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Should I Divorce My Husband Newly in Recovery from Alcoholism?

by Linda
(Scottsdale AZ)

I have been married to my husband for 12 years. He is an alcoholic. 6 months ago he got sober and has been in recovery and attending AA meetings working with a sponsor.

He got an apartment without asking me and moved out. He needed peace and serenity. He also consulted an attorney. I am in counseling alone and with him and attending Al-Anon. I was calling him all the time and sending endless texts to him which just pushed him away further.

I have stopped calling him and apologized for the harassment. I am not sure what to do or if he needs space in order to stay clean...


Hi Linda

The fact that your husband is in recovery and working at it is a positive and encouraging sign because it shows he's serious about turning his life around.

For many new in recovery, it can seem that their entire focus is on that, and spouses or partners may sometimes feel neglected. Don't take it personally, and understand that's simply part of the process he needs to go through.

For now give him the space he needs, but don't be afraid to also at some point voice what you need from him, so that you both know where you stand. A successful relationship is about communication so being able to communicate your needs is also important.

The fact that he's now serious about his recovery and living a life of sobriety means it seems premature to be thinking about divorce. Surely a husband who's sober is much better than one in the middle of active addiction?

Yes, some couples do grow apart, but I think it's a bit early to be making massive calls on your relationship. Give it time, and hopefully once he's more settled in his recovery, he'll be able to make more space for you again, rather than everything being directed towards his recovery. Balance is something one eventually learns as one progresses in recovery.

For now, focus on what you need to do to make you happy. Find your own life. Make peace with what's happened in the past. If your husband can sense you're also progressing and changing, it may make it easier for him to open up to you about the changes he's going through.

Al-Anon are an excellent support network, so make sure you tap into the people there for encouragement. You may also want to look at whether you are in fact struggling with codependency and what you need to do to learn how to have a healthy relationship because would have been impossible to do that when your husband was in active addiction.

This is very much a stage of change and uncertainty, so rather than resist it, embrace the process and let things unfold as they're meant to, trusting that everything will work out for the best in the end.

Good Luck and God Bless

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May 15, 2012
12 Step Program
by: Anonymous

My Grandmother became addicted to pills in her 40's after taking xanax for panic attacks. She went through the 12 step program and ended up pushing away all her family. The other people in her "group" eventually relapsed or lost touch and she was all alone when she died last year. I really think the program needs to be adjusted because this is a common issue.

The whole "it's all about you, everyone else's issues are on them" psychology is hurting people.

** The 12 step program was created in 1935 and became more popular during the 1940s, the same time Shock Therapy was being used to cure mental illness.

Sometimes methods need to be re-evaluated!!!

Jul 09, 2010
Run do not walk
by: Anonymous

My daughter-in-law was a severe drug addict...did not clean the house, did not take care of her child etc. Now she is "sober" but nothing else changed.
Her family (mother, father) abandonded her. We (her susbands family stuck by her. Now my son is not good enough for her. She just traded her drug family for the 12 step family. Just traded one addiction for another.
I am sure the 12 step program works for many, but with this one....all she thinks of is herself because according to her what she has learned is that she must focus on herself. What about her child that she dumps on everyone to attend meetings???? All she does is talk on the phone to her fellow 12 steppers ranther than bathing her daughter. Raising her daughter is left up to her husband and me the grandmother.
I am tired and feel used by this one. It is all about always has been. She works one day a week and you would swear she does double shifts each day. She looks like a beauty queen and if I did not mend my sons pants he would go to work with holes in them. Did I mention that he does all the cooking because she is too busy with recovery?????
Please help because I have had it. I thought it would be better when she got sober......she is not on drugs but still does not care for her family.

May 07, 2010
Give Him a Chance
by: Anonymous

Leaving him now means you haven't really given things a chance to see if they'll work now that he's achieved sobriety. Not all relationships work, even once a person changes their life and becomes sober/clean, but it's certainly worth trying now that he has. This is your chance to really try and get to know each other, because it's almost impossible to do that when a person is in the middle of an addiction. So have patience, make an effort and see where things lead. Hopefully it works out for the best. Good Luck.

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