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I Feel so GUILTY

by Cheyenne

I was married for 10 years. My husband and I divorced 4 years ago due to his constant drinking, drugs, lies, stealing, and physical abuse to me and the kids.


I gave him many chances but he didn't care. So, I took the children and moved across the country. I am doing very well now. However, since I have left things have slowly gotten worse for him.

Since then, he has spiraled completely out of control to the point where he has been in and out of mental institutions and rehabs for addictions. He has lost his mind. The children will call him and he will have no memory of who they are.

Its hard to believe that alcohol can cause this insanity. Sometimes I wonder if I should have stayed and took care of him since this will be his life, but at the time I didn't understand how hard an addiction was.

Now, instead of being so angry like before, I am sad for him. I am not in love with him but I do care. Some friends in similar situations say they are proud of me and wish they had my courage to leave, but I cant help feeling guilty.

I feel guilty that I made things worse. I remember feeling trapped, afraid, DEPRESSED when I was with him, we just couldn't live like that anymore. Now we are divorced and I should feel better but I feel horrible just the same!!

I just cant move on and let him kill himself! Sometimes I feel so sick with worry and guilt. I know he is not my responsibility and Its time for me to move on. But how?

Alcoholism-and-Drug-Addiction-Help.com Answer



You have taken on responsibility for something you shouldn't be taking responsibility for ... someone else's well-being and happiness, especially when that person has no desire to do it for themselves.

Your ex-husband has chosen a life of alcoholism. CHOSEN. You need to understand that. He may not have chosen the illness, the addiction, but he has chosen not to get well and continue his life of insanity and self-destruction.

So if you were there with him, nothing would be different. He would still be doing what he's doing. Except then it wouldn't only be his life he's destroying, but also yours and the children's. Is that a life you want for your kids?

You have to remember these three core fundamental principles relating to someone else's alcoholism or addiction. 1) You didn't CAUSE it. 2) You can't CONTROL it. 3) You can't CURE it.

Until your ex-husband is ready to help himself and decides he WANTS to overcome his alcoholism, nothing in the world you do will help him. In fact, what you've been thinking would not help him, it would just further enable him and keep him sick and on his self-destructive path even longer.

You did absolutely the right thing. It's now time to move on and let go. If not for yourself, then for the children, because exposing them to that environment again would be the worst thing imaginable you could do to them. Get counseling if need be, join support groups like Al-Anon and CoDA (coda.org), and this will all become a lot easier to deal with.

You can get through this! Good Luck and take Care.
P.S. You may also want to get yourself Help! I'm In Love With An Addict because even though you're no longer married, there is still a lot of information in there that will help you process this and move on.

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You're absolutely right
by: chey

Thank you. Shortly after writing this I found out he was not only drinking but doing hard drugs as well. This explains the behavior and memory loss. It is really sad. I am ready to stop feeling this guilt. "I did not cause this, I cannot control it, and I can not cure it". Thanks again.

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