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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Dear Trying’

Road To Recovery

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Dear Brocha,

Thank you so much for your column and for shining light on this matter.

Addiction has been gnawing at the souls of our community for a long time. Yet, it still remains a disease that is swept under the table.

At first, when I found out that my wife of 21 years was addicted to pain killers I was relieved!

She has been suffering mood swings the likes of which I had never seen before, since our three-year-old son passed away about six years ago.

Soon after he was niftar, my wife fell into a deep depression. She went to doctors who prescribed painkillers to help her cope with his death. Apparently, once she was hooked my wife began taking cocktails of medications without my knowledge. As a result, our lives turned from tragic to chaotic.

We went from grief counselors to marital therapy. However, my wife’s behavior kept getting more erratic. She went from being a warm, caring & loving mother to a paranoid, angry & depressed person whom none of us recognized.

One day, our twelve-year-old daughter came home and found my wife passed out on the floor.

She called Hatzolah, and it was at the hospital that I was made aware of my wife’s addiction.

My wife was frightened that she had a seizure and agreed to go to a rehab to get proper treatment. I was told that her having been found passed out on the floor by our daughter was her rock bottom.

My wife is presently at an out-of-state rehab where the goals are to wean her off the drugs, and then teach her proper coping skills.

The last couple of weeks have been tough on all of us.

My children are ashamed that their mother is a drug addict – and miss her and how she used to be.

I am having a tough time coping with the guilt of not having realized how much she was hurting, and what was truly happening to my family.

Evidently, my drug of choice was to throw myself deeper into my work.

I am beginning to see that I was numbing myself in that way, and wasn’t there for my wife and children when they needed me most.

I have been attending Al-Anon meetings and placed our children into therapy. We are all trying to heal. Yet, I see it’s a slow painful process. The facility my wife is in will be hosting a “family program” next weekend. Thus far, I have already attended two family Sundays by myself and have found them to be highly informative and helpful. My wife looks better each time I see her. Her spunk for life seems to be coming back and I am really hopeful that we have just received a new lease on life! For this upcoming family weekend, my wife’s counselor wants me to bring our children.

Truth be told, ever since my daughter found my wife on the floor, she does not want to have anything to do with her. When my wife was in the hospital she didn’t want to visit, and is refusing to come along for the weekend visitation. When I try talking with her about it, she tells me that her brother’s death affected everyone in the family, but only her mother chose to be a “druggie.” I don’t know what to do? Do I force my daughter to visit her mother? I feel that if she would see for herself how hard her mother is working on her recovery, and how much better she looks, she will be able to let go of some of her anger and resentment. Do I force her or try to trick her into coming?

Trying to keep my family together

Dear Trying,

I feel so sorry for your predicament. My heart goes out to you and your family.

I am also very grateful and impressed that you are so forgiving and understanding of your wife’s addiction.

Addiction is a disease and is treated in the medical community as one. However, socially has yet to accept it as such.

Although your daughter is still young in age, she was obviously forced to grow up very fast.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 8/24/07

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories by e-mail to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215.

To all women, men or children who feel that they are at the end of their ropes, please consider joining a support group, or forming one.

Anyone wishing to make a contribution to help agunot, please send your tax-deductible contribution to The Jewish Press Foundation.

Checks must be clearly specified to help agunot. Please make sure to include that information if that is the purpose of your contribution, because this is just one of the many worthwhile causes helped by this foundation.

* * * * * * * * * *

Dear Rachel,

Thank you for printing the letter from “Wishing it could have been different” (Chronicles 6-29). She was responding to my letter (Feeling Hopeless, Chronicles 5-4) and I thank her for her solidarity. I often ponder whether there are other women in such a predicament. I am in the midst of intense counseling with a sex therapist (our third). It is most painful. My husband doesn’t seem to absorb what he is being taught. He tries to do his homework but feels burdened by it, and most often any words of advice are forgotten within a week. If he is told to do and/or to document a specified gesture daily (to quote you, “a sporadic upswing”), he does so on one day of the week.

He recently suggested that we cancel counseling, for he fears admonition. I sense that he feels badly, but he expresses himself minimally and displays little ability in analyzing or discussing his emotions. There are no precipitating factors. In all other areas he is smart and successful and has many friends. He doesn’t have a need for or want intimacy. I am his assignment. And with this revelation, my hope withers.

At the present time, to me, the sex therapy is as if we’re teaching a man without hands to write. His emotional maturity is that of a child. He is content without intimacy and cannot be taught to need something he is comfortable doing without.

You write: “when you went for therapy, there was some slight improvement. This would indicate that ‘asexuality’ is a conditioning of the mind, as in ‘mind over matter’…” I take your words with hesitation and hope. Is the success a gray area? Am I being pessimistic or realistic by thinking that I cannot make my husband into something he is not?

The letter from “Wishing it could have been different” reaffirms my apprehension. There is little to no improvement, albeit he is aware of the severity of our situation. Although I’ve been reassured it isn’t me, I feel like a failure.

I want to add a closing remark. Last week, I met a friend I haven’t seen in a long while. With a tinge of envy, she commented on how wonderful my life is. Society, take heed: You truly never know what goes on in your friends’ or family members’ lives.

Thanking you for a most remarkable column,

(Still) feeling hopeless

Dear Still,

You wonder if there are other women in your predicament, and I suspect there are many. I can think of a couple of reasons for not hearing of them. For one, the privacy/embarrassment issue. No mystery there. For another, and this may surprise you, many of these couples end up settling into a laissez-faire lifestyle: while she may be missing the intimacy part, she is thankful and appreciative of his other qualities, does not take it personally, and has learned to “roll with the punches,” so to speak.

Frankly, considering your husband’s emotional makeup, he deserves some credit for going the therapy route, though with some griping.

Pessimism is not the way to go. One can be realistic and optimistic at the same time.

The following letter describes another (optimistic) sufferer’s strategy for coping.

Dear Rachel,

I was shocked to read the letters about “asexuality” within the community. My story will perhaps help others. There is no diagnosis, nor a clear medical or psychological reason why my husband stopped being interested. It was a shock at first. There were many feelings of resentment, anger, and other issues that emerged as a result.

I’ve come to a certain peace about my situation, but I also realized that if you want something in life, you have to go for it. I needed to overlook a lot of insensitivity, get past the bitterness and try to rebuild our relationship.

Here, in a nutshell, is what I’ve learned:

1. Any wife deserves to be touched, hugged and to feel “loved.” This is not a right that should be compromised. Often, I have to ask for this, but for now I must accept the fact that my husband’s feeling towards physical intimacy is robotic.

2. There is no “time line.” Many factors led me to make the decision to stay in my marriage. Over the years, my husband has become emotionally responsive to me. This only happened when the bitterness, shock and anger were dealt with, and, as I said, I came to a certain peace about the situation. I just keep inching forward, towards the goal of hopefully having a somewhat interested husband.

I still have to plan which evening we have relations, but I optimistically look towards having somewhat of a physical relationship one day. Everyone has his/her nisayon, but no woman should feel the need to give up the goal of her right in a marriage.

To men out there: A kind word, a show of appreciation, a touch on the shoulder, mean so much to your wives. Don’t give up being sensitive. Keep working on the emotional part, and hopefully the physical aspect of your relationship will change.

Good luck to all, and thanks for providing a forum for what’s “not supposed to be talked about…”

Still trying, with Hashem’s help

Dear Trying,

Kudos to you for staying the course despite the hardship involved. It must be said, however, that no two people are alike and what works for you may not necessarily work for another.

In the meanwhile, some readers have expressed an interest in connecting with the wives who first introduced this topic here (see Chronicles 5-4, 6-29). Regrettably, those letters were sent anonymously by regular mail, making it impossible for me to establish that link.

If these writers are amenable to being placed in touch with the interested parties, please feel free to make that request via e-mail to this column. Achdus is a potent force – sharing experiences can be therapeutic and work wonders.

Thank you both for caring and sharing.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/chronicles-of-crises/chronicles-of-crises-in-our-communities-74/2007/08/22/

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