Should I stay with my addicted or alcoholic husband?
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Choosing to stay with an addicted spouse
By Michelle Lisa Anderson
It is so difficult to watch the man you love slowly kill himself. You love him deeply and the idea of ever leaving him seems almost impossible. What would you do without him? Where would you go? How would you survive? And besides, isn’t that cruel? To turn your back on someone who is slowly killing themselves.
Besides, he is not bad all the time. Every now and then you see a glimmer of hope of he man you feel in love with. The charming, thoughtful, and kind man you know he was created to be. How could you walk away from the man you know he can become?
Here is the truth: you can’t leave him. Not really. But you know in your soul that being with him is damaging yours. You have family and friends telling you to leave him and asking you, “How can you put up with that?”. And a part of you knows they are right. Because in those dark moments of despair when he lies passed out or didn’t come home again, you feel crazy for staying.
You can’t leave him because you are still protecting him. You still pick up after him, do his laundry, make his appointments. Everyday you balance the role of mother and lover, depending on his mood and needs.
And his needs always come first. When he is upset or angry – you stop everything to take care of him. To nurture him. A part of you loves to feel needed., to pick up the pieces for him hoping to get some recognition and an apology.
Start your own recovery
So don’t leave. Not today or even tomorrow. Forgive yourself for not doing what everyone is telling you to do, and stay with him. Keep loving him. But if you ever want to be able to feel some sense of self worth you must start your own recovery and end co-addiction.
He is not the only one who needs treatment. His drinking and drug use is not just his issue to solve. It’s yours too. You are codependent. And that makes you an enabler. Don’t believe me? When you nag him or yell at him – you are feeding this horrible disease that is taking over your life. You are enabling. When you give him the silent treatment and refuse to talk to him until he tells you what you want to hear – you are enabling.
Yes, you are sick too. And anyone who has spent one second in your shoes would be too. This is an awful disease that takes over the life’s of the man who is drinking and using drugs and from those who love him. If you are asking yourself when to leave an addict, the answer might be that it’s time for you to get help.
You are not alone and there is hope for a bright, joyful future. But if you want different results you must start making different choices. Your health and spiritually must come first. When you start setting healthy boundaries your self-esteem will improve. It’s important to remember your dreams and
So, let’s agree that we are not going to focus on staying or leaving because we both know that it’s just not that simple. Instead, let’s choose to put our needs, dreams and health first. Let’s focus on ourselves and not his drinking. Make a commitment that your recovery will come first. You can’t control if he drinks or uses drugs but you can control your reactions.
Stay or leave?
Please leave your story or questions about living with an addicted husband below. We’ll do our best to respond to you personally and promptly.
Photo credit: Gregory Jordan