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Old 07-27-2007, 11:01 AM   #1
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Spouse of Tramadol Addicted Wife At Wits End - Need Advice!

Hi - I posted here about 5 months ago when I found out my wife was taking Tramadol - not for pain, but to 'treat' her depression. She had been addicted to oxycontin and we got her off of that a couple of years ago. She hid the Tramadol use from me and was apologetic when I found out, but then got a new head of steam and said that she wasn't hurting anything and it was her business what she did. She accused me of spying on her, and trying to be her dad. She currently takes Lexipro too.

She has been taking it steadily now for the past 5 months - I think 6, 50mg pills a day. Every so often she says she will taper off of it but then changes her mind. She is spending about $250 a month getting these delivered to her via FedEx. I work out of the house and she was making me leave when she knew they would be delivered. She tears up and hides the envelopes they come in. I am getting so steamed I am ready to leave for good.

I realize there would be huge consequences of this since we have two daughters from her previous marriage and one son together that is 6. Leaving probably isn't the best thing, but I don't know what would be better to get her off of this. Should I tell her friends and family and try to have an intervention? Should I go and visit a marriage counselor? She won't go to one when I have mentioned it because I'm sure the counselor would urge her to get off the drugs.

Another question? Why am I so steamed? My wife tells me it is me trying to control her - I just want her off of the stuff, and I want the bleeding of money to stop. She says that I just want her to commit suicide!

Does the Tramadol make you not have clear decisions - or lack of control? For example, when she was addicted to the oxy, or has taken percoset or something like that, she would spend lots of money. It seems as though she is doing that now. Also, she out of the blue decided she wanted a tatoo the other day, and today is the day she is going in to have one done. I wonder if this is the Tramadol or really her decision. That's the problem - I don't know what is her and what is the pills.

Any help? Suggestions?

 
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Old 07-27-2007, 11:41 AM   #2
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Re: Spouse of Tramadol Addicted Wife At Wits End - Need Advice!

I've been taking tramadol now for at least five years for my fibromyalgia aches and pains. I took vicodin for many, many years and finally decided (it stopped working) I couldn't be dependent on it any longer. My doc prescribed ultram and it has been a life saver. I take 100 mg., four times a day.

I've never gotten a "high" from ultram and there have been many times that I was without it for a couple of days and haven't felt wd symptoms. Maybe it would've happened after three days, I don't know.

Are you sure your wife is only taking ultram and nothing else? I hope you aren't looking for a reason to leave her. I've never noticed that ultram made me think irrationally or spend more money than normal. I own and manage a very successful business that is demanding and requires that I'm on the ball 24/7. I would hate to think my mind is negatively affected by the ultram. I think you should either speak to your doctor or do a little research to become more knowledgeable about ultram. I hate to think your wife is hiding more from you but (with an addict in our family), it would make me wonder if she's telling you the whole truth. It seems you are making it a little difficult for her to open up to you too. She needs to speak to someone immediately if she is talking about taking her life, showing irrational behavior, etc. For the health of your family, you should encourage her to do so. God bless...I'll keep you in my prayers--Kate

 
Old 07-27-2007, 11:57 AM   #3
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Re: Spouse of Tramadol Addicted Wife At Wits End - Need Advice!

Hello Friend

Tramadol (Ultram) was marketed as non-addictive and nothing could be farther from the truth. Considering your wife's past addiction to oxyconton, I would surmise that she is now dealing with a full blown addiction to Tramadol. Using it probably caused those opiate receptors to wake up and say, "Hello again, Oldl Friend, glad to feel you again." She is displaying totally addictive behaviour again and my gut feeling is that she doesn't even know why.

When my husband didn't seem to grasp the significance of his bloodpressure and the potential for a heart attack, I just pulled info off the net and shared it with him. He sure wasn't going to listen to [U]meU] spout off like an authority! I just shared with him by saying, "Honey, I was reading about this and you know what it says? Blah, Blah Blah" Having an 'authoritative" (haha) source like an internet article allowed him the dignity of saying , "okay, maybe there is something to this." Today, in about two hours, we are leaving for the doctor to discuss running the heart tests and working on the blood pressure.

Maybe, maybe, you could pull some articles off the net and share in a comfortable way with wife. Search Tramadol AND addiction. Sharing with her in an interested and not condescending or finger pointing way may be the path to her agreeing to go to her doctor with you as support and discuss the whole issue.

Hoping, hoping,ohoping for an opportunity to address this BIG issue with your wife
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Old 07-28-2007, 06:25 PM   #4
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Re: Spouse of Tramadol Addicted Wife At Wits End - Need Advice!

Hi,
I could be your wife, I was doing exactly all of these behaviors. I started on the Tramadol for legitimate back pain, irony was that I had been on Methadone for it, got clean of the methadone, pain was still bad. My ortho doc told me the Tram was not addictive, WRONG!

I had many fights with my husband, who feels the same way you do. I feel like he would rather me be in pain, than to spend the money on the meds. Which in turn makes me feel less than loved.

But he is very important to me, and I do trust him, so I quit the Tram cold turkey last Monday. This has been the week from hell, the first 3 days I could hardly get out of bed.

Please make sure that if you convince her to quit, that you give her the time she needs during the withdrawal's stage. First there will be physical wd's, and then there will be neurological wd's.

Good Luck
Barb

 
Old 07-31-2007, 03:07 PM   #5
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Re: Spouse of Tramadol Addicted Wife At Wits End - Need Advice!

Ok, I'm confused. On one hand kate says that she takes Tramadol and has no ill effects, no confusion and all is well. On the other hand we have people telling how addictive it is. Kate - are you prone to addictive behavior? If you haven't been addicted to anything previously, then is that why it isn't affecting you as others? I don't know, and that's why I'm posting.

What exactly does the Tramadol do to you to make you want to continue - or to stop? Does anyone have experience they can share on what it does to you mentally? My wife is forgetting a lot of things recently that she has just told me about - is this an effect? Also, after looking at the expenditures, it appears my wife is taking probably more like 8+ 50mg tabs a day. Does the Tramadol make you want to take more and more like oxy?

I've tried telling my wife that there are countless boards and information on the web about how bad Tramadol is for you but she refuses to listen saying she has done all the research. We literally can't discuss this without an argument. My next step is to talk to her best friend in confidence - she knew about the oxy addiction and does not support addiction. I'm pretty sure she could bring it up somehow without the information being obvious from me - but I'm willing to risk it anyway.

I feel like I have to do something soon, last night while we were driving home my wife had a huge out of body experience or massive panic attack - which is not like her. The first thing that flashed through my mind is that I do know that Tramadol can cause seizures - but I'm not sure if this is related.

Here again, what does it do to you that makes it so bad that you should stop? I need all the ammo I can get.

Thanks!

 
Old 07-31-2007, 03:29 PM   #6
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Re: Spouse of Tramadol Addicted Wife At Wits End - Need Advice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lost In NW View Post
My wife tells me it is me trying to control her - I just want her off of the stuff, and I want the bleeding of money to stop. She says that I just want her to commit suicide!
Okay, this is classic addict behavior here. If nothing else told me she's massively hooked, this alone would do it. She is trying to manipulate you into silence.

Some keys for you to remember:
Don't threaten to leave unless you really are prepared to do so.
Don't let her convince you that your motives are bad - I assume you could forgive her transgressions if they stopped.
Do find an alanon group.

It's hard to love an addict. We manipulate people to get what we want, we lie, we steal and we abuse genuine affection. On the other hand, most recovered addicts are loving, caring people who would give the shirt off their backs for a friend in need. Unfortunately, it is very hard to know when someone might shift from being a practicing addict to a recovering one. You might consider an intervention with the aid of a CD counselor.

It's a tough spot - particularly with the well-being of the kids to consider. My heart goes out to you.
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Old 07-31-2007, 04:36 PM   #7
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Re: Spouse of Tramadol Addicted Wife At Wits End - Need Advice!

NW

I am sorry I am short on time here and will try to get back later to share more with you. You need to mdrag your wife's butt to her doctor and if she won't share, then you better. Yoyr wife sounds exactly in the consition I was in as I fell into a horrendous breakdown and felt like I was dying.. panic attacks were daily events 4-6 times a day and the depression and emotional horror were almost unbearable. It IS the Tramadol causing this.. It IS. For me, it was oxycodone, but it all works the same.

She is a sick, sick woman... hates herself right now and isn't even sure of what the heck is going on ion her. Spit it out.. set the boundary... "We are going to see the doctor immediately about how badly you are feeling, how you have ben acting and get to the bottom of what is happening to you. I love you too much to have to end up in divorce court over issues that can be solved with some help."

Matt, it needs to be done. If it doesn't end up in dicorce court, I fear it will end up ion the undertaker's office amking arrangements. I have been there, Matt, where your wife is. She is not capable of taking control. Do it for her.

Hope to write more later. This is no way for a marriage to thrive and it CAN be repaired for the two of you.

Hugs
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Old 07-31-2007, 05:09 PM   #8
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Re: Spouse of Tramadol Addicted Wife At Wits End - Need Advice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by reachout View Post
She is not capable of taking control. Do it for her.
I'm sure it was well intended, but in my experience this might be the worst piece of advice on addiction I've ever heard. One person cannot control another's addiction. To think you can would be the very definition of codependency.
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Old 07-31-2007, 08:43 PM   #9
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Re: Spouse of Tramadol Addicted Wife At Wits End - Need Advice!

Hi NW

I am back home and did not want to end the night without sharing a bit more with you. Sorry for the delay. Hubby and I actually went out on the kind of date night only old married people do... for haircuts. Hahaha!! Every eight weeks is our big night out.

I wanted to share a bit more of my story with you. In the months.. actually the years, before I ended up where your wife is close to being it seems, I honestly and truly did not understand how the opiates worked on a person's body and mind. As I began to fall into deeper and deeper depression, I thought that that was exactly what it was.. depression. I had no clue how connected it was to the opiate painkillers and benzos that I was using for so many years to control post cancer surgery. As the depression depened, I would cry and sob. I hated the depression for ruining my life, stealing it from me. My husband loved me, but as I withdrew, it caused him to miss out on many social ocassions even within the family. As close as I am to my adult children, I was even withdrawn from them.

My hubby started coming with me to my doctors' appointments because I was usually too exhausted to even drive. The doctor always asked my husband how he felt I was doing. My husband always descibed the pain I had and how tird I always was. The oncologist always said that yes, the pain could do that as well as the meds I was on. I don't think he ever made the connection between my crying, the depression and the medications.

When the final breakdown came, I went flying to my family doctor, a confidant and a friend. As he saw me sitting there sobbing, he said, "I can help." He talked directly to my husband first and asked the right questions. Is she calmer after taking the meds? Is she sleeping more than is normal? Stuff like that. And then he turned directly to me and said, "You need to come off the opiates and the benzo." he asked me for "full disclosure" on exactly how many meds I wa taking. I told him the truth. He said I was displaying addictive behaviour... that he wasn't clling me an addict, but that there was no doubt about the adictive behavior. He explained that the opiates and Xanax were contributing hugely to my depression and that in trying to escape the depression, I had crossed the line at some point and was using the meds to self-medicate for the depression as much, if not more, than for the post cancer pain.

He was right, NW. I didn't know if I believed him or not at first, but I was in such a horrible emotional hole that I was willing to try anything.... and I trusted him. It took me since last October to taper off oxycodone and then xanx, but now it is done. I was in such bad shape that I was forced to retire from work that I loved. Today? I am happy, joyous even. I am enjoying my kids, my grandbaby, my friends again! And tomorrow hopefully I will hear about a job I applied for doing the work I did in a different setting. I have strted a home tutoring business as well and have proposals out to two companies and am awaiting xdeciaison s from them. I am living again, NW, and my marriage and family are thriving again.

It was difficult for me to face and own up to displaying addictive behavior. And whatever it may be called medically, it is the same deal getting off and staying off narcotics when our bodies have become so dependent. HAd my husband not levele with the doctor about how much I was sleeping, how exhausted I always was, how our socilal life and family life had deteriorated, I do believe I would be dead now. Dead is always the end result of depression if it is not dealt with properly and professionally.

I believe that your wife isself medicating because of deep depression. I read that together you had worked to get her off the oxycontin. What I didn't read is what kind of aftercare took place after she got off the opiate. Is she in continuing counseling? NA? AA?

As hard as detox is, it is the aftercare that is the most essential part... as I think you are living proof of seeing in your marrriage and family. It is the depression that comes hard as a normal process after detox and it absolutlely must be dealt with.

Do think about setting up that boundary and getting Wife to the doctor and laying it all out in front of her. Full disclosure... and if she can not spit out the words, then do it for her. When that was done for me, I gave up all control of meds to Hubby, listened to what the doctor said I needed to do.... and got better, and am staying better. Restored, renewed, a wife, Mom, friend and whole person again.

Many, many of us make it to where I am today, NW. Sadly, some do not. However, it seems you care about this marriage and I believe with all my heart that a step to get Wife headed where she needs to go is something you need to do for you as well as her. Please go in a step-by-step, logical progression here. I know you are truly suffering and do not want you to rush into an ultimatum like "Clean up or we are done" without understanding what that oxycotin withdrawal caused in Wife because perhaps no real aftercare was in place. Don't cross abridge until it needs to be crossed.

I am wishing you well and hoping your wife and mother of your child can find the inner strength to accept the help.

Peace
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Old 07-31-2007, 11:14 PM   #10
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Re: Spouse of Tramadol Addicted Wife At Wits End - Need Advice!

Thanks for the words mariogreymist and reachout -

mariogreymist - what is a CD counselor? and where would I find a good one? reachout - I don't think there is any way I can drag my wife's butt to the doctor - she pretty much refuses to see doctors. After her stint with the oxy, she did get very depressed and I found her a psychologist to see. After a few sessions, she decided the guy was a quack and refused to go back. This was prior to the Tramadol. Since then she thinks that anything she goes to any doctor for, the doctor knows her past and treats her differently. She finally told everything to our local doc, and said a great weight had been lifted, but this doc has prescribed her Tramadol a couple of times. I don't think he's aware of how much she is taking from other sources. So in short - she really didn't have much after-addiction care.

Right now for the most part she is in a pretty good mood and I'm sure she's convinced that the Tramadol is doing nothing bad to her - and it would be hard for me to prove that as well. The only things I have noticed are the forgetful things and that her usage seems to be increasing.

I've read on this board that no one can be helped until they are ready to be helped themselves, so I'm not sure what to do next. I know if I confide in her friend or family members she will be so angry with me that she might never forgive. On the other hand I feel I cannot let this go on, for my own health - financial and mental.

She is paying for the drugs with some money that her mom left her when she died. It is money I really don't have access to, so cutting the funds off is not really something I could do.

This whole thing started when she started taking her mom's oxy as she was taking care of her. Her mom had cancer and died 2 years ago Christmas.

Should I tell her family and friends? Or is that the worst thing to do?

 
Old 08-01-2007, 12:00 AM   #11
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Re: Spouse of Tramadol Addicted Wife At Wits End - Need Advice!

Hi NW

If she has has the opportunity to have aftercare and refuses to do so, then the bridge needs to be crossed. If she will not accept that her behavior has crossed the line into addictive and won't do anything about it, then now is the time for you to get proactive to save yourself and the kids.

It seems as if it is time to tell her that unless she cleans up and works with a professional to get help, she must leave. Not you.. her. Her actions are pulling the family unit apart little by little, you are falling down in your own mental health and the kids are going to suffer.

As you set the boundaries, make sure you re willing to follow through. It is pointless to take a stand and not follow through because then the crap will just continue. I would confront her, as it is she who is with the issues, not her friends. If she turns them, fine.. maybe they can help her see it is her. It is ultimately Wife who must be held accountable. If a doctor has tried to work with her and she is making excuses not to go, then she has pretty much signed her own fate here. It is sad and painful, I know.

What are you really willing for your boundary to be? I would suggest you find a nar-Anon or Al-anon meeting very soon and let those who have dealt with this be a guide tio you. You need support to help you through this! The people and friends you meet at one of these meetings can provide such support and solid advice as they have, and some sstill are, standing in your shoes.

I am sorry. For the whole family. Each member is going to have pain in this. As the rational adult in the situation, it falls on you to take the steps you must to protect the youngsters and yourself from an irrational adult who will not own up to her actions.

The things you have noticed... the forgetfulness, the increased usage, the panic attacks you mentioned earlier are all signs of progressive damage being done by the Tramadol. It will continue to escalate until she crashes and by then you may well crach from the pressure of it. Get proactive. Perhaps let the prescibing doctor know what is going on. And then decide on your boundries, confront her with the bills and ripped up envelopes and go from there.

Stay in touch with the board; there are other spouses and parents who have dealt with this. There will be support for you here. And please... this is a great site, but nothing can compare to real live people in your corner. get to a meeting.

In my thoughts
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Old 08-01-2007, 10:01 AM   #12
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Re: Spouse of Tramadol Addicted Wife At Wits End - Need Advice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lost In NW View Post
mariogreymist - what is a CD counselor? and where would I find a good one?
Chemical Dependency counselor. I would suggest calling your insurance carrier and having them help you - the best one in the world isn't going to help much if you can't pay her.


Quote:
I've read on this board that no one can be helped until they are ready to be helped themselves, so I'm not sure what to do next. I know if I confide in her friend or family members she will be so angry with me that she might never forgive. On the other hand I feel I cannot let this go on, for my own health - financial and mental.

She is paying for the drugs with some money that her mom left her when she died. It is money I really don't have access to, so cutting the funds off is not really something I could do.

This whole thing started when she started taking her mom's oxy as she was taking care of her. Her mom had cancer and died 2 years ago Christmas.

Should I tell her family and friends? Or is that the worst thing to do?
It's true that you can't help an addict until they are ready to be helped. That's not to say you can't help them be ready - that's what an intervention is. I don't suggest an intervention until you have seen a counselor yourself, and I do advise you get professional help if you do it. In the long run, a recovered addict will almost always forgive your actions (telling friends/family, etc) in helping them clean up.

I strongly suggest you find a good alanon meeting. There are millions of people that have been through what you are going through. They will be willing and able to help by explaining what did and did not help in their lives.

In the end, only you can decide when you can't take any more. Always remember though: don't threaten to leave and take the kids unless you are really prepared to do it - and have an alternative in place for her. Something like, "I've talked to X recovery center, and they have a bed for you. It's a 28 day residential treatment, and I'll visit every time I can. If you don't go, I'm taking the kids and leaving." That is far more helpful than, "If you don't stop, I'm taking the kids and going!"
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Old 08-05-2007, 01:14 AM   #13
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Re: Spouse of Tramadol Addicted Wife At Wits End - Need Advice!

NW,
What Tram does is what almost all other opiates (like oxy) do: create tolerance. As your wife is taking a certain dose, after a couple of days or so, the same dose won't be as effective as before so she will be tempted to take more. This is also a mental issue as well in that she remembers how effective (good) tram felt so she wants to experience it again and once her dose goes over several pills (8+), it is almost as if she was 'forced' to take tram as she will feel so uncomfortable she won't want to go through it or eventually she would crash and have to go through the TERRIBLE withdrawals which last for days and resulting depression could last for months! Interestingly, tram is also used as a mood enhancer for depression as it affects serotonin which is a mood regulator and therefore, as serotonin is depleted as a result of the tram, the brain needs to replenish it and until it does, depressive episodes hit. After first taking tram for a few days, I stoped for a day and as the night drew near, I just broke out crying as I felt so sad and I did not even think that it might be tram that was responsible for it. But it IS tram that's responsible for the awful feelings of sadness, crying spells, etc. Once I realized that tram was making me feel like this, I started extensively researching anything and everything on tram and opiates, how they affect one's brain, mood, etc. I eventually was taking very big amounts of tram as it was fairly easy to get just like your wife, they arrived via Fedex Express, and as I had sufficient funds, I would get 180 trams almost every week (16-31 trams a day). Such big doses are definitely seizure-causing and I was playing with fire but I guess that amount wasn't my "limit" or I wasn't prone to seizures as I never had one during the 2 years of taking tram and other opiates (for the 'high' rarely for pain). Eventually, I went cold turkey which did not work as I felt horrible, worse than anything I ever experienced, so I looked into tapering down and that was the only thing that has worked for me; 1 tram less each day and once I got to 2-3 trams a day, I cut them in half and took half less until I got to 0. The WDs were almost nonexistent and I was surprised that I was able to still feel tram working as I lowered my dose daily.

I can't say that tram was reponsible for any memory lapses (maybe I forgot?) and the only thing I can think of in terms of tram "controlling" one's personality/actions is that you might act a little different than your 'usual self' in terms of being more talkative or more open to doing things that you might've not done if it wasn't for the good/happy feeling that tram gave you. Is your wife taking tram for the 'high' or is she experiencing actual pain? Obviously, one has to be ready for the change in order to free one's self from the addiction and my best advice is to taper off it slowly (the slower the better) as then the WDs are A LOT less pronounced than if full fledged cold-turkey approach was attempted. I hope this helps!
vide1111

Last edited by vide1111; 08-05-2007 at 01:46 AM.

 
Old 08-05-2007, 09:57 AM   #14
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Re: Spouse of Tramadol Addicted Wife At Wits End - Need Advice!

Thanks for the post vide1111 - it was very helpful. My wife does take the Tramadol only for the mood effect and not for pain. She started taking them when she was depressed - I think she entered some chat room and someone suggested them to her! She swears she is in control of this and she will taper off "when she wants to".

My struggle with all of this is that any behavior changes I've noticed have been minor, and I do feel terrible about the possibility of the damage to the family it might cause to confront her with an intervention. I know in the throngs of an addiction the addict will say almost anything to take the spotlight off of them so they can continue using their drug. I'm just not sure how strong a grip the Tramadol has on her. Maybe she can taper off - but I'm sure if she did, at the first negative incident or perceived incident, she would start them up again. She is convinced they are harmless as she has 'done the research' and she can handle it.

I'm guessing at the amount she is taking, and I think it's around 9 or 10- 50mg pills a day, as she gets a 'shipment' every 2 weeks. Every time I see a FedEx truck now I just picture it as a drug delivery van.

I did contact a counselor that specializes in chemical dependency and marriage, and will also do interventions. They suggest that before an intervention I need to see the therapist at least 3 times, which it sounds like I need to do to get my own mind straightened out. Right now my wife and I don't trust each other - she thinks I'm always snooping into her personal business, and I don't trust her judgement or if she telling me the truth.

I feel guilty!

 
Old 08-05-2007, 06:10 PM   #15
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Re: Spouse of Tramadol Addicted Wife At Wits End - Need Advice!

Yes, it sounds like your wife is an addict. First the oxy's now the tramadol. Opiates or synthetic opiates do not treat depression (although they feel like they do)

You are in quite a pickle. Do you love your wife and are you willing to go to any length to help her?

It's so hard for a non addict (my husband) to understand the disease of addiction (me).

I don't know what I can add, but if she is unwilling, or doesn't see she has a problem that you are going to have to use tough love. Keep seeing the therapist they suggested, attend al anon meetings, whatever, for YOUR sake, and have a heart to heart with her. Do not let it escalate into an argument or a blame session. Let her know how it's destroying you and your family. Remember I said 'it' not her. But if she's in complete denial, there really isn't anything you can do. It has to be her decision.

And getting sober is only the beginning.......it's a lifelong committment to not fall back into our old habits.

If you do go with the intervention and she refuses to seek treatment, then you have to be unselfishly selfish. This is your life too, and your childrens, and you have to do whatever it takes to keep y'all healthy. I'm not giving you any advice on leaving or anything like that, that has to come down to you and your heart, but you need to be armed with as much info about addiction before making any rash decisions.

Drugs are the symptom of an underlying problem. Recovery is a long and painful road, but can also be a freedom of sorts.

Sorry I can't be of more help to you, but if anything, keep posting here, we will help as much as possible, even if it's just to give support.

BTW-for anyone who knows my posts and problems, I'm down to 8 hydros a day-came clean with my neighbor who is willing to help me and going cold turkey next weekend. I made the decision and am doing it. I'll post on another thread. Just had to add that in, because I'm pretty proud of myself right now.

One last thing you need to remember.......drugs (unless used properly for the right reasons) do nothing but destroy lives, don't let it destroy yours. You will eventually have to make a stand, but some of the best advice I've learned in AA meetings is that if you have to make a really important decision and don't know the answer--do nothing. You need to get more help before you decide what to do.

God bless and take care,
Sarah

 
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