What I Want You to Know is a series of
reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their
personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the
unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to
this series,
click here. Today’s guest posts is by MMS.

I want you to know my husband did not set out to become an addict. He
thought he was doing the right thing. He was experiencing severe knee
pain, so he went to his primary care doctor. That doctor referred him
to the orthopedic specialist. The specialist diagnosed him with severe
osteoarthritis and began a regime of pain medication. I can remember
specifically pointing out my husband’s alcoholism to the Doctor. Yes,
my husband had been sober for many years, long before I met him, but it
still nagged at the back of my mind. The Doctor assured me the
medications were not habit forming or addictive. These medications were
Oxycodone and Tramadol. If I only knew then, what I know now.
Initially, my husband took the prescriptions as prescribed and it went
well. He was able to interact with his children again and not suffer
constant pain. Over time, his tolerance to the pills grew and he needed
more and more to find the same relief.

If I am being truly candid, he
had grown addicted to the mood altering components and less to the pain
relief. I just did not understand that then. I appeased the questions
in my mind by constantly reminding myself he was taking a prescribed
drug. The Doctor gave him this drug, surely it is just fine. I
covered up for him when he fell asleep at church and family events. He
was working hard, he was up late, etc. When he got into a minor
accident in our car, and I knew in my heart the real reason, I forced
myself to believe his story about looking for his sunglasses and running
off the road.

I had become his enabler.

 I would try to talk to him,
but I could not get through the fog in his head. About this time, the
laws in our state changed drastically regarding the amount of pain pills
doctors could prescribe to patients. All of the sudden, my husband’s
“supply” was cut in half. He couldn’t deal. Really, there is no other
way to put it. He went out and drank. Like a lot. He came home and I
smelled the alcohol on his breath. My children had never seen him
drink, much less completely wasted, so I told him I was taking the
children to a movie while he sobered up. This sent him into a rage. I
told him I was leaving. He tried to stop me.

He put his hands on me.

Our 12 year old son jumped in to defend me. Our daughter called 911.
To make a long story short, my husband was arrested and spent 30 days in
county jail. This gentle man. A man with absolutely no criminal
history. A man who rarely raised his voice and never disciplined our
children harshly. I compare it to his evil twin coming in our home and
acting in a manner I had never witnessed.

I owe a huge debt of
gratitude to the medical staff in the jail. They were able to taper my
husband off the medication and offer alternatives that were not based on opiate medications. Over the past year, we have worked very hard to work through the
addiction issues and heal our family. It has been a long, hard road,
but let me encourage anyone going through a similar situation, there is
hope and light at the end of the tunnel.

 I want you to know you are the
best advocate for your family when it comes to medical concerns. Seek
second opinions, research, be very careful if you are prescribed a
medication and you have addiction issues. If something doesn’t feel
right, question. I have the very highest respect for doctors and
medical professionals, but it is up to the patient to share concerns and
seek answers.

Be proactive and vocal. Not doing so can lead to this.
I never want to see you walk through this pain.