October 2022: Addiction — Natasha from Phoenix says, “I admit that it took me so long to do what I knew was right because I was flat out afraid of change.”

My former husband was an addict. You have no idea how long it took me to say that out loud. I didn’t want to believe it, but for a long time I knew in my heart we had a big problem.

Like many marriages, I went into it with only good intentions. My parents were wildly in love, and although they argued there was tons of laughter in our house. So the day that I was hanging out my brother’s roommate from college, I felt like we might have a similar kind of relationship. He was cute, preppy, and smart. And we married 5 years to the day of our first date. Very romantic, right?

Five years into our marriage, I began thinking about divorce when it was clear that he was addicted to so many things. I was so angry. But I didn’t start researching how to get divorced for another five years.

What shifted was that my two daughters were growing up, seeing more things happening in the house, and I didn’t not want to think domestic abuse and addiction were “allowed” behaviors.

He was so angry when I told him I wanted a divorce. To this day, he insists that despite his behavior I am at fault for the demise of our family. I just shake my head.

I admit that it took me so long to do what I knew was right because I was flat out afraid of change. I wish I had the confidence to make this decision years ago, but I just didn’t have the confidence that after being a stay-at-home-mom for 14 years that I could take care of my kids and myself by myself.

Then one day, after a very scary experience, the dam broke and I knew I had no choice. From that moment I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, making one big and small decision at a time.

Today, I have a good job, a nice 2-bedroom apartment that I can afford, and most importantly the stress and anxiety I carried as the wife of an addict is … gone! I forgot there was a life to be lived — my life.

He is allegedly working and has remarried. But his life doesn’t matter to me. My kids are thriving, both earned honor roll and are involved in extracurricular activities at school.

In the five years I’ve been a single mom, I have learned so much about myself, the world, and what I want from my life. If I were to remarry I know what signs and signals to look for if there was something wrong. But for now, I do not have plans to marry or date at this time. I am just enjoying being free.

  • Age: 49
  • Years married: 15
  • Amount of time between separation and divorce: 9 months
  • Number of kids: 2