Addiction from the spouse’s perspective

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Grateful for the opportunity to share a spouse’s perspective on addiction for an interview. We started Mabry Living to share our truth. It’s comforting to know we made the right decision to let light into the dark spaces of our lives. If you’re secretly struggling with addiction in your home or family, you’re not alone.

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THIS, this is why John and I decided to be open about the struggles we face in our marriage and family from addiction

A new report finds more dying from drug overdoses than car accidents.

Get help for your addiction now, before it gets worse or it’s too late!

Here’s blog John wrote on the importance of people getting help for their addictions before it’s too late.

Thanksgiving In Treatment: A Major Holiday Away From Family

Nearly one year ago, John graduated from our Texas campus, The Treehouse. This is his first-hand account of spending Thanksgiving at The Treehouse – away from family for the holiday.


Thanksgiving In Treatment: A Major Holiday Away From Family

This time last year, I was receiving treatment at The Treehouse, Addiction Campuses’ facility in Texas – hundreds of miles from my Tennessee home. Being in treatment on Thanksgiving, away from my wife and three kids, was a terrifying thought. But the thought of continuing to spiral out of control in my disease of addiction was equally terrifying.

I have found through personal experience, the absolute best time to go to treatment is right now – whenever ‘now’ is. I learned this through a very painful loss: Several years ago, when my brother was struggling with his own addiction, he didn’t go to treatment ‘right now’. My brother died from addiction on December 6. He did not make it to Christmas that year.

 

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John (right) and his brother, Matt (left).

   “My brother died from addiction on December 6. He did not make it to Christmas that year.”

You may be thinking you will just get through the holidays and get help when things calm down. If you are considering going or sending a loved one to treatment soon, keep reading. This blog could save someone’s life.

For me, when I’m not actively working a recovery program, just the thought of the holidays causes enough angst to want to start using again. When I’m in active addiction during the holidays, I mentally check out and any hope of actually being present around the people I love the most is smashed. I either justify the stress as an excuse to use or I rationalize the celebration and festivities as an excuse to use. Either way, I add chaos to my life and the lives of everyone around me. It is a miserable place to exist. It is lonely, depressing and potentially fatal.

Thankfully, I was not given the choice to stay home for Thanksgiving last year. If it were up to me, I probably would have rationalized that I was not that bad and made excuses not to get the help I desperately needed. My family knew it was a life or death situation and bravely made the decision to put me on a plane to The Treehouse as soon as they saw I needed help. They didn’t want me to die, end up back in the hospital or in any other way ruin the holiday for everyone else. Of course, I was angry about getting sent away. But what I discovered later was that I was really angry at myself and the detrimental choices I made that lead up that point. I could not blame them for only wanting the best for me.

I made some great progress at The Treehouse. But, as Thanksgiving Day approached I hit a low point in my treatment. All of the great memories of holidays past came flooding back. I had countless memories of home cooked meals at my grandparents’ house, playing and watching football with relatives and looking through old photo albums with my cousins. My addictive mind has a great ability to forget all the horrible things I have done and only remembers the good stuff. Conversely, my family primarily recalls the chaos I created in the past and is less apt to remember the positive memories. While at The Treehouse, I was faced with feelings of guilt, shame and remorse. However, I vividly remember the staff telling me and all the clients that the Thanksgiving spread they had planned for us was going to be a memorable one. I figured it was just something they were saying to keep us all from feeling depressed that we were in treatment for such a big holiday. I was not looking forward to it. But sure enough, the loving staff and cooks came through in a huge way.

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Chef Christian Gonzalez features his Thanksgiving spread.

“Being surrounded by others going through the same struggles as me, I felt a part of God’s great plan for my life.”

It wasn’t just the amount of food that was so impressive; it was the quality and care that went into preparing and presenting the meal. It felt like I was diving into a buffet at a country club. Like my family and I would do back home, we prayed over the meal, went back for seconds and thirds, threw the football around outside and watched football on TV. I was able to call home to talk to my wife, kids and parents. I fought back tears after getting off the phone with them, but at least I knew they were safe and everything was okay at home. In fact, things were going more smoothly than if I was there.

In retrospect, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be with a genuinely caring group of people last Thanksgiving. There have been times at family gatherings where I felt alone and separated when in active addiction. Last year, being surrounded by others going through the same struggles as me, I felt a part of God’s great plan for my life. For being away from my home and family on such a big day of the year, I couldn’t have been in a better place. It was nice to see how much care and precision went into every detail of that day for all of us. The staff at Addiction Campuses definitely exceeded my expectations.

“Recovery is the best gift I’ve ever given and received.”

If you or someone you love is considering putting treatment off until after the holidays, I encourage you to get help while you can. My brother did not get the help he needed several years ago and passed away between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We would give anything to have him with us today. Do not keep putting treatment off. This year, give yourself and your family the gift of sobriety. Recovery is the best gift I’ve ever given and received.

John And Family

John and his wife and their three children.

 

Finding fulfillment through family

Check out the latest blog by Bulow Orthotic & Prosthetic Solutions. A huge thank you to Matt Bulow and his team, who have taken care of all of John’s prosthetic needs for the last 7 years.

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https://www.bulowops.com/success-stories/2016/11/10/mabry-finding-fulfillment-through-family

For John Mabry, the hardest part of being an amputee was overcoming the mental and emotional effects—the physical part was the easy part.

He became a below-the-knee amputee while still in college. During a ride in a friend’s SUV, a right rear tire blew out, causing the vehicle to roll twelve times. John’s legs became crushed from the impact.

“I literally envisioned the remaining seconds of my life as a scene from a 1920’s-style movie reel,” he said.  “However, instead of thinking my movie would end in true love and conquest, the reality was looking more like a conclusion of indescribable fear, terror, and pain.”

John was faced with the choice of another year of surgery and therapy with no guarantee of complete recovery, or to amputate his right leg below the knee.

“Nothing can really prepare you for the moment when you first look down and see an empty space where your leg used to be,” he said.

He said what helped him the most was being able to talk to another amputee, who showed him that life does go on. Just six weeks later, John walked across the stage to receive his bachelor’s degree.

John went on to earn his master’s degree and married his wife, Sarah. He acted in Hollywood for a while, appearing in movies and TV shows as Superbad, NCIS, E.R., JAG, and numerous commercials. He is also credited with inventing a revolutionary product for the prosthetics industry that allows thousands of amputees around the world to live healthier, more active lifestyles.

However, in spite of all these accomplishments, he wasn’t addressing the mental and emotional impacts that his amputation was having on him. He fell into alcoholism, which caused much strife within his family.

Eventually, he sought help for his addition. Today, he says being sober and having a loving family is a greater accomplishment than his inventions or acting ever were. He documents his wacky day-to-day life with his wife and kids on his blog, www.mabryliving.com.

In 2009, he and his family moved from California to Nashville, where he works at Addiction Campuses to help others who struggle with the same issues as he did. When he knew he was moving, he called the first amputee he ever met and asked if he knew any good prosthetists in Nashville. That was how he first came to Bulow Orthotic & Prosthetic Solutions.

 

To other new amputees, he says, “It isn’t always as easy as they make it look on TV when they show the elite athletes competing. There is a rollercoaster that we go through, both physically and emotionally, that the average person doesn’t understand.”

HOPE in the HOME

Lately I have been pondering this thought,
“Is it possible to be a happy-sad person all at the same time?”  
If so, I am going to self diagnosis myself as one of the happiest-saddest humans due to the varying range of my emotions. When John relapsed six months ago and moved out, I told myself that I WILL seek JOY through this storm. For the most part I remained hopeful and positive, but there were plenty of moments where I felt great sorrow. In those low moments, it was really hard to feel God’s goodness and presence in my life.
This morning at church I was reminded to see the JOY in life’s trials and to continue to trust God’s plan. Although our marriage and faith were once again tested, both John and myself feel that we are supposed to continue sharing our family’s journey.  
“And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28


Today a new chapter begins as John moved back home. As our story continues to be written I will remember what I learned through these past six months: that through God it IS possible to be a happy-sad person and feel JOY all at the same time.
#marriage #healing #recovery #painkillers #alcoholism #newbeginning #addiction

#hope #seekjoy 

Today Is Going To Be A Good Day!

I make the choice every morning to see the positives and seek joy. Before my feet hit the floor I tell myself, “Today is going to be a GOOD day!”

I haven’t always taken this approach in the past. It’s easy to have a negative attitude and be consumed with self pity, anger, resentment, bitterness, and fear. Let me just tell you, it makes for a much more painful life process!

The other day I talked to John (my husband) for the first time since he left to seek help. Communication is very limited and I never know when I can expect a call. When we do talk we have to keep the conversations to a minimum because other patients are waiting to use the phone. My phone started ringing as I was wrapping up the kids dinner one evening. I didn’t recognize the number but I answered it in case it was an employee from the treatment facility calling to give me information. I assumed it wasn’t John because I was told he would not have access to a phone for the first week of his stay.So while loading the dish washer, I answered the phone. Much to my surprise was John’s voice on the other end. My heart wasn’t prepared to hear his voice yet as I thought he would be calling the next night. I was caught off guard. The conversation was awkward. It was sad and it was painful to hear my kids talk to their daddy over the phone. After about five minutes, we hung up the phone and I sneaked into my daughter’s nursery and cried. I wanted to be angry. I wanted to be mad. I wanted to be bitter. It’s a slippery slope to the “why me??” self pity mindset and in that quiet moment I reminded myself that I made the choice to seek joy regardless of the circumstances.

I am choosing to trust that God will take these broken pieces and make something beautiful. Our worlds not falling apart, its falling into place. In a way, I am very excited to see what God has hiding behind the curtain for the rest of my life!

Now I challenge you to go out and have a GOOD day!!

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‪#‎seekjoy‬ ‪#‎happiness‬ ‪#‎positive‬ ‪#‎glasshalffull‬ ‪#‎wifeofanaddict‬ ‪#‎rehab‬‪#‎addiction‬ ‪#‎alcoholism‬ ‪#‎substanceabuse‬ ‪#‎hope‬ ‪#‎itsagoodday‬‪#‎livelaughlove‬

Home Is Where A Lot Of My Hope Is Found

Today I am thankful for all of the encouragement, love, and inspiration I am receiving from the comments people are leaving here on Mabry Living!

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The other day I received this comment:
“Back in my journalism days, I met the wife of a recovering meth addict. When he was in the throes of addiction, he would become abusive when she tried to share the Bible with him…but she would write verses behind the pictures hanging on the wall, tape them under table tops and even wrote verses in Sharpie all over his pillow, hidden under the pillowcase. I’ve never forgotten her powerful witness at having the word of God literally blanketing her home. When I met her husband, he had accepted Christ…and refused to trade in his pillow. smile emoticon Cling to those verses, sister!”

Our story doesn’t match this example completely, but hearing how another wife dealt with addiction gave me the inspiration to blanket my home with powerful scripture even it if can’t be seen.

After receiving this comment, I check my email and another friend sent me this bible verse…

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

It only made sense to make this verse part of our home. The kids and I decided that the coffee table was the best place for this verse! It was a family activity although Sawyer (my 17 month old daughter) wasn’t too helpful smile emoticon.

11261529_743142359164243_5810817918760687980_n I also created two other pieces (the LOVE sign above and the “M” piece below). I am going to add a wood frame to both. I used the bible verses that people have sent to me inside the “M.” This weekend I will be working on my large statement piece to go above my tv. I am thankful that I can find a little spare time in the middle of chaos to create!
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Thanks again to everyone who has been praying and sending positive energy our direction! Feel free to keep sending verses so the kids and I can graffiti our home with uplifting words.