“When our story began, we were young, innocent, and totally in love with a bright future ahead of us. Everything was smooth sailing… Now I felt like I’d been thrown overboard.”
So writes author Anne O. Nimmus in this memoir, an intensely personal account of a marriage that devolves into chaos. The husband, never named, is a pharmacist; the author, a medical professional. They have young children and live in a large city. Nimmus (a pen name) notes that, while her book is “a work of nonfiction,” she has changed the names of people and places and fictionalized some events recounted.
The author’s husband takes what he considers a dream job at a small-town pharmacy, a position that requires a lengthy commute. With her husband away more and beginning to make excuses for his absences, Nimmus becomes increasingly depressed. Eventually the truth emerges: The husband is addicted to prescription medicines and has stolen them from his employer; now, in addition to being a far-gone addict, he’s a felon. His recovery will require years of legal and psychological interventions, and Nimmus must choose her future from a selection of onerous alternatives.
Nimmus is clearly an intelligent person and offers a harrowing tale of her inner anguish and striving to maintain an outward appearance of normalcy. At times overburdening readers with mundane details, she records seemingly minor events that inexorably snowball into panic, confusion, pain and anger.
She also boldly examines issues surrounding current treatment of addictions, both medical and societal, and although readers may question some of her analysis (is deliberate substance abuse really comparable to diabetes, for example?), she invites dialogue about aspects sometimes glossed over.
This account feels lengthy and could have been trimmed. Nonetheless, it may serve as a guide for others by raising questions about the nature of addiction and attitudes toward it, frankly recounting experiences that may resonate with those in similar situations, and reaching a hard-fought, positive conclusion.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.