Saving a Marriage with a Recovering Addict

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Q: My husband was addicted to crack. I knew something was wrong for the last two years but had no idea what it was. one day he got pulled over and went to jail for possession. He called me from jail and let me know he had a drug problem. I considered splitting up with him but I love him and i want our marriage to work. I have given him one more chance. I have given him rules to follow and if he doesn’t follow them, then I’m through with him. my question is he has ruined my trust for him .if he does what he is supposed to do, will i ever trust him again? every time he does something strange I end up constantly asking him is he back on the stuff. I lived that life for two years and if I see any behavior that looks odd , I feel I have to ask him about it. He lied to me and hid things and the trust is totally gone. I feel like I have to stay in high alert so I will be ready for anything. I am always stressed out and I find it hard to relax, I’m scared that we might end up back in that old life and I refuse to go there. I want my husband back the way he was before this problem. Am I just fooling myself into thinking he can change? He will go to court soon and if he gets probation where they drug test every week, I think I will be able to relax more, because I will know for sure that he is clean. Do you have any advice for me on if I will be able to trust him again? I feel like I worry about things too much. I don’t like people who cheat, steal or lie and I feel like he has done all three. Any advice would be really helpful to me. Thank you.

A: Of course you’re sressed out. You love your husband and you don’t want him to get caught up in that life again. Of course you are “on his case”. You’re scared. But, here’s the thing: If you don’t find a way to give him a little room, he’ll never have a chance to prove to you and to himself that he has what it takes to manage recovery over the long term.
The most important thing you can do for yourself and your husband is to get involved in AL-Anon. You are feeling alone, scared, and uncertain. You don’t know what to say or how to react to different situations. You want to stand by your husband but you don’t want to be a fool.
The Al-Anon program was developed for spouses of people with addiction. They have many years of experience to offer you and a safe and confidential place to talk to other people who are going through the same thing. Please don’t try to go this alone. It’s really too hard.
I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2006

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2006). Saving a Marriage with a Recovering Addict. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2006/04/30/saving-a-marriage-with-a-recovering-addict/