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Husband of 23 Years Addicted

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My husband and I have been married 23 yrs and have 2 children together (1 -18yrs old still at home). He had back surgery 13 yrs ago and has been addicted to pain pills ever since. I’m so done! I have tried everything I can think of to help him, but he really doesn’t seem at all interested in changing and I’m at whit’s end. I’m so dead inside and our relationship is so empty – I’m really unhappy and unfulfilled. I have tried to leave him many, many times, but he never leaves me alone until I end up going back to him mostly because of our children. Now we have our 18 yr old son home, but he should be out on his own soon and my plan for a long time now has been to leave him asap. My kids are the only thing that has kept me here (other than the fact that my husband won’t let me go). We have grown so far apart from each other…we no longer even like the same things and I really have little desire to stay, even if he did change. I don’t know what to do…he makes me feel like I will ruin his entire life if I actually do get away from him. He suffers from pretty bad depression and has taken anti-depressants on/off since a child. All of his 5 brothers are also addicts (3 homeless due to drug abuse, enabling Mother). At his lowest, he would chew 13-60mg morphine every morning. He also drinks, smokes marijuana and would do almost anything, except shooting up (thank God). I am desperate to live my own life the way I want to live it and not be an emotional captive. Please help me!

Husband of 23 Years Addicted

Answered by on -


It seems the details of your story, the feelings that have grown around the situation, and your level of frustration all point to one conclusion: It is time to leave.

It sounds like the thing to do is to plan for your separation. I encourage you to do three things: First, get a legal consult so that you know your rights and the best way to plan. Second, I would begin individual therapy. If you need a therapist, the “find help” tab at the top of the page can help you find one in your area. Finally, I would develop your support network of friends, family, and a divorce support group.

These measures can help you move through this difficult time.

I would also let your husband know that you would like it if the two of you could go for some couples counseling — not so much for reconciliation at this point, but more for helping through this transition.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Husband of 23 Years Addicted

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Husband of 23 Years Addicted. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 19 Oct 2013)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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