When addiction takes control, it can destroy everything in someone’s life, including the relationships they have with friends, loved ones and everyday encounters with people. For this blog, we sat down with Laura and heard her heart-breaking story of her husband’s battle with addiction and how it affected her life. The stress and strain of living with or caring about an addicted person has serious mental, emotional and physical consequences for family members. We’ll see the positive impact Tabor Group’s Family Support Programme had on Laura and how the loved ones of an individual suffering from addiction can benefit from support.
Laura reminisced on her 18-year relationship with Phil, which she claimed was “full of alcohol, drugs, parties and constant arguments”. She could see looking back now, how obvious it was that addiction was always a part of Phil’s life, but she said “it’s difficult to tell when you’re going through it every day and are so young”. At his worst, Phil would go missing for days at a time leaving Laura “terrified” for his safety.
When Phil refused to get help with Tabor Group when a bed became available, it was the last straw for Laura and their relationship. They cancelled their wedding and parted ways with each other. Phil’s addiction was tearing them apart! However, despite his addiction, it was clear they still loved each other and 8 months later were back together and working on rebuilding their relationship and life together. Phil went seven years without taking a drink of alcohol, and during that time they got married and had two children together. Laura said “I thought everything was going great for those seven years. Phil was drinking non-alcoholic beer but was unfortunately also still taking tablets, so was never really completely sober for those seven years. I suppose maybe I was just ignoring that and trying to tell myself he was sober because that’s what I wanted to think”.
Eventually, Phil relapsed and the addiction crept back in to the way it had previously been. With Laura now having a family to look after she became increasingly worried and anxious when he’d disappear and concerned about when he’d be home, what he was doing and who he was with. She said “I could see the addiction taking over his mind; I could see he was beginning to forget about his wife and children. That’s when my anger, anxiety and sleeplessness began to take over. It affected the entire family – my family and Phil’s family – but he continued to blame others, lie and create excuses.”
Phil had another assessment with us here at Tabor Group, but when a bed became available, he again refused to take it. As the time went by, the situation got even worse for both Phil and Laura. Sleepless nights, anxiety and stress now took over Laura’s life. She claims “my anger got out of control, my attitude changed and my happiness faded. Our lives were just chaotic.” At this point, Laura realised her mental health was suffering and she needed to get help and do something about it.
Phil eventually went to Tabor Group after a massive drink and cocaine binge where he missed his daughter’s birthday and Laura had to even report her husband missing to the Gardaí. Laura admitted to feeling “ashamed, angry, hurt and powerless”. This is when Laura first heard of Tabor Group’s Family Support Programme, she had never known there was a programme available for support to the family as well as the individual suffering from the addiction.
Laura remembers feeling “nervous and uncomfortable” before going to her first family day, but quickly realised that this was a helpful and supportive environment surrounded by people who knew exactly what she was going through. She went on to add: “By the second week, I had learned a lot about addiction, denial, co-dependency and enabling. I started to learn about myself and the role I was playing with Phil’s addiction.”
One thing which stood out for Laura was learning about the 3 C’s – You didn’t CAUSE it, you can’t CURE it and you can’t CONTROL it.
When Phil returned home from Tabor Lodge, Laura admitted to still feeling a lot of anger, hurt and a lack of trust. She said “I was nervous of what the future might bring but equally I was hopeful for new beginnings”. Laura continued with the Family Support Programme, listening and learning from other people’s stories and experiences and remarked that “it was the first time in a long while I felt like I wasn’t alone. I began to understand that it wasn’t just about Phil’s recovery, it was about mine too.”
During the Family Support Programme, Laura learned about the relapse warning signs and as the weeks progressed, she could see them appear in Phil. Gambling and tablets began to take over and when she addressed the matter, he became defensive and argumentative. Laura suggested counselling at Tabor Lodge, but there was no way he would agree to it. He eventually stopped his continuing care programme after 9 weeks, but Laura continued her family support.
Eventually, Phil moved out of the house as they agreed to part ways for the sake of themselves and their children. Laura said “it was a tough decision and it broke my heart but Phil needed to do recovery on his own and I needed to do recovery on my own.”
Laura feels like her life is finally back on track thanks to her weekly support groups and one-to-one counselling sessions with Tabor Group. “I feel so much stronger now. My children are happy and have adapted to our new way of living now. I feel content and I believe that I am making the right choices. I am in a good place right now and I intend on keeping it that way.”
Tabor Group’s Family Support Programme is designed to help concerned persons of the individual with substance use disorder. It has been our experience that when a family is affected by addiction, the entire family can benefit from support and play a substantial role in their loved one’s recovery. Our Family Support Programme includes education, one-to-one support, peer support groups, telephone support, intervention advice and more.
If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, get help today. We can help you recover in a healthy, friendly environment and beat your addiction. Don’t hesitate to contact one of our counsellors today for information at +353 (21) 488 7710 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help you.