My current guest is Antonia Ragozzino , author of Taking Out The Trash, a fictional tale based on Antonia’s journey after divorce. Antonia is thirty-nine years old now and since the age of twenty-four she’s been married twice and divorced twice. Both her husbands became drug users. Here’s Antonia:
I had lived such a sheltered life, I had never even seen drugs before. So I was clueless for two years that he was even doing anything, but I kept finding money missing and lying and I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something just wasn’t right and then when it all came out, I was very overwhelmed, I couldn’t handle it, but I also knew it was my duty to stay, that he was sick. So for two more years we had marriage counseling, I got him into drug counseling and he just didn’t want to stop. Then I found a girlfriend and I said,
“I’m exhausted, I’m sitting here trying to help you get well and now you have a girlfriend?”
“I don’t want to be married to you anymore,”
and he left me Thanksgiving weekend.
I was surprised when he left, I was very surprised. For a long time I struggled with the fact that and it took me he chose the drugs over me, that he chose that life over me.
My second husband also turned out to have a drug problem. When I met him he was so wonderful. When I told him about my divorce he said,
“I can’t believe that happened to you and if I was married to you I’d put you on a pedestal”
I do truly believe he was not doing drugs when we were dating because I could have immediately seen the switch in him. He was a very hard worker, he was very responsible, he was very well-liked.
He ended up getting involved with the wrong…you have to think about it, at thirty years old, we’re still young. I thought I was a full adult at thirty-one. We didn’t have kids, I was working and getting my Masters, and he joined this softball team. Turns out this group of men was doing cocaine and one of the wives contacted me and said,
“I don’t like this, they’re doing drugs after the games. So is your husband.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me. I can’t do this again.”
I confronted him and he denied it. Then I started paying attention and I said,
“You’re in trouble because I know so much about drugs, I can see right through you, you are on drugs.”
He spiraled downhill so quickly. Our credit, repossession of his car, he lost his job because he started not coming into work and everybody saw the downward spiral very quickly. I was on him more than I was the first time, because I’d been through it before. I asked him to stop but he said,
“I don’t want you, you’re not my mother. I don’t want anybody, I feel like I’m in prison.”
He didn’t want to get help and he left me too.
I wanted to know what was wrong with me. Why does everybody do drugs when they meet me? I was so buried in the dirt. People would walk up to me and I’d go “please don’t meet me, you’ll get a substance addiction.” I thought I was the plague. It was awful.
The Divorce Coach Says
I don’t have any firsthand experience with drugs but the standard advice is that you can’t work on any marital problems while there are active addiction issues. So if you know your spouse has an addiction problem and if your spouse won’t commit to treatment, then it’s time for you to ask how committed your spouse is to your relationship.
Antonia’s comment about their credit rating and the repossession of his car is a cautionary tale of the importance of being actively involved in joint finances. Yes, you can divide up who pays the bills and who manages the money but both of you should know the full picture. Antonia says in her first marriage there were red flags that something was going on but should couldn’t put her finger on it. That sounds similar to my recent guest Jen, who came to learn her husband was a pathological liar – she lost everything to his gambling debts. Afterwards you ask yourself how you missed the red flags … you missed them because you weren’t looking for them, because you wanted to believe in your spouse, because you wanted to believe in your marriage.
Coming face-to-face with drug addiction for the first time would be eye-opening and challenging. Encountering it for a second time, I can understand why Antonia started to wonder what was wrong with her. And what of the chances of getting married twice and having to deal with drug abuse in both marriages? What Antonia concluded was she was choosing the wrong men.
Photo credit: usag.yongsan