\u201cReid\u201d remembers the morning of April 8 this past spring like it was yesterday. She was at work that morning when the phone rang. Her partner, \u201cHope\u201d (also an alias), was on the other line frantically screaming. The police were at their house unannounced, Hope was exclaiming. And they were throwing all of the family\u2019s possessions out on the front yard and not letting Hope into her own house. In shock and disbelief, still unaware that a darker explanation lay behind the unfolding crisis, Reid quickly left work to race home on the grounds of a \u201cfamily emergency.\u201d When she arrived at the house, she found the police there, a U-Haul truck in their driveway, and a front lawn strewn with their first-floor furnishings. They were being evicted and their house, foreclosed upon in December of the previous year, was now in the bank\u2019s ownership. Reid was about to discover why \u2026. Opioids \u2014\u00a0Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Pain Patches (Fentanyl), Roxicodone \u201cIt\u2019s all a mistake!\u201d Hope protested. But the police told Reid another story. They said the bank had made several unsuccessful attempts to collect mortgage payments (which had been Hope\u2019s responsibility), before finally notifying the police that the family had refused to vacate the house. The police also produced evidence of all of the times they had been by the house posting eviction notices, as well as past correspondence between Hope and the court and new owners. Turning to her partner of 13 years, Reid demanded to know if all this was true. Hope flatly denied it. Meanwhile, the police were there to finish their job. \u201cI asked the officer if I could go in and grab our valuables,\u201d Reid recalled. \u201cHe asked me if I was going to act out in any way. I said \u2018no,\u2019 that I just wanted to get our computers, cameras, laptops, TVs, all of that stuff.\u201d That\u2019s when the reality of what was happening hit home: \u201cAs I\u2019m running through the house, I start crying because there are strangers in my house ripping beds apart and throwing things out with no care in the world. That was their job \u2026 I watched as the kids\u2019 toys, clothes, books and everything they knew was crammed into trash bags. I watched as they pulled our wedding clothes from the closet and tossed them. A life that took years and years to build I lost in one day \u2014\u00a0my kids lost in one day. And the whole time [Hope] knew what was happening and that it was real.\u201d What Hope knew (and Reid soon would find out) was that the money meant for the mortgage had been feeding Hope\u2019s prescription drug abuse problem.\u00a0 Hope had managed to keep her escalating addiction to opioids a secret, and, as Reid is the first to admit, Reid had \u201cmissed the signs but saw them.\u201d Two days later, Hope boarded a plane for a substance abuse treatment center in Florida, while Reid stayed to pick up the pieces (literally, too, in the form of a whole house\u2019s disgorged contents now on their front yard). During the weeks and months ahead, she would be the single parent to her and Hope\u2019s three boys. Her responsibilities would include managing a move to a new neighborhood, pulling the boys out of their school and transferring them to a new one, maintaining some level of \u201cnormalcy\u201d for her children, (in the way of familiar sports and other extracurricular activities), and holding on to her full-time managerial position. How Substance Abuse Hurts Spouses and Children Today, a little over one year later, Reid is separated from Hope, though they live in the same house. They trade off parenting responsibilities. Hope now regularly attends recovery support groups, and Reid is turning the corner in her own recovery, as the spouse of someone with a drug addiction. That said, Reid is the first to admit she doesn\u2019t think she\u2019ll ever \u201ctruly recover from such a devastating blow.\u201d When I first met Reid, we chatted at a kids\u2019 pool party on a warm August day. Her sons were happily and obliviously embroiled in squirt gun battles and poolside football, like any other kid there. Reid, in a T-shirt, baseball hat and shorts, with a beer in hand, sat dipping her calves in the water. She exuded a straight-talking strength and calm transparency about the events of the past year. These had brought her to her knees but now seemed distant enough to talk about. I found it hard to believe, for example, that this tough, resilient mother to three boys had been hospitalized for a nervous breakdown in the previous months; but the stress of Hope\u2019s rock-bottom moment had been Reid\u2019s to share. And Reid still worried about the traumatic fallout for her boys: \u201cI would have to say that it took an emotional toll on them that I will never understand.\u201d The boys were there on that fateful day when the police arrived and \u201cwatched a portion of our items being thrown out and their mom drop to her knees and beg the police not to do this.\u201d Reid and Hope\u2019s oldest son (now 8) seems most affected. \u201cHe is like a little adult,\u201d Reid said. \u201cHe tried to stay strong for his brothers and for me. That is a lot of pressure for an 8-year-old to have.\u201d Such coping mechanisms are common, according to studies cited by the Substance and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Children often will act in non-age-appropriate ways to compensate for the parental deficiency of a drug-abusing parent. In hindsight, Reid wishes she had gotten her oldest son and his siblings into therapy. But for much of this year, she herself was in survival mode, and saw her biggest priority as giving her children a sense of normalcy. To that end she kept them as occupied as she could in their various activities and with friends. Like other partners affected by their spouse\u2019s drug abuse and in early recovery, Reid voices a seemingly endless list of \u201cshould haves.\u201d She feels like she \u201cfailed\u201d her oldest son, because she did not get him into therapy. She wishes she had not in episodes of anger told her sons \u201ctoo much,\u201d blaming Hope for the loss of their house and their challenging family circumstances. And Reid faces similar regrets about her relationship with Hope. During her own hospitalization, Reid says she realized she \u201cshould have listened\u201d to Hope more and \u201cshould have tried harder to find out what was going on.\u201d She believes that \u201cshe should have remained involved in the finances\u201d and \u201cshould have been [Hope\u2019s] go-to person.\u201d \u201cI should have made it easier for her to tell me she had a problem,\u201d Reid says now. Substance Abuse Prevention and Recovery \u2014\u00a0Benefits to Spouses and Families But Reid is also able to find multiple silver linings in her family\u2019s ordeal, even if the reality is she will \u201cnever fully recover.\u201d The friends who came around her and supported her, letting her and her children bounce from house to house during those first shell-shocked weeks after their family\u2019s eviction, are one. Another is the tremendous strength and untapped resilience she was able to discover in herself and her children in the midst of a genuine crisis. There are also the lessons related to substance abuse prevention and recovery that Reid has culled over the last year and a half. They are lessons she hopes will, in the spirit of Substance Abuse Prevention Month this month, encourage anyone, LGBTQ or straight, whose partner or spouse has a substance use disorder. For those walking similar paths, she offers the following tips: \tDon\u2019t be afraid to see and acknowledge the signs that your spouse has an addiction. \tAlways keep a positive outlook on life, no matter what. \tThe way of recovery is a new beginning. \tBelieve in your inner strength, and \u201cthat you have the power to overcome \u2026 and move forward.\u201d \t\u201cDon\u2019t let this define you.\u201d \tOnce you are stronger, your experience can help others \u2014\u00a0so don\u2019t be afraid to share it. In the sharing, you\u2019ll be furthering your own recovery. In the end, Reid believes walking with her partner through recovery from prescription painkiller abuse has taught her to listen better and to be more patient and more involved (staying more engaged with Hope relationally, through more regular check-ins and date nights). The end result has been a deeper capacity to offer Hope unconditional love. In the midst of these silver linings, navigating a trial separation these days has proven challenging and complex. \u201cIt is difficult when you live in the same house,\u201d Reid says. \u201cWe still end up doing things together because of our boys.\u201d And she adds: \u201cI still have so much anger, sadness and the betrayal to deal with that I don\u2019t know how much longer we will be in the same dwelling. However, my heart misses the woman I fell in love with so many years ago. I dream of the day when I will find her again. My biggest fear is that I will not, as trust has been broken on so many levels.\u201d Sources: \t\u201cImpact of Substance Abuse on Families,\u201d Treatment Improvement Protocols, SAMHSA \t\u201cOctober Is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month,\u201d National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence By Kristina Robb-Dover, M.Div. Follow Kristina at her Beliefnet blog \u201cFellowship of Saints and Sinners,\u201d or on Twitter at @saintplussinner.