I have been married for eight years now. Both of us had a steady job. We were happy together. We were planning our family three years into our marriage and then I had to divert my attention to something else…Shiv’s behavior. He was unusually quiet at home. He just came home and sat by himself. But he wasn’t angry or irritable, he was just indifferent. He disliked food completely. He had no interest in sex though we were planning the baby. Four years into the marriage I came to the realization that he was a drug addict. I had no knowledge about drug addiction nor had I met any addicts. So when it happened in my home I had no way to identify it and deal with my husband’s drug addiction.
My husband’s drug addiction was a rude shock to me
I was under the impression that he was falling out of love or he wasn’t interested in sex. This addiction came as a rude shock to me. I felt cheated and violated. To me, addictions were scenes only from the Hindi movies, and now it was at my doorstep. It wasn’t a dream but a reality to be faced. The addiction was not something post marriage I was sure.
For fear of exposing my husband, I didn’t talk to anyone initially. Somewhere I felt I would be blamed for the situation because most of the time the wife is blamed for such issues.
I had to take a call when his office found him inefficient and fired him from work.
His drug addiction had started before marriage
He had told me he quit to take a better offer. But then a call from his friend Manav burst the bubble for me. Shiv had been an addict even before marriage. His parents are not aware of it. This started as a fun thing in college. Manav gave up on drugs after he took up a job while Shiv couldn’t quit.
I wondered where I landed up, living the lie called drugs in my life for four years. I can’t stand lies and my marriage was built on one. I was shattered.
The lie was unforgivable
Did I want to quit the marriage and move on alone? Did I want to stay in the marriage and mend things? I asked him why he lied to me and all I got was silence for an answer. So now I understood that I was the only one in the marriage and it would be my lone battle. I stayed in the house but moved out into the guest bedroom.
He was a loving husband
Shiv was lucky to get a new job. One night as I lay awake I weighed the pros and cons of our marriage. Shiv was a very loving husband. He never failed in any aspect in our marriage other than the drug addiction. When my brother passed away in an accident he was the one to stand by my entire family. I love him and that’s why I was still at home. Next day morning I woke up with a decision in my mind.
I wanted to help him out of the addiction. I decided to give him a chance.
I started the de-addiction procedure
It took me another two days to tell him what I had on my mind. He listened to me, turned around and slept. I brought up the topic again.
His silence was his defeat and I knew that. I took Manav’s help and started with the de-addiction procedures for Shiv. Shiv was very co-operative and welcoming. He struggled a lot. It was hurting to see him struggle.
For six months I relentlessly pursued the treatment. Work and taking care of Shiv was taking a toll on my patience. The doctor was sure that Shiv was being aided by someone close to get him the dose. When I discovered he was cheating by getting his supply, which the doctor was very sure would happen; I could take it no more.
I struggled to keep my sanity
I went into depression with no one to help me and my situation. I had to keep the job and my sanity. We discontinued Shiv’s treatment while I went on medication. His family didn’t come forward to help because they blamed me for the addiction. Only Manav came as support.
I was feeling lonely as it was a lone battle and my parents saw me suffer but they did not offer help. Everyone avoided him as if he had some dreaded disease.
In the process even I was getting hurt. Neighbors feared that Shiv would spoil their children and it was brought up in the apartment association meeting. I felt so helpless.
He finally understood what I was going through
Something miraculously happened after three months. Shiv became my emotional anchor. I could see the sincerity in his love for me. He understood my stress and helped me cope with my situation yet he was not able to help himself. He made no confessions, nor promises for a better self. He was willing to help me but not himself. I realized the problem was more deep-rooted than the addiction.
I changed my ways
I stopped blaming him or advising him and took on to understand what was troubling him.
In the course of our conversation, I came to understand that he had suffered an identity crisis while he was growing up. He was facing low-self esteem as a result of being rejected by his parents.
He said his elder brother being the better of the siblings always got attention and love from his parents. He thus took to drugs to seek happiness and love for himself.
He turned a new leaf
What he wanted were acceptance and love.
When I spoke to my psychiatrist he told me that the best way for Shiv to be able to help himself is by having a meaning in life and what will happen when he feels loved and wanted. I wished to do that for him.
As I centered my life around him I saw a new and understanding Shiv emerge. I had been finally able to deal with my husband’s drug addiction.
From help to emotional support
I moved from help mode to emotional support mode. When he knew he was understood and he was supported he started responding to me better. He started talking in terms of the future and wanting to begin a family.
When I saw the signs in him I started feeling a lot better. He then himself went for the de-addiction and got himself rescued.
I went through my phases
I went through various emotions in three years. As soon as I discovered my husband’s drug addiction I was shattered. Then I made a decision to help sustain my marriage but in the process, I went into depression. While helping the spouse handle an addiction it is very easy to fall prey to depression. When I actually got to the root cause of the problem I was able to help Shiv more.
Everything is possible with love
It all boiled down to loving the person. When I loved unconditionally he had a desire to live and have a normal family life. It is tough but can be done.
At times you want to blame yourself as the whole world blames you but we have to keep moving till it all becomes normal.
Even now it is not easy on me as I have the constant fear that he could revert to addiction at any point in life. I live that fear on a daily basis.
(As told to Jaseena Backer)