Domestic Abuse and Substance Abuse

In Creating Happiness, Domestic Abuse Posts By Barbara, Recent Posts by Barbara Jacoby

As I read more and more stories about domestic abuse and talk to more and more people who are domestic abuse survivors or currently living in an abusive situation, I have found a common factor in all of them and that is that the abuser also abuses one or more substances.  Now, I am not saying that this is always the case.  That is why I am inviting those who have been abused to tell me whether your abusers also abused alcohol, marijuana and/or drugs or any combination of them. 

In my own situation, it didn’t take long to discover the link between abuse and the alcohol and in later years when marijuana was added to the mix, the abuse was even worse. 

In my own situation, it didn’t take long to discover the link between abuse and the alcohol and in later years when marijuana was added to the mix, the abuse was even worse.  I was sincerely of the belief that I could find a way to change things so that my ex would have a desire to stop drinking for the good of both of us.  I could see what a miserable life he had when he found it necessary to try to drown all of his misery in a sea of booze.

I felt sorry for him.  I truly enjoyed challenging myself to great work opportunities while I watched as he may have worked a total of about 3 years in the 10 years that we were married.  I could never understand starting the day with a beer at 10 a.m. and continuing to the wee small hours of the next day.  I couldn’t understand the increasing ability for consumption that allowed for 12 or more beers along with shots of liquor that would find him still standing at the end of each session.  It became an endless cycle for him.

The one thing for which I was selfishly grateful was the fact that he did not drink or do his drugs at home.  He would get up late in the morning, get dressed and leave and not return until the next day.  Sometimes, he would not return for several days and I was glad.  The only thing I worried about at that time was receiving a call from the police or a hospital that he had been in an accident.  That happened only once and he was sufficiently relaxed in his alcoholic stupor that he suffered only the possibility of a concussion after driving up an embankment and rolling the car several times.  On the almost daily occasions where he did return safely, he always came in the door on the offensive, usually accusing me of having done something or not having done something that I should have that allowed him to feel entitled to an attack whether it was verbal, physical or threatening me with a gun in my face.

I know that my experiences are not unique.  For anyone who has experienced abuse at the hands of someone who was under the influence, they can tell you similar tales and how they learned to defend themselves and in many cases, their children as well.  I would appreciate your sharing your personal experiences and in addition, I would really like to know if there are abusers out there who are not under the influence of some type of substance when they simply choose to abuse a child or a partner.  I would appreciate it if those who have been abused under any circumstances would share their stories with me so that those situations can be shared with others (anonymously, if requested).  There may be a difference in the process of surviving and/or leaving depending upon whether the abuser is also a substance abuser or not. I truly believe that the more information that we have, the better position we will be in to help others who are trying to exist in an abusive situation, recover from abuse or looking for the best way out.  The more we work together to help one another, the more success we will have in reducing the amount of abuse that is currently occurring.

If you or anyone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, you can seek help through the National Domestic Violence Hotline – 800-799-SAFE (7233) – 1.800.787.3224 (TTY).