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Support for Addicts Wife?

Joan Jerkovich - February 10, 2014 7:00 am

My husband has recently gotten his addiction to alcohol and pills under control. He’s following his recovery program but I feel like I’m walking on eggshells around him. He has all this support but I need support too. Any help?

You do need support, and you deserve support. When you are in a relationship with an addict your life can feel like it’s not your own. An addiction can pervade every area of your life and your relationship and just because your husband is newly sober or in recovery doesn’t magically make all the problems his addiction created go away. Darn. Wish it did?

While I’m sure you’re happy that he has started down the road to recovery, do you feel like you’re expected to throw up a resounding cheer of praise while showering him with an “atta boy” or “good for you”, even though you resent that he took you down the road of addiction to begin with? Do you harbor resentment over what his addiction did to your relationship and family? Has he come around to being a true partner now that the drugs and alcohol are under control, or are you still the one holding things together? Has his recovery taken away all of his character flaws, such as lying? One opinion I have about addicts is that when you live with an addict, you live a life of lies. Lying about their drug use is part and parcel to their denial of how bad their addiction is. They lie to you and they lie to themselves.

This is tough stuff. For help, cultivate your own support systems. Find a support group, supportive friends, counselor or pastor who will help you through this new way of sober living. Take care of your needs while you support your husband with his sobriety. Focus on healing the resentment or other issues you carry as a way of making your life better. I’m sure you know that relapse is a very real possibility, even though at this time you are both hopeful. Set personal boundaries for what you will and will not tolerate if his sobriety doesn’t hold fast. While not everyone agrees with me, I personally think that addiction is a medical disease process, not an isolated issue of a weak willpower. If you haven’t already, elicit the help of your Doctor and a trained addiction specialist. Take the steps you need to be proactive versus reactive as you move toward emotional and physical health. Finally, there is one last thing to remember, and that is that if your husband should relapse, you are in no way responsible! The addict is 100% responsible for their choice to return to their addictive habits.

Listen to my radio show podcast on how recovery does not erase the character flaws a person has. Once sobriety takes hold, you can no longer blame the drugs and alcohol for all your problems, and each of you may need to take a long hard look at your own personal and personality issues as you move toward a healthier lifestyle and relationship. Yes, I said each of you, because you too may be holding on to issues you need resolved. I feel great compassion for you and your husband; those people who are struggling with addiction, and those (non-addicted) persons who love them. Thank you for submitting your Life Coaching question.

Joan Jerkovich, BCC Joan Jerkovich, BCC
The Joan Jerkovich Show
News Radio 1150 KSAL
Saturdays @ 6:05 & 7:05 am CST
Podcast posts to KSAL.com Mondays
 

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Who is Joan? What is a Board Certified Life Coach? How do I call her show or send her a life coaching question? Find out @ Joan Jerkovich

 

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