The Write 31 Days Challenge – 31 Days,Every Day,One Topic
So, SO sorry.
I’m apologizing in advance for this longest post to date. There was a lot to cover and I didn’t want to break up the content into two separate posts.
So grab a cuppa’ Joe, sit for a spell, and let’s continue our story.
Kelly made an appointment to meet with a doctor friend who was on the Board of Directors for the Washington Physicians Health Program (WPHP), the Washington State monitoring program for medical doctors, dentists, and physician’s assistants who struggle with a variety of addictions.
On the day of his appointment he planned to discuss his “possible problem” and get some advice. He didn’t know that on that same day he would be sent downtown to the WPHP offices, and there be ordered off to Oregon for a three-day evaluation.
Go immediately and Do Not Pass Go!
I received a call at work from a man by the name of Scott A. Scott told me to go home and get the guns out of our house – Really??? – and when I’d taken care of that they would release my husband to come home to pack. We were unprepared for this urgency and that evening we scrambled as I learned how to do Kelly’s payroll and pay the office bills, just in case he had to stay a little longer.Back at home we broke the news to the girls. Click To Tweet
At first we tried to hide the truth but eventually caved under their insistent probing. It was painful.They were sweet and loving and supportive as they covered up their own feelings of pain. Click To Tweet
The drive to Newberg, Oregon the following morning was surreal. My mind and my emotions swirled like a cyclone as Kelly crawled into the back of the minivan to sleep. How could he? I didn’t know it then but he later told me that he went to the back of the van to load up on pain meds so he could face what was ahead.
When we walked into the lobby of the treatment center Kelly’s bag was seized for a search and he was taken off down a long hallway to get settled in. I was led to a room where I would meet with a family counselor.
I had hopes that the counselors would say that he was okay to go back to work and simply do a few weeks of outpatient treatment to get his addiction under control. We weren’t in the best position financially – end-stage addicts rarely are – and we needed his income to survive.
With a hopeful heart and an uncontrollable shaking on the inside, I asked the counselor what would happen during Kelly’s three-day evaluation.Oh honey, doctor’s never leave here in less than three months! Click To Tweet
Whaaattt???I experienced sheer panic as I realized that we’d been lied to by the good folks of WPHP. Click To Tweet
Having my husband in treatment for 3 months was hard, but it was a break from having to worry about what he was doing. I had enough other worries to attend to while he was gone.
First there was Kelly’s office. I wasn’t allowed to talk to him on the phone for the first week, and after that I was allowed only fifteen minutes to cover everything that needed to be covered. How to get my name on his bank signature card so I could pay bills, how to go about hiring a temporary doctor to cover his patients while he was away, what to write in the letter informing his patients that he was on a temporary medical leave, and how to deal with his distraught mom and dad when I myself was in grief.Grief alternating with terrible anger, because why should I pay the consequences for his actions? Click To Tweet
WPHP told us to say nothing to anyone about where Kelly was because there were people who would take advantage of his situation with lawsuits. This included not telling his partner in the practice and believe me, dealing with this man’s inquisitions every time I was in the office was hard.
In my mind, being silent also meant not telling my own mother and my big sister. So I lied to protect Kelly, until I could cover the truth no longer. I only shared with those at work who needed to know why there were times I would be absent.
Somehow, I thought that when Kelly came out of treatment our life would return to normal and that no one would ever need to know a thing. The whole situation was embarrassing to me. But for Kelly, being honest with others about his addiction was what would keep him moving forward in his recovery. Oh yes, I still had a lot to learn.
While Kelly was away my routine was go to work each day, work at his office a couple of evenings a week, go home and make dinner, sit and talk with one or both of his parents who came nearly every day to vent, and finally, go to bed.It’s amazing how one can put on a smile in the morning almost forget that one's life is insane. Click To Tweet
My bedroom at night was the place where I would allow the tears to flow, and that was when my little dog Snoopygirl started sleeping under the covers for the first time. She would push her way beneath the blankets and lay her head in the crook of my neck, offering me her sweetest doggie comfort.
My days were filled with a wide range of emotions and a sense of abandonment was one of them. It was upsetting to me that my husband was away at “Camp Springbrook” receiving three squares a day, daily counseling, and group support to help him get well, while I had nothing.
I traveled to the next city to attend some Al-Anon meetings – because remember, I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone and I didn’t believe that anonymous really meant, well, anonymous. I was so afraid he’d be found out. At those particular meetings I never felt encouraged. I didn’t meet anyone with a happy ending to share, and that is what I longed for. Where was the hope? At the time, over 18 years ago, there still weren’t any groups like Celebrate Recovery in our area.
My first glimmer of hope came:
During family week at the treatment center where I, along with other spouses, received daily counseling and attended group sessions. We became comfort and support to one another during that week and I learned that I wasn’t stupid for being unaware of the problem I’d been living with because most of the other doctor’s spouses were also taken by surprise. Addicts are way too smart.
My second glimmer of hope came:
Toward the end of Kelly’s time in treatment when he was allowed a weekend pass to come to a WPHP annual retreat for those who’d already been through treatment and were in recovery.
At the retreat I heard a couple tell their story of utter devastation in their marriage. Drugs, alcohol, affairs, and physical and verbal abuse. Then came the story of the new thing God did in their marriage. The wife ended her talk with these words,Wait for the miracle. Click To Tweet
I grabbed and held onto those words with all my might, but it would be a long time still before the miracle would come.
Note: I mentioned earlier that Scott A. was my first contact with WPHP. With Kelly safely settled into treatment I met him face-to-face when he came to see me at the office one dark winter night. Scott was impressive. Big and tall and intimidating with his long black leather coat and wild flowing hair. He’d come to search out and destroy the hidden drugs and I’ll tell ya,’ his persona fit perfectly the job of a terminator!
We got to know Scott over the years of attending WPHP reunions and I became so grateful for his part in saving us. It hurt my heart to hear recently that this larger than life figure had lost his battle with cancer. I hope he is receiving Heavenly rewards for the many families he helped save from the devastation of addiction.
I also made mention that we were “lied to by the good people of WPHP” in order to get Kelly into treatment. Though it was upsetting at the time, I eventually came to realize how necessary their intervention was to his (our) safety.
In fact, I am forever grateful to all the people we met through WPHP and for their seemingly not-so-loving intervention in our lives. It’s called tough-love doncha’ know?
And please feel free to share if you think this series might be valuable to someone you know.
I’ve been known to link up to the following great parties!!!
IShouldBeMoppingTheFloor, TheDedicatedHouse, Dwellings, ProjectInspired, InspireMeMonday, CelebrateYourStory, What Joy is Mine/Monday Musings, Darling Downs Diaries, The Art of Homemaking, MomentsOfHope, Glimpses, SittingAmongFriends, InspireMeMonday, GodSizedDreams
TalkOfTheTown, HomeStoriesAtoZ, AStrollThruLife, CoastalCharm, CedarHillFarmhouse, TuesdaysAtOurHome, TheWinthropChronicles, Rich Faith Rising Unite Linky, Testimony Tuesday,Cheerleaders of Faith,Tell His Story
ShareYourStyle, ImpartingGrace, EmbracingChange, HaveADailyCupOfMrsOlson, MyRepurposedLife, ADelightsomeLife, KatherinesCorner, Thought Provoking Thursday, SincerelyPaulas, ThoughtfulThursday, Tune-inThursday