e final straw came for Rachel Moore early one morning in September 2015.
The West Hartford mother of two slipped out of bed after she heard her husband, Chris Moore, use the bathroom without flushing the toilet, being careful not to wake their infant son. Shaking, she unwrapped the drug test she had bought on Amazon and dipped it into the toilet water.
It was positive.
“I was so relieved when it happened,” Rachel said. “A lot of people ask me if I was angry with him. I never felt angry with him. I felt so relieved that he was going to get help and we had a shot of having the family that most people already thought we had. Or he would leave, and I would start my life over without the emptiness at home.”
The couple, both 34, are now celebrating Chris’ one year of sobriety by making necklaces and bracelets stamped with the words “Love an addict” to bring awareness to the realities of heroin addiction. They said they plan to sell the jewelery as a fundraiser to cover a scholarship for someone’s stay at The Plymouth House, the New Hampshire rehab facility where Chris went for treatment.
“You ask what got me to the point of wanting to stop or go to rehab or changing,” Chris said. “I would love if I took control of the situation and said, ‘Oh, I’ve got to stop this, I’ve got to change.’ That’s not my story. My story is my wife drug-tested me while I was sleeping.”
After Rachel confirmed her suspicions that Chris was using heroin — sometimes in front of their two small children — she said he begged her to keep his secret.
“When I got caught, my only thought was protecting my identity,” Chris said. “My first reaction was, ‘I can do this myself, [Rachel] can drug test me every day and we can keep this in-house.’ She was like, ‘I’m not your parole officer. I’m not signing up for that.'”
The drug use started recreationally when Chris was in his early 20s. He would get high off of painkillers and drunk with his high school friends but, Rachel said, she always assumed he would “grow out of it.”
Chris said he took prescription painkillers for an injury and later became addicted. At some point, Chris said, his dealer introduced him to heroin to maintain his addiction at a lower cost. Chris said he used daily, even while working at his family’s car dealership.
“I start taking drugs. Opiates is what I love,” Chris said. “They work perfectly. Any character defects I have are pretty much gone. I’m loose, comfortable, happy. I’m high. I take drugs for the effect that they produce on my body and my mind. I was effective at work. Things like cleaning the bathroom all of the sudden are the best part of my day if I’m the highest at that point in time.”
When Rachel was seven months pregnant with her eldest son, she said, Chris stopped going to bed with her, preferring to stay up late. She learned later that he was staying up to use heroin.
“He had a friend at the time … who he would use with, who brought him drugs in the hospital after my delivery with my first son,” Rachel said. “When my older son was 6 months old, [Chris] stopped being friends with that guy, thinking if he got rid of that friend, he could kick the habit. Obviously, he didn’t.”
At first, Chris said, the cost of the drugs was really low and the effectiveness was really high. But that changed.
“By the end, I don’t know when it happens, but when it happens, those two things are reversed, and I can’t stop,” he said. “Now they are not doing anything for me. Heroin was not even really getting me high by the end.”
The couple’s marriage soon deteriorated, and they had been in marriage therapy for almost two years by the time Chris went into rehab, Rachel said.
She said she suspected Chris was using drugs and would confront him about it, but he would deny it. She said that she even mentioned her suspicions to Chris’ brother but that he seemed to think it was impossible.
After rehab, Chris attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings every day for three months, Rachel said. He currently attends twice a week.
As Chris neared his first-year anniversary of sobriety, Rachel said, she asked him about sharing his story on her blog to raise awareness about the issue and promote the fundraiser.
The couple decided to go public in late September, when Rachel published a post on her blog detailing Chris’ struggle. He was very open to the idea, she said.
“I don’t think he realized how much attention it would get,” she said. “He was so used to a life of secrets and lying that he was trying to do anything to be unlike that person.”
Though the couple’s immediate family had already known about Chris’ struggles, their extended family called to express their shock in the days after Rachel published her story, she said.
She said she hoped that sharing their story and raising money for The Plymouth House would help another family in their position. Part of the AA 12 steps of recovery used at The Plymouth House is helping other addicts, Chris said.
Rachel said she also hopes the jewelery and the couple’s story will allow people to have open conversations about addiction and shed light on how addiction affects people from all walks of life.
“Look at my family, who lives on a nice street in West Hartford and can afford to have nicer cars and nicer clothes,” she said. “We are smiling when we are in public, but there are struggles going on at home.”