Friday, July 20, 2012

Should I leave or should I stay?

"I was thinking about leaving my husband, but after hearing your and your husband's stories I have decided to stay" said a woman after one of David's programs.  She was speaking about her abusive meth addicted husband.

What?  Really? That is the last thing I ever thought anyone would take away from David's programs.  Yet, I have heard it over and over again. "Bless your heart for staying with him" or "You are an example to all wives" or "My family keeps trying to get me to leave, but I know I have the right choice to stay now".

I want to be very clear about something - I wish I would have left.  I don't mean I wish I would have gotten a divorce.  I simply mean I wish I would have left until David cleaned up and changed.  I should have left.  I should have taken my children out of that situation and kept myself safe and them from living though hell of methamphetamine addiction and domestic abuse.

I am not a saint.  I was not a good mother.  I was not a loving wife.  I was not doing anyone any favors by staying - not David, not myself, and certainly not my children.

If anything, my staying hurt everyone.  Maybe David would have quit using earlier if I hadn't been there to enable him or, eventually, to be his using buddy.   My children definitely wouldn't have witnessed the horrific things no child should never have to see or here and live with for the rest of their lives.  I wouldn't carry around the traumatic memories that I have.  Time does heal, but scars always remain.

I stayed for my own selfish reasons.  It didn't seem that way at the time, but in hindsight that's what it was.  Because I loved him.  Because I didn't want to give up.  Because I didn't want to admit I made a mistake.  Because I felt needed.  Because it was just easier.  Because I was codependent.  Later, because I relied on him for my drugs.

If you are in an abusive relationship, PLEASE leave.  Get out anyway you can, especially if you have children.  It certainly won't be easy, but it's worth it.  Put your children first, yourself second, and your addict last.  You have to think of them and yourself first because they are dependent on your decision.  Your addict will never put what is best for your children or yourself first while they are using.  They are incapable.  I would give anything if I could go back and take my own advice. 

Leaving does not mean giving up for eternity, getting a divorce, or that you have to quit loving your addict.  You can leave, still have hope and love from afar while keeping yourself, and children if you have any, safe.  You will have a chance for a normal life and your addict will most likely have a greater chance of recovery without you as an enabler. 

I've spoken with David about the comments I've heard after his program.  He was as shocked as me.  Now that he is clean he also wished I would have left.  He makes a special point in his program now to tell the audience that one of the things he is most ashamed about is the way he treated me and that he wishes I would have left him.  Chances are, once your addict gets clean, they will feel the same way. 

Please don't try to be a martyr.  Save yourself.  Save your children.