Someone please say you've been through this too...

I'm currently separated from my ADHD husband. 

When we met, he was a brilliant, fast paced thinker in a high-powered corporate job doing tech support. He loved it. I loved him. He was CLEARLY ADHD, but when I asked him about it, he said it had never affected his life, so he didn't ever look into a diagnosis. Our courtship was exactly what would be expected with an ADHD/planner couple. It was fabulous.

About six months after we got married, he saw a friend with ADHD go through loss of health insurance, and subsequently his Adderall. The resurgence of this friend's ADHD symptoms (he also works with my husband) led my husband to think that he was in exactly the same frame of mind, only he had never been medicated. 

Instead of pursuing a diagnosis with a doctor, he immediately contacted a drug dealer, and started spending $2000-$3000 (almost all of our money) a month on whatever form of ADHD meds he could get his hands on. He felt that he knew everything about medicating, having researched it online, and it was a nightmare rollercoaster that depended entirely on his impulse control and how much money he could siphon out of our paycheck before I got the bills paid. I didn't know what was going on - he never told me - I actually thought it was an affair. But, a relative of mine suggested drug use, so I packed up the kids and took off one morning before he knew what was going on. I called his doctor and told them I suspected drug abuse, and my husband went in for a drug dependency evaluation. I never found out the results - he assured me it was all fine, but also told his doctor not to speak to me anymore. For a month he refused to speak directly about what was happening, but at my urging, he got a formal diagnosis and I moved myself and the kids back in.

His doctor switched him from dose to dose to dose, changing his regimen every two weeks or so. This went on for 3 months before I realized what was happening - he was getting a 60 day scrip for the maximum dose allowed by our insurance, and he was running out of, or "losing" a bottle of Adderall at a rate that meant he was taking anywhere from 100-200 mg of Adderall a day. When I tried to talk to his doctor about it, my husband reacted with rage. I contacted my parents, and 3 weeks later we left.

Now I'm filing for separation to protect myself and my boys financially and physically. My husband's family and friends have effectively disowned him - he has gotten help packing our old apartment into storage, and a friend got him a rental car. He is arriving in my hometown tomorrow with a job offer, but nowhere to live and no actual form of transportation.

I have no idea what to do from here.

 

 

NotAnIdiot's picture

My experience is that of your

My experience is that of your husband, not you.  But I hope this helps nonetheless.  It is apparent that he has not yet recognized with sufficient clarity the extent to which his ADHD and satellite issues (i.e., drug abuse) are ruining his life.  You must wait for this recognition, because without it he will never seek treatment.  In the meantime you are wise to separate yourself from him - perhaps this will prompt some self-examination on his part.  I know that it did in my case (whether my marriage will survive is yet to be determined).  Your husband will likely be  somewhat relieved that you and your expectations are no longer contributing to his misery (sorry, but that's how such a man feels in the absence of aforementioned recognition), and he will be relieved that he is not causing you and the children so much pain on a regular basis.  Remember: it is never what is seems with an ADHD husband.  In my case, I never stopped loving and caring for my wife and children.  But before my moment of clarity on the nature of my affliction, I had no idea they didn't know this, and I had no idea how to change my behavior so as to communicate it to them with my actions. It might be helpful to think of his ADHD as you would something like autism.  How would you respond to your husband and his antics if they were due to autism, or something like Asbergers?  Support him if he seeks help on his own, and is evidently serious about it; divorce or annulment if he won't or can't.  You have no other option I am afraid.

Thank you for the insight and

Thank you for the insight and the understanding. What you've said makes sense, and offers insights I had not seen before.

I am glad you came to recognize what was happening in your own life. I hope my husband can find the same clarity and recognition. It is a comfort to hear someone who has been there and can express what my husband is trying to hard to say.

 

Thank you.

I'm So Exhausted's picture

A lot of insight in this post

Hello NotAnIdiot,

 1.  Your husband will likely be  somewhat relieved that you and your expectations are no longer contributing to his misery (sorry, but that's how such a man feels in the absence of aforementioned recognition)

I can see that my own expectations/hopes/dreams have held me tied to my marriage for 29 years.  I am working on backing-off and seeing if there is a basis for any of my dreams - or if it was a fantasy.  

2.  he will be relieved that he is not causing you and the children so much pain on a regular basis. 

I can understand this, as early this year, my ADHD spouse wanted to leave - so he wouldn't  hurt me anymore. A saw a spark of insight on his part.  Now I am realizing I have to let him go if that is what he wants.   

3.  Remember: it is never what is seems with an ADHD husband.  In my case, I never stopped loving and caring for my wife and children.  But before my moment of clarity on the nature of my affliction, I had no idea they didn't know this, and I had no idea how to change my behavior so as to communicate it to them with my actions.

I sorta/kinda understand this. My spouse is so defensive, all he can accept is positive praise.  He hears everything else from everyone as criticism - which he must ward off with everything he has got. The common denominator in the loss of his relationships is him.  He sees it as the whole world has gone mad - except for him. . . . . . . .  

4.  It might be helpful to think of his ADHD as you would something like autism.  How would you respond to your husband and his antics if they were due to autism, or something like Asbergers?  Support him if he seeks help on his own, and is evidently serious about it; divorce or annulment if he won't or can't.  You have no other option I am afraid.

I understand this.  I have always used the analogy of Color Blindness.  Color blindness cannot be fixed.  So a person can either make some definite strategy in buying only one color socks, or accept some assistance in organizing his sock drawer.  Or, be truly non-affected by wearing mix-matched socks.

In the early years of our marriage, my spouse willingly stood by my side and was very supportive in my counseling to overcome growing=up in an alcoholic home, and battling the eating disorders that later developed.  He was a wonderful rescuer.  Now 20 odd years later, I was even willing to go to counseling with him inside his paradigm of still having to help his wife.  Did no good.  He would sit with his arms crossed, in a defensive posture.  "It's her.  Our problems are all her."

I am still mourning the fact that he is hell-bent on a path of destruction.  I think I am just about ready to be willing to just let him go. . . . .along with our marriage.     

courage

I just want to say that I think the way that you handled this was amazing, and it could not have been easy. You put your children and family's welfare first, which is admirable. It takes courage to try to help someone who is resistant to help. I am sorry that your husband is going through this. It must be heartbreaking. I think you have taken very smart and reasonable steps demonstrating "tough love." Unfortunately, if your spouse is going to continue down this path, you are right that it is vital that you legally protect your finances and security. 

Have you tried al-anon or a similar organization or help? They can be great at supporting you and highlighting what is in your control and what isn't. Sooner or later your husband may hit rock bottom or a doctor will figure out what he is doing, and this may force him to deal with his substance abuse issues. My very best wishes to you and my hopes that your husband will get the help he needs soon. Take care of yourself. 

I am trying to reach out to

I am trying to reach out to nar-anon right now, but I am having trouble getting myself to the meetings without babies in tow (7:30 is bathtime), and I can't find a phone number.

 

I think I will have to let him do it himself. Continuing to "care" for him after so many truly frightening things have happened only contributes to the illusion that anything about this situation is acceptable.

Save your babies's futures

Find that phone number.  Right now. Write it down somewhere you will remember.  Call it at a time when you have the urge/time/frustration motivation.  Babies don't need a bath every night.  Get yourself there.  People there will be comforting, helpful and non-judgmental.  Walk through that door.  Walk through even if it with tears in your eyes.  Someone there will be able to talk to you.  Call Al-anon also.  It is for when another person's bad habits (drinking/drugs/whatever) have become a family problem. If you have babies, you are probably tired and vulnerable.  Find a friend to exchange babysitting.  Help each other out.

When you call, they may know of some way to help you...another meeting or a person who might talk to you. Someone who has been through exactly what you are going through and may know of more resources.   Make that call.

one day

k, you can do this. As they say, take one day at a time. Even making it to one meeting will be great. How strong you are, that you know that you cannot live with or support his destructive behavior, no matter how much you may love him. Addiction is the most selfish disease there is. He is not himself right now. Focus on yourself and your children. One step at a time. Hang in there. I am sending you my best wishes and support. 

I didn't get to nar-anon, but

I didn't get to nar-anon, but my husband did. It scared him to death. He was a total wreck afterwards. He went back to his apartment and straight to bed.

 

One amazingly good thing came of it - for the first time, ever, he postulated that when he was using adderall, that he may have acted off, and probably perceived things differently from his own point of view - thinking he was 100% awesome and everyone was off, when in fact he was acting scary and tweaky, and we were all walking on eggshells. He even suggested that my reports of his extreme anger may have been accurate, not an exaggeration I created to enhance drama and win sympathy to my side (his usual argument when I talked about his rollercoaster emotions).

 

I don't want to go invade his nar-anon with stories of how much I'm suffering, but I found an al-anon, which I found out I CAN go to for support as a spouse of a drug user. I am going to try to get to a meeting this week, and at least listen so I know I'm not the only one. I'm also a bit afraid that if I go to a Nar-Anon meeting, what I learn may drive me farther away from him, and disrupt what little progress we've made.

Yes

Go.  Try it.  Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself and your children  Show them how strong you are by getting support, learning truth and facing reality.  It will be easier for you if you go than if you don't.  Staying and doing nothing will keep you stuck. His new acceptance of his condition may wax and wane.  You will have someone to talk to when you feel crazy by his words and actions.  It takes time.  Give yourself this gift of people and support. They may know of other meetings that are not publicly advertised.  It is a place to ask questions.  

Update

My husband has settled into a sublet room in a decent house - at least the roommates are people who do not (openly? not sure yet) use drugs or alcohol excessively. He has changed jobs, to something which is MUCH better suited to someone with ADHD, and for the whole 1 day he's been there, he is optimistic. 

 

He had flushed his adderall a few days ago in a fit of "I want to get better" and he is, so far, sticking with it. He won't be able to get any more prescribed to him in his new city - our old insurance doesn't even have a network here, so seeing a doctor would be prohibitively expensive until new insurance kicks in.

 

He went to his first nar-anon meeting, and it utterly exhausted him. He called me, and the essence of what he conveyed is that the stories both frightened him and let him know how blessed he is to have had such a "light" encounter with addiction (comparatively). The adderall withdrawal is killing him, and in conjunction with his ADHD resurfacing in full force, he is utterly exhausted. 

 

I've "given him permission" (ie encouraged) him to do nothing but work, eat, sleep, and go to nar anon meetings for at least three months before he considers adding any responsibilities to his schedule. I can deal with the ADHD forever, but the addiction, I can't do another round of this chaos. I just want him to get better. I want the man I married to come back. 

 

In the meantime, I've almost finished drafting the separation papers, because, realistically (pessimistically?) I feel like history demands that I prepare for the worse and pray for the best. I'll cover both bases and know that if he recovers, he will think that my precautions were a good thing, because they protect me and the kids from a part of himself that even he wants to get rid of.