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Doc@DrIrene.com

Codependence

Help! My Husband Uses

Subj:    Help! What can I do?
Date:    1/20/99 
From:   Ann
To:       Dr Irene

Dear Dr. Irene,

My husband is a very good provider and we live a comfortable life. He is also an addict. When he uses he is horrible to me and our kid. He promises to stop using but I used to catch him all the time and used to throw out what I found. I went to  ALANON and learned I had to get a life. I got it together and have a career. I live a life with our young daughter and he is not involved very much. I stopped throwing out his drugs and stopped looking for them. We don't even fight because I don't care when he is lying to me. I even saw a counselor for a while. She suggested an intervention, but we have no good family and few friends to do it with. Now I think I did everything I was supposed to do and he still uses. I don't want to leave him and that is what ALANON is telling me. The advice is stay and take it or leave. I don't want either one. I want him sober. What can I do?

Ann

Dear Ann,

The problem is that you cannot make your husband stop using, but you already know that. You made many changes in yourself to stop enabling him, but you have not yet accepted the hard reality that your husband runs his own life, whether you like it or not, despite what you do or don't do.

When you stay, you accept the conditions that are. You don't have to like them. You can work towards accepting what is and towards disengaging more. On the other hand, you leave when you are no longer willing to accept what is and want to create a different place for yourself. There are no guarantees, but your leaving could provide the major wake-up call he needs to begin the sobriety process. Or not. (You do not leave because you hope to jar him into sobriety. That is acting out.)

I wish I had a magic wand. I don't. The reality is that you have control of your own life - only. My prayers and best wishes to you both.

Dr. Irene