I have so much on my mind. I can’t sleep. I had group therapy at the Domestic Violence Shelter tonight and my mind is on overdrive. This post will be a little jumpy, as far a chronological events go. I want to focus this time on DVP’s drug usage because I didn’t think he was a regular user when we first got together, but he got back into it once me moved to Big City, and I need to emphasize the impact it had on our relationship.
I mentioned that DVP was in the military and got kicked out. The first time I encountered him using drugs was while he was still serving Active Duty, but this was during the 30 days notice he had to move back home. I came into his dorm room to visit right after work, and I would come over without telling him, cause he knew I would just come right over. In fact, I think I was “living with him” at that time. Yeah, you’re not supposed to have civilian, unmarried, members of the opposite sex living in the dorms, but I was there regardless of the rules. He could have got into trouble if his roommate didn’t cover for him all the time. Anyone catch this as a warning sign? Good job. Many abusers adopt the attitude that they are above reproach, rules don’t apply to them, and they can do whatever they want.
He was smoking what is called, “Spice”, synthetic marijuana which is very bad for you (see article below). At the time, it wouldn’t show up in a drug test, so he would smoke it in his dorm room. I just thought it was so stupid to risk smoking that on base. I didn’t like it, but I justified his usage for getting kicked out and feeling bad about it, so I let it be.
When we moved to Big City, we started hanging out with his friends a lot, who were all heavy pot smokers. Some of them did heavier drugs like cocaine and ecstasy. He admitted to using those in his past, but the only drug I was aware of him using while we were together was marijuana and spice. Now, with the recent push for legalization of marijuana, a lot of people don’t see this as a big deal. Okay, maybe marijuana isn’t as bad as everyone thinks, maybe it is. I’m not here to judge, criticize, take sides, none of that. He abused this drug, abused our relationship and physically abused me while high so in the context of this post, I am against it. Don’t take offense.
A typical night at the beginning of our relationship would consist of dinner together, maybe some T.V., video games, something out on the town. We switched it up. Pretty normal stuff. But once we moved to Big City and started hanging out with his friends, it became all about getting high. One of his friends built a shack in his parents back yard. He was 26. And basically lived in this thing. I mean, it was kinda cool if you were in middle school, but at 26? The group of his friends always hung out in this shack in the summer, or in the garage in the winter. I hated it. We’d sit around watching stupid T.V. shows, while they passed a joint and snacked like they’d never heard of potato chips before. I wanted to be out doing things. I had just moved to Big City for crying out loud, and I wanted to see the city! But, he constantly put weed and his friends over me.
It got to the point where I just refused to go out with him. Instead of spending time with me, he’d just leave me at home (home was his mother’s house) and would be out until between two and four in the morning. He wouldn’t call to tell me when he’d be home and his phone would always be dead or turned off. I would wait up, worried sick. If I was ever out late, even if it was for work, he’d yell and threaten to make me quit my job or stop hanging out with certain friends, but it was okay if he did it.
Because of his drug usage, he was in and out of jobs. The longest job he held was six months. We were together for seven years. He talked and talked about wanting to be a police officer, and had every opportunity to have a good police officer job. It was practically handed to him because his father was a police officer and could help get him on. We were really struggling with money, and all he had to do is stop smoking. He made it 30 days, the time it takes to be clean, but a few days before the test, he smoked. Failed the test. Didn’t get the job. We desperately needed him to have that job. This joblessness and lack of support of their partner is a tactic that abusers use against their partners, even if they can come up with every excuse in the book. They are completely selfish.
Now I will jump ahead four or five years into our relationship and after we were married. After I went full time in the military, we moved to another state but it was only three hours from where we had lived in Big City. I hoped that getting him that far away from his friends would keep him from doing drugs so he could get a better job. Instead, when we were still very tight on money because I alone was supporting us and he couldn’t get a good job (didn’t try is probably more accurate), he’d spend all of our gas money to drive to Big City to buy weed, spending around $150 at a time. He didn’t seem to care that we could barely buy groceries that month, he just had to have it.
Jump ahead again to about a year ago. When we moved back to where I am from, he hated not having his access to marijuana. He was miserable. The abuse got really bad during this time. He choked me at least once a week for a month. He would be quicker to lose his temper, he’d throw things at me. He would say how much he hated my state and all of it’s “stupid liquor laws”, and the “Mormons”. He would threaten to leave me and go back to Big City. He would make me feel horrible about taking him away from where he grew up just because I wanted to be closer to my family (Crazy, right? Abusers never care about double standards). He would pull my hair, slap me, punch me, kick me out of the car just like that time when we were dating, etc. But, his main, “go-to” form of abuse was CHOKING me.
The abuse was so bad that I thought the only way to stop it was that I had to find him a dealer. He told me I had better find one. He made threats about what he would do if I didn’t. I knew of a guy from high school that smoked, and he was able to direct me to a dealer. This is another warning sign that I didn’t know about that is common among abusers: getting their victim to do things for them that are illegal.
Did it solve my problem? Once DVP had his high, things calmed down a bit, but not much. The next issue was that now he would stay up late every single night and never wanted to have sex, because he was always high. We never went to bed together. I rarely got the intimacy I needed from my husband, and my already low sense of self worth was plunging deeper and deeper down the drain.
Finally, fast forward to five months ago on the occasion of our daughter’s birth. I don’t want to go into much detail on this event because that is a whole story deserving a post all its own, but here is the nutshell version relating to the topic of drugs: The second day after giving birth, the day we were supposed to bring Baby home from the hospital, he got kicked out of the hospital by security for abusing me. He didn’t care that the nurses could hear- what did he think was going to happen?! When they moved me to a different room for security, they cleaned out the other room and found a marijuana pipe and weed that he had left behind. I had no idea. Later I realized that he had kept coming up with stupid reasons to go to the store (that should have tipped me off because he normally would never go to the store for himself, he would always make me go, or his mom) so that must have been when he’d go smoke. The hospital said that only I could report the physical abuse to the police, but that the hospital would report the drugs regardless of what I chose to do for myself. So in the end, along with several other convictions, he received a Class B Misdemeanor for possession of marijuana and now has to be clean for a year. Maybe that is a small win for me for all the times he lost a job or neglected me or abused me because of his stupid drugs.
In closing, let me clarify: Does marijuana, alcohol, or other drugs CAUSE abuse? No. Do all abusers use drugs or excessive alcohol? No. Is it more common that men who are drug/alcohol abusers will also abuse their partners? Yes. They often go together. Drug usage can make the abuser more irritable when they’re not high, increasing the risk of abuse. And if drugs/alcohol are a focus and a frequent habit, then at the very least there isn’t much room for a happy, balanced relationship to exist, but at most it can make them worse and even get you killed! It’s the truth. Don’t put up with it, no matter how infrequent or under control he thinks it is. Nothing good comes from using drugs- just look at all the famous people in Hollywood that have been ruined by it or killed by it. It happens all the time. Why risk it?