Hi, I'm sorry no one picked up your question while I was away. I'm very sorry for the delay. But now I'm back and I want to answer your question because with the information you have now given me this is clearly a very serious situation and you need help with this.
I know that he is your husband and you love him very much. This is evident from the way that you are minimizing what he is doing. But it is not helping his addiction to minimize this and it is not helping you in your time of need.
And this is my greatest concern. You are trying to frame his addiction in gentle terms but he is clearly extremely addicted. He is such an addict that he has lost his sense of human proportions: here is a woman who is about to have a major surgery, who is in the midst of a life crisis, who needs his support, and he is putting his need to get high above all of that. This is a major criterion for diagnosing a severe addiction problem. So, we have to answer it in two ways.
First, you can no longer have the meds within his reach. You must contact your doctor and inform him/her of the reality in your home. You can't avoid this. You MUST inform your doctor. I am concerned for your safety. You must do this because your doctor has to help you find a way to dispense the necessary pain medication in a safe reliable way. I don't know if that means having another family member who is allowed to talk with your doctor and know all the details of the meds and keeps them with him/her to dispense to you throughout the day as needed. I don't know if this means hiring a visiting nurse, which your doctor would need to prescribe who would keep the meds.
Do you see how my strategy is working? I am thinking of your needs first. So, whatever it takes for you to get the meds you need, that is our first priority. That's why you need some help there from the doctor in making that happen for you. Okay?
Now, his addiction. He needs to get himself to NA (narcotics anonymous). Now sometimes I have family members do the game with the addict of going through with him the checklist from Narcotics Anonymous to identify what it means to be addicted and to get him to admit it. You're too ill to play games with him. I want you to instead have him read my answer to you and I'm going to address him directly on this.
Okay, you read what I wrote to your wife above. I need you to get how addicted you really are. Your wife is having life threatening surgery and you're worried about getting high and getting through it emotionally. You're addicted. You know how in AA they say, I'm so and so and I'm an alcoholic? Well, you have to own up to the fact that you need help. You're one step away from letting someone you love suffer and be in danger for your addiction. You MUST get to NA. Here's the website for how to get to a meeting. GET to a meeting right away. If you don't like the first meeting, find out the time for a different one. They have the expertise to give you the help you need so that you can be there for your wife when she needs you and not checking out on her with a pill. Here's the website:
So, get to a meeting, please, for your sake and hers. Oh, and if you want to see the checklist, here it is:
Okay. I wish you both the very best in this and I pray you will go to NA and you will do well in your surgery!
Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX
Edited by Dr. Mark on 12/12/2010 at 6:46 PM EST