In addiction, there are two sides to the story. We usually have recovering addicts on the show to share their experience, but today we have an unusual guest. SHAIR host Omar Pinto interviews his ex-wife, Laura. She recounts how addiction systematically dismantled their marriage and their future as a family with their daughter.

This is an important episode that shows the pain and confusion family and friends go through with a person in active addiction. Laura also tells us how she learned to forgive, heal, and practice self-love to transcend the ruin that addiction caused in her life.

Listen to Laura’s story!

Here are a few highlights from our interview. To get the full story please join us on the podcast now!

Laura’s side of the story

Laura met Omar when she was very young. She never abused drugs and she never was in a relationship with a person who was an addict. Laura says it wasn’t love at first sight when they met, but Omar won her over with his sense of humor and his attentiveness to her. They were both doing well at work and this helped to build the relationship. Things became serious and they moved in together.

To this day, Laura doesn’t know at which point the addiction started but, she started seeing problems after Omar proposed to her. He’s come home late, or not at all. When he did show up he would stink of alcohol and be full of lame excuses.

Laura was so young and naive, she turned a blind eye to the problems in the beginning. She was caught up in the romantic side and didn’t catch the warning signs. She justified a lot of Omar’s behavior because of the circle of friends they hung out with. They had fights prior to getting married, but she still never reconsidered marrying him. In hindsight she knows she should not have, but she doesn’t regret it either because it resulted in their beautiful daughter who is now 15 years old.

They had a beautiful ceremony and a wonderful honeymoon, but the newlywed bliss was short-lived. Once they got back. Omar’s addiction got worse.

She remembers one night in particular that he didn’t show up and she was worried. He wouldn’t answer the phone and was nowhere to be found. She finally did locate him through a friend. It turned out Omar had gone on a bender and spent the night on a bench in the park. This was finally the huge alert of how bad things were.

You don’t know how to react to it. You don’t know how to help.

He lied all the time. He cheated on her. But she was already pregnant, and she wanted things to work out. They sat down and made the decision for him to get help. A few weeks into treatment, staff from the rehab called to tell her that Omar had taken off. No one knew where he went. Then he called to say he was going to the US.

There had already been too much damage to the relationship. No trust. No respect.

While he was gone, Laura realized the many things she chose not to see as other people begin to fill in the blanks. Not only was she trying to deal with Omar’s betrayals and the loneliness after his abandonment, she was working full-time and pregnant. She didn’t know at what point to give up on Omar. She knew he wasn’t hurting her on purpose, but she the pain he caused her was undeniable. Luckily, she had her friends and family to support her.

O started getting his life together in the US, and he eventually returned to Laura, but a situation that should’ve been fun and happy, was full of resentment. She got through the wreckage he caused and was emotionally stable again, and she didn’t know how to feel about moving on. She wanted it to work. She felt it was a failure on her part and she didn’t want to think about raising their daughter on her own. It was not the future she envisions. They hadn’t even been married a year.

Eventually Laura broke down and knew she just couldn’t do it. There were some things she couldn’t forget and now that Marissa was born, she still didn’t believe Omar was clean. She moved out.

Fast forward 14 years, she and Omar have worked through the past and have established a close friendship. She is glad Omar is clean and has been clean for so many years. It serves as a testament to their daughter that it’s possible to overcome something as destructive as addiction.

That Aha moment

Laura says she is still waiting for a big aha moment. She’s been recently separated and is trying to evaluate what she did wrong. As a wife and a mother who focused on everyone else’s needs, she is trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life. She knows she has to reinvent herself and she is trying to figure that out one day at a time.

Suggestions for the newcomer

Laura says there’s no magic potion to get through difficult times, but the support of friends and family has got her through. She suggests to keep moving forward and do whatever you need to do to get yourself together.

There’s nothing anyone can say that will make you automatically better. You already know that life goes on, that you won’t die, and that something good is right around the corner. But you have to feel your feelings. It’s a process. Take it one day at a time.

Suggestions for those who love an addict

Be careful what you tolerate.

Laura emphasizes that when you accept certain behaviors, you’re giving permission to be treated that way. The person will continue to do it. If they love you and they really care, they’re the one who needs to take initiative. Know what you’re not willing to compromise on.

You can’t force them to get help, to love you. You can only love yourself and do your part.

Resources

No estás deprimido, estás distraído. – (You Are Not Depressed, You Are Distracted)

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Disclaimer – The opinions shared on this show reflect those of the individual speaker and not of any 12 step fellowship as a whole and though we discuss 12 step recovery and the impact it has had in our lives we do not promote or endorse any 12 step anonymous program.