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A Letter From My Wife About My Heroin Addiction

A glimpse into the insanity of my past. A letter from my wife, written December 2011. This is the last day I was in active Addiction, I was completely powerless over my choices. I surrendered, 4 years ago to the day. What an Incredible Life we live today. I do not walk this path alone, I have many teachers, circles, friends, communities. It is shared with many.  We do Recover, Families can recover...  Thanks for 4 YEARS CLEAN!!!  My wish is that this gives Hope to the Hopeless.

Matt Ionna

Dear Matt,

My doll-baby…I love you. I respect you. You warm my heart and put a smile on my face at the most unexpected moments.  We have a wonderful life…you help make this life wonderful…but everything starts falling apart when opiates enter the picture.  The last three months have been a whirl-wind of pure hell. My heart has been shattered and pieced back together only to be shattered again.  When I found you in the bathroom with that needle full of blue liquid I really hoped it belonged to someone else. Can you believe that?? I actually wanted to believe you…but then you were so crazy about dumping it out.

 I went out that evening and I grieved for the loss of trust…but while grieving I realized that I am ok. I will be ok with or without you. Of course I prefer to be with you…but I do not prefer to be with you using. When you are using the strong, beautiful man that I love becomes a muted, grey, zombie-monster with nothing but lies, false hopes and empty promises. A monster that seeks to fry my brain through manipulation and half-truths. I hate that fucking monster…I want to murder that monster and free my sweet husband. I understand that I can’t do that…I have no control over your choices. You have to control the disease…all I can do is support you in your sobriety and know when to say enough is enough. I will not tolerate drugs in my home, I will not subject my children to the hell that our home is when you are using. Because when you become a zombie-monster I become mega-b#tch, control freak…and no one is happy. That night, Louis wanted to kill you…to be rid of you forever. He was heart-broken. He went out and drowned his sorrows in whiskey and friends. He lost respect for me because I did not make you leave the house. We are on the brink of losing our son…and it makes me sad.

After that incident, you went to a meeting and I thought things were getting better, but you just hid it better. I thought you were talking to Danny and others in Recovery, I thought you were talking with me and being honest. But I suspected and Louis suspected then you refused a drug test, and I knew you were using full time again. You’re zombie-monster self is sneaky that way…but I’m learning that my gut is more right than wrong…despite all your slick talk. Halloween, my birthday, our anniversary, were all a blur this year. I didn’t want to take you around my family because of your behavior. I was embarrassed that you were using again. Even after Falmouth…

In hindsight, I see that I was a fool again. I didn’t follow through on the drug tests due to money issues and you took advantage of that.  I’ve been avoiding the horror of Saturday, December 3rd. We were planning a shopping trip, had list in hand ready to go. I finished my shower while you looked for my Sunday jeans. Mom had just picked up Mia Bella to make Christmas Candy. After my shower, I called for you to see if you found my jeans…no response. I figured you were sneaking outside to smoke. So, I walked into the dining room and glanced outside…then I called for you again. I heard a mumble from the kitchen floor. I’ll never forget the image I saw…you curled up, cheek on the ground, mouth hanging open with slobber dribbling out of it, tongue partially protruding, eyes rolled back but partially closed, grey/blue hands by your face, knuckles down like you were trying to get up. I was hesitant to touch you because my first thought was you fell and hurt your back…that you might be paralyzed. I was horrified…I really thought you were broken.

Then I saw the blood on the tissue…and the cap to a hypodermic needle. I noticed the water was running in the sink. Of course it was drugs…and of course you were broken…just not like I originally thought. I immediately started shaking you and trying to wake you up. I sprayed you with water and tried to remember where I left my phone. You were breathing…but just barely. Finally, you started to move…pawing at the floor with both hands…then you got up on your knees. You kept mumbling my name…and all I could do was cry. I thought you were dying…I ran for my phone and yelled for Madeline twice. I tried to dial 911 but my fingers wouldn’t work. Madeline grabbed the phone from me and called…I continued to slap your face, throw water on you and shake you. You stood up and walked into the living room. I just cried…waiting for the ambulance.

I was so happy that you lived…but my resolve is stronger than ever. I will not find my husband dead on the kitchen floor. My kids will not find their father dead on the kitchen floor. We spent the day in the hospital…stopped by the pawn shop to get your beats and circular saw and spent the evening finding you a place to go. Busy, busy, busy…Sunday flew by, you left for treatment and it was peaceful in my home. I didn’t realize that I had been living every day since your surgery with fear, anxiety, clenched fists and a knot in my stomach. Sunday night was so so so peaceful…I slept. But, my dreams were filled with your death. The absolute magnitude of the situation didn’t hit me until Monday, wow…what a powerful feeling that was…to be sitting in my office and realize that I am not planning a funeral…and I am so grateful to be at work and not picking out a casket or deciding which urn would be best for your ashes. I sobbed with happiness…

I’m not sure how Madeline is processing the entire event…she trusted you…now she doesn’t so much. Louis continually tells me that if you come home he has to leave. He can’t live with the stress and he’s embarrassed that you lied to him and your brother. Mia is angry with me for making you leave...she’s seeing the counselor at school and she talks openly about you. She gives your picture a kiss every night before bedtime then cuddles with me. It’s complicated. I’m trying to move the family along and keep things going but I need to find a support group…and the time to get to a support group for myself and my kids. Yes, I have a bit of a resentment that you get a month of intense treatment…but I can find the time to work on my own recovery. I have a whole truck-load of gratitude that you are alive and working on being well.

I do grieve for your lost sobriety, but I understand you can get it back. I grieve for the time lost but have hope that we can move forward and find new times. The first time you went to rehab, there were lots of things that I learned that I never suspected (or unintentionally ignored for my own sanity). I was lost, without hope or support. I was completely shattered and depressed…how could Matt be a heroine user…a drug-fiend…a junkie; how could he use me and my kids; how could he sell our wedding rings; every conversation we had made me feel like the biggest idiot in the world. This time is different…I’m ok. I’m busy…I’m a bit overwhelmed…but that’s how it is around here at Christmas time. I love you sweet Mattie, but I love myself more. I don’t want to end up loving you to death…so I’m going to continue to work on me while you work on you. You have my support and my love while you are on your quest for self-love and recovery.


Your wife,
Lara Lee

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