Wednesday, June 9, 2010

How long do you stand by a spouse with a drug or alcohol addiction?

Dear WIFE,

I would like to make a topic suggestion; how long do you stand by a spouse with a drug or alcohol addiction? 

Curious WIFE   

This is a good question, but honestly hard for me to answer. Mainly because I personally haven't dealt with that with my spouse. My husband doesn't even drink alcohol! Not even a little bit! Now that I am thinking about it, I did deal with it from a daughters perspective. My mother and stepfather were married 10-11 years before he started using drugs. I think the drugs led to cheating and that is what ultimately broke them up (besides the fact they knew seemed to be really IN LOVE, now that I know what being IN LOVE is). I have really never talked about it to my mom about what was the ultimate reason, but I know soon after I found out about the drugs, he was out of there. This subject is hard because I could say all day I would leave him! But being in that situation is another story.

I think you have to ask yourself many questions: "Do I really love my husband enough to stay with him through this addiction?" "Am I willing to help him get over this problem?" "How will it affect my children?" "How will I help them deal with this?" "Is this an addiction that will take days, months, years to get over?" "Will his addiction financially ruin this household?" "Can we recover?" "Is this worth it?" "Can I trust God to deliver my spouse?" "If he relapses, can I handle starting over helping him again?" I really can't put a time stamp on this question. The answer is more about what's in the heart of the WIFE (or hubby) whose dealing with a spouse that is struggling with an addiction. In your heart or gut, you know your limits and how much you can take. I do hope some women out there who read this, really comment and give you a better answer. God Bless you.


Mr. Man. said...

There is no right or wrong answer. Every addition is different and every situation is different as well. It also depends on when the addition started. If it was a problem when you were dating then you knew what you were getting into so maybe you should hang in there. But if it started after the marriage then that’s a different story. Then you have to look at the length of the marriage. Weight the pros and cons. like in the movie Why Did I get married? Write the pros and cons down and see if it helps make a decision. When it comes to drug addition there are so many variables. Only the spouse can make that decision. I come from a big family and have seen first hand the effects of alcoholism and it’s a ugly thing to deal with. Tough love is the hardest to give someone but that is what it usually takes. What most people don’t realize is that no addict can exist without a co-dependent. Some one has to help them by giving them the funds to feed that addition one way or another. I think if society focuses more on co-dependency than it may shed more light on how most drug addicts can exist as long as they do. I have actually heard some people say I help them (the drug addict) so that way I know what and where they are doing. I don’t have to be worried they are out in the streets where they can get hurt. NEWS FLASH, THE DRUGS ARE HURTING THEM NOT THE STREETS. I know I may have got off the subject a little, but I really hate to see good people lead bad lives due to additions. This is just my opinion.
Mr. Man

Chrissy said...

I think you stay until they are over their addiction. When I married my husband I promised him that I would be there for him in sickness and in health. I wouldn't leave him if he had cancer. Drug/alcohol addictions are illnesses. If we as wives can't help them get through an addiction, then who will? Who will they turn to for help? Not only do we owe it to our husbands but we owe it to our children. I could never turn my back on him when he needs me the most.

Mr. Man. said...

Chrissy you make a good point, and I applaud you for that. That’s why every case is different. Only you know what you can or can’t take. I know they say that drug and alcohol addictions are considered an illness. But I wonder is it really? I think it should be treated as such but I also think the difference is that one is a choice and one is not. I’m not saying this in a judgment al since, because we all have made choices they we would like to change. Your point about sickness or in health is a very good reason to stay and help your spouse on the road to recovery. I have seen it happen both ways. I’ve have known people who have stayed and it worked. My mom stayed with my dad and his drinking really never stopped while she was living. He was always a good provider but still he was a functional alcoholic. It was about 3 to 5 years after she pasted away that he got on the road to recovery. Maybe there should be a follow-up topic (how addicts affect those around them.
Mr. Man.

ToshaDevon said...

I think the previous comments were on have to be in the situation to know what you are going to do. I would try to help my sig other before throwing in the towel. Drug addiction is something that I have a low tolerance for, however, I would help him out. But if it started affecting my children and our livelihood then I would have to choose my children and their future over him. But I wouldn't make that decision lightly. Thanks again B for this format!!

Southern Wifey said...

I was living with a man back in the early 90's... We were both in our twenties at the time. He started using crack. I was so unaware of what was happening for about 1year... The things he told me were almost believable.
Example, Sega game was damaged and it is in the shop now, I loaned money to my mother, I have to work over time, my check was way short. Then one day I dropped him off at the grocery store and he asked me to come back... I just moved the car and watched him come right out the other door of the store and did not see him until the next day. My sister told me I believe XXX is on crack because he is tripping. Then one day I decided to change the living room around and I found the crack pipe under the sofa!!!!! I put the furniture back in the original position and I did not say a word to him about it. I started stacking my paper and was out of the relationship within 6 months. That six months went on forever.. he began to not bath, brush his teeth it was ridiculous.... oh yeah his dealer came by the house to collect (CRACK on CREDIT) and I had one child at that time and I let him know clearly that he needed to deal with XXX and not me. Every situation is different especially when married. I would still say 75% probable that I would leave my spouse.

Ariana said...

You know you have to take a moment and consider how much do you truly love that person because the road to recovery is not easy and it effects the WHOLE family. Now since you are married let's assume your committed to the "till death do us part" vows you spoke at the begining. The process and journey of dealing with an addiction will change you in such a way you may gain an addition or even you children. Now it may not happens right away but the results have a lasting effect. Loved ones who cope with an addicted family member may become Codependant, controlling, and over barring because they are working so hard at trying to fix their "family, loved one, & life".
So you must always remember at some point you have to allpw that person to make the change for themselves, and all you will be able to do is pray. Even God allows for us to be given up and over to our sinful desires if we seek it long enough. But, he never leaves you.

My person opion is marriage is a process where two souls become one, and just as children can not choose their parents couples should not be able to just get up and leave the situation because it gets hard. But, prayer is the only for sure answer because each sitaution is different and we can not determine the lesson God is trying to teach the addict or ourself.

Be Blessed,

Anonymous said...

Dear Curious Wife,

From everything I know on the subject (and I know a lot) and from personal experience, the advice I would give you is to leave him until he shows that he is or has gotten it together. If you don't everything you love dearly will go down the tubes: money, possessions, self=respect, self esteem and worse.

It may be admirable to stay with him but you have to remember that we have to allow our loved ones to get their own lessons. If we "enable" whatever their problem is or go along with it, we're not helping them . . . in fact, we are hindering them. That person needs everything that's "supposed" to happen to him to learn what he needs to learn.

You have to do what you think is best but that's the advice I have. It's not easy. When I was faced with this situation, it's exactly what I did. Boy am I glad I did because he continued to abuse drugs for 10 more years!! He was also very angry with me at the time but, thanks me today for leaving him.

I hope I was able to shed some light on the situation for you or enlighten you in some way.

Good luck and God Bless,

preciousthesurvivor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

preciousthesurvivor said...
I am an ex-wife who has been through this. Shortly after my marriage began I found out that my husband, was smoking crack. After catching him 3 times and allowing him to cry and apologize, I gave him an ultimatum. He chose to go into rehab. He stayed clean for 4 years and began smoking crack again after quitting his medication. I couldn't go through that struggle again, and made the decision to leave him after he threatened my life. It is a struggle to fight an addiction, though its a bigger struggle for the spouse to cope with the mental distress and not being able to trust the one you have chosen to spend your life with.

June 14, 2010 3:28 PM