Mom Off Meth

By: Betsey DeGree

I am trying not to live so hard. I have four children, two dogs, one husband, a tortoise and I'm a recovering addict/alcoholic. I am also the wife of an addict/alcoholic with PTSD. I am an unorganized perfectionist, who is being public with my struggle to save my own life, which in turn saves my family. I hope this helps. - Betsey 

You can learn more about Betsey at her website, Mom Off Meth.

In sickness and in health

Dec 17, 2012

I've been married for 20-and-a-half years to Bob. It has been wonderful. It has been horrible. And it is over.

Bob has left the building. He's moved out. He's gone.

We have been through a lot together—over half my life. He has been my family. We were in love for so much of it, but it's different now. He isn't capable of it, and I'm not capable to be without it. Plus, I get so mean and disappointed with him, it isn't fair. He is a good man, and he deserves better.  I am a good woman, and I deserve the same.  We have grown up together, but we have not grown together. We grew apart.

It's hard to be in recovery at different speeds. My counselor at Hazelden said the cards were stacked against us. I did not believe him. He said statistics show that we would either relapse together, or divorce. I thought he was crazy and I was hell-bent on proving him wrong. Key word there is, "I." At that time I didn't know about all of Bob's other demons.  I thought we were just good old-fashioned drug addicts. Remember, I wanted to be the recovering couple that traveled the world, helping others.

Now, I will be known as the bitch who left the mentally ill, United States veteran. Even though it was something we both wanted.

When I was told to say, "In sickness and in health," I pictured cancer, paralysis, something else. Not life consuming mental illness. I am not the one to handle this. Especially alone.

You see, if he had cancer or paralysis, there would be more help. People would be more interested in helping our family with his illness. There would be ramps built, fundraisers held, family support. People would come help us fix the damage done here, care for the kids, all of those things. But because he can walk and talk and doesn't need chemo, people think he is fine. Because he can still smile, and go to a restaurant, people think he is fine.

He isn't fine.

And folks with mental illness don't always want to take the steps to get better, because it seems too hard. So they will tell their family they are "better" or "fine." And people believe it. People want to believe it.

So, it all falls on my lap. The kids, the house, the plans, his appointments, the fear, the food, the decisions, the fun, all of it while he lays in bed, skips appointments, never goes to meetings and gets medicated. I did not have a partner here, I had a responsibility. And one that was defiant. I can't put my kids through watching this sad marriage anymore.

We need light in our lives. We need a functioning home with things that work. We don't need arguing, pain and resentment because as much as I know in my soul that I need compassion and acceptance, I am mostly filled with resentment and rage. I resent PTSD and addiction and what it has done to ME. It has left me a single parent with a very sick man that I cannot be responsible for anymore. I have one life to live. I'm not that girl.

I wanted to make this the best separation ever. But it is obvious that something like that is a dream. I worry about my beautiful kids. I just keep reminding them that anger comes from fear, and it's OK to be afraid. We are still a family and we both love them. Change is hard, but I am here to help them through it.  Even though it's only been a few days, they are softening their anger. They are sad. I'm so sorry about that.

Separation is hard on them, but so is living with parents who are always unhappy together. I have to show them how to move on in a loving way. I couldn't do that with Bob.

I am still choking on my anger because I am scared about money. I have to tell myself not to text him because I always end up spewing how much he screwed me over. Me. The person who is going to be a counselor. I have to take this one day at a time. Yesterday, and the day before, I lost that battle. Today is a new day. I might try giving away my phone.

Did you just laugh as hard as I did? Give away my phone ... I'm hilarious.

We will try to remain friendly enough to stay married until I'm done with school. Hopefully, this won't be something that will be held against me. I moved my internship up one semester. Originally, I didn't want to do it in the summer, because the kids are off of school. But time is more important, because it means freedom and being able to support myself.

Betsey DeGree Mom Off MethI would love to move out of this broken down, dark, depressing house and into a bright, fixed, new (to me) house. A fresh start. But I will stay here (even if my in-laws live on my street) because it makes the most sense.

I will find a way to get the lights fixed and more put in (it's so dark and depressing here), the holes patched, walls painted, the trim around the baseboards and new doors installed, the cupboards fixed so I can use ALL of them. The railing indoors is broken, and someone could fall. Closet doors broken. The burnt linoleum replaced in the kitchen. The cut and moldy linoleum in the bathroom. A new shower because I think it leaks. Downstairs bathroom doesn't work.

I hope that didn't sound too much like a pity party. I am sad, but also relieved. I wanted him to try and get better so we could live happily ever after. I wanted to help other Vets together and have this amazing life. That is what I wanted, not what Bob wanted or was capable of.

We've both overcome a horrible addiction, but he really never wanted to be sober. He did it for me and he resented me for it. He is sober now, but now it is up to him. I hope he can find some happiness in recovery and that this split brings us both the peace we deserve for ourselves and our kids.

I'm hopeful about my end.


Vicki  1985 days ago

How very courageous of you. Thanks for your honesty. I have often been helped and have helped in my 12 step community. Maybe look there? Best of luck in your new life!

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