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My Husband and I have Been Separated for a Year Due to his Drinking and Alcoholism. He’s Been Sober for a Year Now – Should I take him Back?

I finally kicked my husband out about a year ago now because of his alcoholism and ongoing drinking. It had reached the stage where I just had had enough and couldn’t continue anymore. I was tired of the continued broken promises, feeling let down, and I was conscious of the effect his drinking and our continuous fighting was having on our kids.

It’s now a year later and he says he wants me to take him back and give him a second chance. I’m torn as to what to do? I feel like I’m starting to get my life on track again and am scared that if I let him back and he lets me down again, I don’t know how I’ll get through it. But I do still love him and know that it’s important for our children to have their father around.


You don’t mention what your husband has done to get a year of sobriety under his belt. Has he worked a program of recovery like the 12 steps through AA, or has he simply managed to somehow abstain from using alcohol for this long?

Because that makes a very big difference on the likelihood of him staying sober going forward should you get back together. If he hasn’t been working a program of recovery, he may be no more than a dry drunk – who apart from no longer drinking, still experiences most of the same mental and behavioural characteristics an active alcoholic would. So then also having got what he wants, i.e. a reconciliation - there may be no further reason for him to continue abstaining - and hitting the bottle hard again may well be the result.

But if he is actively working a program of recovery, it shows you he is serious about his recovery, and that he’s undergoing the mental, emotional and spiritual changes required to hopefully ensure he avoids relapsing.

At the end of the day though – there are no guarantees and there is a risk involved. So before you even think about taking him back, you may want to sit down with him and have a serious discussion about where he’s at – and ensure you put sufficient boundaries in place as condition of a reconciliation.

Those might include things like him having to actively work at his recovery by attending regular AA meetings and working the 12 steps (you might agree to go to Al Anon as support), going to couples therapy so you guys can work through and unresolved issues, and that if he does ever touch a drink again, that’s it and he will be out for good this time.

So don’t just rush into allowing him back. Give it some serious thought – and think about the kinds of boundaries you need to put in place. You want to get some outside help on that from an Addictions Counsellor or Therapist.

It is a difficult decision to make, but I’m sure with some reflection and deep contemplation you’ll make the right decision. And don’t under-estimate your ability to get over things if they do go wrong again. You’ve proved to yourself you can do it ... so there’s no reason you couldn’t do it again. You’re more resilient than you think.

Take care and God bless

Comments for My Husband and I have Been Separated for a Year Due to his Drinking and Alcoholism. He’s Been Sober for a Year Now – Should I take him Back?

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Oct 04, 2009
by: Anonymous

I admire your courage....I am in the process or separating from my alchoholic. I had not thought about, what if he can get sober would I take him back?? Wow, I guess you just take one day at a time and if it is God's will it will be.

Oct 04, 2009
No shortcuts to recovery
by: Morgan

There are no shortcuts to recovery, so unless your husband is working some kind of program, it's unlikely his not drinking is sustainable. Go to a few Al Anon meetings and speak to members there who have been through what you have. I agree with the above suggestions, take it slow and if you do decide to get back, make sure those boundaries are loud and clear so that there can be no misunderstandings about what your expectations are (and I'm sure he might have a few of his own). All the best.

Oct 04, 2009
Take it slow
by: Anonymous

Just take things slow. Maybe try dating a while first and see how that goes, and then you can also see how he is and whether you really think he's changed or if its just talk. It can work, but just be careful and don't rush. Good luck.

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