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Constant Battle, Constant Hope

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Constant Battle, Constant Hope

Hello, my name is Elizabeth. I am 23 years old and have been madly in love with my husband of a year and a half, Stephen, since I was fifteen. When we met, Stephen was sixteen and ?in active addiction to cocaine and fentanyl, but as we got to know one another I was able to see beyond the darkness of his dependence to the person he is underneath.

My husband is a smart and extremely unique individual, unbelievably gentle, and he has this inexplicable charisma that just makes people open up to him almost immediately.

As time went by he added heroin to the mix, and when he uses he becomes almost not himself, a completely different person. In that state of mind he is capable of saying and doing things that are so hurtful, so unbelievably full of misplaced hate, that I have actually been unable to breath to the point of passing out because of the pain his words and actions have caused me. It is because I grew up around several addicts, most of who-by the grace of God-have been in recovery for some time, that I was able to cope with what his addiction meant for our future and remember that the man I loved was always there, just sometimes hidden by his personal demons.

Throughout the course of our relationship we have had so many wonderful and beautiful times, but we have had some dark times that a lot of couples would not be able to relate to. Addiction does that to you, even when it's not yours. What happens to him happens to me because I love him. Stephen has been into and out of recovery several times. He does so well while in treatment, but in the past he has struggled with follow-through which has always led to relapse.

After his last relapse he decided to try to maintain his using instead of going back into a treatment center by going to a local methadone clinic, but recently he decided that maintaining is not the answer and has a bed waiting for him in a six month program that he has been to before, but did not complete. I have faith that this time he will. Through everything he has struggled with, I have been beside him and it has taken quite a while for me to learn my boundaries and to accept that I cannot rescue him from this. Addiction is a very big monster, and it places very big obstacles in the lives of all it touches, but my family and I have hope for what life will bring us, and the faith and love I have for Stephen is far bigger than anything we have ever faced. He is a strong person, and he is no less the person I fell in love with than he is now.

His addiction has taken much from me, but it has led to some of the most wonderful friendships I've ever had, and because of it I have learned to face my own demons and address my own faults of character. I am a different person because of my loved one's addiction and I choose to make that a good thing. I have attended support groups, receiving encouragement in such magnitude that I have been in absolute awe, gone to recovery-oriented church services that touched me deeply, heard stories of strength that brought me to tears and have had the priveledge of knowing the people who told those stories.

It's a constant battle, filled with guilt and shame and heartbreak, and it will never go away completely from our lives, but he is not giving up and neither am I. Thank you for hearing my story.

This Story of Hope was created in celebration of recovery and to let families know that there are pathways to hope and healing. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families who are struggling with their son or daughter's substance use. Please consider sharing this page so that families know where to turn to for help, and that there is always hope.

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