It is such a hard situation, to love an addict when children are involved.
My first response to you is to trust your gut. If you need support, and you have support elsewhere, go to it. Take care of yourself. You cannot take care of others if you’re not taking care of yourself, and that means reaching out for help when you need it.
My second response is that it is not impossible to raise children and have a family with someone who suffers from alcoholism or addiction. My husband is a recovering heroin addict and an amazing father to our 4 year old son. What I have learned through recovery, therapy and parenting books - our children will see us fight. That’s normal. It’s how we make up that is really important. We can’t shield them from pain or suffering, but we can show them how a married couple can have fights and arguments and still show love. I think it’s important that my son sees how a healthy relationship isn’t always perfect and how we resolve our conflict. We show love.
It sounds like he doesn’t mean what he’s saying, he’s apologizing, he loves you. I think this happens in any marriage, whether there is drug or alcohol involved or not. We all say things we don’t mean and regret later. Do your kids see him apologize? Have both of you talked to them about the issues? Have you thought about finding support for yourself and for the kids? One thing that I’ve heard from children of alcoholics in my Al-Anon groups is that they wished their mother or father, whichever parent was not an alcoholic, had had some kind of recovery program. Al-Anon also has Alateen for kids. My son is still too young but once he’s old enough to understand, we fully intend to educate him about addiction and if he’s open to it, find a therapist for him as well. We are in couples therapy and I’ve read that therapy for parents can be extremely helpful for children.
It’s definitely hard to see the fight in them when they’re in active addiction. I felt this way when my husband just wouldn’t stop using. He just kept lying and hiding and breaking my heart. But I knew that wasn’t him. I knew he didn’t want to keep killing himself, but there was so much pain in him he didn’t know how to deal with that he just kept numbing himself. He was suffering. I tried and tried but couldn’t get him to stop. I couldn’t live like that so I left to be with my support network. It wasn’t the end of us - I just needed space to take care of myself and get out of that house. He got clean during that time. There was fight in him after all. He just needed to realize his motivation to change.
I have never felt my child to be in danger with my husband. But I have also had a scare with child protective services. Unfortunately, our legal system does not always see our stories but rather, statistics, junkies, dead beat dads. And I’ve learned of the very real possibility of having my child taken from me, even though i am clean, because I am married to an addict, even if he is in recovery. The scare made me realize that when the situation goes from personal to public, more stable plans must be put into place to protect my child. And when it comes down to it, our son comes first, always.
Trust your gut. Recovery is possible. Alcoholics and addicts can have happy families too. It takes a lot of work and time and patience and perspective and open minds from everyone involved. After a whole lot of heartbreak and self discovery and recovery (on both of our parts), my husband and my son and I are a happy family. Sometimes the future scares me, but I let those feelings pass. I’m grateful for right now.
I hope you find my story helpful. Love to you.