How do I cope with helping my husband while not losing myself?



Hi, I am the wife of an addict. MY husband’s drug of choice is alcohol which then leads to binge use of Crack Cocaine which often would span days and hundreds of dollars. This has been ongoing much of his adult life (we are in our 30s). He has been to prison, rehab, and through a drug court program etc. to no avail. These binges have occured randomly, sometimes months apart sometimes only weeks. He has had the ability to remain sober for a period of time (mostly due to court mandated treatment), however; is currently back in prison serving time for his 5th DWI. Until this most recent stint in prison his drug abuse had lead to extreme psychosis. Although he is now somewhat more clear from being incarcerated, I am fearful of his wishy washy recovery especially due to his somewhat jaded idea of being in recovery. He believes because he is able to function that he is not like others.

For a little background, in between these 2 prison stints, he has managed to run a successful business, own multiple homes, get married and raise a daughter but is on the verge of losing everything once again after having the ability to build his life up after his initial prison stint in his 20s. HE is a generous loving husband and father, hard-worker and provider, however; that doesn’t excuse this behavior and he sometimes believes it does.

My question, is how do I be of support to him without jeopardizing my needs? I need to be happy in order to raise our daughter. I am extremely fearful of the return of this behavior once he is released. How do I as a wife support him without enabling ? I have told him multiple times that if his behavior returned him to prison or jeopardized our daughter’s stability that i could not support this marriage any more. I have begged for him to go to treatment yet he ensured he had it under control and knows what he has to do yet didn’t. I have been through a lot to stand by his side but I believe its doing more harm than good. It has been hard for me to accept that after 11 years, we are back in the same position of incarceration. While I am somewhat thankful because i know he could be dead due to extreme use, i am not sure i can continue down this path. It’s exhausting to deal with and I want the old person back, however; I don’t know that he exists.

i am looking for general guidance and suggestions on how to manage my situation.

thank you!!!


I’ve experienced similar qualities in my husband’s addiction. He’s now 4 years into recovery and though it’s not all easy he’s mostly thriving and gets stronger every week/month/year.

My thought is to put as much focus on your own thriving as your husbands. We can’t look after anyone when we’re depleted and showing them our ability to thrive can be inspiring to them also about how joyful life can be without substances. Do keep in mind our weekly meetup (Wednesdays 6pm EST) this coming week is focused on Self Care so will be a great one for you to join. Simply RSVP for that HERE.

In addition to rigorous self care, there are behavioral tools that we teach that help us determine when to take action and when to let natural consequences occur and how to know, set and live within our limits - this topic will also be useful for you: Limits as well as calling in your Support Team - the more help you can get for yourself and him the better. This lightens your load and helps him build community, which has been shown to greatly impact recovery.

As far as helping him build new skills, reinforcing his positive behaviors and considering how to intervene ahead of using patterns is a great way to use our influence and relationship to shape behavior. (We have specific meetup topics on these as well, which you might want to join in the coming weeks :))

None of these will solve things over night, but they can be immensely helpful over time.


Hi @JDodson518, I’m glad you found this group. Do you have people nearby to help support you? When I learned my husband was using opiates, I wanted to help but did not feel healthy myself and realized I needed to start focusing on me and loving myself again. I didn’t know how or where to begin. I told my sister about the situation but she lives across the country. She helped me find a therapist. That was my first step. My therapist taught me about boundaries - what they are and how to create them. Setting boundaries, or limits, is important in any relationship, especially with someone suffering from addiction. It’s important to understand that boundaries are for us - they are the lines we draw to ensure our own needs are met, to create a distinction between ourselves, our needs, our health and other people.

It can all seem very overwhelming, so my advice to you is just take it one step at a time. Focus on your needs at this moment. Go from there. Take care and come back to this space often to answer questions and read other posts - there is a lot of strength and hope here! :pray:t4::sparkles:


Thank you so much for your response. Yes, I am learning about boundaries and how to set them. I only wish I had reached out to a group such as this prior to his incarceration, perhaps it could have been avoided. But I can only move forward. Yes, I have a lot of family/friends who are available for support. A coworker of mine inspired me to use a support group once I told her about my situation. I have been actually saying this out loud and it feels like a relief. Take care!