Advice on how to deal with a loved one's relapse after 9.5 years of sobriety?



My fiancee and I have been together 9 years and he was clean 9.5 years before he relapsed about 6 months ago, so I have never know him as a drunk/ pill head and I promise you I don’t t like this version of him at all! He is loud and disrespectful and he has never been that way to me or my daughter’s. He went to treatment for 17 days and came home and I immediately knew he wasn’t serious about it bc the way he acted and he relapsed 2 weeks later! He s going back to treatment tomorrow and I promise you if he isn’t serious this time I refuse to live this life again! I was married for 16 years to an addict that was one mean S.O.B. and I have to love myself at some point! I don’t know why he started after 9.5 years bc he was so proud of his sobriety


Wow! 9 1/2 years is awesome. I guess this is just a reminder that recovery is a lifelong process and the risk of relapse is always there. Was there something that triggered this? Did you see any signs leading up to this? Was he involved active recovery groups? My S/O has struggled his whole life. This year he made 4.5 months sober and I was devastated. I can only imagine how you must feel especially since you didn’t know him prior to his sobriety.

Dealing with and loving a person in active addiction is not easy as you know from your previous marriage. You may have to set up some serious boundaries for yourself and your daughters. Are these his daughters too? How are your daughters handling this?

Example boundaries I’ve had to set up with my S/O:
I cannot have him around me or my kids when he’s drunk.
I will block him on text or phone if he gets nasty Or negative.
I will not go to stores with him when he is drunk.
I will not come over his apartment when he’s drunk.
He must be in recovery for us to move forward in our relationship.

Obviously, everyones boundaries will be different based on each situation. My S/O is very mean when drinking. So my boundaries have to be very strict to protect myself and others.

The other thing that’s important is self care. For example, my S/O was being kind of negative today. Not sure if he was drinking or being a dry drunk. In the past I would have wallowed in this behavior. Maybe laid around and let myself get depressed. Not saying I didn’t get upset or have tears. But today instead of wallowing, I went out into my garden, made dinner, and enjoyed my day. I also blocked him when he started to get too negative. Self-care might include gardening, yoga, meditation, getting a massage, seeing friends, reading, therapy, or groups such as Alanon. For me Alanon and other recovery groups had helped a ton. Therapy has helped and keeping close to my friends has helped too.

My thoughts are with you. You are not alone.


Hi @acarper74 - How are you doing? How is your family right now? I’m sorry to hear you’re in this situation, especially after your partner has been clean for so long. My husband was clean from heroin for 8 years before he relapsed - hard. The difference was his recovery program. For 8 years, he took Suboxone. No therapy, no groups, no self work. Just relied on medication to control his urges. And since he was able to stay clean, I didn’t work on myself, either. No self care, no Al-Anon meetings, no therapy, no learning about the disease of addiction.

His relapse was a wake-up call for both of us, and our lives changed. We realized the importance of the mind/body/spirit connection, the importance of mental health and connection and communication and vulnerability and forgiveness and trust and courage and hope. We are still going, and we are better than ever, and it’s still scary and the future is still unknown but we’ve gone through a lot and I’m certain we can get through anything. You and your partner can, too. It just takes a lot of work and trust in yourself.

Sending you love. :pray::sparkles:


Thank you so much for your response! He went back in to rehab on Thursday and apologized to both of my daughter’s, my mother and cried when he kissed our Granddaughter ( 20 months old) goodbye. The girls are mine 22 and 24 still living at home my 24 year old is special needs, he is so great with her! He called me today and sounds really positive and told me he misses me and the kids and that he is so sorry for putting us through a living hell! Yes we did see little signs like slacking on his meetings and work got very rough. Idk he told me to never think any of this is my fault bc it is his problem and he will get back to the old him. I’m praying to God he will bc he is an amazing man and I feel blessed to have him

In our lives just not like this! I have to love myself and feel like more than a door mat! He went from a man that had NEVER raised his voice at me in 9.5 years to cocky ass! I know he loves all of us he just needs to learn self love! Please pray for us and I will pray for you!


Hi, I’m hanging in there and so are my kiddos. He went to rehab and they released him 9 days later. He has been doing really good so far and has really tried to step up with the kids. He has been going to his meetings and is trying to reach someone from the counciling dept but yeah that’s been bs bc they haven’t called him back. All and all it is going okay so far we have really been trying to reconnect and he has been trying to be more attentive to my needs instead of everything always being about him. We have a lot of work to do as a family and I pray he stays clean. We love him so much but this is it for me I won’t live this life again after my 16 year marriage that was abusive. Thank you so much for asking this group has really helped me a lot.


We knows relapse is a part of recovery, 9.5 years of sobriety time is a huge time. You should find out the what triggered him towards relapse? Recovery is a life ling journey, in this journey up and downs will come for sure. We have to follow the one day at a time concept and follow the treatment plan and medication.
One more thing is there we have to understand the types lapse and relapse and how they occurs, what are the sigh and symptoms of lapse or relapse.
If can learn to understand those then may be we can save him from relapse.
Don’t loose hope he will get back on track, be with him , take care of yourself first then your partner and family members.


I am still hanging in there with him and my grown daughters are also supporting him, they see him as their dad bc he has been there for them so much more than their own dad! He is an amazing grandpa to my granddaughter also. He is a good man and he is slowly coning back to us! He is in outpatient rehab now and going to several meetings a week only 2 days he doesn’t bc they are inactive due to the pandemic. We talk much more and do so much more together, this was a big eye opener for both of us! Thank you for the kind words of wisdom :sparkling_heart: