Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
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1216523 tn?1285110208

Question from shocked wife of newly disclosed husband's opiate use/abuse.

Hello, My husband has just told me that he has been using/abusing opiates for over a year and a half without my knowledge. (I did wonder where the money was going but didn't think of anything like that.) Anyway, he is detoxing himself (allegedly) and is very weepy and has an answer for everthing. He is suddenly an expert on drug detox and withdrawal and everything related. He is almost 40 years old. We are upper middle class people, have 5 sons from toddler age to college......I am at a loss. Question - is it likely he can detox himself?
65 Responses
Avatar universal
Some people have a very hard time sleeping during the first week or two of withdrawals.  If it's been more than two weeks that he's been completely off the opiates then I'm not sure what would do it.  Unfortunately I know nothing about steroids.  

I guess for someone who is an insomniac getting off the opiates would probably really through their sleeping patterns out of whack.  The ability to get a normal nights sleep seems to be the last thing that returns to normal as far as the physical withdrawals go.
Avatar universal
Is it possible? Absolutley! Can HE do it? Well, that's up to him. If he truly wants to stop, he can, but some kind of aftercare is a must! I used opiates on and off for over 2 1/2 years and am on day 4 of withdraw and I feel really good! I have had withdraw in the past that were complete misery, but still, one CAN do it, if they really want to.

I am sure it is a shock to you, but it is more common than you know. If someone were to pick who would be the addict out of a line up 5 years ago, I know NO ONE would have picked me, but here I am! Don't be afraid to seek a therapist/counselor for YOURSELF, that's a lot to take in.

How many days into withdrawl is he? Don't worry about his health, he should be just fine surviving the withdraw, but worry that he may seek out pills during that time, so just try to be as supportive as you can WITHOUT babying him! Don't underestimate what an addict will do to get their drug, sadly everyone I know has lied, cheated, and stolen to get their fix, it comes with the territory. You hear of people robbing pharmacies all the time, its because they get real desperate!
751197 tn?1270314156
If your husband is in a lot of discomfort, you could take him to a hospital for admission to a medical detox unit. Any general hospital has the legal and clinical ability to provide a similar detox protocol, but the best setting for him (if he wants to do this) would be a specialized detox unit where he can be with others going through similar experiences, rather than be placed in a "scatter-bed" setting, where he could be rooming with someone receiving cardiac care, gall bladder surgery, or whatever.

Going through a detox program in a hospital setting will also give him some exposure to the basic concepts that are essential to recovery, as opposed to simply titrating off the drugs. I would strongly suggest that he attend 12-step meetings frequently, and also consider a short-term inpatient rehab if he has had addiction treatment before. If he has had no such treatment, either for alcohol or any other drugs, he could try a local outpatient addiction counseling program, one or more evenings per week while he continues going to work during the day and attending N.A. or A.A. meetings the other evenings. Recovery from any addiction - especially opioids - is a lengthy and demanding experience. He will need lots of support, both from you (in helping to keep him on track to the extent that you are able) and from other recovering addicts who can give him hope by describing what has worked for them.

You could also seek out an Al-Anon (http://www.al-anon.alateen.org) or Nar-Anon (http://www.nar-anon.org), which provide information and support to family members and other loved ones of those in recovery. You need to take care of your own needs too!

Best wishes.
495284 tn?1333894042
What was he taking and how much?  I am only asking as some meds have to be tapered down......
352798 tn?1399298154
I know it's a shock. At least he has admitted it to you. That is HUGE. The first step to getting free is to admit it to those he knows and to himself. If he is in detox now, look at this for some helps.  http://www.medhelp.org/health_pages/Addiction/Thomas-Recipe-Re-Posted/show/16?cid=66
Get Epsom salts for bathing the aching muscles. 3cups/bath. Lots of bananas too.

You might have him join this site too. There are lots of us who was where he is now. sometimes having people to ask questions to is oh so helpful.

As dominosara said too; try to find out what all he is taking. The amounts per dose, and the total dosage per day. Don't be shocked when he tells you.
352798 tn?1399298154
      Oh and the fact he is a 'know it all' on detox may be a good thing. It may mean that he has been studying this for awhile, knowing he has a problem and trying to find ways to overcome it.
   If he is not open to help because he "Knows It All". Then we have a different problem.
Avatar universal
Kat, I would describe myself as you described your family, in terms of socio-economic status.  Addictions happen to anyone, and happen to good people.  Please, your hubbie needs your support.  That will go a long way toward helping him succeed.  I started taking opiates years ago due to thoracic back pain so bad it brought me to my knees.  I am an intelligent, educated, hard working career woman with a responsible position at work, and I'm a mom too.  And I got addicted.  None of us started out planning to get addicted.  We were looking for relief from something - pain, stress, life.  I understand your anger at your spouse, but there must be good things about him or you would not be with him.  His addiction does not define who he is.  He is human.  Being upper middle class with 5 kids sounds like a helluva lot of stress, frankly.  When you are well off financially, there is that terror of losing it all, especially in this economy.  And I think guys embody that more than women as their careers are so defining to them.  You don't say if your spouse had medical reasons or not to take the meds, but if you want your family and marriage to succeed, support him while he detoxes himself.  And yes it can be done - with a lot of support.  Take care, Shelli  
1216523 tn?1285110208
Hi all,
Thanks so much for your help - and/or willingness to help. Ok, I asked him. He has been taking 80mg pills of Oxycontin daily (3 or 4 a day) for about a two years. We really work a lot, lots of kids etc. etc. so I guess I didn't really notice - so I guess I am an idiot myself, but I remember him sleeping so much on Sundays and that would TICK ME OFF becuase it was like one of the only days we had off and he would sleep!!!  OMG. but anyway, he says he would take ???Ativan??? to sleep on Sundays???? Sounds weird maybe. He also says if there was one point or another when he had to wait or not get any for a day or so, he would go and steal them from his father, uncles, my parents, whomever might have been having some medical procedure at whatever point. So, he would take, tylenol w/codeine, something that stars with a D????, any kind of crap he could get his hands on.
I asked where he got that stuff - won't tell me - except that from people who have people they know that have serious medical conditions and are willing to sell their medication.

Yes, I know that he needs me to support him but I am so freakin pissed right now. I mean when I think back to him driving around with our babies - or fighting with our older boys, being nasty to me.....OMG!!  And, this past year, he got into 2 accidents - neither were serious thankfully but imagine what could have happened. And, spending our freakin money on all that crap and, in the same breath, complaining about me buying something for myself or the boys????  (We both work and make about the same amount of money.)
Ok, so, bottom line is - right now - I don't believe a damn thing that he says. He says he is running to the store to get milk - I don't believe him. He wants to take the kids down to the beach (it is 4 houses away-walking distance) - I don't let him.

Oh, and some of you folks have asked. He initially told me about this on June 14th. I was shocked and honestly, didn't believe in the severity of it. He said it matter of factly, like, "Hey, I've been taking some pain meds - have been for a while - just wanted to get high, then it took more and more to get high, so I think I'm going to stop. ok - see ya after work". That was that. I am so stupid, Ithought he could/would just stop. Well, On July 10th we were at a neighbor's BBQ and he was high as a freakin kite. It all hit me like a lead balloon. We fought for a day or two. He supposedly has stopped again - as of July 13th. He has  been sick since:  jumpy, weepy, can't sleep, in the bathroom all the time, guilty, depressed, sometimes shaky, when he sleeps, (if I can tolerate sleeping near him because he now sweats so freakin much the bed is soaked and so am I!!!) he is twitching. Says he has headaches constantly. He wants me to go to the health food store and get him better vitamins, protein bars, energy drinks at the grocery store, we have a hot tub and he is in it alot now and he now wants to have a sauna put in. Big expense for,hopefully, a short term withdrawal, but, I guess it would be nice for all of us to have one.

I don't know guys. Don't know if I have it in me. I think it is the lying and putting our children at risk more than anything that I can't yet get past. Sorry if that sounds terrible - seems like you all have experienced it too and I am thrilled that you are clean or getting there but - WOW - way too much for me right now.
495284 tn?1333894042
He is in full blown withdrawal right now.  Everything you stated is part of it.  He will get thru this part and then the hard part starts and that is the mental game.  I hope he will get some recovery care of some sort.  

I know you are struggling with this and you have every right to feel the way you do.  All i ask is that you get some outside help with this.  Alanon is free and you will find lots of people who are and have been in your shoes.  Addiction affects the whole family and you are usually the ones who get the brunt of our addiction.  Now is the time to take care of you and your babies.  You have many many mixed emotions going on and it is very overwhelming for you.  Trust is a huge obstacle to overcome but you can get over it in time.  Your husband has to take care of himself now and make his recovery the No.1 priority in his life and you have to make you the No 1 priority in your life.  Hopefully you 2 will meet in the middle.  This takes time and patience is one thing we have to work on when dealing with addiction.  Educate yourself on this and learn about how to not enable your husband.  The healthy supplements he is wanting is a good thing.  They really do help both body and mind.  Keep us updated on how you are doing ok??     sara
Avatar universal
I sliped on my family the same as he has. I have three great kids and a very loving wife. Clearly he knew there was a problem and it was eating at him or he would have not said anything. I can't say that I understand how you fell but I can tell you that if you wan't him to get throw this you are going to have to stay positive and do this with him. I know it sounds silly but he is in withdraw and you have to make him stay postive to. I know it is hard to swollow this after everything he has done but that is up to you. My wife knew I got high but she did not know I shot 1-2-3-4 OC 80's a day untill I wen't to the hospital with a belly hurting and found out I had cought HEP C from shooting up dope. Telling her was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and now we have worked things out and have set our sights on a brighter tomorrow for us and our babies. So whatever you decide to do I wish you the best of luck and your husband the same but this is a problem you can get throw but only as a family.
Avatar universal
Trust your gut. I was "that husband" many years ago. It is very unlikely that the full withdrawal symptoms that you describe would last for a week. Generally, physical symptoms disappear in 3-4 days and then it becomes more mental symptomatic (anger,laughter,depression). I'm not saying that this is true of him, but this is how I did things back then. I would admit to my EX-wife that I had a problem and tell her that I was quitting. I neglected to tell her of my stash that I had (just to get me through withdrawals of course). When that was used up, I would get just a few more. Then I was right back where I started 30 plus Lortabs a day. If a person truly believes that they have a problem, they aren't going to be" matter of fact"when they admit it to someone they love. I checked myself into a facility 15 years ago only WHEN my ex-wife told me "I love you, but I'm not going to live like this. We divorced later because of something between her and my golf buddy, but I truly believe THAT never would have happened had it not been for my betrayal with the opiates.
Avatar universal
Trust your gut. I was "that husband" 15 years ago.
Avatar universal
I am engaged to a wonderful woman who is totally cluless about drugs altogether, and has absolutely no idea that I am severely addicted to opiates right now.  I am trying to get off of them, (for the 100th time), so I can live and enjoy life like everyone else does.  For some strange reason, I always feel like I need to make my day, "a little better", which is the reason I started taking painkillers to begin with.  I am taking between 6 to 10 lortab 10's daily.  I have detoxed many times, but I REALLY am having a hard time "just saying no" this time.  I do not want to quit taking pills, but I do not want my life to go to hell....again....either.  I took 7 today, and am planning to take 4 tomorrow, then 3 the following day, that way the detox won't be quite so intense.....the only problem is....I have had this "gameplan" for the last 3 months or so...and my instead of my number decreasing every day, i'll go down to 3 or 4 in a day, (which is a very low number btw) and then the next day i'll just say screw it and take 10.  This is my current situation, and my fiance knows that I am having problems in my life, but she just thinks its because i am overwhelmed with my priorities (which i am) such as work, school, and planning a wedding, (of which I will not be able to even afford if i do not get this under control VERY soon).  Each time I fail, I feel a little bit more helpless, and the only thing that takes that feeling away...is drugs.  I have been an addict since I was 14 and it is something that I have yet to truly get a grip on.  
1216523 tn?1285110208
Thank again everyone. I will try  to check on alanon this weekend. Thanks for not being judgemental about my pissy attitude. I am truly angry and, quite frankly, I feel like I get mor and more angry each day, not less and less. However, this is really new for me so I guess I shouldn't beat myself up. I am mad that he has been doing this, mad that he's been putting our kids at risk, mad that he's been spending our money - A LOT OF IT, mad that I have to change my life and maybe start going to alanon meetings (if I can), So, wow - I can't even stand myself for talking like this.
Ok, enough about myself. He keeps telling more "stuff" each day now. Before he left for work this a.m. - he told me that he wansn't taking those pills orally - he was cutting them up and snorting them. Also, after he told me that he was stopping the first time, apparently he got ahold of some type of drug (the name of which I forget now) that starts with an S but is supposedly suppose to help a person detox off of Oxycontin's. So, I guess he has to withdraw from oxycontin, the other pain meds he did, and THAT stuff as well. He has no intention of getting any kind of outside help from AA, NA, anything like that - however, he is going to his doc today (general pract) to see about getting some antidepressants.
Ok, all for now. Have to get the babies to preschool and get to work. It is very helpful for me to hear from all of you - I dont' feel so alone.
Have a good day.
1216523 tn?1285110208
Ok, I am back 10 minutes later. Just found some needles and a liquid drug, I think, I looked up the name of it just now and it is testosterone!!  OMG!  I wondered why now and then I would notice a bruise on his butt/legs.  OMG!!  WHy tell me about opiates and not shooting up testosterone?????!!!!  Uggghhhhhhhhhhhh
Ok, going to work now - really.
271792 tn?1334979657
Hi Kat,

First off, you need to calm down. You are going to make yourself sick if you don't and you have to worry about the kids and yourself right now.

The "S" drug he is taking is probably Suboxone. It does help with withdrawal but the bad news is that he obviously got it on the street so he is not working a program with it. He is, again, self-medicating. Suboxone should be administered by a doctor and followed up with counseling or some form of aftercare.

If he continues to play doctor and not get professional help, he will probably continue on the merry-go-round he has himself on. There is withdrawal associated with Suboxone and it can be harder than the pain medication. People in his situation normally will go back to their original drug to get off the Suboxone and then back to the Suboxone to get off their drug, and so on and so on.

He really needs to first admit he has a problem and then ask for help. Certainly there is hope there for him but I do not believe he is going to be able to do this alone.

As far as Al-Anon, please don't look at it like a chore. You stated that you "have" to go. Not true. It was suggested to you because it is a fellowship of people who either in your same situation or have been there. they are a wonderful care group of people who will help you through every step of this, and it is free. Be grateful that there is such a place and embrace it.

As far as the Testosterone, I personally don't have a clue. The only thing I know about it is that it is a steroid. It may be a way to get high...I truly don't know. Maybe some other members can clue you in on that.

Please hang in there and take care of yourself right now until you can get everything straight as to what is going on. Try and stay calm when you approach him. Yelling at him will only cause him to push further away. I am not saying to baby him by any means but if you attack him, he will attack back. That is just human nature.

Post when you get home and let us know how you are doing.
352798 tn?1399298154
    Oh Boy,..... I have to agree with IBKleen.....Take a deep breath and try to settle down. We all agree that this is a huge amount of info for you to process! Yes it hurts being lied to, yes it feels bad or makes you feel stupid that all of this has been happening under your nose for so long and you missed seeing it, and I am sory that you are going through this.

    The truth is he does have a problem. He has at least admitted to some of the problem. Now is the time for you to learn about his problem. Addiction comes in like a thief and slowly steals life from ALL around you. Lying, stealing drugs, hiding this..These are all too common things that happen.
   I still say that the positive here is he has admitted a problem and now you know about it. Please, for your good, and for his. Get in touch with Al-Anon. You need to talk with someone who has been there, done that. All of what you are feeling is normal, but, being upset and angry will not solve anything. If you want to help. You will need to get a handle on things.
Avatar universal

Test is a a steroid and is used to build muscle when working out. I used steroids for years and it doesn't get you high.
Side affects of steroids are: anger issues, growing breasts and shrinking your penis if used excessively.
I was one of those guys you would see walking around in muscle shirts with shoulders and biceps that made all the women turn their heads and it was cool and all but I never did steroids while using opiates.

Is your husband buffed? Does he adhere to a strict diet plan? Does he work out five days a week? If the answer is no to those questions then he has no business using steroids. Test really only works when used in conjunction with needles so don't get hung up on that part.

Its hard for anyone to understand that knows nothing about drugs addicts, why they use, when they find time to use or where they get the money to use. All of those are legitimate questions.
I used drugs most of my life and hardly nobody ever knew. I was good at hiding it. At the same time I ran multiple companies so don't feel so bad.
I have been married 4 times and thank God my wife is still here. without her and my soon to be expected newborn I would be lost.

I know you feel betrayed but don't let it ruin your marriage just yet. This stuff happens to the best of people and its the shame of being addicted that keeps most users in the closet. It must have taken a lot for him to tell you he was an addict. I'm sure he knew it was going to hurt you and it must have been one of the most difficult things to ever do.

Your husband is an addict in more ways than one. using test and opiates together is crazy. Not sure how you have the urge to work out for three hours while on opiates but I guess some people could do it.
You need to see a doctor. Suboxone is a terrific drug and if he was taking it before that means he has been fighting this demon for a while now. I'm sure you love him, so try to put your hurt feelings aside and be supportive. Just don't let him do it on his own. Put your foot down and make him see a doctor for recovery help. he doesn't need to be admitted to hospital, just get a treatment plan going and see a counselor.

good luck honey, I know its hard.

God bless
Avatar universal
The fact that your husband came clean with you is a huge step.  Huge...  I never came clean with my wife because I was afraid that she'd react the way you're reacting.  Try to imagine how hard it was and is for him to admit to you all the things that he's done.  Secrets are a huge part of the addiction sickness and the fact that he's telling you these things is a great sign and again a huge step for him.  He's probably tried to get clean many times without telling you and failed.  
352798 tn?1399298154
  Very well said.
Avatar universal
Thank you.  I was going to say more but I was trying not to be a jerk(which is hard for me sometimes).  
Avatar universal
Danny (Ha!)
great post brother.

Like I said, its hard for those people to understand why addicts are the way they are. I really believe its in your DNA.
Avatar universal
It's something.  If we knew we'd get rid of it I guess and be regular folk.  I guess it's very hard for non addicts to understand why we do the things we do(or did).  
1216523 tn?1285110208
Hi!!  I am back from work. I made it through without freaking out on my students!  :)  Ok, I have calmed down some. I know it is hard for him and glad he finally told me the truth. Must have been hard I'm sure.

Yes, he is buff - works out 5 days a week. We actually both go to the gym at 5 every morning. I go M-F and mostly do cardio. He lifts with a bunch of other guys every morning. Then, he goes to work and I come home and get all the kids ready. (Oh, we don't leave the young ones home alone - we also have college age kids that are home and, well, they are all sleeping at that time.) So, I know he is into all that muscle stuff but NO IDEA ABOUT testosterone.

I checked out alanon and found a few meetings in my area over the next couple of days. I will show up to one.

He has this other thing today - emotional thing - apparently he told his mother 3 days ago (told me that today) and he told his mom that he had been stealing the dad's pain medication for all of this time. Well, he said that she said, "well, Dad knew you have been taking it but he didn't know how to bring it up."  Sooooo  - Hmmmmmmmm?????  Anyway, obviously, the mom has told the dad and now my father in law keeps calling him - like 5 times a day and my hub won't talk to him. I asked him why and he said, "Kat, I am way too embarrased. I've been stealing my 65 year old father's medicine. That is not the code. I can't talk to him.

So, that's the thing today.

Thanks so much for talking to me everyone. I really appreciate it. (Whether I seem to or not, I really really do.)


P.S. really?  we think it is in the genes? I suppose. I mean I have taken pain meds over the years for various surgeries, dental issues etc. and, well, I can't stand it - messes with my stomach - NEVER finish the prescription - and that is usually only for 2 or 3 days. Some people - don't get sick physically and then, apparently, some people get physically addicted to it - and, it seems, through my husband, emotionally addicted to it.

P.P.S. - You ran a few businesses? That is what he does. Very well - I might add. I am a school teacher.
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495284 tn?1333894042
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