Addiction: A Cancer in the Home
This is a poignant letter from a hurt and hurting wife, followed by some words of wisdom by the Guard, directed at her husband.
When addiction strikes our home, there's a tendency to take blame on the part of the spouses of addicts. Please see 6 Impossible Things to Believe Before Breakfast, debunking this misconception.
"Neiroyair" sent an email to GYE as follows:
My wife sent me an email this morning (maybe it could be of service to others):
My dear husband,
I know that we both spend a lot of time on the family, taking care of the kids. But we don't spend time just us, nurturing our relationship. I wish we could have a set time that we spend together, no phones. We do a lot of stuff together, but I personally do not feel emotionally connected right now. I don't know how you feel, but my guess is the same. You don't have to say anything for me to see that you are struggling. I know summer is not easy for you, with parnasa challenges and the lack of tznius out there. I know it's not easy for you, and I'm sorry if I am causing your difficulties by not helping you feel fulfilled. I don't know if you're still active on Guardyoureyes or not, or if your phone is filtered, or if there is anything you are doing to help yourself so that you don't have to struggle by yourself. But I know that the issue is there. I know from the way you use your phone and don't want me looking at it. I know from the way you can't look me in the face. I know you are hurting, and I'm sorry.
And I know that I am not doing a good job parenting right now, and that you want me to listen to parenting shiurim. Again, you don't have to say anything; I know myself and I can feel your disapproval a lot lately. I am trying and doing a lot of soul searching lately trying to figure out why I'm so lost and floundering, unable to keep myself over the surface. I think most of my unhappiness is tied into yours, but I have to work on myself to not let my happiness depend on anything else. It's not fair to you or the kids when I am upset and in a bad mood, no matter what the cause is. I'm sorry. I don't know what else to say.
I wish we could have this discussion in person and talk face to face, but we seem to have a hard time talking that way. So if you'd rather write me what you're thinking, if it's easier to get it out on paper than through talking, I am listening. I want to hear what you have to say.
GYE responds to "Neiroyair" regarding his wife's email to him:
I feel really bad for your wife. Especially that she feels at fault. And even more so, if it's true that you use your phone for inappropriate things and don't want her looking at it.
She sounds like a very special woman. It is so TRAGIC that we do this to our wives with our addiction. We must do EVERYTHING in our power to break free of this! Even if it means joining a live SA group in your area. Why must our wives and children suffer?
Yes, she feels that you are not emotionally "there" for her. And what is the cause of that if not this insidious addiction?? Of course she can't be a good mother when she is unhappy and unfulfilled, as she wrote: "I think most of my unhappiness is tied into yours." That is the nature of a woman. If she feels an emotional disconnect from her husband, she will feel unhappy and unable to be a good mother. So your marriage and your children's lives are at stake here.
So what more can you do to break free of this? What can you do to save your marriage and children before they are damaged emotionally beyond help?
May Hashem give you strength to do EVERYTHING it takes to save yourself from this spiritual cancer invading your life. Not just your life, but your home.
Wow! Very, very, very well said! Hashem should give us koach and thank you for your caring, yet pointed words!