In Plain Sight
My wife and I have been married 20 years, and I am a successful businessman. Recently I had to take away all her credit cards as she was spending $4000 a month on clothes and shoes.
In the past, she has taken sleeping pills and pills for depression. Last year I was taking pain pills after surgery for an old football injury. I mistakenly gave her a couple of pills, only to have her steal them from me even after I begged her to stop.
Once, after she got home from getting my prescription filled, I counted pills and came up 14 short. I did this because the previous fill ran out early. I am meticulous about taking only the advised number of pills each day, and it was easy to calculate when I would run out.
Now she is dishonest in other ways. She went out and got her own credit card, then stole my credit card out of my wallet. She gets a $2500 allowance for her own spending money, but still seems to have to steal from me.
She recently got a prescription for pain pills from another doctor because our family doctor would not refill her. She did this without my knowledge, and the new doctor's office charged my credit card. But since I have to pay for everything, I find out anyway.
Sometimes she lays around all morning sleeping, not even getting up to fix anyone breakfast but herself, then stays up late watching TV. She has become so lazy she put a cereal box container next to the breadbox for old plastic and cans. When I asked why, she said she's tired of walking 10 steps to the garage door and placing recyclables in the bin outside the garage.
This also has affected our love life. We barely make love once a month. All of this is causing me to become frustrated with my wife that I love, and the lazy person who does not want to keep a clean house, help our kids with studies or be a caring wife to her husband.
I long for the love and structure we used to have.
Clark, most of us don't have the experience or training to deal with a schizophrenic or sociopath. As airport screeners, we would do a cavity search on the innocent, and smile at the fanatic and wave him through. We are out of our venue, unqualified to deal with the task at hand.
That's what we thought when we read your letter. If addiction has not been in your world, you don't know how to recognize it. You gave us the portrait of a junkie.
Because you tie much of her behavior to a relatively recent event—your surgery—you may have overlooked past signs. We suspect her behavior has been out of control for longer than you realize.
Would you know $4000 worth of clothes if you saw them? Could she be returning some clothes for cash or selling them at high-end resale shops? How many other doctors might she have gotten prescriptions from?
A non-addicted person can't imagine the thought process of an addict. Without training or past experience, you have zero ability to deal with their deceit.
On the path to recovery, it would be wonderful if you could work together with your wife. But she has something to hide, and she will resist all attempts to shine a light on her secrets.
There is a chain of help which probably starts with your family doctor and extends to those experienced with chemical dependency.
If you trust the family doc and he or she does consults, that's a place to look for a referral. Otherwise, check out treatment centers and those familiar with addiction and decide who you want to work with. Don't include your wife yet. Work out a strategy first, then confront her.
~ Wayne & Tamara
Send letters to: [email protected] , or Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield MO 65801.