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  • Writer's pictureMary Jensen

The Addict's Wife

What is it like to be the wife of an addict?

To be the wife of an addict is not easy. And while there are some good days and some normal days, most days are filled with chaos and stress and anxiety. For this wife, living with an addict meant she had to put aside her own self-interests. The addict consumes all her energy and kills her spirit. If the wife allows him, he will take her soul. The addict knows how to manipulate her so that he can get what he wants which is his next fix.

The wife of an active addict plays the role of fixer, protector, and rescuer. As a protector she is always looking out for ways that the addict endangers her children, her family, her friends and her job. Sometimes forgetting how the addict can endanger herself. Because she becomes so self-absorbed in what he is doing she forgets to take care of herself. She forgets her dreams, her desires, and her needs because she is constantly focused on what he is doing. She protects the home, making sure no one knows what really goes on inside. She protects his job by making excuses to his boss when he is too high to go to work. She protects her children by making sure that they cannot get into his stash, or his bottle, that he haphazardly left behind, too high to remember where he left his things or too drunk to care. As a fixer, the wife is always trying to fix all the problems within the family so that no one knows what is going on. She will fix the finances, the bounced checks, and the late payments. She will make sure that there is food in the house and a roof over their heads while the addict continues to go about his day getting his drug, not caring about anything or anyone else.

She tries to rescue him from himself

As a rescuer, the wife will rescue him again and again from those situations that could land him in jail, in the hospital, or odds with his family. She tries to rescue him from himself. She hopes that one day he will be able to do this on his own. She hopes that one day he will want to get sober and mean it. As the rescuer, the wife is more of a mother to the addict than a wife. She makes sure he eats, bathes, and brushes his teeth.

She is sad, lonely, angry, and lost

This is not what she signed up for when she married him, yet she keeps playing this role, praying that one day he will change. For this wife, that day will never come. He will never change. He will always choose the drug before her, before their children. She is sad, lonely, angry, and lost. Until one day, she realizes, she does not have to play the role of fixer, protector, or rescuer. On this day, she decides she must be the one to change, for herself, for her sanity, and for her children. This is the day the clouds lift, her anxiety dissipates and she feels free for the first time in a very long time. She is no longer the addict’s wife. She has reclaimed her independence and looks forward to a new life. A life without the addict. A life of her own making. Finally she is free and she is happy.

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