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Abuse Goes with Substance Abuse

The good people at DrugRehab.com reached out to me to ask if I would spread the public service announcement message that domestic abuse goes hand in hand with substance abuse. Many in Chump Nation are dealing with cheaters who are also addicts, and/or physically abusive. Also, many people respond to abuse (including our kids) by self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. Often deciding to leave a cheater means disentangling yourself from long, chump habits of codependence, managing an addict’s chaos. Can we change them? Is that a unicorn, or an ass with a carrot stuck to his forehead? Learn to detach with love, as they say. Handing the mic over to Holly Kapherr at DrugRehab.com.

By Holly V. Kapherr

It isn’t uncommon for those dealing with mental or emotional abuse to suffer at the hands of someone with an addiction. Domestic violence and abuse, also known as intimate partner violence or abuse, affects millions of people in the United States, both men and women, in both heterosexual and LGBTQ+ relationships.

One common misconception about domestic abuse is that it must be your current partner demonstrating abuse. That’s not the case. Domestic abuse can happen with former partners as well. Emotional and verbal intimidation, insults, destruction of property and other occurrences are examples of this kind of domestic abuse.

Connections Between Domestic Abuse and Addiction
Several links between domestic abusers and those who are addicted to substances exist, which is why they often coincide.

A 2001 study on alcohol-related domestic violence found that domestic abuse against women was two to four times more likely in men with alcohol problems than among other men.

And according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, more than one in five male abusers admitted to using substances before their most recent acts of abuse against their partner or former partner.

Abusers with Co-Occurring Disorders
A “co-occurring disorder,” known previously in medical circles as a dual diagnosis, is when a person with a substance use disorder also suffers from a mental health issue. For example, an individual with a drug or alcohol addiction who also deals with a condition such as bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) psychosis, depression or anxiety has co-occurring disorders.

Mental health disorders can exacerbate the effects of alcohol and drugs, especially when mixed with certain medications meant to mitigate these disorders. Antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications and muscle relaxers, often used to treat co-occurring disorders, should never be mixed with alcohol.

Drug interactions are common, and most pharmacists and doctors will advise patients to stop drinking after they begin a course of treatment for co-occurring disorders.

Complications can occur when a patient is already addicted to alcohol and cannot voluntarily quit drinking while taking these medications.

According to a 2016 article in the New York Times regarding antidepressants and alcohol use, Dr. Richard A. Friedman, a professor of clinical psychiatry and director of the psychopharmacology clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, said, “The risk of alcohol abuse and dependence problems for those who suffer from depression is about double the risk of people who don’t.”

Additionally, if you have an accompanying psychiatric condition, such as bipolar disorder, the risk for alcohol use disorder is six to seven times higher.

Domestic abuse and abusers with addiction are common, and 7. 9 million adults had a co-occurring disorder along with their addiction in 2014, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Substance use disorders, co-occurring mental health disorders and domestic abuse all share some similar characteristics that solidify the link, including control or loss of control, negative behavior regardless of consequences, obsession, tolerance development and withdrawal.

When Victims Use Substance Abuse to Cope
Victims of domestic violence often use substances, including alcohol, to cope with the mental and emotional scars from abuse. According to a 2002 study by the U.S. Department of Justice, victims of domestic abuse are 70 percent more likely to drink heavily than people who haven’t been abused by a partner.

Mental and emotional abuse can lead to stress, PTSD, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders and physical pain. Self-medicating with drugs and alcohol is a way to escape these symptoms. However, like any other individual who abuses these substances, individuals suffering from domestic abuse can also develop addictions to these substances.

Using the inhibition-lowering properties of drugs and alcohol can lessen the emotional and physical pain of the abuse, either while the abuse is going on or during daily life. Abuse can consume the survivor of the abuse, and alcohol and drugs can deaden the mind to these painful recollections.

These assertions have been backed up by research. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, 56 percent of abused women have a psychiatric problem, and victims of domestic abuse are more vulnerable to alcohol and marijuana use.

Seeking Treatment for Addiction as a Survivor
Another way domestic abuse and addiction are linked is in the reasons individuals do not seek help for them. Often, both addiction and domestic abuse cause feelings of shame, fear, loneliness, self-blame, anger, denial and confusion.

These feelings often discourage people from seeking treatment for their addiction or therapy after or during a domestic abuse situation.

However, more often than not, health care providers are sensitive to the needs of this population, which has been touched by addiction, mental health disorders and domestic abuse. Treatment facilities that specialize in this type of treatment do exist, and they can help.

SOURCES:

Soper, R. G. (2014, October 6). Intimate Partner Violence and Co-Occurring Substance Abuse/Addiction. Retrieved from http://www.asam.org/magazine/read/article/2014/10/06/intimate-partner-violence-and-co-occurring-substance-abuse-addiction

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2016, March 8). Co-Occurring Disorders. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/disorders/co-occurring

Petrow, S. (2016, December 20). Drinking on Antidepressants. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/20/well/mind/drinking-on-antidepressants.html

Greenfield, S., et al. (2010, June). Substance Abuse in Women. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3124962/

New York Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. (n.d.). Understanding Domestic Abusers. Retrieved from http://www.opdv.ny.gov/professionals/abusers/excuse2.html

Holly V. Kapherr is a professional editor and writer. She started her career in 2007 and has served as an editor for several national print magazines and websites. For ten years, she has specialized in culinary, travel, lifestyle, family and health reporting and feature writing. Her work has been published in the New York Post, Watermark, Parenting and others.

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  • Yes all very true as to his behaviour. Emotionally, verbally abusive and scare tactics. Having grown up in a toxic home I wasn’t clear on what a healthy relationship was.

    In my case I thought addiction was drugs alcohol maybe gambling. My ex was addicted to spending though, getting the best deal. Or sometimes just the best brand that not many could afford.

    His purchases were constant amd so was research for deals. From a nee tractor to a $10 000 watch, or a $500 000 boat, high end clothes and fancy dinners with his co workers and clients, to changing houses often – to eventually cheating. He made a nice salary but also mortgaged up to the hills.

    When he cheated and left he left the kids we moved and started renting – he forced us to sell oir home to pay his debts. But the debt was huge and I still am repaying some since it’s all 50 50 in marriage.

    Thank God for peace not dealing with his drama that continues and his debt.

    • Have you considered bankruptcy? My ex sounds like yours w/ the spending – that was my ticket out of that nightmare that he created !

    • This makes me so mad. I hope you can get out from under this debt. A great book is: The Energy of Money, by Maria Nemeth, Ph.D.

    • I filed Bankruptcy to get out from this kind of abuser also. I told him that if he did not file with me, that all the debt would then be HIS to own and deal with hence forth. We did a Chapter 13 which means that we made severely reduced monthly payments for three years before the discharge of debt would be given.
      Chapter 7 means that you basically give up everything you own except for about $21K of personal/auto value. It destroys your credit for YEARS either way…so make sure that if you go this route, that you have a place to live prior to filing and a car that runs well. This was the ONLY way that I could put a screeching halt to his spending and at the same time, release myself from this financial nightmare since I could not afford to pay back half of the $270K worth of credit card debt. We are in a no fault State…so creditors would have come after me if he defaulted without this Bankruptcy being done.

      I managed to open a business in my grown son’s name a year prior to filing and found a rental house that was nice as well as affordable…to make sure that I would have a way to support us in the event that X did not comply with the Chapter 13 and it then defaulted into a Chapter 7.

      • These kinds of nightmare financial stories infuriate me that our court system refuses to hold the cheater to their own reckless spending that resulted in financial ruin. Why does the spouse have to be on the hook?

        Another of the hundred or so examples of how divorce only lines the attorney’s pockets. The injustice is epic. Makes me sick.

        • Yes, I agree chutesandladders. My stbx left us to go rent in expensive neighborhood, bought more expensive toys and diamond ring for young coworker he got the house with, bought desert vehicle for $25k and now needs new toy hauler to haul it – another $15K…. My atty says he may argue in court that I cannot keep the house because, well, he wants a house to maintain his marital standard of living!

          WTH? I said if he wanted a house he shouldn’t have rented a $2600 a month house. He could have taken the $25K for desert toy and used it as a down payment! I told my atty – why is he getting away with so much?

          I have no toys. I have 2 bicycles. I was always concentrating on our child while he was always buying boats and quads and cameras and drones and RC cars, etc., etc. All I want is a roof over my head for me and my daughter. But crazy boy is desperate to sell our house – he wants cash. He spends money like crazy and needs to maintain his cheating lifestyle, not marital lifestyle. ugh.

          My atty says one thing, then she says another, and I’m like – whose side is she on? She claims, no, she is fighting for me, but sometimes it seems like she wants me to cede to crazy boy and his bull dog attorney.

          “The injustice is epic. Makes me sick.” Exactly.

          • Finding peace. Your X sounds just like mine. Mine forced us to sell the home to get cash in hand. Due to his major debt left us with nothing. He filed debt consolidation and kept his boat plane car snowmobile trailer drone etc. He rents in a high end area. Kids and I live very simple in a rental in the suburbs for now. No toys for us. It’s so unfair how they get away with everything and continue living their high end lifestyle. Very wrong!!

            • Tobe, It is very wrong. We just have to remember that we are free from a person who would only use us and deceive us. That kind of freedom is more precious than all the planes and cars and boats – stuff that breaks down anyway. Our love for our kids never breaks down. The one boat in the back yard I was spraying bug spray around last night – the paint is peeling off the trailer, the cover is dirty and nasty….. He can take all the toys. I hate the sight of all of them. It’s a reminder that those things are more important to them than people. My stbx said he had to get the $2600 rented house to fit his $80,000 truck. Any other place had no where to park the behemoth, poor baby. It’s all about the things. Two of his other well-off friends have the Ford 350, so he had to get one to keep up. He told me before he left that we had to get the bigger truck to safely tow the toy hauler. I co-signed like a fool and then shortly after that he moved in with baby toy (as my coworker called the 22 y.o. LOL) And then they took my truck and my toy hauler camping in the desert with my daughter! Toy hauler is sold, thank goodness. Got that thing out of here. Hugs to you.

              • Hi, yes I agree with you. I have no idea what is wrong with them. Mine would buy a house to fit his car or change the car to fit the garage. Always about stuff.

                All the best to you too

    • Omg I really didn’t consider the money wasting. Mine was expert at blowing money we did not have on himself. By the end of our marriage, during the pick me dance I signed up for an additional million dollars in debt( just completely in a fog and trauma bonded). This included the home I’m in now that he was desperate to have, and happened after he lost hundreds of thousands in his failing business lying about it the whole time followed up by refusing to work full time for 4 years and not earning a living at all in the last year of our marriage. I’m in the house now and about to sell as it has his stink all over it. ( but I have it–Karma right?). He even said to me at the end of our 35 year marriage at least you were good for making money( no mention of our two wonderful children or 35 years of building a life together). Ughhh!

  • Here’s another link: Kids growing up in homes with a parent who abuses alcohol or has serious mental or character disorders can develop habits of codependence that become their foundation for social relationships. They can learn that their role in life is to “fix” people who have potential but are not fully functional because of of substance abuse or mental health issues. They learn to subordinate their own needs for growth and autonomy to please others. And they often grow up desperate to make those efforts to fix other people work in their adult life because they (of course) failed to “fix the family” as children. Here I’m not quoting studies, but rather passing along what I’ve learned through living with a narcissistic mother and a father who abused alcohol and was over-committed to work and community organizations.

    Parents who abuse substances are not “there” for their kids, any more than they are available for a true intimate relationship with a spouse or partner. As a therapist once told me, an addict is not available to you as a partner; his relationship is with his preferred substance. Children who grow up trying to change an addict because they have urgent need for an adequate parent can carry that early pattern on into adult life. And if they avoid drinkers and substance abusers, they may unconsciously recognize the co-occuring conditions (narcissistic traits, BPD, depression) as familiar or normal.

    My point is that chumps struggling to keep an “intact family” should take a long look at the damage done to kids who live with substance abusers and/or cheaters who are emotionally or physically abusive. And I hope they look at the impact on their own lives, too. It took me years of therapy and becoming part of Chump Nation to figure this out. Don’t wait until you are in your 60s.

    • ^^^THIS! 10000+

      Thanks, LAJ, for reminding us of our (often unconscious) tendencies to want to put right the problems of the past.

      When the FOO is a bloody mess, no wonder children think that abuse = love, and “if I just try a little harder, I’ll finally win mom’s/dad’s/whoever’s love”. It can take a LOT of self-work before we realize that such a pattern has been set down as our operating system for ALL of the relationships in our life.

      In my case, my first time out, I ‘married’ my dad. The next time, with {nameless}, it turned out I was ‘marrying’ my mom.

      This is why I tell people – with no exaggeration – that paying for a course of hypnotherapy was some of the best money I EVER spent.

      • Oh, Happy Monkey, me too. Started out chasing drinkers, ending up with narcissists. Or people who were some of both.

        • The link between alcoholism and narcissism is REAL. My ex was a alcoholic and meets 7/9 of the DSM criteria for NPD. He DESTROYED both of us financially during the divorce. And he continues to “punish” me financially to this day by refusing to pay his child support. He has fled from state to state, used his twin brother’s social to work to avoid wage garnishment and has nothing to do with his children so I can’t find him and have served with contempt. But I am the “hateful B*itch” who “alienated” him from his children, that he “pines for” on social media…. unbelievable.
          Anyone else out there not getting their child support?

      • Happy Monkey, I married my mom both marriages and they were to narcissistic selfish abusers. I tried as a kid to have my mom care about me. She was so wrapped up into the injustices done to her and how people treated her so bad – she was so fragile and if I upset her, her blood pressure would go up and she would have a stroke and die. Stuff like that. One day she was flailing around wanting to die after I did something and I was sooooo upset. I was like 13 y.o. My dad just sat there. I was puzzled. The next time she pulled that stunt I just sat there like my dad. I didn’t freak out begging her to not die, I’m so sorry, etc. She never did that again. But the manipulation and guilt, etc. found other ways to come out.

        When my first husband told me he was so fragile and wouldn’t be able to take it if a treated him badly – I thought oh noooooo. I married my mom. I’m in trouble. And boy was I ever. Lucky for me he left and never came back. This 2nd marriage is not so easy to get out of. Wish it was.

        The thing is, these people are far from fragile. They are non-empathetic manaipulative people who must have their own way or you will pay.

        I cannot ever get into another relationship. I have too many issues. I thought I’d done a lot of work on the stuff years ago in therapy and stuff. Learned a lot. But I guess these things are so deeply ingrained. Hope I don’t pass this crap on to my daughter.

    • Yes, THIS!! I’m dealing with this right now. Our son is 9 and special needs but is already being parentifued by the ex narc. Our son feels responsible for ex narc’s feelings when he switches channels between rage and pity when ex manipulates him. This is cemented by the love bombing (charm) channel. And those intermittent rewards have our son clamoring for his dad’s validation and attention. It’s a powerful minfuck for adults to navigate. Now imagine kids trying to figure this out, especially when kids naturally love and need their parents. When kids grow up in a family culture like this, these lessons are deeply rooted and become hard to recognize. It becomes their “role” in future relationships. Very insidious. I soooooo agree that it’s important to nix the paradigm of “staying for the kids.” If we don’t, they will likely repeat these patterns into adulthood and continue to train their own kids to tolerate abuse.

      • My stbx. Told our kids they were part to blame for his affair as they out too much pressure on him as s father!!! His words not mine …… Needless to say I’m still fighting my kids belief now that they aren’t to blame..
        Life shattering for one of my daughters who had now been diagnosed with PTSD and depression – she is only 14
        I’m hoping with counselling and a lot of love ashe can realise that this is not her fault but her fathers….
        She has gone NC and I feel we might have just turned a corner in the past couple of weeks
        Fingers crossed

        • That should be criminal. What a terrible person. Talk about knowing how to secure his supply. Without help and deprogramming she would always be searching for validation from him that she had fixed ‘it’ or was good enough…. What a monster.

        • Ugh. My (cheater) mom convinced me that my (always angry) father was unsafe, and that we should run up the bills with new clothes and move out of state. I came back for visitation during the summer, thinking I was going back to her in the fall. She showed up at the end of the summer and said that she was coming back to him because the schools are so bad in the state she chose and she wanted me to get a good education. All of her subsequent affairs were thus my fault. I carried that burden for almost thirty years before I realized that it was bull.

        • Along with “You didn’t appreciate me enough”- one of Pervy Pants’ excuses for spending his time and money on prostitutes/web cam hoes/hook ups: “The kids only wanted me for my money.”

          What money? He never provided anything more than the basics (food, clothing and subpar shelter). I had to fight the stingy fuktard tooth and nail to pay for things for the kids like braces and help with college.

    • Yup, this was me. Mom BPD alcoholic, dad a narc….I somehow gravitated towards someone in that orbit.

      Ive been years in recovery from this process, but it has had a weird secondary effect on me…. My life experience with my parents & first husband taught that I could not depend on them for anything – I should expect to be thrown under a bus because it was likely.

      So H1.0 dies, I grieved mightily at first then learned he was a serial cheater and my love dies. I dont miss him one bit. I now also dont dread my parents dying. I am cordial with them lately but I feel completely disconnected from them. I am sad that their lives were so shallow and empty (that is rather a shame) but I don’t expect any reaction from me at all.

      • Yup, born to a pair of narcissists, mother was a raging narcissist who had a golden child (eldest brother) and a scapegoat (me).

        I work hard at my susceptibility to narcissists. But I fall for that charm even as I suspect its happening.

        • My older brother did nothing right but got everything handed to him on a silver plate. Place to live, new cars, money for utilities, money for bail. I worked hard my whole life and struggled. Somehow everything that went wrong was my fault, and was told that being independent was supposed to be its own reward. I figured she loved my brother more because he needed her, and I just reminded her of her wasted potential.

    • An excellent reminder. Our society pays little attention to this important consequence of “staying together for the kids.”

    • LAJ, what you say is so true. My parents loved each other but there was a lot of arguing and dysfunction. My mom was very sickly and had serious abandonment issues from her childhood. I always wanted to “fix” them so they would be happy. I chose a man who was driven and a workaholic like my father. I sacrificed my needs for his happiness, then he said I didn’t do enough for him and left after having an affair with his coworker (I suspect it wasn’t the only one).

      Unfortunately I didn’t figure all this out until after my kids were grown. Lord knows the effect our relationship will have on them. So far they seem to have good marriages, but they are just starting their families and I know the kind of pressure children put on relationships. I do believe that partners today are more willing to share in parenting. Both my DILs have the same earning capacity as their husbands, so I hope equal income makes for more balanced power in relationships.

  • Everything in this article is true. My cheater ex is an alcoholic who turned up the emotional abuse after I left. Over 100 text messages in the first 6 months calling me a whore (which was extra special since he cheated on me for over 10 years). I was stalked and harassed daily. I would have gotten a protective order, but I knew that would have ruined his career and I didn’t want the mental abuse to turn into something worse. When he was sober, he could be reasonable. When drinking, he was a nightmare. We have been apart for 2 years (divorced 1 year) and he still scares the crap out of me.

    • It is a common misconception that a protective order will harm the abusers career. It is not true unless the abuser has to carry a gun in their job. Exasshole threw this accusation at me multiple times trying to get me to rescind my PO so I researched it thoroughly. A PO won’t even cause one to lose a government security clearance, I checked.

      I just want anyone reading here to know that a)protecting your abusers career is not your job and b) a Protective Order will not harm their career anyway, no matter what they tell you.

      • c) if your abuser is NOT afraid of going to jail a protective order may indeed incite them to escalate their violence. In the end only the victim of abuse can make a call on whether a PO will help them or hurt them or even get them killed.

        I am going to court Friday to renew my PO because it works, exasshole is afraid to go to jail. But I know of women who have been shot or severely hurt because their abuser was not afraid.

      • In some cases, a PO may harm the abusers career. I had to ask my divorce lawyer about this and she had explained that in most cases it will not. However, in certain industries they can lose their professional license or business licenses due to this. Also if they are in an executive position or a position of representing the company, any behavior that can reflect badly on the company can be reason for termination even without a conviction.

        I do agree with you though that safety comes first and it’s often the best course of action. If someone is unsure, they should check with their lawyer first and see if there are any alternatives. it is unfortunately true in some cases that if the abuser loses their job and cannot find an equal replacement, the abused spouse may not get the alimony and/or child support that they should.

        In my case, we do not file for a PO (at least not so far, not this time… I did have one in the distant past on him). Instead, my lawyer had me send her all of the proof of abuse and statements so that she had it ready to go in case we needed an emergency PO. Then she had a very stern letter seeved with the divorce and frank conversation with him -both stating that we would not hesitate to file for a PO if he continued any type of threatening, violent or intimidating behavior. So far, that was enough to straighten him out immediately. But like you said, some are scared of consequences and some are not so you really have to know who you are dealing with. It’s really just another crappy decision some of us have to make as part of leaving a psycho. If you’re in this position, definitely talk to your attorney about it is they have a lot of experience with navigating these issues and knowledge of your state laws.

    • I see you using the past tense and hope the alcohol use is in the past. But you need some support in real life to deal with the shame and isolation. I would start with a counselor who is versed in dealing with recovering alcohol abusers. There’s always AA, also, as a place where you can talk about your struggles, past and present. You aren’t alone. Many people medicate with alcohol or drugs but others use food or work or affairs. Those of us who struggle with sugar are just a few chemical tweaks away from alcoholism. The goal for all of us is to be able to navigate the painful aspects of our lives by facing them and moving through the pain (and as CL says, getting away from abusers who cause us pain).

      I’m glad you could tell us of your struggles. But remember–you aren’t alone. Get some support.

    • Loulette, if you find you want to stop and cannot, go to AA. It works. Try a women’s only meeting if a coed feels unsafe. I’ve been continuously sober and active in AA sponsoring (mentoring) dozens of women for nearly 30 years.

      Alcoholism is a disease, not a moral failing or lack of willpower. It can afflict anyone. Nothing shameful about asking sister AAs for help living a good life without the booze — we know, we’ve been there.

      Hugs????

      • I have become active in Al Anon. It has made such a difference in my life. I have learned to detach from the alcoholic (my XH and one of my sons) and to work on the 12 steps as they apply to my life. Alcoholism is a disease, but we really are powerless over it. You can care about someone’s you love and their drinking, but you are not responsible for it. I am learning a lot.

      • AA is not the only answer. . Substance abuse is a symptom of another bigger problem. Sure you can stop drinking, but if you haven’t dealt with whatever pain that drove you there, you are not cured.

        On a side note, AA is notoriously not a haven for psychologically healthy people. It is a court mandated dumping ground for criminals. There is no one “in charge” and a lot of time the inmates are running the asylum. I learned the hard way. My ex was a big book thumping, “working a program of honesty”, praying to God member in good standing. Especially with the ladies “wink wink”. While I would occasionally attend meetings with him for support, and always go to his “sobriety Birthday” meeting.-where from the podium he would proclaim how much he loved me- not surprisingly-in front of a room full of women he was fucking. Once he was as exposed for who he really was, the man behind the AA curtain was exposed. Oh the dysfunction! People, proclaiming to be honest, lying, lying for liars, and scapegoating victims. Sure your spouse was fucking men and women, and exposing himself and masturbating in public, but at least he was sober!! And you can never hold anyone accountable, because you are supposed to “keep your side of the street clean”. I honestly would have had no idea what a dysfunctional hell this program was if I hadn’t lived thru it!

        My advice is find a kick ass therapist. Get a library card and start reading and educating yourself about whatever pertains to your current issue (sociopathic narcissists, alcoholism, codependency-hate that word ,used to scapegoat victims- whatever) go to Kinkos and copy any words to the wise in these books and start a file that you can go back and re-read. Marathon running? Knitting? Karate? Boxing? Work that shit out of your system. I’m 5 years out and still a work in progress. I only found Chumplady a couple of months ago and her nuggets of wisdom push me forward everyday!

        And please, I don’t want to argue with other members about how AA works blah blah blah. I still have many friends in the program and they know how dysfunctional it it. The irony to me is the well being of the addict trumps the well being of anyone else in their lives. Bottom line is that addicts are selfish. And if you are sad and vulnerable, feel like you have been in a hit and run accident, and have an unhealthy “picker”, AA might not be the healthiest place to start your recovery.

    • Me too, all I wanted was to not have to “feel” or deal with his crap again. I guess it’s much more common than we think. Get out of the Loulotte02 – you can’t fix him and he will take you down with him.

    • I hear you loulotte02… It was oh so tempting to use alcohol to numb the pain… Unfortunately for many fellow chumps and myself, we can’t get away from the pain… aka shared custody with X and his wifetress…

      Instead of alcohol, I bought a treadmill, I walk/run the pain off, and I also have a foam bat that helps me get the frustration out on my sofa. Both somewhat help take the edge off, but let’s face it, eating weekly shit sandwiches for several more years is not the best place to be.

      • A foam bat! That’s awesome. I have a dressform for sewing in my apartment, for sewing but I totally just imagined myself giving it a good swift beating with my rolled up yoga mat.

    • Loulette–I’m glad you feel safe sharing that here. For the 4 months after D-day, half my calories came from alcohol (I wasn’t eating more than 600 calories a day). Normally, one martini would put me to sleep (lightweight), but my anxiety level was so high that two martinis just brought me down to a level where I could function.

      What I noticed over time, though, is that with NC and taking steps to start crafting an independent life without my X, I only needed one drink to calm down, and eventually I didn’t need it all. From your use of past tense, I suspect you don’t still need the alcohol to self-medicate? If true, yeah you! I hope your independent life keeps advancing. (If not, true, you’ve already received good advice above).

      Almost everyone medicates in some way after D-day: anti-anxiety, antidepressants, alcohol, illegal drugs. We’ve had a physiological response to a huge trauma; some kind of help is necessary. As long as the medicine/self-medication is not the only thing we’re doing to heal, there is no shame in it.

      • Knucklegrazer had me convinced I was an alcoholic during the 18 months of soul destroying living together after the final D day. He would not move out and yes, I turned to alcohol to cope with the continual emotional and psychological abuse. That unhealthy pattern continued for a while once he finally moved out but as time has gone on and I hone my gray rock skills, the need to numb myself has amazingly disappeared. I was not and am not an alcoholic. I was someone who was desperately trying to keep their head above water and using the only flotation device I knew of at the time. Thankfully I am learning new skills and am finally swimming free of that deadweight that was slowly drowning me. In order to be the sane parent and to become truly mighty, alcohol has taken a back seat.

        • Thank you all for the acknowledgement and advices…I’ve been sober the last couple months, quite easily and much to my surprise…but I am careful to avoid “drinking” situations…and i also have a new job, which helps a lot to distract myself from temptation.
          My divorce is dragging, my husband and I (3 kids, 16, 14 and 4 years old) still live under the same roof. By law (I live in France) he was supposed to leave by September 1, 2016. Since he won’t move, I decided in Nov 16′ to move out, and as of today, still waiting for a judge to grant me the authorization to leave the marital home with my children. My husband already went through 2 different lawyers (not paying their fees) so it makes the process even longer…and we are not an emergency, since there is no physical violence.
          So yes, NC is the path of light, I cannot wait until I remove myself from him and his daily mindfuck, but I do it now with a clear head.

    • I stuffed the pain down until it starting busting out of my seams. When it did- I tried to drown it out with alcohol. Sometimes it worked….but mostly it didn’t.

      My STBX husband was the world’s foremost expert in gas lighting and blame shifting- so it was hard to pin point the source of the pain. As a class A chump- usually, I blamed myself for feeling so unhappy.

      • I blamed myself for so long too…him being unhappy while I was wondering where did I fail as a wife… and you are right, the alcohol did not help most of the time…

  • I would add that times of grest loss and grief are particularly perilous times for falling (back) into addiction. Be wise. Ultimately, the substance is like a non-friend. Treat accordingly.

    • I made a conscious decision to drink nothing ( not on my high horse I just knew it could turn into a dependence on alcohol). I got busy–walking dogs therapy, a Stephen minister, divorce care program, chump lady, Facebook support groups, and a couple of good friends and my loving sister got me through. The order of the day was extreme self care as my anxiety depression and ptsd were all in full force. ((Hugs) to anyone going through substance abuse as a result of their abuse.

  • My cheater was was diagnosed years ago as”manic depressive”. He used alcohol, marijuana and cocaine. Later anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds and pain killers, all prescribed by his doctor. He chased strange from the moment I met him but I always “caught him” (texting)before it got too far. Except for the last time. I caught him, but he took it underground. A two year ” relationship” with his (female)drug dealer. They would get high together and fool around.
    Besides the abuse of infidelity, he was financially abusive by wasting marital assets on that crap. Twice he physically abused me when I confronted him about his whores.
    Six months ago he got clean and sober, including from the prescription meds. IMO, Rx drugs can be just as much of a problem as street drugs. The changes I see in him are tremendous. He told me himself, “I am thinking clearly for the first time in years.”
    Yes, I know I have codependent tendencies, having been raised in an alcoholic home. We are still separated, but I haven’t filed yet. I guess the hopium is still too strong.
    I know being drug -free is not going to change all his character flaws, but the toxic combination in his bloodstream was definitely a contributing factor in his abuse.
    On an amusing side note, when we went to MC after D-day, MC asked me , “What did he get from OW, that he wasn’t getting from you? ” I responded, “Well, she was his drug dealer, so he was getting drugs.” (The snarky me wanted to add, “with BJ’s on the side”, but I restrained myself) MC said, “Oh, so they had a common interest.” To which I responded, “Sorry, but I am not going to start doing drugs so I have something in common with my husband!” Needless to say, last MC session.

    • Sicatrose and Anyone With An Addict- Immediately read the book “Why Does He Do That?” by Lundy Bancroft. He discusses how abusive men often become worse after they become “clean.”

      It runs the gamut from being clear headed enough to take their controlling behavior to new heights- (freak outs over there not being lines in the carpet from vacuuming) to projecting their new sobriety mania on you (You are an alcoholic! You had a glass of wine with lunch!).

      I was with an addict that made Keith Richards look like a Mormon. If I could shake you by the shoulders: Run for your life Sicatrose.

      People who are addicts are so damaged and broken. It is not your place to fix them and it is near impossible. I know they have lots of sparkles and charisma, but that is how they lure in their victims. More than that, non addicts cannot grasp the mania with which they cling to their substances of choice.

      For the addict, the prospect of giving up his addictive behavior and the feelings it brings him/her activates PROFOUND feelings of loss, deprivation and despair.

      The addict is attached to his addiction in a primitive and pre-rational fashion just like a lover is attached to his beloved – or an infant is attached to its mother. It is the type of wild attachment that we have in love or when chumped. The drug/alcohol is their mistress. He already has a relationship. It is with drugs.

      I have wasted a sad amount of time researching addiction but you can benefit from my time suck.

      Do not worry about the OW drug dealer. Addicts *always* end up fighting over stupid shit and getting each other arrested or some drama. But remember, there will be another OW addict ready to exchange sexual favors for money. Even small towns are lousy with them.

      Women who are addicted will do anything for a free hit. They have few resources to buy their own dope, no moral stop signs and no qualms about getting freaky with strangers. They will suck random mens’ dicks (the BJs you referenced are a type of currency), have anal sex with no condom, bark like a dog naked for free drugs.

      Add in to that miserable soup that all both parties inhibitions are gone because their brains are flooded with dopamine, & they are entitled to a degree we cannot fathom….cheating is inevitable.

      Addicts and alcoholics have black belts in cruelty. Leave and never look back.

      • Five years after being written, this is exactly what I needed to read. This website is amazing.

  • Pregnant Chump, I’ve often wondered if other addictions would be considered, with X it was working out, I noticed a change in his personality when he began adding supplements particularly Creatine.
    X was also addicted to feeling superior to everyone once he began to advance in his career.
    I imagine there’s a link with addiction and being obsessive about gambling or working out and themselves.
    Loloutte02, in the last few years of my marriage I’m ashamed to admit that I drank more wine with dinner than I should have, a glass fixing dinner, a glass with dinner, one while cleaning up, and maybe even one more. It was how I coped with the tension, feeling that no matter what I did I wasn’t living up to the X’s expectations, and wasn’t making X happy. Since X left I have no desire to have a glass of wine or drink, I can’t remember the last time I had a drink.
    I think that alone speaks volumes to what life is like living with X.

  • What about other addictions. My STBX has an addiction to gambling. I am really struggling to understand if these things have anything in common. I’m also struggling with whether everything he has done lying, cheating, manipulating, blaming, gaslighting etc are because he was trying to keep the secret of gambling or if there is more too it and that he is in some way disorder. I guess it’s not been long since D-day and I’m struggling to get my head round what has happened.

    • It may never be known or understood. It is five years out for me and I am still having big aha moments about my ex husband. There are million ways to be in unconscious. A disordered person can make anything into a compulsion.

      • Hi cupcake, I didn’t realize there were two of us posting under this nickname.

        I’ve posted a bit using “Cupcake” too. So to avoid confusion, I will use a new nickname going forward… not sure what it will be yet…TBD. 🙂

    • These tendencies towards addictions in these cluster b folks remind me of impulse control issues linked to executive functioning in the brain. I wonder how much this is a factor? Also sounds a bit like OCD? My ex narc is a gamer and a shopper and likes fine things. He makes a good salary but has gotten in over his head with purchases before. He just bought an $80k truck with running boards, thumbprint locks, the works, in addition to many other expensive purchases. He spent hours on the computer playing games after work, rather than spending time with the family.

      • OCD is actually hyper-executive function. There is a 25% co-morbidity with addiction (possibly due to some people self-medicating to ease the anxiety of the OCD). But addiction itself is not, I believe, linked to OCD. If anything, addictions make one less in control (the one fear of OCD sufferers).

  • My ex (and his family) had the foulest tempers I have ever seen, and coming from a very laid back I knew my marriage was a mistake from the beginning. Over the years his drinking got worse and alcohol just made his rages even worse. One time I kept track of his behaviour for six months and I would say he laid into me (physically and verbally) about 2-3 times a week. I started drinking to numb myself and then to try to get some sleep because he would have me awake most of the night. Max I ever got a night was maybe 4 hours of sleep (non-consecutive) so I thought drinking would at least knock me out. Then there was the worry with his spending and I was constantly worried that he would kill someone drink driving (that was a constant) and we would lose everything. I had tremendous support from my employer and my family and was VERY open with everyone about his behaviour – it was his shame not mine. I tried AA but it wasn’t for me. Eventually he cheated on me and that gave me the push to get the divorce. He was eventually diagnosed bipolar (which explained a lot) but I had come to the point that I couldn’t save him and I wasn’t taking myself and my kids down with him. He is now on invalidity but still drinking while taking lithium. I only thank God he moved back to the States and far away from me and my kids. And as for my drinking, I occasionally tie one on but mostly I don’t. For instance this week I have had two glasses of wine. I can live with that and while I occasionally slip, I am pretty vigilant because life is damn good now.

  • When my disordered fuckwit and I were dating, I realized he was likely an alcoholic — some everyday with some days that included massive quantities to get “smashed” (cuz’ it was what all the “cool” dudes were doing …. ). So, I gave a firm ultimatum: quit drinking or I’m gone. He quit drinking.

    Seemed like such a good sign at the time. He must love me! He has such self-control! (facepalm)

    After more than two decades of marriage, I see he simply replaced the alcohol with other short-term pleasure-seeking activities. Spending money we didn’t have; gaming; porn – porn – more porn; etc.

    I know now that he had been cheating from our earliest dating days — the cheating continued through the entire marriage, regardless of the sobriety.

    And the rage I saw during his drunken bouts did not disappear as I thought it would. Rather, it started coming out in more subtle ways — much more frequently.

    • Yes, I saw the increase in raging, too. Like the more comfortable he got in the relationship, the less he had to bother to cover up his true self. His family were also very toxic, cruel people. It was the family sport to sit around, play cards and tear apart their neighbors at the dinner table. His family beat him with belts and wires to keep him in line as a child. They told me that our then 3 year old son needed the belt and that I had already ruined him but that they could save him with the belt. Three. Years. Old. WTF!!! Still makes me shudder. Horrible people.

      • The cycle of abuse is truly horrible.

        My STBX was also hit as a child — with tree limbs. He has physical scars from the abuse. And his family praises his now-deceased abuser/father as some saint. It’s beyond repulsive to me. Even with all of my hate for my ex, I still hate his family for what they did to him as a child.

        Within the first year of my oldest’s birth, I made it clear neither me nor my child would ever visit his family again. Within a few years after that, I refused to allow them even to visit my home. I knew my kids and I weren’t safe with them.

        Just wish I would have realized (sooner) that we weren’t safe with the disordered fuckwit either …..

    • I can’t imagine my ex giving up drinking, but think if he had, it would have bought him a lot of good will from me in the face of so much b.s. 🙂

      I have come to realize pretty much everything he ever did was either out of compulsion to feel a thrill or a manipulation for appearance of power/ largesse/ intelligence.

      • Mine went from alcohol and self abuse to soberity, fitness and cheating. I figure the cheating gave him the feelings drinking used to.
        He had used hard drugs, gambled, had issues with spending and shopping and holding on to decent work.
        I stuck by him through all and would joke that the only thing he hadn’t done was cheat on me or beat me up. Well let’s say he never beat me up.

  • I’ve come to suspect my stbx is a closet alcoholic. He was secretly drinking in the last year+, going to bed but getting up and drinking in the early hours. He was very abusive during this time, verbally mostly, though he pulled my hair once and physically intimidated me several times. He had usually been drinking for these episodes of rage. Or maybe always. I have come to realize he had (has) a lot of secrets. Secrets that ran through our entire marriage. I don’t know what they are, I just know they exist.

    • They say when an abuser has been drinking, they knew they wanted to get violent, and drank beforehand to excuse it to their conscience, or to create plausible deniability. An old trope. My grandfather would camp out in the garage once a week and suck down beers, building up a rage that terrified my grandmother. My mother drank wine and spirits until she was a screaming harpy most every night. My dad was such a heavy drinker to cope with ptsd and codependency it killed him– cirrhosis.

      I’m so glad I am hundreds of miles away and years out from the jail that was my marriage. I can remember well the extreme fear I felt whenever alcohol entered the home.

  • …oh geeze…

    satan is a drinker…used pot…and I don’t really know what else… One of his favorite phrases when opening first beer of the day – regardless of the time of day – ‘It’s beer thirty somewhere!’ …yeah…

    I am so grateful to be out of all that chaos and drama…

    • This is it’s own gigantic question and opinions are as broad-ranging as definitions. Seek out the book “The Porn Trap”, the website called “NoFap”, and related TED Talks for an introductory education.

      Bottom line: Any thing a person does specifically to prompt a burst of oxytocin with the intent of avoiding other actual feelings and thoughts related to real life is an addictive behavior. The more that thing promotes dysfunction in the person’s life, the more severe the addiction. So, it isn’t the substance itself that is evil for the addict, it’s the effectiveness of the substance as an avoidance tool that is the true villain.

      That said, online pornography is specifically and deliberately designed to start the user with gateway content and slowly build in intensity so the user will need to constantly progress the nature, frequency, and duration of the content to get the oxycontin rush. It is intentionally designed to addict the user and to change his/her way of thinking about sex from relational to object-oriented, eventually rendering the person unable to feel sexually stimulated without intense pornographic stimulation.

      • The book “Pornified” makes a very strong case that it is an addiction, and that it can and does lead to child pornography consumption. Because as you wrote, the viewer has to up the ante to get the oxycontin rush. I believe it is called hedonistic satiety. Vanilla sex is as boring to the avid porno watcher as watching paint dry.

        Remember Pete Townsend of the The Who, caught with child pornography on his computer: I was doing research! Right.

        This is terrible to write. However, before I kicked out the EX, I was looking at his google search history. He had no idea you can do this- that because I knew his gmail password I could see everything he looked at on google.

        He had gone on You Tube and viewed a video called Fucking Amal. The click bait photo was of a little girl who looked about 8 years old. I scrolled down to the comments and someone had written “Gotcha! You old chesters (the molesters) though this was kiddie porn.”

        When confronted, the EX said,” Someone was playing with my phone. I never looked at that”. Not a fun thing to grasp. Repulsive and bizarre and disturbing to the extreme.

        We also had sex regularly that he initiated, he was an unselfish and super attentive lover and appeared to enjoy sex with a grown woman.

        “Nobody told me there’d be days like these.” John Lennon

        • My Google search history of my husbands WHILE at work as a NURSE is for teen porn. He’s gotten fired from one hospital for watching in a pediatric patient’s room. Oh and he works with predominantly young females at the new place. I have found dvds in the laundry ( left in jacket pockets) and kids found some out in the open in the garage. I told him not in my house! So now he does it at work? But I can’t tell him I know because that is checking up in him.. this is so messed up.

          • Knucklegrazer is also a nurse and has a porn addiction- his favourite? Teen porn. This is a sick individual who worked in an adolescent mental health unit until he was caught having an inappropriate relationship with an 18 year old- he was 39. The sicko also had a pot addiction- once he quit that I suddenly turned into an alco. The fucker once convinced me to see my gp and get medication for alcohol withdrawal- I know now that it was so I would have alcohol abuse on my patient notes- handy for him to back up his claims that I was/ am an unfit mother. The GP wasn’t convinced I was drinking nearly enough or often enough to experience withdrawals. I was so unwell and so convinced by knucklegrazer that I had a drinking problem that I exaggerated my drinking in order to get meds! Talk about gas lighting. That evil turd has so much karma heading his way….

        • I saw my almost ex had granny open and dad f*** daughter on his Google search. I was shocked. I told him to leave.

    • It is my completely non-professional belief that using porn in lieu of actual sex with the actual person you are in relationship
      is a red flag. Something is wrong somewhere and it’s not the Chump’s fault or problem to fix (or skein to untangle). So SG, if your partner prefers porn to you, it’s not because you aren’t desireable or great in the sack.

  • Addiction expert IC: ‘narcissism and drug abuse go hand in hand. It is easy to have a relationship with a bottle. Bottles don’t have needs’.

    That goes for porn too.

    • But I go back and forth.. ( is that chumpy) if it’s an addiction it’s not his fault.. it would be his fault that he doesn’t get help and that he’s lost a job over it and that I am devastated that I can’t compare at 48 with 18 year olds.., if it’s not addiction then he’s just a dirty old man? Or is it my problem and fault for being a codependent and wanting him to be different?

      • It doesn’t matter, Supergeniusii. What matters is the havoc his behaviour is wreaking on your life. Blood relatives of drug addicts and alcoholics, who love them very very much and would do anything to make them better, end up walking away for the sake of their own safety and sanity. Don’t feel any guilt about walking away.

        • But he made it my fault for looking for catching him. I’m bad because I checked up and know that’s what he is doing IAM GUILTY of spying. And if ” all guys do this” and “it’s not about you” I am the crazy person that checks up.

          • No you are not the crazy person and no not “all guys” do that. Only assholes like him do that and then they make it seem like their actions aren’t the problem, but rather your reaction. It IS about you and he’s an asshole for not caring how his actions are hurting you.

            I heard that BS from my ex alcoholic cheater for too many years. I drove myself crazy trying to numb my normal reactions to his abnormal behavior. Don’t do what I did. Get off that crazy train now. YOU are not the problem. His behavior is the problem.

      • Did he hide the addiction from you? Then he’s in control of it. And he allowed it to escalate. This isn’t just urges, it is BEHAVIOR. And that is his fault.

      • CL often points out how, as chumps, we ask the less significant question and miss the main point. This may be like that. It really isn’t that important whether the addiction is his fault or not. It isn’t even really that important, in the grand scheme, whether you have compassion for him while he makes dysfunctional, harmful choices.

        The primary point is that his choices are causing you actual harm. You don’t have to be shot or punched or financially ruined or otherwise dramatically harmed to count as “harmed”.

        Staying with a person who harms you can look and feel like loyalty, but it isn’t. In fact, it is actually MORE loyal to be loyal to his higher self. If he gets everything he wants no matter how much harm his choices cause, his very soul will have no reason to ever develop. Enabling him by avoiding setting boundaries to keep yourself safe from harm is actually making things worse for both of you, not better.

        Will he convincingly wail that you are abandoning him in his hour of need? Maybe even threaten suicide? Absolutely, yes. That’s textbook behavior from addicts who are desperate to keep the support system for the habit in place.

        Make no mistake, though. Leaving a person who is harming you is not abandonment. His addiction will continue with or without your enabling. He’ll probably even find others to enable it. It’s devastating, I know, but you can’t stop a moving train.

  • I’m a child of alcoholic narcissistic abusive cheaters. I married exactly the same. X was a closet alcoholic for the first 9 years of our marriage. I was sober and active in recovery so he hid it from me. 8 years ago after a violent drunken outburst where X assaulted our 14 yo son, I threatened divorce, X got sober (or so I thought). He was secretly cheating and lying the whole time. He never did a personal moral inventory (4th step), never developed a spiritual awakening, lived in fear and resentment and bitterness and anxiety and rage and self pity 24/7. Entitlement. He had jealousy and contempt for me and my personal achievements, including recovery.

    He never had the complete moral and psychic change, the leveling of the pride and ego and selfishness that recovery requires. He never took personal responsibility. Never made amends.

    No surprise current OW is a daily drug user. First, X said he “needed” zoots THC pills every day for his affair-discovery and consequences-induced angst! Then adderall (snorted) for his “fogginess” but he swore he wasn’t relapsing, actually said his 5 years in AA wasn’t because he was alcoholic but rather because I “made him go! Bullshit!

    Now he drinks $3,000 of alcohol per month. He must be smoking crack too because he burned a 50cent piece sized hole in his nose recently. He’s gained 60 lbs in 12 months, is sick 24/7, has yellow eyes and skin, racing thoughts, thinning hair, memory loss, and suicidal ideation. Horrifying!

    I’m completely NC — not my monkey, not my circus. But I do feel very sad for my kids and wish he’d get well for their sakes.

  • Good Grief! Yes, multiple parallel problems with my X. He lost his career during the crash 2008. From then on it was alcohol, obsession with a lawsuit and the tax authorities. That and politics were his only conversation topics.
    And making dates on the side (I found out later).
    His father died the same day his new business lost its lease. I never “saw” him again He didn’t act, look or sound like the man I married. He took to odd behaviors. He collected an arsenal of guns and military types of weapons. It took me years to understand he had developed severe Depression on top of his drinking 2/3 of a liter of gin DAILY.
    Depression + heavy drinking literally changes the architecture of the brain.
    He made fun of our counselling sessions, mocking the therapist. The End of my trying to save him & our marriage.
    After he threatened me one night and I called the cops and shortly thereafter escaped the marriage. Packing up his stuff I found a emails and a printed out letter to women he was chasing. One he was trying to move in with – she wasn’t having that! Very sad, scary and upsetting. He wound up living in his truck and I left the area.
    The cheating was a way for him to pretend he was still The Amazing Catch. Lying away to his new “friends” to get some kibble since I stopped.

  • This is a great article. My ex had a severe gambling problem – there is not enough research on the impacts of a severe gambling problem on the family unit. He might as well of been a raging alcoholic or drug addict – he spent all the family money and then some and when called out on it became aggressive and I can’t even repeat the things he said to me. Any kind of addiction can destroy a family in the blink of an eye and addicts are justified in doing it in their eyes especially when they won’t admit the problem or are enabled in doing the destructive things they do with no consequences.

    He blew $15,000 in one night and it was my fault – if I wasn’t such a bitch or he was happier he would not have done it . . . The funny thing was he was NEVER happy and three years later – he is the same prick I walked out on with our child and still he blames me even though I am completely no contact with him – now in his eyes I’m just the bitch who took his son away.

    So heartbreaking.

  • Yup. Apparently, one of the reasons (among many) that the STBX never saw me as a good companion is that I am not a drinker. Mind, you, I have never been one, so there was nothing new here. But his college drinking became his young married guy drinking became his social drinking in business settings, and he hinged. The first affair that I know about for certain (though undoubtedly there were many others) was with an alcoholic and a drug addicts, who was eventually arrested for stealing spray cans from a drug store and “huffing” them until she passed out behind the store’s dumpster. Nice, right? That train wreck was, in his disordered mind, better than me. She was married, and had two children. Post d-day, when he finally confessed to that one, he said, “She was just so talented even though she was troubled, and I will always have a soft spot for her.” Man, really can’t make this shit up. So, eventually, he hired her after she divorced. Within a matter of months, she went missing on a business trip, and did not show up for her child’s HS graduation. Was found in an airport hotel room, with lots and lots of lots of vodka. Had gone on a bender.

    So, yeah. I will never be that kind of companion. :-/

  • My XH alcohol, weed, and cocaine. DOnt think he was cocaine adict while we were still together. He was never invested financially in our marriage, me getting pregnant he coudnt take it because he owuld have to become “responsible”, the most hated word in his dictionary.

    Because his family and I see him as sort of messed up in the head now he has to pay only $100 a month (its not the states) and he is even 1,5 years behind on that. I bet he easily smokes $100 worth of weed a month, add in another $100 on beers and god knows what on cocaine.

    I realised he had addictive personality but I think I did not want to see how bad of an alcoholic he has been throughout most of our marriage. The nights I would be all alone in the middle of nowhere (where we lived), because he would be out drinking…

    It’s so good I am out.

    I know it sounds like spackling but I do wonder if he has some frontal lobe brain dammage… Something is nor right at all anymore and it is more than him being a selfish immature POS.

    • Junglechump My X has frontal lobe damage. He self-inflicted depression, diabetes, IBS, fatty liver and heart attack from his drinking. His reactions to life events are strange and unhealthy. So sorry you had to deal with all that from your ex.

      • my ex lack of judgement and insight is so bizar, i truelly think he must have some frontal lobe damage… ad accidents of reckless driving, surfinf, lots of blows to the head. i know he always has been a a selfish jerk, but it did get so much worse and i am not trying to spackle. a lot of people their exes on here seem evil/malignant narcs, mine def. has narc trairts, but i dont see him as malignant or even full blown narc, just as actually limitied in emotional developemnt and yes who knows brain damage. thank you for your comment, i am glad someone recognises this.

  • My X’s drug of choice is control and deception… He is highly addicted to kibbles…

    His favorite variety is the feeling he gets when he has feels he’s so much smarter than anyone around him… That fueled his success in his professional life… His other favorite type of kibble is image polishing, bring anything up that could tarnish his image, and boom instant flip to the rage channel…

    And yeah, you can imagine how collaborative he’s been since I divorced him after DDay #1…

    • Exactly. Mine is addicted to kibbles and control of other people. Also deception. He loves control and manipulation more than he loves anything else except sex with people significantly younger than him. Drinking only exacerbated his poor impulse control.

      • I agree that the personality disorder comes first….and the addictions/sexual acting follows. People with broken/under-developed moral compasses will always try to fill the holes in their black souls with one substance or another.

  • Yep…X CHOOSES: Porn, Adultery, Porn, Weed, Porn, Alcohol, Porn, Over Spending, Porn, Gambling, Porn, Cheating people, Porn, Attention Whore, Porn, Verbal Abuse, Porn, Sexual Abominations…anything and everything to get his dopamine rush. Add to that Laziness and over sleeping till noon with a business to run…so he hires his adult son to do that for him. He could have CHOSEN good things to focus his attention on, but I suppose those kinds of better choices would not have gotten him the type of “high” he is after.

    He is 64yrs old. Apparently, always has been this way but covers it up with a Christianity facade and tons of God talk.

    I hold him totally responsible. He made constant choices that were far below the lowest of standards for living a normal life regardless of his “reasons” and excuses…and yet always expected me to keep standards that were above reproach. There was not ONE evening where he was not engaged in two or more of the above list. Not one. I would go to bed alone and wake up alone for the entire ten years we were married. He even woke me up to pick fights with me just to get a different kind of dopamine rush regardless of the impact that it had on both of us. He has no fear of God or shame.

    He is not “diseased”…although over time, I am sure that he will eventually succumb to a disease that is self inflicted from this quest for excitement. He is an open vessel for EVIL…that is how I see him.

  • Now that I’m out, I recognize that X and Alcohol was ALWAYS the prime relationship in our marriage.

    I wasn’t smart enough to recognize it at first, but a few years in to our marriage – especially after our first child was born – it became clear that I was married to X AND his best friend, Alcohol. And if I tried to come between them, I was always going to lose.

    Seems X needed his best friend, Alcohol for everything; strength, confidence, to get ready, to wind down, to sleep, to apply for jobs, to wallow in when he lost jobs, to have sex with me, to ruminate with after having sex, for family parties, for holidays, for Sunday dinner, etc…

    The day I gave birth to our first child, X started his “vacation” project and built a bar for Alcohol in our basement while my son and I were in the hospital. He came to see us for 30 minutes each day for five days, and was pissed during one of those “meaningful bonding” visits when I didn’t gush over the progress photos of the bar for his Alcohol. Because I was learning how to nurse a newborn. So he went home and spent the night with Alcohol. I’m pretty sure he was already on his way, but that incident – because he brought it up many times as one of my many shortcomings – was another nail in my coffin. He grew to hate me and deepen his love for Alcohol more.

    Alcohol made him smarter. More informed. More learned. And more handsome. And right. All the time. Alcohol was more of a draw then our bed, which he moved out of when I was eight months pregnant, never to return. Because his pull out sofa bed next to his bar with Alcohol was more of a draw than his wife and new family.

    I won’t lie; I also had a relationship with Alcohol. But having grown out of my college binge drinking days, being a mother and the responsible adult working and managing the house and paying the bills, Alcohol became more of a bit player in my life who I would visit on occasion, instead of the main characters.

    X also displayed some clinically significant mental health behaviors as his love affair with Alcohol grew. He was incapable of intimacy. He was emotionally vacant. He was mean. He could “word salad” me out of any discussion that became too uncomfortable for him and then go no contact for weeks, until I apologized. We never resolved anything; I just caved. He could be cruel. He lost all his jobs. He never did what he said he would do. He lied more than he told the truth, about EVERYTHING. He was all about the secrets.

    So yeah, mental health behaviors and his relationship with Alcohol definitely meant emotional and verbal abuse to me and our kids. I wish I could say I was out, but he continues to manipulate and abuse our kids. And the oldest one has his mental health and substance abuse issues of his own.

    I will never recover. But at least I’m out of his and Alcohol’s direct orbit.

  • Wait one. So what are we saying here? 70% of DV *victims* are more likely to drink/drug than non-DV victims? OK. So alcohol/drug use is the EFFECT of DV, not the cause? Then we’re adding yet another variable, dxd. co-morbid Mental Health Disorders to Alcohol/Drug Addiction to DV. So now we have three variables to juggle (and tweek this way and that.)

    And now we’re gonna do analysis by eggbeater. For example, NYS OASAS figures underscore Mark Twain’s observation: “There’s liars, damn liars and statistics.” The NYS numbers state DV perpetrated towards males is so rare as to be, well, “rare”-“see the Fact Sheet.” (And if it does happen it’s perpetrated by male on male partners.) So I did: And that’s backed up by a reference to (get ready for it) the numbers of DV generated by the state of NEBRASKA *Domestic Violence Sexual Assualt Coalition* in 9-2013. So now we have added Sexual Assault to Domestic Violence to Mental Health to Substance Abuse and excuse me, where are the stats for co-morbidity of Mental Health and Substance Abuse of the Nebraska cohort? Could these two states be any more poorly matched demographically and every other way as potential comparison cohorts? But hey, the good news is, overall the rates of DV dropped 64% for both males and females between 1995-2000, at least according to the Department of Justice. Are we juggling enough balls here to obfuscate rather than illuminate the phenomenon under consideration? Note the various agencies reporting are not congruent in their definitions or data collection. Me thinks someone has an agenda called funding. I get it: It’s a scramble to successfully compete for scarce resources. However, if I submitted this research (even as an undergrad) it would be soundly stomped and if I attempted to submit it to a professional journal or a state reporting agency it would get kicked back with a not very polite, “TW, are you nuts?”

    I could go on but if ya read this far and your eyes are crossed and your brain is on WTF? Mine too. In a 2015 reference, the CDC reports 1in 4 men and 1 in 3 women will become victims of DV including both physical and psychological abuse and that number I believe (not sure, my stroke brain has spent the last couple hours being assaulted by mind numbing numbers, percentages, agencies, definitions etc.) was extrapolated from the 2010 National Intimate Partner Survey from 2010. Gotta love these “research” numbers reported by a plethora of different agencies, self-select samples based on self-reporting-insert a load of sarcasm. (The National Coalition Against DV also states 1in 3 women and 1in 4 men as victims of DV.) Yes, I know: Where’s the numbers for mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault victims? Dunno.

    Are alcohol and other drugs “coping tools” for a bit of relaxation/socializing for the “average” stressors of everyday life? Oh hell yeah-I “recreate” with the stuff for exactly that reason-as do millions of others. And it makes intuitive sense: When we drink and or use other drugs the part of the brain that is first effected is the part that has everything to do with common sense, good judgement and is a form of socializing and kicking back. Or *potentially* more fuel for domestic discord. Or is it the result of domestic discord? Substance abuse is also more strongly correlated with all kinds of criminal behavior as well as mental health: Aren’t jails/prisons the “new” mental health/substance abuse “treatment programs?” So what about about mental health? Sure, people self-medicate sometimes for decades up to their death often because they aren’t aware Ex: that feeling of chronically (years/decades/lifetime) living with a grey cloud hanging over one’s life that isn’t situational-it’s their normal (Dysthymia) “feeling”/experience. Many others don’t have access to services (this area) or simply won’t access them even if they could. (Ex: Cluster B Personality Disorders are notorious for refusal to take any responsibility for their behavior and engage regularly in Projection.)

    Beyond smart, you all are also Courageous. My opinion entirely and FWIW. And Decent, Caring, Genuine and have a hella lot more credibility than OASAS and the sample sizes, reporting etc. in those cited references. These blanket assertions make me a little crazy because they are often misleading or simply unsubstantiated, period. Urban Myths die hard if at all.

    And as far as Child Maltreatment in the US, who are most likely to be the perps? Let’s take a look at the one consistent US annual measure (so there’s some longitudinal information) provided by HHS for the most recent reporting year, 2015; these rates are per 100,000. Hi Mom: More than half, 54.1% are female, between the ages of 25-34, White 48.7% (followed by African Americans at 20.0%). And child fatalities secondary to Maltreatment? From 2011 to 2015 while the child population decreased during this 5 yr. period, there has been a 5.7% increase in fatalities. 74.8% were under the age of 3: “Younger children are the most vulnerable to death as a result of child abuse and neglect.” 20.91 are <1 yr. of age. Boys are at highest risk at 77.7% or three quarters of child fatalities involving parents. And 14.4% of fatalities were exposed to DV. So that leaves what percentage not exposed to DV? Mental Health dxd?

    Every one of you has had your world rocked if not completely torched as a result of Infidelity. I have far too much respect for all of you than to allow the assertions proferred to go unquestioned. There is IMO enough pain, sadness, fear, grief, loneliness and frankly, shame spoken here to sort through without adding more to the confusion: "How could I not have known?" Turn it around: How could you have known your partner was pulling Night Moves when your own morals, values, ethics and human self-referencing don't even provide a framework in which to contemplate such behavior? That speaks to your personal INTEGRITY, to your Character, your conscience, your blind faith, that exquisitely precious and unique pledge to a deeply loved partner to face an unknown, blind future together: You said it, you meant it, you lived it.
    That your partner didn't is not any kind of reflection of who you are: It is an indictment writ large of who they are and the free will (for better or worse) exercised by all humans and their capacity to engage in deception. It may take two to tango, but it only takes one to sneak out the back door to leave the other dancing with a ghost: You didn't know them. And they took intentional steps to ensure you didn't.

    IMO, you can't be a Chump without a heart: You can' be a Chumper with one. Empathy doesn't cost a cent and neither does love. If they do, the wrecked and ruined lives left in wake of such profound cupidity and inhumanity by the end of their lives is stunning in it's chronicity and severity. Children and Hostages are stuck: Adults make choices and Seperation/Divorce are every bit as much a choice as infidelity. As you all have experienced, often it is harder to do the Right Thing than the Easy Thing. That your partners chose "easy" cake rather than hard introspection, self-discipline and self-evaluation is not on you. Ever. And I am still at a loss to confidently assert correlations between substance abuse, DV and mental health causes vs. outcomes.

    • Tundra Woman, this part had me in tears:

      “How could I not have known?” Turn it around: How could you have known your partner was pulling Night Moves when your own morals, values, ethics and human self-referencing don’t even provide a framework in which to contemplate such behavior? That speaks to your personal INTEGRITY, to your Character, your conscience, your blind faith, that exquisitely precious and unique pledge to a deeply loved partner to face an unknown, blind future together: You said it, you meant it, you lived it.

      This “how could I not have known?” is where I’m still hung up. I am so ashamed that I ever trusted, that I didn’t listen to my screaming gut, that I spackled and pretended (believed?) that he was a good man. So many things didn’t add up and I just believed, just went along, lalalalala. All these years, I didn’t snoop, I didn’t dig, I didn’t look. Whyyyy???? But you are right, I projected my integrity onto him. I protected even my thought life, I just didn’t go there, and I don’t have a framework for that kind of dishonesty, abuse, debauchery. I thought he was like me because he told me he was.

      Thank you for this. You put it so eloquently and succinctly. I love your posts. This was just what I needed to read tonight.

      • Shacksie1, I sign under your every word. The bad signs were there before the marriage. But then he sparkled and blinded me with sparks. I wanted to believe the sparks. He turned into a monster throughout my pregnancy. I spackled because I wanted to believe his mother and everyone around telling me that he is just scared of the upcoming hyge responsibility and it will pass as soon as he hugs his baby. The bad behaviour was always there, the secrets, protection of privacy, extra locks and passwords. .I did not even know how much he made.hahaha. I am such a spackler. I want to say I WAS one day…

    • “That your partners chose “easy” cake rather than hard introspection, self-discipline and self-evaluation is not on you. Ever. ”

      Great point!

  • Well said Tundra woman …”It may take two to tango, but it only takes one to sneak out the back door to leave the other dancing with a ghost: You didn’t know them. And they took intentional steps to ensure you didn’t.”

  • We are both doctors. We were advised by more than one financial planner to invest/save/plan our career etc…While he sat in for all those discussions and pretended to ask the clever questions, he never took action or let me make a decision. Always sabotaged a business idea or shares or retirement funds. Now after the settlement , he is left with no savings. Still takes his long vacations with the OW.

    He smoked and drank . Ate like a pig. It was almost like he didn’t have an OFF switch when it came to the above vices. Has an addiction to sleeping pills too.
    Still advertises himself as a GP with mental health specialization! Can you imagine?

    I am done untangling the fuckedupedness,but I cant help wonder WTF this idiot thinks of himself ?

    • Absolutely with you on the missing OFF switch for food. Traitor is an epic binge eater and epic binger in general. Traitor claimed he didn’t drink because his father is an alcoholic. Mostly true, he doesn’t routinely drink. However if alcohol was available for a party he would get drunk and berate me for not getting drunk (or stoned when he used to smoke). Then he would accuse me of being an addict, addicted to self-control…
      He still proudly claims that you can name any illegal drug, he’s tried it and even made most of them when he worked in a lab at Uni. He also used to brag that he had been a gym addict, also taking steroids, during his first marriage, but he stopped because it made him violent ( I wonder now what dark truth lurks behind that little story of self-awareness). Huge sugar hit binger, I’ve related his exploits with stealing kids and family’s Christmas chocolates. I also consider now that he doesn’t have an OFF switch for sex. He once told me that ideally he would have sex several times a day, every day and would still want more.
      But is that addiction, when he switches from abusing one thing to another almost at will, and can stop anything cold turkey?

      For the record as to my background and co-dependency, my mother was severely depressed and often suicidal until she died of lung cancer. She deliberately smoked herself to death IMO, wouldn’t stop smoking, even smoke on the sly in her hospital bed… She abused medications too, mostly codeine. She was a very loving mother to me but I do consider she was an addict, after a very abusive childhood. She was also an OW/AP. My fixation on not wanting to lose control to any substance or habit comes from watching her and swearing to myself that I would always stay in control. Instead I relinquished control over me to the Traitor.

  • My cheating ex- was (and probably still is) addicted to marijuana. He became even more self-involved and detached from both our relationship and life responsibilities because of it. There were so many times that we talked about his use of marijuana as an issue, and we’d ceremonially throw away his pipe or shook hands or whatever, but increasingly it became obvious that he would never give it up. And when I hid his weed? Boy howdy, it got heated. He wouldn’t stoop so low as to insult me or throw a fit, but it was all he could think about, and he would keep talking about it and trying to convince me to let him have it. Eventually, I realized he’s an adult and can do what he wants, so I stopped trying to hide it from him, but it was sad to see him so lost to it. He truly is a brilliant mind and a talented soul with immense potential squandered over weed, sex, food, etc.

    Not my problem anymore, though.

    • The Traitor smoked a lot when we met, and tried to get me stoned or just to join in constantly, berated me as addicted to self-control for refusing to … Eventually he stopped smoking and claimed it was my good influence that helped him. When we moved to the farm, he made a big song and dance pointing out that he had got rid of his bong. This was in 2008. He still praised me in our first MC session in February 2015 for making him stop smoking…The MC and I fell for it. Surprise, surprise, I found out from his son in later 2015 that the bong had been at the Whore’s house the entire time…

  • Thanks for this post. I am in a same sex marriage with a woman who has BPD coupled with severe alcoholism, along with many other addictions including shopping, gambling and an eating disorder. She has been to every treatment center, program and hospital I know of. I had always been supportive during her relapses until she began an on again off again affair for the last 18 months with another addict. The hardest thing about leaving this person is the all encompassing fear that they will die. When my wife drinks she becomes extremely suicidal and has almost succeeded many times. She has overdosed on her prescription meds at lest 10 times, jumped out of my car while I was driving and tried to jump out of a window. She has been in a coma for four days and sectioned to a state facility Detaching from this type of mentally unstable addict is the toughest thing I’ve ever attempted to do. Usually after a relapse she goes back in to treatment and makes promise after promise to work on herself and get well. She gets sober, immerses herself in a 12 step program, begins to make progress on all fronts, and then the cycle starts all over again.The last episode culminated with her on a binge, out of control. The OW becoming concerned called my phone during the craziness at which point my cheating wife who had never been physically violent became so enraged that I was on the phone with her AP, jumped on top of me and stabbed me with a pair of kitchen scissors. She was put up on attempted murder charges. They gave me a restraining order for a year and she has been held after 3 dangerousness hearings in state prison without bail for the last four months. Loving an addict is hard, living with an addict is harder and letting go of an addict is nearly killing me.

    • Best wishes to you through this terribly difficult experience. It sounds like you have been metaphorically (and darn near literally) sacrificing your life for the person you love. We live in a culture that tells us this is noble, but it isn’t–at least not after the first rescue turns into a relapse. Your love cannot save your partner, but you can save yourself, and if she truly loves you, well, in her sober moments, that is exactly what she’d want you to do.

      I am wishing you days of peace and strength going forward.

  • One of the reasons I stayed with an emotional abuser for so long (14 years) is because he was NOT a drinker or drug user. The spackle I was using contained a lot of “at least he doesn’t drink or do drugs”.

    However his father was an alcoholic woman-beater. Until he was 7 he watched his dad get drunk and hit his mom regularly. My sympathy for this was another major ingredient in the spackle.

      • Yes, a Spackle deconstruction recipe, by ingredient, would be a useful guide. Step one, identify your Spackle’s ingredients. Step two, extract and destroy ingredients from the Spackle one by one. Step three, wake up to a Spackle-free relationship. Step four, get the fuck out.

  • My ex used alcohol daily, especially at night before he went to bed. There was nothing I could say or do that would convince him not to drink. At times when he was stressed at work I’d find him up at 2 am drinking on the couch. When his family came he would go on binges with them, drinking kegs full of beer. I always pleaded with him not to set such a bad example for our children, but he would just laugh at me or ignore me. It was so strange because both his parents are very religious tea-totlers, but all his siblings are alcoholics. I’m allergic to the stuff and it makes me feel awful, so I’m not tempted to drink much. I’m very much in the minority, though. I find most people drink more than I do.

  • I knew Pervy pants drank like a fish. What I didn’t know that he was popping Rx narcotics like candy. Didn’t find that out till I threw him out and started getting the house ready for sale. Upon painting the bathroom…..I found empty vials of Oxycontin, oxicodone & Vicodin (for his alleged “bad back). Who takes all that shit for a bad back? So glad to be rid of that deceptive dark creature.

  • What’s really mind boggling is between the porn, booze and rx narcotics- Pervy Pants gave himself erectile dysfunction. The thing he chased after the most (seeing himself as young, virile and desirable). The booze/porn/pills gave him the exact opposite- a poorly aging old man with erectile dysfunction and an empty wallet. Who wants to screw that?

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