Saturday, October 6, 2007

What it is like to be married to an addict.

This may help someone.

Sometimes it has to be spelled out to people.

This blog is a PART of my annulment documentation.

In the Catholic Church, marriage is taken very seriously. In order to re-marry after a civil divorce, the Church requires that you prove that the marriage covenant was indeed broken.

Here is the part of my testimony (the Marriage Questionnaire) which deals with my life in hell with my (now) ex- husband -- the addict.

Like I said before, maybe this will help someone.

*** I changed the name of my ex-husband to protect him. "Skip" is not his real name. And by the way, my name is NOT Katrina van Tassel. That is the name of a character of Washington Irving's fiction.


(In this section, we are trying to get a picture of your married life.)

1. Was your married life happy? Give examples to help us understand your marriage.
No, my married life was not happy by and large. There were short punctuated happy parts, but most of the time it was so, so or absolutely HORRIBLE. Skip often threatened to kick me out, and made references to how he “never should have gotten married” and how “everything started the day he married me”.

2. Describe the major problems you experienced during the marriage.
Five days after our wedding, Skip received a letter in the mail about a law suit being charged against him by a former employer. He just about killed himself in the days, week and years following that letter. He sunk in to a progressively deepening depression. Skip has no skills to deal with problems that arise that question his integrity or that threaten his finances. Since there were never any problems like this in the courtship years, I didn’t know that he would react like this before marrying him. He started drinking and “self-medicating” with prescription drugs in order to deal with his depression.

In that first year of marriage, he got a DWI; he held a hand gun to my head (and his head) and committed himself to rehabilitation for drug and alcohol abuse and depression. He also ended up in the hospital emergency room. Each year after that, the problems progressed to the point of suicide attempts, seven ER visits and another 28 day stay in rehab (in-patient this time) in California where he cheated on me with an 18 year old heroin addict.

He lost his career flying a DC10 and MD11 (for an international airline carrier) and lost all his stock investments and savings. He attended numerous Alcoholics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings only to continue this path of destruction. He went to several therapists and psychiatrists at once—getting anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic drugs from all of them – taking them all at the same time. He was diagnosed by at least two doctors as being bipolar I. [Bipolar I disorder is one of the most severe forms of mental illness and is characterized by recurrent episodes of mania and (more often) depression.]

He also broke is wrist (perhaps on purpose) and began going to every minor emergency center he could find in the phonebook, getting pain killers such as vicodin, percocet and oxycodone. He preferred opiates. He would take HANDFULLS of these at a time, and certainly enough to remain in a stupor or passed out for three to four days. He almost died a few times. When the doctors got wise to his problem, he started ordering drugs online from foreign countries. This escalated, ending in a threatening letter from US Customs.

During all this, he insisted on moving away from Texas and our families and we bought a home in New Mexico. I left a rewarding career in Texas to move out to the desert where he said he would be happier. I think he was disgusted that I was actually “happy and hopeful” there, because soon after moving he started blaming me for living there.
In our third year of marriage I became pregnant. On finding out that I was pregnant; he became livid and shouted to God that if He had any mercy that He would “cause that fucking fetus inside my womb to spontaneously abort”. I was searching for an apartment in tears the same day I took the pregnancy test. I didn’t move out, Skip sort of apologized and life stabilized for a while. However, my sadness and Skip’s emotional abuse toward me (acting out his anger and depression toward me) caused me to miscarry our baby. Nothing got better after that.

After the miscarriage, he began contacting “old flames” and talking to them on the phone in front of me (including the 18 year-old heroin addict that he met in rehab). He also began collecting memberships to singles websites and posting messages in chat rooms and bulletin boards online. I found women’s phone numbers in his wallet in cities that he frequented as a pilot (before he was fired and with his new job as a small airplane pilot). He called me names and tried doing and saying anything to get me to leave the marriage first. The threw away our wedding rings (his mother fished them out of the garbage) and later he took his to a pawn shop. (He later replaced it but never wore it unless I was around).
There is so much more…but I think I hit all the highlights. :-(
(This isn’t exactly the easiest thing to type…. Do you have an “automatic annulment” shortcut????)

3. When did your problems first arise? Were any of these problems similar to or the same as those that came up in the courtship/engagement? How did you address these problems when they came up in the marriage?
Our problems first started when Skip began “dealing” with the stress of the lawsuit with alcohol. I think, getting the DWI is really what initiated the rapid decline.
In the beginning, I always addressed Skip telling him that things would get better and that we could overcome these problems. I would also tell him that there were other people who had much more problems, reminding him that we had nice cars, a home, were easily paying the bills and we had each other.
There was nothing like this that ever happened like this in the courtship.

4. What do you think were your attitudes, feelings, or concerns underlying all these problems? What do you think were your former spouse’s attitudes, feelings, or concerns?
In the beginning I didn’t recognize the problems and couldn’t understand why he was talking the way he was. He hid the drinking from me – I really didn’t know it was bad until he got a DWI and he hid the drugs for over a year before I found out. As far as underlying issues?? I think Skip was afraid of failure--- failure as a successful man and a husband. I think he was afraid of becoming like everything he hated about his father and grandfather, (who are both addicts). The irony is that his actions were by far more horrible than anything anyone in his despised family ever did. There was definitely a self-fulfilling prophecy for Skip to “prove” to himself that he wasn’t really like them, only to prove to everyone who knew him that he was indeed worse.

5. Describe any problems either of you had in staying faithful in the marriage.
In his insanity, he had a lot of problems. He was participating in “virtual” cheating online and he actually did have sex with the 18-year-old heroin addict. I think he liked for me to know this to torture me.

6. Did disagreements over having children contribute to or cause the ending of the marriage? Please explain your answer.

Yes. After the miscarriage, he became very loving and reassured me that we could have another baby. This wore off after about three months. He could go through manic stages where he would act busy, normal, loving and productive…. always culminating in chaos and misery for a few months.

7. Describe any problems either of you had in fulfilling a partnership of mutual care and respect.

I think my soliloquy above on question #2 pretty much covers his ability to have a partnership of mutual care and respect. On my part, it was difficult. I was always disappointed. But I began learning what worked with him. I “dealt” with his problems, I attended AA meetings with him, and I was hopeful and prayerful that he would decide on his own that he wanted a life different from this. My prayers were answered, he did “get over” his major addictions. But in the end, his way of having a life different was by way of separating himself from me. He wanted a NEW LIFE…without me. I don’t think he could bear knowing that I knew all his ugly past.

8. What was missing for you in the relationship? Please explain.

I became his babysitter. The one who made sure he was breathing. I desperately was trying to hold together some semblance of normality. I really had no husband. I received no love from him.

9. Throughout the marriage, did you continue to grow together as a couple or did you live separate lives, acting like single people or roommates sharing a roof? Please explain.
This question really doesn’t even begin to come close to being able to be answered in a normal way—due to the severity of the problems in our marriage. No, we didn’t have a chance at growing together.
I guess the best answer is that there was really never the chance to even try working on an advanced relationship goal like that. We were always in survival mode—both figuratively and literally.

10. Did the marriage seem like a temporary situation for either of you? Explain.

It seemed like I was sentenced to hell for life. No, it never seemed temporary to me.
I think he was in survival mode so soon after the marriage that he couldn’t even focus on his own life let alone OUR life together. So it very likely seemed temporary to him. I think he stayed with me and depended on me just so I could keep him alive during the toughest times… because as soon as he got passed his addictions, he was looking for a new life without me.

11. In what ways did your former spouse contribute to the ending of the marriage? What was your part in the ending of the marriage?
(See above #2)

My part was cathartic. In basically one fell swoop, I realized that Skip was actively setting the stage for a life without me. He was over his addictive behavior, he had sold our “dream house” in New Mexico and he had a new job and we moved back to Texas. I think Skip planned that the move would be temporary for him and permanent for me. One day he was on the phone in our tiny one-bedroom apartment in north Texas. We had only just moved back to Texas the week before. He was calling a man in Dallas to buy a boat. (We were very broke) I asked him what he was thinking trying to buy a boat. He answered, “Stop interfering in my life. I can do whatever I want with my money.” A revelation was there that I couldn’t ignore. I told him, “I will never interfere in your life again, and I want you out of mine, before you cut me out of your life slowly and painfully. I have endured enough pain from you. NO MORE.” Only a few months after our split, he moved to where he really wanted to be; Boulder, Colorado.

12. What efforts did you make to hold the marriage together? What efforts did your former spouse make to hold the marriage together?
Skip made no efforts that I can really call “efforts”. He lived very selfishly the entire time.
I held on and endured much more than I should have. It is a shame how much of my youth I wasted with him. I really can’t look at this question seriously. It seems to trivialize my pain and loss.

13. Please finish the following statement: “I was ______ committed to our marriage as a partnership of life.” Please finish this statement: “My former spouse was _______ committed to our marriage as a partnership of life.”

“I was completely committed to our marriage as a partnership of life—so long as it was indeed a partnership.”
Please finish this statement: “My former spouse was sort of committed to our marriage in the beginning as a partnership of life.”

14. What kept you in the marriage for as long as it lasted? What kept your former spouse in the marriage for as long as it lasted?
I stayed because I knew it would get better. It had to! It couldn’t possibly get worse. I had a LOT of hope and faith. I knew I would endure—I have always been “the strong one”.
I think Skip stayed because he needed me to keep paying the bills while he departed reality with drugs and alcohol. As soon as he re-entered “life” he actively pursued finding ways at separating from me.

15. When and under what circumstances was divorce first mentioned? Who mentioned it? Describe how threats of divorce were used in the marriage.

Skip mentioned it to me within the first two months of our marriage. He asked me to divorce him because he said he would ruin my life. I didn’t believe him. Maybe I should have. He many times over the course of our almost 5 year marriage told me to leave and threatened calling lawyers to make dramatic points. He would download divorce documents online and leave them on the computer for me to “discover”.

16. Did either of you seek counseling? If so, was counseling helpful? Did you act on the counselor’s recommendations? Please explain your answer.
We went to counseling together in the last few months, but it was really too late… too much had transpired. He went to talk to our priest in NM a few times. He went to lots of individual therapists. He really didn’t want me around during therapy. I attended MANY, MANY open AA meetings with him and participated in group therapy with him in rehab.

17. If you did not seek counseling to help maintain the marriage, why not?
We were pretty much focused on just trying to maintain Skip most of the time.

18. Describe the events that led to one of you leaving the marriage. Who left and why?
(this repeats a few earlier points)
I realized that Skip was actively setting the stage for a life without me. He was over his addictive behavior, he had sold our “dream house” in New Mexico and he had a new job and we moved back to Texas. I think Skip planned that the move would be temporary for him and permanent for me. One day he was on the phone in our tiny one-bedroom apartment in north Texas. We had only just moved back to Texas the week before. He was calling a man in Dallas to buy a boat. (We were very broke) I asked him what he was thinking trying to buy a boat. He answered, “Stop interfering in my life. I can do whatever I want with my money.” A revelation was there that I couldn’t ignore. I told him, “I will never interfere in your life again, and I want you out of mine, before you cut me out of your life slowly and painfully. I have endured enough pain from you. NO MORE.” Skip left our little apartment and got another one. I wanted him to. The day after he left, (two days after this conversation); he filed for divorce with relish.
Only a few months after our split, he moved to where he really wanted to be; Boulder, Colorado.

19. Describe any separations you had, including dates.
A few times in the middle of the drug and alcohol chaos, Skip would live with his buddy from high school (another addict) for days or sometimes weeks at a time. He liked going there, because he didn’t have to worry about me trying to keep his drugs and alcohol away from him.

20. In your opinion, what was the basic reason the marriage ended?

Skip was incapable of being in or staying in a marriage. He lacked the life skills necessary to be responsible for anyone other than himself. He was very selfish, and never included me as a partner. He lived for himself and even kept his own bank account separate from mine (so I couldn’t interfere).

21. Was the divorce amicable or bitter?
I was very bitter. He probably was bitter too…but more relieved that he didn’t have to “answer” to anyone.

22. How is your relationship with your former spouse now?

We don’t talk unless we absolutely have to. (We had to talk about taxes last year) I don’t anticipating ever needing to talk to him again.

23. What else would you like to add?
I think I have said enough to grant annulment easily.

24. Bring us up to date with regard to your current situation, including any counseling you have received and any relationship you are now in.

I am happy. I am dating a wonderful Catholic man who loves me. He is good, kind, faithful and loyal. He is a Knight of Columbus and Boy Scout leader. I hope that I can be annulled soon so that we can perhaps marry and have a family together. I love him and can’t wait to get my life finally started. I am thirty-five years old and don’t want to see my life pass before I get the chance of being a REAL wife and mother.
I haven’t felt the need for any counseling.

This blog that you are reading was elicited by my fiance's ex-wife. I was made aware of a blog that she posted on her MySpace page about how she wishes she could warn me about how horrible it was to be married to the man who is now my fiance'.

Her blog post:

"October 5, 2007 - Friday


My former therapist told me that when I allow someone to make me angry or upset it means that person has control over me. Well for the most part I've gotten past letting my ex make me angry or upset. It took a LONG time because he is rather inconsiderate, always has been, and I had hoped that he would learn that was a big problem in our marriage and divorce. Of course there were many thing I thought would click in his head once I told him I'd had enough and was done. Now my issue has become this woman who is planning to marry him. I've been told she's nice and for the most part the kids like her and that's good. (If they liked her too much I'd worry because then she'd have issues parenting them, trust me.) The issue at hand is I feel the need to WARN this poor woman. I worry that she's still in the part of the relationship where she doesn't see his flaws. Not that I want to tell her NOT to marry him, but just want her to have the advantage that I didn't have. I want to tell her that he's never on time to anything. And he'll apologize for it but he won't try to be on time the next time, it's not in him. He just can't. If that's important to her, like it was for me, she might have a problem with it. I can count the number of times he's picked up the kids on time in the last two years on one hand. And the same goes for any of their school events. There are many other things I'd like to warn her about but that's the one that was an issue this evening. The others probably aren't things I should put on my Blog. SO I know I need to mind my own business but it's soooooooooo hard. I hope he'll get it together before he runs off another wife. :(

9:55 PM - 1 Comments - 2 Kudos

Comment #1 (Wise Friend)
You have to remember what bothers you may not bother the next person sweetie. The fact that he is late to everything maybe doesn't bother her b/c he "does something else" no one she has ever been with does... Take mine and Harry's relationship for example. The things that bothered his ex - I could care less about.. and the things that bother me she wouldn't have the first clue about... Each person on this earth has their own list of pet peeves. So no warning necessary - let it go! I'm here if you need to talk! Love ya bunches! XOXO
Posted by (Wise Friend) on October 6, 2007 - Saturday "

When I read this, I had a good laugh.

"being late"????
She obviously never got the whole "marriage thing".

The response his ex got from her blog post was so perfect that no rebuttal is really necessary.

The thought of me needing a warning was a wonderful joke though. Likewise, the thought of how good and wonderful this new man in my life is, warmed my heart and made me realize how one woman's trash is another's TREASURE :-)



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