My spouse was using drugs when we met, but things started to change for the worse once we married. All we did was stay at home and all our money was spent on drugs. Our relationship deteriorated rapidly. I always felt as if I was at fault even though I vehemently defended myself in arguments. When I was alone, I felt responsible for all that went wrong. My self-esteem took a dive. I started to change by placing restrictions on myself, and I stopped talking to friends, going out and taking care of myself.

My spouse changed and became physically abusive. One night, we had decided to go out with friends (a rare occurrence). On the way, we started to argue, and without warning, I was slapped across the face. When we arrived at the party, I struggled to hide my swollen lip. I can still feel the humiliation, the shame and how stupid I felt when I tried to make excuses. The drug use and violence continued to increase and finally, I mustered the courage to ask my spouse to leave. That same night I received a call from a rehabilitation centre – the addict had checked in.

Our relationship is slowly starting to heal. My spouse has been clean for a few years and attends Narcotics Anonymous. I started going to Nar-Anon meetings and now I work my own program. Nar-Anon meetings are my safe haven. I feel accepted, and without the meetings, I would not have had the courage to change, grow and work on my issues. I am shifting the focus off our relationship and onto me. I have stopped playing the victim. I have met amazing people at my meetings. I no longer isolate when I am in a bad space. I reach out and call someone when I am in need. I feel comfortable with Nar-Anon members because I know they understand and will not judge me. I have changed so much. It has been a slow process but an exciting and sometimes daunting one.

Thought for Today: I am changing, learning to accept myself and love myself. This has not been a smooth transition. I know that I need to take care of myself before I can contribute to any relationship.

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~ Buddha