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[ Personal Narratives ]

The Flowers That Never Made it To My Wife: A Story Of Addiction, Relapse, Death And Hope..

My wife and I met in 1980. We did not know the exact date because we were addicts at the time. To this day her family does not know she was an 89 pound drug addict when I met her.  We got clean together, grew up together and had a great life. We replaced drugs with exercise and became very involved in the ultra running, Ironman community.

 I was involved in a work related accident that ended that for me on the last day of 1999. It was a tough time but somehow I stayed clean after going through so many surgeries and procedures. I was put on anti-depressants to help with the depression I suffered and all seemed OK.

 Skip ahead to a day when I was driving my car after picking up flowers and bug spray, both for my wife when my phone rang.  It was a hospital and I hung up. I thought we owed money or something. 

They called right back and said “Your wife was in a serious accident and you need to get here ASAP”  

I don’t remember much accept the ICU and next few hours were pretty horrific. I had to make the decision  to pull the plug that ended the life my wife of 24 years who suffered a  basilar skull fraction, severe internal injuries after being hit while riding her bike. Only ten days before we took part in the RAAM, Ride Across America biking from California to Maryland in 8 days, raising money for the Make A Wish Foundation.

 Somehow I managed to not revert to drugs to escape but I do remember considering it. The next 2 years were a drawn out trial for the person who had fled the scene after running her over. It was very hard as it seemed to not just let her go but rather kept it fresh in my mind for so long. After the trial I was just numb for a long time. I just sat at home for a long time and when people asked how I was I said I was OK.

 I remember seeing the DA who prosecuted my wife’s case on TV in a video fleeing the scene after crashing his car while intoxicated. At the time I justified in my mind that is why he did such a bad job in the case. Then I got a scare about a blood condition I had. I had to go through lots of test. At the time I quit taking the anti-depressants and over the course of 8 months I lost  the 80 pounds I gained since taking them. That was it for me, I gave up. I thought I was sick and there were no rules, what was the point. For the next 18 months I made up for the 31 years I had been clean. Pot, Benzo’s Heroin, Crack, you name it I did it. I barely remember 2015 at all or most of 2016. Because Of my blood condition I had to spend 5 days in the hospital twice in two years. Both times I got clean before I went in but used as soon as I got out.

  I found out my blood condition was in check and with the help of some good friends I went into rehab. I almost find it hard to believe I did what I did but I know I hurt a lot of people an accept responsibility. I am clean 7 months as I write this and feel pretty good. It took a while as going off the anti-depressants like I did was really a strange time. I got PTSD as well as substance therapy for 6 months and seem to be back to my “normal” self. In hindsight none of what happened to me seems like a good reason to to relapse.

 I was clean for years but not really in recovery. That was the real problem and I see that now. They say when we die we will see our loved ones we lost. I’m not sure if that is true but if it is my wife is going to kick my ass.