National Suicide Prevention:
 Dial 988  •

Not Quite Picture Perfect

Some would have described my life as picture perfect. Successful husband, two small healthy kids, beautiful home.

Then that Monday he came home and dropped the bombshell. A state board investigator came to his office today and he would be leaving to go for a three day evaluation for prescription drug abuse.  How had that happened? How could I have been completely oblivious to drug abuse? Why had I not seen any symptoms or signs? Yes, he had been taking naps every evening. Yes, he had not been able to do small tasks around the house. But drug abuse? We had a few days to prepare for him to go; figure out what I would tell his family after he left, have a chance to cancel patients, what I would tell his staff.  How in the world would I handle all of this when he just left? Disappeared.

I guess that was the bottom for me. That three day evaluation became a month stay. The staff handled the office with few problems and I quickly found, with the help of a local dentist/friend, a retired dentist to come and check hygiene and at least help meet some of the overhead. The staff didn’t ask many questions probably because they knew that something was very wrong. Money was an issue because we were a relatively young practice with significant debt that had to be managed.  I was determined to meet payroll and keep our staff if I could find a way to do that.  I was fortunate that a relative offered a loan and still didn’t ask many questions. The kids were too young to notice that Daddy was gone. I guess those evening naps made him seem gone to them anyway. Every time I went out in public, I was sure that everyone I saw knew that there was something wrong, so I tended to just stay home.

It still amazes me how people just accept what you tell them and ask very few questions, especially when you have a vague answer ready for the bold ones. It also amazes me how quickly a month passes. He returned from treatment and went back to work and we began to dig out of the financial hole. His time away from the office was occupied by AA/NA meetings and I guess I was glad for that so that I could adjust to him being home and begin to deal with my feelings of anger at the whole situation. Everyone has to deal with issues their own way. Having two small kids to handle, I chose to skip the Al-Anon meetings, but I learned a tremendous amount about the disease of addiction through my husband.

The CDP program was not as organized back then and we did not have the annual meetings which included spouses, but I was dedicated to supporting my husband in doing whatever was necessary for his continued health and sobriety. I don’t remember when the anger disappeared, but it did. The debt was retired. The practice went on successfully. Life returned to normal, but that normal was very different. My husband was obviously healthy and happy to be healthy. Yes, he had to jump through many hoops that I didn’t understand at the time, but now I see the positive results. The end result is absolutely worth it.