How to stay married when husband relapses and battling his disease?


Hi ladies, I’m new to this forum. Actually I’ve never once ever done one of these forums like this besides mom groups.

I just celebrated 15years of sobriety. I am very active in program and have been since day 1. My husband and I met thru program friends. Married 10 years. 3 children ages 9, 7 and 6.

Husband was supposed to have taken 15years in September as well. But disappeared 2 consecutive Friday nights at a hotel. After 2 a very months, he disclosed that he had used cocaine. (Which I already knew… I tested him after he came back the 2nd night) I was uber soft with him and loved on him as I realize the nature of this disease.

When he finally opened up to me, he also disclosed that that multiple episodes of using have been going on for the past 7.5 years. (!!!)(WTF)

I was at a loss for words… but somehow managed to stay objective until the following week when he shut down again. All defenses were up on him and his resentments were seething.

Ladies, unless he is willing, open and honest to me (no telling me it’s “none of my business”) I simply can’t see us moving forward.

He is apparently a master at hiding. A master manipulator. (Which I knew already,lol) and he he is also a sex- addict. There have been years of on/ off phone sex he has accounted for as well.

Again. I see the addiction playing here. I understand this disease very well. I just have zero experience from the Alanon perspective. I’ve never dealt w an active alcoholic within our family circle. There is a very small tribe of people whom I’ve opened up about this. But I feel myself getting sick from all of this. I’m in fear he’s going to keep gaslighting and turn this all around on me as if it’s “my fault”. I fear of losing my marriage. I fear of losing him. At 46yr old, he is no image of health and I fear an OD.

He says he is physically sober. However I see zero humility. Zero accountability. Only defensive anger. So… to me. This is not “sober”. That is brittle and dry.

We are currently sleeping in separate rooms. I have no desire to be sexually intimate with him when he is shutting me out like this which only fuels his anger. We talk about getting separated, not divorced, but time apart.

I know a few things only:

A.) I do not want to get divorced. And am nervous about a separation.

B.) I can’t trust him for anything

C.) I don’t know how to handle all of this

D.) If we stay together… can I ever trust again??

How do you do this?? How do you keep your cool and stay married to them without completely losing yourself in the process??

I’m so grateful for your time and insight



Oh @HeatherBeHereNow, I hear you. All of it. Three years ago, my husband relapsed after 8 years clean from heroin. Since then, there have been multiple slips. Each time he slips, I wonder - how long can I keep doing this? how long can I handle the lies? what am I doing? Each time he slips, he gets stronger. We get stronger. Yet even now, when he is clean, I continue to question the truth because I’m no longer able to trust anymore - something I am working on every day. I even wonder if trusting another human being is possible, knowing that it’s a part of being human to hurt and be hurt, make mistakes, fall and grow, lie and forgive. I suppose I trust that humans will fall and that love will bring us back up, always. Trusting in that Higher Power has helped.

It also helps me to remember that recovery is possible. He’s done it before, he can do it again. It’s not a straight line. You have recovered. Your husband has recovered. A relapse doesn’t erase the work you both have done, and it doesn’t mean recovery is not possible again.

I can only focus on right now. Sure, I can plan for the future, but getting lost in the what-ifs is not helpful or productive. Sometimes I start to lose a little hope when I see so many wives of heroin addicts eventually leave their husbands, like it’s inevitable, like that’s my future no matter what I do. But I stay focused on the present. We’re married and happy right now, and right now is all we have. One day at a time.

Recovery takes a lot of work from everyone, as you already know. Don’t forget to be willing, open and honest to him and to yourself as well.

Welcome here! It’s a great community. :pray::sparkles:


You are so beautiful and so right. This is exactly what I need to hear. Get out of fear and into faith. I am innately such a hopeful person & I believe so deeply that change is always possible. And to the believe in the “what if”. But I have steered myself into the negative arena and have been a bit stuck. You are right. At this present moment he is ok. We are ok. (Well…we are very rocky, but salvageable). I need to remember to stay present. Thank you so much for this gift this morning :heart:


Hi Heather,
I’m sorry for you. This is so tough. My husband relapsed a few years ago after being sober for 10 years. He’s an alcoholic and sex addict. In 2007 he went to treatment for alcoholism, got a sponsor, and he worked the 12 steps, After being sober for 4 months, he started having an affair with a woman he worked with. I didn’t find out for three more months. We had three little children and I was a stay at home mom. I knew this affair was his addiction. I was willing to hang in there while he got himself figured out. However, I was not willing to let him live in the house while he was having an affair. That was my boundary. It took him several more months to break off the affair and finally he did and that is when I really saw a change in him. Truly remorseful, honest, transparent, loving, kind, and humble. That lasted for years. However, he would not 12 step the woman problems. I asked him to but he didn’t think he needed to. In 2015, his boss got investigated by the FBI and then arrested and as I look back, that was the beginning of my husband’s relapse. He was getting irritable, restless, and discontent. I was busy taking care of the kids and he had been sober so long that it didn’t even occur to me what was happening. But it wasn’t my job to monitor his sobriety. Then my husband wanted to take a new job in Utah. We had lived in Indiana all our lives and all our family was in Indiana. Again, I wish I would have realized what was happening, but I didn’t. He was or his addiction was isolating us. We moved to Utah and within 9 months my husband quit his job here and took a job back in Indiana. He started an affair with his married subordinate within a few weeks of starting his dream job as CEO. He was supposed to commute back and forth to Utah and each weekend. I could tell he was getting more and more angry and hateful. I found out about this affair and he got fired for this affair too. She was married and his administrator. He knew better than to ever do this but addiction doesn’t care. He also seemed manic. I suspect he has bipolar disorder as well. He got fired and got a new job in a Chicago. He started another affair with his married subordinate at this new company too. He had no plans of returning to Utah to his family. The kids and I were left traumatized and literally shocked. He lost the respect of his kids and his reputation and nothing was going to change his mind. After he got physically abusive with me, I filed for divorce. I realized I was enabling him by staying married to him and allowing him to have these multiple affairs and it was just clear that I had to divorce him. That was just one year ago and he is now married to that woman and the kids and I are still in Utah. He refused to get help through this relapse. He wouldn’t even call his sponsor. I have 2 teenage daughters and a son that were watching me to see what I would tolerate and accept. I still have hope that my now ex will get help, but I have to focus on my kids and myself. It’s been horrific, but we’re doing ok. I hope your husband gets his recovery back, but he has to decide that. You are only hurting him and yourself if you’re enabling him and tolerating the intolerable. Listen to your inner voice and do what is best for yourself and most importantly, your children. Best wishes for you.


Oh jeez…
now I’m reading the final portions of your story…
I replied to this via email but it’s not showing up here. If you get my note, I apologize for additional questions. The email version of this cut off the rest of your message.

I’m so sorry you went thru and I’m sure are still going thru all of that. Our kid dynamic is the same. 2 girls, 1 boy. I think about it all the time how impressionable they are. How history repeats itself. I mean… its really frightening how most women (recovery world or not) end up marrying our fathers.

If I am 100% honest with myself … this is and has been an extraordinarily emotionally abusive relationship for years. YEARS. God bless him… and I still love him dearly… but in the dark lonely hours of the night, I realize that I don’t want my girls in a relationship w a man that treats them the way my husband treats me. And THAT is tremendous eye opener for me. He’s a great provider, absolutely without a doubt. Nurturer? Safety net? Responsive and loving? Hmm. Depends on his mood and current feelings revolving around his work. Knowing what I know now… that he initially relapsed 7.5yrs ago… I see that as literally the exact timeframe when we started having issues. And of course we were!

It takes a tremendous amount of courage to leave. Much more than to stay in my books. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change… the courage to change the things I can… and the willingness to know the difference.” I’m not willing to make that big if a change yet. I lack the courage to do that yet. And I still have the hope. But my eyes are open to the “what if”.

Strictly speaking marriage… My parents stayed together “for the kids”. Neither one were alcoholic but my dad had his affairs. They slept in separate bedrooms. Barely talked. Fought all the time. Dad was an aggressive hitter. Mom was the co-dependent child of alcoholics trying to manage her 4 kids and just “make it better”. Damn that “make it better thinking…”

Here’s the other side for you. Your children get to see at least one of their parents acting healthy and responsible. You will find love again one day… and when you do your kids will see that. Your kids will get to witness what healthy people treat eachother like. What respect looks like. What true communication looks like. What a “partnership” truly is. What a gift you are giving to them!!!

I was never witness to a healthy cycle of conflict and resolution. I saw conflict, I saw fear, anger, resentment, loneliness. And because of that, relationships have always been a struggle. Thank God for strong women like you to lead the way. Our children deserve that. WE deserve that.

I’m willing and capable to see this out… for a while. My spirit and soul has been suffering though. And my instincts tell me what my head doesn’t want to listen to. And I’m aware of that. But for now… for today. I’m in it for the win. For today. But if it remains… I have women like YOU to thank for planting the seeds of courage and hope on the other side. So thank you for that. :pray:t2: