Is substance abuse a part of your marriage? Would you know if your partner is involved with drugs? Poorna Bell certainly thought so. Only after her husband of three years admitted to a heroin addiction did she realise that it was possible to hide something like that from the person who is supposed to know you the best.
Her reaction was shock and dismay when she heard, but she aimed her disbelief at herself: How could I not know?, I brought this on myself, What kind of buffoon doesnt know that her husband is a heroin addict?
Her husband, Rob, a successful science journalist, had managed to keep his secret for years even after they were married, by being a skilful liar and practicing deception just so that he could keep up his habit. Poorna knew that he suffered terribly from depression and the symptoms that she saw him display she attributed to him going through a depression phase. She said that he would spend days in bed sweating, saying that he was depressed, and she believed him. With hindsight, she now realises that he was trying to kick his habit, but was never successful: Not knowing any heroin users, Id no idea what the signs were I mean, now I would be able to tell you straight away. Its not normal for someone to lie in bed sweating; sleeping, yes, if youve got depression but not sweating.
Rob finally came clean after getting into debt to the tune of £30,000. He was self-medicating his depression, which he described to her as feeling as if you are having the worst day of your life, over and over, even when you should be happy, like on the day your first child is born. Using heroin was the closest he could come to feeling even slightly normal. He had told her that he knew how to handle his depression as hed had it for several years and it also ran in his family. Poorna had no reason to doubt him. He did not fit the typical description of a so-called junkie. He was successful, popular, had many friends, and loved walking his dog, Daisy. She describes him as being the kindest, funniest person she had ever met.
Hindsight being 20/20, she now realises that the signs were there. The long bathroom visits; the hastily slammed drawers when she entered the room; his abrupt Im on a deadline greeting when she met him at the office; his endless trips to go and find Lucozade; the fact that they always seemed to be out of tinfoil (Rob smoked the heroin). There was also the time when she was diagnosed with a serious heart condition, and he took hours to get to the hospital.
What Do I Do If My Partner Is an Addict?
Many spouses would have cut their losses and run, but Poorna threw all her energy into helping and supporting her husband to recover from his heroin addiction. Rob joined Narcotics Anonymous and went to see a variety of doctors. He was also admitted to a rehabilitation centre for treatment. They did yoga together and went to the gym. Together they took long walks with Daisy, and things started to look better. Rob was going to bed at the same time as Poorna, and he was starting to look healthier plumper even.
Getting help is vital when you find out your partner is an addict. Both of you need the help; he/she needs help to recover from his/her addiction. You need help and support in order to help and support your partner through this process. Drug addiction is a life-threatening illness and needs to be treated as soon as possible. It is treatable, and many drug addicts have recovered from their addiction and now live sober, healthy lives.
There is, as was the case with Rob, the risk of a relapse. Unfortunately, things did not work out well for Rob and Poorna as Rob relapsed and left to spend time with his family in New Zealand. While there, in May 2015, he committed suicide and left Poorna with a broken heart. This is when you will also need help to recover from the shock of the relapse and, possibly, the death of your partner.
Where Do I Get Help?
UK Rehab is a free advisory service with a 24-hour helpline. You can call us at any time of the day or night, and our skilled and experienced staff will help you get the help that you need. We can arrange for access to one of a number of rehabilitation clinics (both NHS and private) as well as direct access to treatment counsellors. UK Rehab will also help you make the necessary arrangements for admission to a clinic and give you advice and guidance on the way forward.
If you find yourself in Poornas position, do not hesitate to acknowledge the problem and ask for help. If you do not ask for help, nobody will be able to give you the support and assistance that you need. Pick up the phone and give us a call as soon as possible. There is no shame in addiction. It is an illness that needs to be treated as soon as possible, and we can set you on the road to recovery in one phone call.
Source: (The Times) My husband told me he was on heroin