The Day My Husband Died

On March 4, 2017 my husband died. After 13 days of sobriety, following what I felt would be a successful detox program, my husband overdosed on a combination of cocaine and heroin aka speedball or powerballing. Against my better judgement I allowed my husband to convince me that he didn’t need a residential program after a 5 day detox. Despite the recommendations of every therapist and psychiatrist he had encountered who highly recommended a long-term residential program to combat the 15 plus years of addiction, I allowed this manipulative, self-destructive, irrational person dictate his fate. He had it all figured out! He would attend an intensive outpatient program (IOP) for 3 hours a day, 4 days a week, complete 90 AA meetings in 90 days, and find a therapist who specialized in addiction. Sounds great, right?

The problem was my husband. The man that I love had found another love. This love made him lie, steal, neglect, and abuse his wife and children. Now, I don’t believe an addict wants to be an addict. As a child, no one goes around saying, “When I grow up I want to abuse drugs!” But life happens and we all make choices- some good, some bad, and some that have no real impact and some that will forever change who we are and the lives we lead. Despite my husband’s desire to be clean and sober, his drug of choice had a hold on him that he could not resist. Apart of IOP is regular drug testing and failure to maintain sobriety can result in being asked to leave the program. I know how hard it must have been for my husband to call me after failing his drug test. He just kept repeating, “I’m a piece of shit, I’m a piece of shit…” My heart broke for him then and my heart continues to break for him even as I write this. In an effort to protect myself and my two young boys (ages 3 and 5 months) I asked him to leave our home and not return. As I cried myself to sleep that night all I could think about was would he be okay? Was I making the right decision? Was I setting him up for failure? Would this be the kick in the ass that would get and keep him on track? I vowed to support him and his recovery, but I could not risk my curious 3 year old finding a needle like I had done twice before.

The following evening when the hospital called to inform me of my husband’s deadly overdose, I didn’t even answer the phone.  I don’t answer calls from numbers that I don’t recognize, so  it wasn’t until hours later when my husband called and said he didn’t want to use anymore. That wasn’t the first time I heard him say those words. In fact, I had heard them several times since first learning of my husband’s addiction to drugs and alcohol over a year ago. But this time he assured me was different. This time the one thing he never thought would happen to him happened. He was on the floor unresponsive (despite his dealers best efforts) until EMS revived him with a glorious shot of Narcan. Sadly, not everyone can be so fortunate. Most people out of fear of retribution or a total disregard for human life, would have carried his body out on the street as if they weren’t just sitting up laughing together moments before.

That night my husband slept in his car because I still refused to allow him back into our home. Two days later my husband was back in another detox facility. So, now we are trying to do things differently. For the next 45-60 days he will be in treatment facility 376 miles from home. I love my husband and my husband loves me. My prayer is that he begins to understand that he cannot trust his own judgment right now. He is in a vulnerable situation and I am giving him permission to be selfish right now and only worry about his recovery. This is our journey.