This is a really long post, and I have agonized about whether or not I should post it. On the one hand, it is the truth, and the truth shall set you free. On the other hand, it has a lot to do with my husband and his addiction, and what kind of person he became as he gave more and more up for his idol — meth. I don’t want anyone to judge Chef. Instead, grieve with me the loss of the person he once was to this hateful drug. I blame Satan and Meth. Chef made choices, but I truly believe in my heart of hearts that had he known the outcome would have been this disaster area of our lives, and just how many broken people he left in his wake, he would never have touched the stuff. But, as we all tend to do, we thought we could handle a little bit of sin, but it quickly overcame and engulfed us to the point we’d need help getting out of it. Unfortunately, Chef picked a drug that literally changes every single thing about a person, and it is never good. And the addiction lead him down roads that he may never be able to face. I once knew the real Chef, and I don’t know if he’d be able to accept all that he has done. The shame and guilt would consume him. But the present day Meth-ed Chef feels very little anymore with the exception of drug-enhanced moods and crushing, exhausting come-downs and the need to quickly return to the high that allows him to hide from all the destruction that he has left in his wake.
I think I have actually gotten a small taste of hell on earth, and it all started and ended with meth. No one will truly ever understand how much I hate even the sound of that word — meth. It promises its user the world, but instead it takes every single good thing out of it first. The fact that methamphetamine is highly addictive already speaks volumes about the danger it poses. It crept up on my family and completely destroyed it. Meth kills, and it kills more that just the person using it. It kills marriages, families, dreams, and hopes.
For anyone who has been reading this blog since about June, there has been a sad story of a marriage falling completely apart. There have been a lot of painful lessons learned by me about my husband Chef, who is dealing with a severe addiction which has torn apart our lives and families, and by my kids, who got the unlucky privilege of a front row seat to just exactly what meth can do to a once happy, complete family.
I wrote a lot about Chef’s infidelity, and the absolute earth-shattering devastation I felt when he basically slipped me out of my own life, and inserted another woman there, but I didn’t describe much about his addiction because I didn’t want to embarrass him, or frankly, myself. But, as I’m progressing through the grief of all of this, I feel that I am not doing anyone any good unless I describe exactly what this horrible drug does to these people and basically everyone else in their lives as well. I don’t write this story to humiliate…only educate. And I want a record of what happened as I remember it now, because thankfully, these memories are fading, and I’m happy to let them go. But they are important enough to write down because they can possibly be a cautionary story to someone else one day.
When I met Chef over 20 years ago, this man’s endearing quality to me was how much he could make me laugh. To this day, that is what I miss the most about the old Chef. He was clever, witty, handsome, confident, and best of all, hilarious. For decades, we laughed, fought, compromised…but in all of it there was a chord of respect and love that we swore by. We were a team, loyal and devoted to one another. I don’t think it ever occurred to either of us that we’d ever part ways. There are tons of posts in this site about how I’ve always felt about Chef, so I won’t expound on that too much. In a nutshell, I loved my husband more than life itself. And I still do. I probably always will. But he’s gone now, and I don’t think he’s ever coming back.
And then one night last year, I woke up in the middle of the night, and found that Chef was missing. Assuming he was in another part of the house, I got up to look for him. He was no where to be found and it was almost 3:30am in the morning. I looked in the garage and his motorcycle was missing. Still disoriented, but not panicked yet, I called his cell phone. He answered, giving me some excuse about needing medicine from the store, but in my heart of hearts, I could tell he was lying. It was confirmed when he came in, clearly not quite himself, and not carrying any medicine in either. But, decades of running Public Relations Campaigns in my head for him kicked in, and I chose to take my first step into denial.
When Chef returned soon after, we didn’t fight about it. I voiced some concern that he should wake me up if he is leaving so I won’t be afraid when I wake up and he’s not there, and he quickly agreed not to disappear on me again. I can wryly chuckle at that promise because as the next year fanned out, it turned out to be the first blatant lie of thousands of lies he would tell me. Meth makes honest people liars. I wish I’d paid more attention to that a year ago. But 20 years with a person tends to make you relax a bit, and I had no real reason to distrust him.
To set some of this up, I need to tell you that when Chef and I first got together, he used meth, and I partook of it occasionally. But, like most medicines I take, I don’t have the same reactions that most people do, and I wasn’t impressed with it. All that crappy drug tended to do for me was make my already super hyper-vigilant mind soar to a whole new hellish level. I would be worried about a million things at once, and by the time I would come down from the high, I was exhausted and hadn’t really had a bit of “fun”. While most people feel like they could conquer the world and achieve anything, I would be in the next room counting my pulse, and coming up with ways to explain the heart-attack and/or stroke I’d inflicted on myself to my family. I have to fight the urge to worry constantly, and a lot of those speed-like drugs tend to exasperate that worry to an almost panicked degree. Sometimes, knowledge can be a real downer. I research freaking everything, so I knew how that drug worked, what it did to the body, and just exactly what it could do to kill said body. My drugged brain took that knowledge to new heights to torture me with it. No. It isn’t fun for me. Why I even bothered to do it more than once is still a mystery to me, but sometimes I’m an idiot. Luckily though, the “fun” wasn’t worth it to me, and I had no problems not using it again. But for Chef, who got the standard high with all of its exhilaration, sexual proclivities, and power, it was too powerful, and it took me literally giving him an ultimatum back 20+ years ago to make him even try to quit. But remember, back then, I’d only been with him a few months, and I wasn’t “invested” in the relationship. A few months after I quit, he finally did. I had no patience then for the nonsense meth addicts put their loved ones through. I’d seen it before in my first marriage, and I wasn’t doing that again…ever.
Or so I thought.
Now I wish I’d just left him back then.
Fast forward to a year ago. A few days after the disappearing episode, I woke up again alone in bed, and when I went to find him, he was on the internet scoping out adult sites. Now, as a sexually abused child, I have to explain that I can’t see stuff like that at all. I don’t even watch people kiss on regular television much less foray into that stuff. I was really, really clear with Chef from the very beginning that stuff like this throws me emotionally back to a time period that I still struggle with to this day, so please don’t engage in this. All these 20+ years, there has been no evidence or problem with this. Until Meth made his appearance, and suddenly I was caught in this whirlwind of sexual perversion, drug addiction, and PTSD symptoms from being molested. It was like my entire world was turned upside down in a week. But I loved Chef, and still do, so I was in it for the long haul. In my pride, I just knew I could get him to get some help before he headed too far down that road. After all, he had been a good husband for decades…staying away from the drugs and certainly never looking at porn. We had an enviable marriage. We were friends. We were lovers, soul mates, even. I just couldn’t make myself believe he would ever intentionally hurt me.
I was wrong and I was right.
I think meth is Satan’s drug of choice if he wants to completely destroy every single good thing about a person. I’ve seen so many addicts in my life, and have been one myself, but I’ve never seen any of them do what this drug does. It took the man that I loved for so long and slowly but consistently changed him. Suddenly, he had secrets. Lots of them. Locked doors, locked boxes, hidden cell phone. I would try to reason with him about how these kinds of things screamed that he was doing something he didn’t want me to know about, and thus meaning, I wouldn’t like it. He not only wouldn’t talk about it, but he would arrogantly try to pawn his behavior off on me, even raging at me about consequences he’d gleaned all on his own. The complete fabrication of the excuse and blame were enough to make me dizzy. It was like he truly believed the nonsense spewing from his mouth! And finally, I came to terms with it. He did!! It didn’t matter if I could easily prove I had nothing to do with it….he wanted to believe he wasn’t responsible, and he didn’t really care if I agreed or not. He had a story, and he was sticking to it.
Yes. I tend to try to control things in my life, but anyone who ever thought they were able to control Chef was fooling themselves. I’m a stubborn human being, but he’s twice as stubborn as I am, so when he decided his secrets were more important to him than my trust, it was on. Locks were picked only to be replaced by new ones. Passwords were broken and then quickly reset. We did this little dance of me trying to find out what was going on, and him trying to make sure I didn’t. I wasn’t sneaky about it…I told him up front, I didn’t like secrets. And he told me up front, too bad. He was keeping his.
I am fairly good at figuring things out, and within a small amount of time, I knew what he was doing, where he was doing it at, and who he was getting it from. I wasn’t as intense about trying to make him stop as I would eventually grow to be, still deluding myself back then that he’d stop soon. He wouldn’t be able to deal with the shame of hurting his family like that. But, I underestimated his addiction, and I have, and probably always will, regret not packing my things and walking out the door the minute I found out he was taking meth again.
Over the last year, each week would present something just a little more terrible than the week before. A “little recreational pick-me-up” on the weekends quickly turned into a mad scurry to find more the minute he’d run out. I sunk into a depression, still reeling from how suddenly this problem had spun out of control. The more I would try to reach out to Chef, the more furiously he would pull away from me. I’d write him letters that he wouldn’t read. I’d send him emails that he would delete. Only occasionally, when he would be sober would I be able to make a connection emotionally with him again, and he would almost always try to put off the conversation until another time. In the beginning, he would always apologize for the insane, manic, confusing and somewhat humiliating behaviors he’d exhibited when he was on his meth binge. But after several of those apologies that were always followed by more insanity, he gave up even bothering to go through the motions. It was easier to refuse to talk about it, or to start an argument so he could storm out of the house and away from his freaked out wife. Sadly, I still kept trying to reach him long after I should have stopped.
I tried every thing to reason with him. I tried kindness, gentleness, understanding. I tried anger and bitterness and disappointment. I learned the patterns, and only approached him when I knew he was as sober as he would probably ever get for awhile. I was careful not to set the itching, lip-smacking, twitchy ghost of the person I used to love, off by choosing my words carefully and trying to be so passive that there would be absolutely no mis-communication that would set off his rage. But deep inside, I was adrift in this sea of confusion, disbelief, shock, and rather quickly, despair. I was bearing witness to a person literally dying physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually right in front of my face; and the horror of it all was that it was my favorite human being on the earth, and I seemed completely powerless to help him at all. The depression and panic attacks were crippling as I would brace myself for the fights that would ensue the minute he got the drug into his system. Back in the beginning, when he’d sober up, his normal personality would make an appearance again, and I would gain a little hope that he would keep his tear-stained promises to me this time. This time, I would try to convince myself, he’ll keep his word. But he never did. Eventually, even when he’d sober up, his personality wouldn’t return to normal, but instead seem defensive, wrathful, and full of hatred.
At first, I couldn’t understand why he suddenly hated me. Then, over time, I realized he didn’t. He hated himself.
Over the months, he would disappear for days at a time and not only not tell me anything about these disappearances, but he refused to answer my calls. I knew he was having affairs, though he would swear that he would never do that to me because “he wouldn’t be able to look in my eyes and know that he had put that hurt there”. But all the evidence was there. Text messages, pictures of female employees in his email, the constant changing of computer passwords, locks on doors, and almost daily, hours of disappearing without a word. Lying became super easy for him, and he didn’t bother to even make up good ones. That is all I got from him anymore. Words. Words. Words. But his actions were becoming more and more selfish, humiliating, abusive, and deceitful each and every day. In the beginning, he tried to hide his infidelities, but later on, he grew bold and didn’t bother. When he took his money and ran, I had to leave our home. Within a few days, he took ownership of our home back and installed his new girlfriend in it…She was in my home with my husband, my furniture, my friends, and sleeping in my bed, and even wearing some of the clothes I hadn’t taken with me. He even had her on my side of the bed in a bedroom that he left the way we had had it. Creepy. I can’t even begin to describe how worthless, used, discarded, dishonored, and completely devastated I felt. There really are just no words.
I do want to point out that I don’t actually blame Chef for all of this. I blame satan. It was a worthy attack, and it caused a lot of pain, grief, and devastation, not only in my life, and Chef’s, but it seemed to radiate like ripples in a pond out to our children, friends, families…even our pets. Meth causes men to feel very, very aroused sexually, and they do stupid, thoughtless things in their quest to fulfill these drug-induced sexual desires. And unfortunately for Chef, he had incapacitated his wife rather quickly in all of this with the porn. I couldn’t get him to not use porn when he was high, and he never wanted to even talk to me about any of that issue when he was sober. He was ashamed, and I knew that. I didn’t want him to be ashamed. I just wanted him to care about what this was doing to me mentally and emotionally, not to mention physically. To this day, we still haven’t been able to address this subject because his rage is triggered by the mere mention of the word “porn” from my lips. I found that when I really needed my best friend the most, he was not only unavailable, but he seemingly cared about those creepy pictures and videos more than his own real-life wife. I found myself thrown back to the painful times I was being molested, and I felt helpless and used all over again. I felt dirty again, and it would take Jesus to calm down that depression and anxiety to the point I was able to go on. I don’t know how many times throughout this last year that I didn’t consider taking a bottle of pills and being finished with this whole sordid life. I didn’t want to live knowing that the one I loved the most and had given my heart to had not felt the same way about me. I wanted the fairy tale, but as I’ve learned — fairy tales aren’t real. Especially in marriages. Marriages are a lot of hard work, and no matter what, you have no guarantee of a happy ending. How can you? You only really have any control of just one half of it!!
In the ensuing months, I lost 28 pounds, and at this moment right now, I’ve lost another 18. My stomach was in a constant state of pain, and as my whole world began to crumble, I started to become desperate for escapes. I prayed and prayed, wrote blogs, wrote in my journals, and then turned to more extreme hiding measures. Vodka. Ambien. I even used the drug with him a couple of times, thinking that maybe it would help us connect, but all it ever did was make everything so much worse. I would begin to panic even more about what was happening in our lives, and he would become enraged that I was “ruining his buzz”. And then after delivering the most hateful insults and calling me names, he would want to have sex. Unlike what seems like everyone else who has experienced this drug, I don’t get sexual side effects from anything, so he was pretty disappointed I wasn’t going to get all freaky for him. He actually said that to me!! It was insanity. No sane person would do that. And even the times I was high, it didn’t change my perceptions or memory that I can tell. When Chef was on meth, he was shockingly callous, cold, selfish, and evil. He scared me, frankly. He was so different from the sober Chef.
The Bandidos Motorcycle Club, which had been an important, but firmly placed, low priority in his life, seemed to suddenly be his god. He would ramble on for hours about how people respected him, were afraid of him, because of that patch on his back. He began moving his things slowly out of our bedroom into the spare bedroom, and over a period of time, he’d created this creepy shrine to all things Bandido. There were no pictures of his family in that room. The whole room was devoted to Chef and his motorcycle club, and lock boxes and secrets. I felt unwelcome in there anymore, and yet I couldn’t make him understand that all of this was so wrong. He’d say I was just losing my mind, but in actuality, I was just losing my faith in him.
For months, still foolishly thinking I could handle this, I told no one what was going on. I was embarrassed for and protective of Chef. I didn’t want to have his reputation tarnished when he finally was able to conquer this. But as my emotional and mental well-being disintegrated, I started to reach out in desperation to a few people. And it opened the flood-gates. Chef seemed dead, and I was being haunted by this meth addict that never slept, never ate, rambled about his greatness for being in a motorcycle club, lied constantly, kept bringing in piles of junk and “working” on projects that never made any sense to me, disappeared, cheated, and did all of this with a sneer of hatred on his face. Where had my sweetheart gone? He had died, but I had no body to bury.
The night I figured out he was on meth, I knew God was telling me to get my things and walk away. “You do not want to see this. Chef and I are going to go through something together.” But, in my devotion to my real gods, Chef and Love, I couldn’t make myself go, and I regret that decision with all of my heart. I was never once able to help my friend and husband. I tried cutting off the money for it; he changed his direct deposit. I tried going to the motorcycle club for help. That was a complete joke. I went to his close friends, but by the time I’d done this, he really had none left. I threatened dealers, enablers. In the end, I couldn’t save him; he simply didn’t want to be saved. And all those actions were perceived by the Meth-ed Chef as retaliatory moves on my part because I was “mad” at him. He didn’t want the help, and I was crossing him. But I figured if I could dry up the supply, he’d sober up and then understand. I just wasn’t able to stop the flow, and now he felt like I was actively trying to thwart him for no good reason. It was insane.
All that I was able to accomplish is that I placed myself in so much heartache, grief, pain, misery, it shadowed every good memory I had of him. Everything seems tainted and unsure now. Were any of his words ever true? I found a card he’d written T just a little over a month ago that calls her his soul mate, lover, and companion and that he loved her and would be with her to the end. And yet, at that same time, he was desperately trying to make me agree that once he was able to gently get T out on her own, I would come home to him and we would resume our marriage. I have the love letters he has written me in just the last couple of weeks, and they seem very much like the one he wrote her. What could possibly be going through his mind?
Confusion, tears, distrust, and this intense sadness that is just under the surface are my constant companions now. I risked becoming an addict again, compromised my morals, and then when the death knoll was wrung by Chef putting another woman in my spot, I lashed out in pain at him and her, utterly wishing that I could just die before I turned into one of those horrible, bitter, angry kind of women that seems to radiate their misery to anyone that happens to come near them. God, just shoot me. I don’t want to do this anymore.
Each step of the way since the day I had to put real, physical distance between us, I’ve been on this roller-coaster of emotions. At first, I couldn’t stop crying, and the pain and grief of this betrayal manifested itself in a physically painful ache in my stomach. I would radiate between wanting him back and hating his very guts. Yes. I know we aren’t supposed to hate, but I think I did hate him sometimes. Through all of this, this Meth-ed Chef would not, and still will not really talk to me at all about how all of this came to be. His over-worked, sleep deprived mind has worked out this ridiculous, easily proven incorrect version of the story that makes him a little bit guilty, but not much, and I’m just a lunatic that over analyzes everything to the point of nausea. He remembers clearly the lashing out I did in response to some of his actions and words after I found out about his affair and the scummy act of moving her into our home, but he either can’t or won’t actually remember his actions that prompted that response. The apologies, when they eventually do come, are delivered in a short, angry way most of the time, and they almost always include an ultimatum that we won’t be discussing this stuff again with some references to what I should be apologizing to him about.
And yet, to this very day, meth continues to flow through his life. For just a little while, he seemed back on the path of sobriety, and I was beginning to see a little of the real Chef coming back. But it was very evident to me today…Chef can’t kick his addiction alone, and he is just too prideful to get any help. His girlfriend, T, left him a few days ago because he disappeared on her too…twice. I don’t know how many times I layed in my bed hoping she’d one day feel exactly what I was feeling then. But when it actually happened, I was surprised at how sad I was for her, too. Those long, frightening nights I would wait for him, clearly knowing that he probably wouldn’t come home at all would run through my head, and I was ashamed I had wished it on someone else. I’ve had to deal with some crappy stuff about myself, and in a way, I was angry at Chef for that too.
For a bit, I thought with all of my heart that maybe God was moving T out of the picture, and that I would be able to go home and work on my marriage with the newly sobered Chef, but I see now that I was wrong. I will not ever live with a meth addict that isn’t in recovery again, and that includes Chef. I don’t ponder whether I will ever be his wife again anymore. As emotions have become more steady and manageable, I’m able to make more decisions with my head …And without so much pressure from my heart. I’ve been spending time with Chef, but when he gets crazy, or mean, or lashes out, I’m able to get away from the situation. And each day, I let a little more of the hope and love go. It is easier and easier to picture a life without him. And thinking about that makes me sad all over again. I never thought I would ever walk away from him. But that’s what I’m doing more and more each day.
I’ve learned a lot about myself – good and bad. I can now see that I never really needed Chef to take care of me. I am able to make it on my own, and probably could have all along. I had made my husband my god, and he simply wasn’t up to the task. No one is. I have learned that I need to trust God. I’ve always known He loves me, but yet, I trusted in myself and my ability to fix problems, including Chef’s spirituality..or lack thereof. I learned that I can be just as mean and hateful as any other person on this earth when I’m hurt, and I’ve said and done things I wished I hadn’t. I’ve learned that while I’ve had to bury the dead dreams with the beloved husband I’d shared them with, new dreams will begin to take their places. I’ve learned to smile again, though it is a different one now. I’m not naive anymore, and I’ve accepted that I’m going to be a little different now. You can’t unlearn what you already know. And I know now, marital love was never supposed to be elevated to a god.
I’m finally being able to feel the forgiveness I’ve been trying to force myself to give. It isn’t constant, but it shows up more and more each day. I’m able to be sad for Chef and pray for mercy for him when and if he ever truly comes to the understanding of how much satan was able to steal from him. The crushing shame and guilt would kill me, and I truly don’t want him to feel one iota more than is necessary. I feel forgiveness and compassion for T also, because she has taken up my place in that losing, degrading, merciless war, and no woman on earth is a match for Meth-Mania. The unsuspecting girl only found out yesterday what was making him act like a lunatic all those times. She’s woefully ill-equipped. And my poor, haunted Chef is alone now in that house with piles of junk he is feverishly working on, all evidence of a family gone from it, with utilities on the brink of disconnect because he can’t seem to get a job. He’s scared, and I’m frightened for him. But this time, I’m not coming to the rescue. Only God is going to be able to fix Chef, and I’ve learned that lesson painfully well.
He is thin, gaunt, ill-looking, depressed, and always in a general panic about money and bills. Add to all of this the fact that he still has to talk about what his actions are doing to not only a completely devastated, disillusioned wife, but now a hurt girlfriend too. It is all falling down around him, and I can’t help but cry for him.
In other words, he basically is living in hell now. I so desperately want God to reach down and give him comfort, heal him, and give him hope. But I have learned my lesson well — I can’t save him. Only God can, and only if Chef wants Him to. But while Meth is pulling the strings, Chef won’t even notice his ship is taking on water.
I don’t write any of this to paint Chef as some horrible, evil husband and myself as the victim that needs pity. I write this because if one person reads this and decides they’d better do something drastic about a spouses’ sudden interest in meth, even if it is to walk away early enough to not have to suffer, than it was worth it. Meth is a deal breaker. It can and will steal everything that gives any joy right out of your life — your reputation, self-respect, self-esteem, family, friends, jobs, hobbies…all of it will slide away in its presence, leaving you completely and utterly alone in this world. I just hope Someone will answer his cry.
Update: Please read The Devil Made Him Do It in conjunction with this article. Hindsight has given me a different perspective.
- Editorial: Ravages of meth linger after an addict moves on (vcstar.com)
- Meth in the KC Metro is on the rise (kshb.com)
- Could meth be in your house? (newsnet5.com)
- ‘Breaking Bad’ star: I learned how to cook meth (theclicker.today.com)
- EDITORIAL: The negative side of meth goes far beyond the users (courierpress.com)