Relationships after addiction

  1. Hi, have any of you been able to rebuild your relationships with success after addiction?
    I'm really trying and it seems to be going no where.
    My husband and I have been married for 25 years this coming Feb. It really seemed like we were getting closer after I finished rehab and starting working again. Now it seems like we are farther apart than we've ever been. I'm trying to understand he is still hurt after what I put him through for several years. We are currently in counseling and it seems like he is only concentrating on my faults. He needs to change to and I don't think he sees that. The way he talks to me makes me think he's ready to throw it all away.
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  2. 35 Comments

  3. by   SpankedInPittsburgh
    I can only share my experiences and opinions. I was married for 23 years and I drank a lot. Honestly I'd much rather party with my friends the spend time with my wife and family back then. I quit drinking and tried to make things work. I switched careers and we got into marriage counseling. I don't know if counseling really helps anybody but ours was as you describe wear we aired our many grievances against each other and it only pushed us farther apart. However, I honestly think the many years of bad feelings did our marriage in & when something is truly broke it stays broke. Tiff I pray this isn't the case for you. They say love conquers all but I can't agree. The fact that we stopped using has little to do with the resentments our significant other's carry around for our years of misdeeds (real or perceived). Anyway I wish you the best and you will be in my prayers.
  4. by   tiffpritRN
    Thank you. I'm sorry yours didn't work out. I'm praying ours does , but I can only do so much. He has to try too. I love him , it's just I feel like he's not admitting any wrong. One reason I starting drinking in the first place was to destress (or at least I thought) He would curse me like a dog. He doesn't now thank God. But he does yell a lot. We married really young . I'm only 45. We have 2 wonderful children- kayla is 17 and John is 11. I would really love for it to work out. Time will tell. Thanks for listening
  5. by   Twoyearnurse
    Relationships are tough. I didn't *just* get sober, therapy changed me. It changed the way I relate to my family and friends. Even if I had never used and just did therapy id be so very different (not bad different, just changed). It's hard for them.
  6. by   SpankedInPittsburgh
    Relationships are tough. I think in order for a troubled relationship to work both parties need to figure out what is wrong and be committed to changing that so they may come back together. If therapy helps facilitate that then that's wonderful but both parties have to be willing to change and not bear resentments of the past. My ex and I couldn't pull that off because we were never going to change from the fundimental people we developed into. Like you we married very young and as the years passed we became different people who simply grew apart. Therapy might hone the edges off a rough patch but it won't change fundimental differences or people who don't want to change
  7. by   berdeenbird
    Its funny you posted this, my husband and I have talked a lot of about our relationship this week. We both need to talk about what happened more, vent, and let it out. He feels bad because he knows it brings me such pain and I struggle every day with the HUGE amount of shame and guilt I still feel. Its better but it is still there and hurts terribly.

    What I hate is how it changed me and subsequently our relationship. I felt as though I didn't deserve anything anymore and therefor stopped seeking things for myself. I turned into a work horse watching my family have what they wanted while I watched from the sidelines. I didn't speak up for what I wanted because I didn't feel I had the right anymore.

    You slip into new routines and patterns of living and before you know it everything is a mess and we are all going 'how the hell did we get here?!' I hope you all find your way again.
  8. by   tiffpritRN
    Thanks berdeenbird . I hope and pray we do too.
    We have our next counseling session Wed. I'm praying we both get something out of it . He has periods were he's so angry with me - even 2 years later. I'm trying hard and praying hard. He even talked about divorce last night. I feel like he's ready to throw in the towel.
    Praying for all of you and your families , this is so difficult , to me it's more difficult than getting sober :-(
  9. by   Recovering_RN
    I was married 30 years before I got sober. We both drank a lot, he continued to drink. We grew apart, lots of resentments built up, before I quit drinking/using, but once I got sober I think I saw his constant drunkenness and his verbal abuse for what it was and I was no longer willing to put up with it. He also threw my getting fired back in my face a lot when we would argue. We never told anyone about it, or so I thought, so it was this big secret/shame that he held over my head. Perusing his text messages one day I realized that trust had been broken too. I should've known he wouldn't keep my secrets! His affairs from many years ago were impossible for me to forgive and forget after I got sober. Looking back, I realize it was a bad marriage that just continued because I was drinking and using all the time and had no energy to really make a fuss about anything else! Being sober gave me clarity. And my divorce was the best thing that could've happened for my self esteem!
  10. by   BCgradnurse
    Tiff-I'm sorry you are going through this. I was the sober half of a marriage, and I built up so much resentment over the years towards my ex. I felt I always had to be the responsible one, and that I always had to be on high alert. It was years of walking on eggshells, making excuses for him, my kids not wanting to have friends over, etc. My ex never got sober and we divorced. I don't think him getting sober would have saved our marriage. I was so angry at him for the drinking, and he was angry at me for not unconditionally supporting him. Perhaps your husband now feels it's safe for him to express his anger. I needed several years of counseling on my own to get back to feeling unafraid, happy, and to forgive my ex and let the anger go. Is your husband going to counseling on his own? Perhaps he could benefit from having someone he can talk to without you there. Life is different for both of you now,and even though your sobriety is a wonderful thing, it's still different and takes a lot of adjustment for you both.

    I wish you both the best.
  11. by   tiffpritRN
    Thank u BCgradnurse.. Yes, he has seen a counselor (just himself) but said he didn't think it did any good. He's stubborn when it comes to someone telling him what he needs to change. I feel like he thinks I'm the only one who needs to change and I've voiced that to him. The hardest part is there are 2 children in the middle . I know I've hurt him a lot in the past . I knew it would take time , and effort for our marriage to work out and in the beginning of my (our) recovery it seemed things were headed in the right direction.
    But now it feels hopeless. He told me last night he really wants a divorce. If that's what he wants then who am I to stop him. I know I'm working hard to stay sober and I'm going to keep it that way. Next month is my 2 year sobriety mark thank God.
    Thanks for listening and thanks for sharing your story. I'm going to give it to God and pray for the best
  12. by   Recovering_RN
    I've heard that after one spouse gets clean & sober, the other spouse often feels threatened by it, like now they compare negatively. They used to have the upper hand because they weren't the addict. Now the addict is sober and becoming more confident and complete within themselves, and the spouse can't control them anymore and they hate that! It happens all the time when one spouse becomes successful in their career, the other one feels threatened and insecure. Same kind of thing. Even if both spouses drank or used, if one gets clean, the other gets spiteful, like "so now you think you're better than me? You're not all that". And they can get mean because now they feel judged and they don't compare favorably.
  13. by   SpankedInPittsburgh
    I think that when many people get sober they expect their families to forget the past, forgive them and be ready to move on with life. The newly sober person has a sense of accomplishment that they are doing the right thing and putting their lives back together. They hope / expect that their families will be proud of them and perhaps even show a little gratitude for them pulling their life together. However, this does not always seen to be the reality. The spouse/family may think "you should be sober all along so what do you want now a prize"? This problem may be exacerbated when the other spouse chooses to continue to drink or drug. They may think you self-righteous especially if you were right there next to them partying for years. So what can we do? Ultimately we cannot control the actions and thoughts of anybody but ourselves. Expecting someone else to change after changing so late in the party ourselves is a tall order so maybe we ride this wave out or we recognize what cannot be changed.
  14. by   catsmeow1972
    I don't have so much addiction as mental health issues but thanks to having been shoved through the usual boilerplate program with massive conflict of interest issues i got steered me into treatment that was more focused on the $$$ in my family than my real needs, My parents unfortunately fell for the manipulative stories that this "treatment facility" (approved by the program, of course) recommended. And the irreparable damage started. I have lasting damage to the relationship with my parents. i am no longer the up and coming professional, homeowner, level I Trauma OR Nurse that i was 10 years ago. Now i am "45 years old, unable to keep a job, wholly dependent on my parents to not be living in my car," i feel like i am 12 years old when i have to ask for money to gas up said car. They are retired and in their 70's. I have a brother who is hugely, like with high 6 figure income successful, with a beautiful family. How am i ever going to fix this one? I am always going to be the family project.
    I didn't get sober. i didn't need to. I got *******. Yes, i know, angry much?

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