"'Fess up, you musta sinned," my friends encouraged me. They could find no other Christian explanation for why my beloved husband of 5 years had walked out on me. Literally, he walked out the door with forty two bucks in his pocket. He never even said to me, "this isn't working out." He never gave me a chance to shape up. I went from being a loving Christian wife who attended church, supported her husband, tithed, prayed, meditated, studied the bible to a single person struggling with overwhelming financial disaster, overnight.
I felt like a modern day Job, except that Job had everything restored at the end. And Job had a spouse. I lost my health, my home, my job, my dog, even my circle of friends. Many of them inadvertently helped my husband with his drug addiction. They really believed if he prayed to Jesus everything would be "fine." And they were defining, "fine" quite specifically as his soul will go to heaven when he is dead. Apparently what happened on Earth was of less consequence, because they enabled him to do drugs.
Don't get me wrong, it's not like the Christians WANTED him to do drugs, they just helped him in ways that enabled him to. To begin with they removed him from the two year in house VA rehab program he had entered voluntarily and placed him in a shelter run by the Salvation Army. Howard had complained that the VA was a "prison" because the VA successfully kept him away from drugs. In the Christian facility, of the Salvation Army he reported to me that drugs were very easy to get.
The human brain needs two full years minimum off of drugs to recover from their effects. Despite popular reality TV shows such as "Intervention" or Dr. Drew Celebrity Rehab, thirty, sixty and ninety days are not enough. If the brain takes more drugs after a brief respite another two year period is needed to recover. It's not like the first 365 days count if the drug addict starts using again on day 366. I believe that was the reason the VA chose to keep the addicts in house for a full two years. There isn't much progress with talk therapy and a drug addicted person. Their very drug use, addles the brain so much that they quite often make decisions against their welfare, such as Howard insisting his friends take him out of his rehab.
What person wants to hear about two years? My Christian friend, Denise, chided me for choosing to require two years clean from Howard. "No one would ever stay married if they had to wait two years!" she pointed out. At least two people would have, Howard and me if he had be able to stay the course. I had no trouble waiting two years anyway. I had no trouble waiting because it was clear to me what the goal was. The goal was a "good" marriage, a solid marriage, a marriage between two clear and sober participants, not a drug addict and an enabler. Denise was convinced if I had just prayed to Jesus Howard would be sober. She took her own drug addict husband back a couple of times after short separations. He was still using when last I saw them. But, as she so aptly pointed out, they were together and I was single. So there's that.
If they at all believed I was innocent of deliberate sin before Howard left, there was no question of my guilt after he left. I divorced him. According to the bible the only acceptable reason to leave is an infidelity sexual in nature. That's a hard teaching. I meant to separate my liability from him, as he was continuing to drive loaded and endanger other people's lives. I couldn't see being one flesh with that. Although my original church, the one where Howard had been a board member, offered no assistance for me, other pastors in the area stepped in to guide me. A "broken" person is one they can use. The year after his departure I was fragile and vulnerable. Their promises of salvation wounded as much as his betrayal. He did not come back, he did not get sober and worst of all he continued to receive support for his drug addiction from many people who felt his main problem was merely being poor.
So the story does not have a happy ending. Although I can meet my maker one day and report I did not help my husband stay loaded. Or ex-husband, is his technical title, although what God has joined together one would imagine could not be pulled asunder. In fact, my drug addict husband found and manipulated his adult children. They were of course, over joyed to hear from him, eager to reconnect offered to move him to where they lived. They were so looking forward to his arrival, when he did a 180 on them as well, dropping out of sight without explanation. I assume it was drugs again.
In my community a young boy died recently due to drug activity. He wasn't even 18 yet. He fell off of a cliff while he was goofing off with friends, under the influence. The community could have used it as an opportunity to remember that drugs are dangerous and illegal. Unfortunately they did not. The kid has risen to sainthood since his death. People are loath to comment on the drug use for fear of causing pain to his family. In fact trauma experts dispatched to the high school were more concerned with keeping the kids from feeling "sad" than they were with keeping the kids from doing drugs.
The other drug using kids in his inner circle were quick to close ranks and get defensive on behalf of their deceased friend. Like adult addicts they were class A manipulators. Unlike a sober person, a drug addict will say what ever they have to say in order to get what they want to get. It doesn't matter if it's illogical, it doesn't matter if it's untrue. Howard wanted out of the VA rehab because quite frankly, he could not longer access his drugs. So he said he was unhappy. He said they treated him poorly. And well meaning people helped him. Beware what you do for a drug addict young or old, their death may be on your head.