Avatar universal

Is my husband self-medicating/abusing drugs?

Please tell me what to make of this situation. My husband has the following going:
1. long-standing Rx for buproprion (150 mg, 2 pills in the a.m.)
2. 360 pills of immediate release 10 mg generic adderall 3-4x/day but has never been diagnosed ADHD/ADD - filled Nov. 2014 and its now March 2015, about 8 pills left
3. Daily marijuana user since teen years (currently age 39). Medical use is legal in our state, he had a license for it which expired last year, but still using daily.
4. Every 6-8 months, prescriptions for tramadol (50 mg, 60 pills), lorazepam (1mg, 30 pills), Hydrocodone/acetaminophen 10-325 T (60 pills), or 800mg Ibuprofin - always for temporary back pain (i.e. woke up with back ache).
5. Drinks alcohol while taking these meds, but not in a way that's at all abusive or dependent.

Would it be worse if these were ALL prescribed by "a family member" in another person's name?  

There's a lot of secrecy and lies around #2 above, including paying $400 out of pocket for it when we have insurance that covers it. And I'm confused about #4, why write it for 60 pills when the back ache will be gone in a week?

On top of all of this - if you haven't guessed it already - we're having severe problems in our three year old marriage. He is so, so unhappy with me as his wife. I can never make him happy enough and everything I do makes him unhappy.

I am a loyal person and need to understand if our marital issues are just me-as-a-terrible-wife, or possibly also due to something more, as shown by all this drug activity and/or the reason for it?

Thank you for any help. This is the first time I've reached out or told this to anyone, so I appreciate your support and patience with me.
26 Responses
271792 tn?1334979657
Hi & Welcome,

I don't think you need an answer to your question honey. It is pretty clear that he is a drug user. He is chasing that first high and I will tell you that he is on dangerous ground just by adding alcohol into the mix.

I am sorry for what you are going through. It is hard to love an addict.

Have you discussed this with him? If so, does he deny that he has a problem? Also, just him blaming his problems on you is a clear indication of trouble. As addicts that is what we do.  We take the blame off of us so we don't have to deal with it. It is a vicious cycle.

And please know that you cannot fix him. He is surely broken and needs help but he has to first admit he has a problem and then ask for help. Trying to force him won't work and giving him ultimatums won't work.

You have some decisions to make here lady. Do you want to spend the rest of your life like this? I think you deserve better. I suggest that you sit him down and share YOUR feelings with him. Calmly let him know how his drug use affects you. If he is unwillingly to do anything to change his behavior then you need to take it from there and decide what you want to do.

I am glad you found your way here. There is great support here from both addicts and members who love addicts. Please stay on here with us and ask any questions you need. We are here to support you. I will say a special prayer for you.
242912 tn?1402543492
IBK has given you excellent advice.  Please click on the link below for our "Living with an Addict" community.  I think it will give you a lot of enlightenment to your husbands behavior, and your entire situation.  I am an addict and also live with one.  YOU are doing nothing wrong.  Your husband is not in his right mind.  With addicts, it is Always someone else's fault.  I wish you the best.  

7163794 tn?1457366813
Holy ****!  Ummm.....your never going to make him happy...he's to freakin high to know what happy is????  The amount of dope you just described and there use together with alcohol is an catastrophe waiting to happen.  He needs help....but you need to STOP bashing yourself....this is not you....it's most definately HIM!
Avatar universal
HA! " he's too freakin high to know what happy is". I agree!  I'm sure he's got some ED Issues or will very soon...

Now. It is illegal to use another's RX. If someone is writing out prescriptions for him in another persons name they need to be slapped!  That's a felony. It's also a felony if your husband gets caught with an RX in his possession with another persons name on it.  Yikes!  I'm sure they both know better but taking that kind of risk speaks to a big addiction problem.   Your husband should be very nice to you...you could get him in some big trouble.  And he's unhappy because he's an addict...not because of you!  His behavior is so typical...UGH!     We're here for you!!
Avatar universal
Wait...Is it your husband writing the prescriptions for himself and using another name?  You don't have to answer... you already know there's a huge problem surrounding all of this...

I meant to mention to you about the buproprion: This drug lowers the seizure threshold when it's combined with benzos and/or alcohol. There's also some evidence of abuse reported in the literature; especially in Canada, for some reason. In addition, Tramadol contains an antidepressant as well and I couldn't tell you what happens to a brain when the two drugs are mixed...You are right to be concerned and suspicious.  
Avatar universal
To answer your question:  Yes, you're husband is a drug abuser.  

None of it is your fault.  NONE.  The above answers are EXCELLENT.

Unless he faces his addictions, and gets clean and into a program of recovery, your marriage has no chance of succeeding.   You will end up miserable.

Save yourself; confront him and he won't get help, I would leave.  You might want to think about it for a week and plan where you will go, what you will do, etc.

Wouldn't hurt to talk (confidentially) to a lawyer; most give first consultations for free.

Good luck honey..
Avatar universal
Docwife your hub has a serious problem as you know. He is not only an addict but is engaged in criminal activity that could cause him to lose his license and livelihood. Sit him down and let him know the jig is up. He needs to go to inpatient care asap before the bottom drops out. Its not you making him unhappy, it's his addictions. He knows how dangerous this is but surely feels trapped. Get all the secrets out on the table, but expect lies, denial and accusations towards you. Likely he will blame you in some way but please know this is not the case. Its just how we operate. Be strong. Wishing you luck and love. Stay with us please and let us support you.
Avatar universal
Thank you all for your insights and support. I've made an appointment with an attorney to start figuring this out and gratefully, we're already seeing a couples therapist weekly (where none of this has come up) so I can use her help to try to start to address this.  

Even though I keep asking him how his day was, cooking meals for him, trying to include him in conversations with my son (my bio son, he is stepdad), etc, he hasn't really been speaking to me the past 3 days.  Last night I checked in on him and asked how his day was.  He told me all the things he says when he's on a down - I am so hopeless, i can't think, everything is pointless, I'd be better off dead, I broke down into tears 3 times at work today.  I am sure my response was not at all useful, I just told him there's probably nothing I can say or do right now that will help, I love him and care about him and I'm sorry he feels like this.  He didn't say anything, just more silence. I told him he has all the power and control in this situation, to make things better, to address these issues.  Unfortunately, he assumed I meant our couples issues and he said he doesn't think we'll ever keep up the positive therapy tools long-term. I responded that that wasn't what I was talking about, but I agree that if we don't address this part of our relationship, we likely won't succeed. I think this next part may have been a little insensitive, but I thought it would help him see things clearly - I said all those things he's feeling are a sign of something more at play; I don't feel that way at all - I feel fine (I know, total amateur thing to say - this is all so new and so hard for me to figure out what/how to say things).  I reminded him that when we decided two months ago to stay together, that getting a physician for him was on the list of fixes and addressing these medication and "other" (I can't say mental health or depression or any other clinical term w/o being accused of using his weaknesses against him) issues with a physician was one of my requests. He basically just turned away and said that that isn't what this is about.  

He's still not talking to me as of this morning. I made him breakfast and coffee to go, left it on the counter when I was taking my son to school.  When I got home, and walked in the door, we practically plowed right into each other on his way out the door - and it's so funny that this is the thing that bugs me, but the fact that he's walking out the door holding the food/coffee I made him and doesn't have the manpower to say "thanks for breakfast," makes me feel the most angry and done. haha, silly, I know, but I guess its a sign that he sees me as the problem, the *****, the one to be punished with his silence.

I know in #4 above, I listed a lot of drugs, but was I clear that he never takes them all at the same time; rather, its one of those at a time, every 6-8 months or so.  Is there still a problem?  He's so incredibly high-functioning and he would argue that he has to take these to stay functional with all the demands / stress on him in his job.

Vicki595 said something about mixing the Lorazepam with Buproprion and how that could cause issues, and it is that mix last week that created this down and his out-of-character anger/aggression.  Similarly, the only other time I've seen him that out-of-character and aggressive was the week of Christmas - and looking back, maybe it was because the week before Christmas, he was mixing buproprion with some back pain meds (i can't recall what, but they were strong, and meant for someone post-surgery).

You guys are helping me so much to put some reality on this situation, but I'm also feeling a little weak like - "oh gosh, it's probably not as bad as they are perceiving it to be, he's so functional and so great 90% of the time and even though he's mixing all of this, he seems to be consuming in moderation...."

lol, I heart you all.  You are warriors and I'm so grateful to cross paths with you at this weird juncture in my life.

271792 tn?1334979657
My heart goes out to you honey as I read this. I am going to give you some tough love because someone has got to try and get through to you. YOU are in complete denial. Let's go back and look at one important thing---he is taking medication that was NOT prescribed to him. He has not gone to a doctor and been diagnosed with anything so he took it upon himself to self-medicate. That in and of itself is a huge issue. I don't normally tell people this because it is not my place to come to this conclusion but this situation screams for the truth. HE IS AN ADDICT..there is no other way to say it. He is exhibiting typical addict behavior and he is in a dangerous place.

YOU have done nothing wrong and yet I hear it when you type that you feel guilty. He is throwing the blame on you for everything that is going on and you are believing it is true. How sad is that.

Tell me something..have you changed your feeling since this all began? Have you changed your behavior, attitude, etc. since this all began? I believe the answer is no. The drugs have changed HIM..not you.

I told you this before and I will say it again. He NEEDS help. YOU cannot fix him. He needs professional help. Marriage counseling is great but it is not the time to try and work on that. He needs to work on him first. He is going to counseling while high on drugs. How much do you think you guys are getting out of that. He can't love you if he doesn't love himself.

I also mentioned to you to try and talk with hum about it. Not confront but discuss instead. If you can't get that conversation going I don't know what to say. You can't force him so you are in a bad situation.The only thing you can do at this time is to make a decision about your marriage. Do you want to stay in a marriage like this? Do you want your son exposed to this? These are huge and life changing decisions and they are not meant to be done in one day.

I suggest that you get yourself into an Al-Anon group ASAP. You will learn about living with an active addict. You will be around people just like you and they will guide you through this process. I believe it would do you a world of good and I hope you will take the suggestion.

Here is the link to find a meeting near you. If there are none that you see you can call the toll free number listed. Please give it a try. You have nothing to lose.


You are both in my prayers sweetie. Keep posting and talking with us here. I know it helps to get it all out. Someone is always here to support you.
271792 tn?1334979657
BTW, that is the most I have ever typed in a response in my 7-1/2 years on the site. That alone shows how much I want to help you.
Avatar universal
oh my goodness, thank you so very much.  Well said and heard, loud and clear.  :-)  My eyes are opening up, thanks to all your kind and honest words.  

I'm going to go to a meeting this week, too. It'll be awkward, but educational I'm sure.  

Will meet with the attorney soon.  And will talk to my parents this weekend.  

Kind of a decisive person, so I'll see it through. It will be hard, and most of all, hard on my son. :-(

Sending you enormous hugs from the other side of the country.

Avatar universal
Wow! He definitely needs to see a physician and get his depression and drug use addressed. It would be appropriate to tell him, as well!  I agree, the amounts you mentioned aren't large but the combination of drugs is a concern. He needs to get honest about the whole situation and stop blaming you. He sounds antagonistic toward you and that can't be fun or healthy...and you sound too nice to him!  haha. He doesn't deserve nice right now; he's  not being nice at all.  

Follow IBK's sage advice. It's time.
Avatar universal
I agree wholeheartedly w/ IBKLEEN's advice. I want to add a small thing in the meantime. My heart sank for you when you wrote about you making him breakfast and him not thanking you. My heart sank because you doing nice things for an addict in denial is basically like stabbing yourself in the stomach. That was a small example of EXPECTING a response. Stop doing "nice" things like that. That's called crazy making behavior. Why are you "rewarding" this dude's behavior? Alanon will teach you to focus of YOU. As opposed to the hoops you jump through to get someone to notice you. You deserve better.

I would make it a personal goal to go to an Alanon meeting within the next 24 hours. It needs to be a priority, kay?
Avatar universal
So, we talked last night and it couldn't have gone worse. I should have expected it because I've been with this man for 5 years and I've been able to have a conversation with him about his diagnosis that doesn't result in him shutting me down.  

I asked him to stop the silent treatment and cold shoulder around the house because it was creating a bit of weirdness in the house for the kiddo.  He told me he's going to do whatever he wants. I said, even if it's not good for [son's name]?  He said, yep, it's time for me to do what's good for me. (yeah, we're off to a great start).

He then said he wants me to know how unhappy he is with me and our marriage. I said that I was unhappy with him, too.

Guys, I know I shouldn't confront, but I couldn't resist - I am so tired of him telling me everything is my fault, and so tired of tip-toeing around the elephant in the room.  So I kind of launched and reminded him that we talked about him addressing his issues back in January, getting a physician, moving the meds above-board, but he hasn't done any of that.

He said I was a horrible person, a hateful person, for even bringing that up - for saying that it has anything to do with the problems in our relationship is "lying to myself." He said "whatever lies you need to tel yourself to make you feel better, go right ahead."  And he said, I hate you and your are such an evil, hateful person.  etc, etc  :-(  

I told him his issues are effecting me and our marriage.  Yes, we have our issues as a married couple, of which I totally acknowledge my role and we are addressing those in couples therapy. But his issues are also a factor, and those happen to be solely in his control.  He then said, if anyone's mental health is a problem its yours, you're the one who should see a doctor, you're the one who should be medicated, etc.  

That part was hurtful because he was just being hateful - he said my having a low self-esteem has caused all the problems in our relationship. Yes, the horrific, all-consuming disease of low self-esteem :-)  Then he did a mock-lady voice and was shouting: "Oh I'm so fat, I hate how I look, no one likes me, I don't want to go to the party, no one wants to be my friend." Sigh, I knew in that moment that he was a little out of control. haha, it was so weird and mean and deflective. Because "I look so fat" is definitely the same as "I want to jump off the roof and die."

But for the sake of progress I said, fine, if its important to you that I address those things with a doctor or psychotherapist, I'll be happy to go and do that.  I'm just asking that you do the same, too?  Will you go and get a doctor and do ongoing therapy?  He said no because he guarantees any doctor will just give him exactly what he's already on, so its pointless. He knows more than any other doctor about what to do. He also said I should stop saying "mixing medications" like I know what I'm talking about and like it's some big thing - he says I don't know what I'm talking about and I'm just saying "mixing medications" because it sounds really bad. Note: It's hard to argue with an M.D., Ph.D.!  He also said the couples therapy is his ongoing therapy.

I disagreed, she's obviously not qualified to prescribe or to know how prescriptions interact. And I said even if another doctor puts him on all the same medications, at least it would be above board, with a 3rd party doctor, and it would be super important he's in therapy with a professional who can prescribe and understand med interactions.  He was so angry and totally refused and just kept saying things about what a joke it is that I'm even talking about this - super fake, just saying whatever I need to say to feel better about myself, etc.

I said, you'd rather throw away our marriage and our life and [child's] life than just go get some help for all this stuff and see if it helps our marriage?  See if it helps the work we're doing in couples therapy?  He said yep, I'm not going to see a doctor, and he also wouldn't admit that his mental health/drug use has any affect on our relationship, and he vehemently argued the opposite - that it has zero effect whatsoever, and all our marriage problems are me.  He said  "It's over. I want a divorce."

Yeah, so that when from like 0-to-60 in record time! Guys, I'm so confused. I mean, is all of this real or am I just making a big deal out of nothing? I don't think I have much a choice any more, we're headed to divorce - now today and last night he's being nice and no more silent treatment.  I kind of wonder if he has just wanted out for a long time, and his guilt about abandoning us has been part of the problem contributing to the depression/addictions. His job contract is up to expire in a couple months, too, which is curious timing.  New life, new wife. :-)
Avatar universal
Oy vay.  

A the start of the conversation he said:  "He told me he's going to do whatever he wants. I said, even if it's not good for [son's name]?  He said, yep, it's time for me to do what's good for me."

Honey, you've been so (emotionally) abused, you don't even recognize abuse. The guy shut down at the start and you kept going w/ your attempts. Then it just escalated. That conversation reminded me of an Energizer bunny: you kept being "hit" and you kept coming back for more. And more. And more.

This guy is not only in horrific denial, he is an arrogant control freak. What happened to the Alanon meeting? You need it desperately. All of your focus is fixing this guy. All of it. That is your life: trying to please, and fix a drug addict. This jerk is right about one thing: your self esteem is lower than low. If you had any, you wouldn't be putting up w/ this. I'm sure that conversation is a repeat of many.

I can't say this any clearer: stop trying. Stop. Your focus has to be on YOU (and your kid.) Go to alanon. You are living in complete insanity. It's hard to read, I feel horrible and angry for you.

Here is direction for you: find and go to an alanon meeting. Do not ask, beg, console, question, reason, complain, analyze, threaten anything at, to or for this dude. Okay?
Avatar universal
I just reread what I wrote and I want to amend something. When I wrote "if you had any self-esteem, you wouldn't be putting up w/ this." I don't mean there is anything wrong w/ you. I meant, that, an unfortunate trait of those who put up w/ any type of control/abuse is low self-esteem and I was trying to show you that. You are buying this guy's insults. By questioning yourself, you are buying the horrific musings of a severely in denial drug addict. I am quite sure you deserve better in your life.

P.S.- Literally in my meeting last nite, a guy shared, he'd relapsed, he's a doctor. He was scared he would see a patient in our meeting. Doctors are human. Don't let the MD after the name mean anything more then extra years of college. He is an extremely flawed human being. Again, though: focus is on YOU.

Avatar universal
I've been following your posts and I just wanted to add a few things.. Firstly, I am very sorry you are going through this, but unfortunately us addicts treat the people we love the worst.. I thinks it's clear to you that your husband is in the throws of addiction, I too treated my wife very similar to how your are being treated.. Call it controlling, egotistical or whatever, the bottom line is that his addiction is doing the talking now and he is the only one who can stop it.. I relapsed at the end of last year and my wife found pills that I hid and I stood there and argued with her that I didn't have a problem (read some of my old posts as I go through it in detail).. In short I called her names, asked for a divorce and blamed anything and everything on her while she was holding the EFFIN pills in her hand and at the time I was convinced I was NOT in the wrong.. I'm SURE every addict on this forum has similar crazy stories of our manipulation tactics to protect our ability to continue using.. I understand how frustrating and perplexing this is to you especially when all common sense is thrown out the window.. You are trying to reason with an unreasonable person right now who ironically is the ONLY one who can make this stop.. I am also a professional who hid my addiction and it wasn't until I was very, very close to losing everything (wife, kids, business, friends and etc) that I decided enough is enough.. I hope and pray your husband wakes up to what he is doing and begins the steps to recovery.. In the meantime I suggest you heed the advise of the posters above, check out some meetings to hear first hand how to deal with all this craziness. Stay as positive as possible and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family...
Avatar universal
Real180 said it perfectly!!!!
Avatar universal
Wow, he's got it bad. I actually have had these same conversations with my husband, a narcissistic, spiteful, immature alcoholic. Just wanted to commend you on your great strength and fortitude during that talk, and remind you that absolutely none of it is true. You are a good and very normal woman (aren't we all fat in our heads) and you and your son deserve so much more than this! Drop everything and see the lawyer while he still has assets.  So sorry for this. He's abusing you.
Avatar universal
How are you holding up honey?

I have to ask this: has he ever put his hands on you?  Pushed you?  Anything?

Emotional and verbal abuse is horrific, because you can't see the bruises and cuts; they're in your soul.

This is a sad situation you are in, but you have a child to think about, and luckily, it isn't his.   How old is your child again?   This is only a 3 year marriage; I don't know how long you knew him before you got married...hopefully you don't have too much of an emotional investment in him.  

Everyone on here is correct; you aren't talking to him; you're talking to his addiction, and its got him by the throat.  Intelligent addicts are the WORST; they rationalize and play elaborate head games with you that can really mess you up psychologically.  

The lawyer is key.   If you own the house together, it can get sticky (who leaves first, etc.)  

I was married to a doctor.   He was not an addict, but he was very damaged mentally and without divulging too much, I was on the brink of committing myself to a mental hospital after 11 years of marriage to him.  We had a daughter together.  I took her, my car, a futon, and an old tv and just LEFT.   We had a big house, lots of stuff, he made good money.  I walked away from all of it.   Never even got my wedding crystal back...it didn't matter.   He was playing mind games with me that were causing me to have serious mental issues.  AND....he had me totally convinced it was all ME.  Thank GOD I had a therapist, who after about a year, said to me "Look, I don't normally tell my patients this, but you HAVE to get out, and I mean TODAY."  

This guy was so messed up; he had me convinced I was a fat, disgusting, undesirable freak.   At one point, he called me a "train wreck."   I had dieted down to under 100 pounds, changed my hair color, cut it, twisted myself into a pretzel to try and make him happy, but nothing worked.  

It was hard to leave, but I'm so glad I did.    I hope you decide to as well.  Don't question yourself, sweetie...the things he is saying to you aren't what a normal, happy, well adjusted spouse says.  

Please keep in touch...we care...
Avatar universal
Ok wow but he sounds just like my husband. We are separated.

Nothing is his fault. It us mine. Not his addiction or attitude etc. He treated my daughter horribly too. One time he said to "why should I care about her, she does nothing for me!!"  And she was standing right there. She was 7 years old. That is when I knew I had to save her from this or it would damage her.

He wants a divorce, give it too him. You'll see how he really feel then. Is there somewhere toucan go? Can he leave since it would be easier for him than both of you?

Take care of yourself.
Avatar universal
Things are so bad at the house. It is unreal to have to be living together right now. He is playing so many psycho games. I can't deal I any keep calm. I need him out of the house. It is too crazy to be around him. What can I do?
Avatar universal
Well, if he is at all threatening to you, you can call the police and they'll remove him. That's drastic though....

Ask him to leave. It's worth a try and maybe he'll go. It sounds like you need to be separated because this is very unhealthy and hurtful. Only you know what the house situation is but with a young child, he needs to be the one to leave the house, for now.

Do you suspect there's another woman involved?

I'm sorry you're going through all of this. Keep your chin up and stand up for yourself!  And don't put up with any crap from him or let him beat you down; he's mentally ill! Ignore him.
Avatar universal
Okay that message was written at a rather desperate time. All is calmer in the house and my son is off to a friend's house for the night and tomorrow. I'm going to an alanon mtg tomorrow morning. Therapist mtg on Monday. Attorneys on Tuesday. Plan is in place. I'm sorry to have posted when I was feeling so desperate and emotional. Im gonna have to toughen up a bit to keep calm and strong in the coming weeks.
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