. (This of course, being true, only if the medical evidence indicates hanky panky going on).
Please bear with me for one more second, because there is a point which I always try to include about this subject. I am & have been a CHRONIC pain sufferer for over 15 years. Please make sure that you are not denying the man you love the proper relief from legitimate pain resulting from legitimate medical problems!
The panic that is being spread about narcotics has made this whole country judgemental about anyone who takes OR prescribes this medication. It's a case of a LOT of bad apples spoiling the bunch & believe me, pain medicine practitioners are more careful about losing their licenses than ever before. This is a double-edged sword which we don't have time to discuss here, but please feel free to contact me privately if you wish.
Pain is a legitimate medical issue, sufferers should be able to legitimately acquire medication in order to help them. After that, it becomes a case by case issue, in which ALL the circumstances need to be looked at.
Finally, if he is only taking the meds which you have mentioned in your question, his possible "addiction" is in the lightest possible stage. Getting off these drugs is not usually a life-threatening issue. Sure, he may be uncomfortable to a degree depending on just what & how much he has been taking, BUT he's still on he "small stuff" & you will have caught it early.
I hope some of this has addressed your concern, but as I said it is so hard to generalize that I invite you to contact me more directly if you should need to.
BEST OF LUCK,
I have an opiate addiction and have been trying to get off pills for 2 months now.. It is not affecting anything financially, work wise or health wise but it is affecting my marriage from the lying to my wife. I have been taking 30 - 60 mg of oxycodone (percicet) for 5 years. I smoked pot my whole life since I was 14 (I'm now 29) since my father smoked pot and is an alcoholic it seemed ok. I started eating pills when I got a job repairing computers. One of the employees there gave me a bag of vicodins. I was not a social person and was stressed out from customers giving me a hard time and the pills made me more sociable which helped the stress since the customers gave me less crap because socializing to the customer made them trust you more.
It's now 2 years later own a computer store and I am very good to my family. My cousin started coming to my store about a year ago to get his equipment serviced iphones, ipads, laptops, etc... Payment was drugs mostly cocaine, since he had plenty and i liked to do them when he provided it.
This created a new problem, he always had items that needed fixing and repairing, upgrading whatever, he knew lots of people so what went from once a month to once a week, to 2-3 times a week. I started getting "sloppy" and my wife noticed. by this time I am eating 50 mg of percicet everyday, doing cocaine about 3 times a week, smoking pot everyday, and drinking on occasion. Most likely the days I do coke I do all the others. Although I sound like a junky mess, my family or customers never knew. I held up a respectful clean cut look.
I remember coming home high on cocaine and my wife asked if i had done drugs. I told her no and went to bed. I was awoken by my wife holding a bag of percicets and asking what is this. She found them in my inside jacket pocket, she had not known of my pill addiction and was mad and wanted to leave me <flush> that was $100 of pills going down the toilet. I told her I was going to quit everything, which at the time at no intent on doing since the withdrawal from the pills had such a hold on me.
For a month my wife would suspect I was high on pills and search me, the store, my car, etc and found them many times over the next month. There was point when she dropped me off at my store and said I have to leave you until you clean up or you can't come back. I realized the pain she was going through and decided to take the pain for myself and withdraw.
Before I got out of the car I called an employee and asked it they could work for 3 days for me. I'm going on an unexpected vacation. My wife took me home, I gave her my phone and didn't leave the house for 3 days and watched rehab movies. The pain and emotions are
I stayed clean for 2 weeks and relapsed. My wife asks if I am high and I tell her the truth, at least if I don't lie she feels better about the situation. I am currently down to 10 - 20 mg and some days 0 mg. My wife has stayed with me and by doing that she is not an enabler but my strength to keep drugs out of my life.
My point is sometimes the wife being there for you is not always enabling but reason to quit. I am able to say no to cocaine, marijuana and I am ready to cut oxycodone off the list. Be there for your husband. If my wife would have left me I would have gotten worse than I was. All abusers are different, but give him a chance. I also have 2 children 2mths and 5yrs.
I understand that the original post is a year old, but as a medical professional who deals with physical dependence vs. drug addiction, I feel the need to respond. Patients with chronic pain issues, who are legally prescribed narcotic pain meds., often end up in a dilemma that their doctors will not address, causing some chronic pain patients to step over the line from physical dependence to drug addiction. Most chronic pain patients on long term narcotic pain therapy are physically dependent, but that does not mean they are drug addicts. Let me explain. Patients with chronic pain issues are largely ignored when the narcotic pain med they are on stops working. And yes, it will eventually stop working. This is called tolerance, and it almost always happens to patients who are prescribed narcotic pain meds over a long period of time.
Doctors need to address this issue, but they often don't. When a patient who has been on the same dose of a narcotic pain med (for say 3 yrs), tells their doctor that their pain med is not working well anymore, the doctor needs to listen & respond. Perhaps the patient needs a slightly increased dose. Or perhaps they need a med change to something more appropriate for their level of pain. With the new opiate scare, caused largely by the media, doctors are ignoring their patients with legitimate pain issues, leaving them in a rather helpless situation with no where to turn. The innocents are being treated like drug addicts instead of pain patients. I have had doctors tell my serious pain patients & even those who are terminally ill that they're now doing things across the board, which means legitimate pain patients are being refused proper medical treatment, and being treated as though they are drug addicts. Physical dependence is a normal and expected result of long term therapy with narcotic pain meds, and yes, they will go through withdrawal if the med is suddenly stopped. They can also experience some symptoms of withdrawal when the pain med needs adjustment, and this is where the problem begins. This is when physical dependence can turn into actual drug addiction. Drug addiction is the illegal use of drug substances not prescribed for the patient. Sadly, they may be illegally buying the small amount of adjustment that their doctor should have made for them, instead of ignoring them and "doing things across the board". Drug addiction usually creeps up slowly. Doctors think they are preventing drug addiction by withholding meds that the patient actually needs. In reality, withholding proper treatment may fuel drug addiction. It's a sad world when legitimate pain patients have to turn away from their doctors to seek resolution elsewhere when their legitimate needs are not being met.
I'm going through it right now. My husband gets a prescription for pain pills every month. He gets 120. He got them filled 4 days ago and I just found them, counted them and he only has 27 left. He is hurting himself and I don't know what to do. It's ruining our marriage. Please help
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