Is it a mistake to have children with my recovering alcoholic husband?


#1

My husband and I have always wanted to have children since the moment we met 4+ years ago. Our 2 years of marriage got off to a rocky start, when seizures from alcoholic withdrawal landing him in the hospital post-honeymoon bliss. Since then, he’s experienced 3 relapses, most recently with him finally taking the reigns on his life and admitting himself into a 30 day rehab. I’m very proud, and we are both recovering.

Re: kids— I’m borderline in my late 30s–time is not on my side. He’s a good person, loving, generous, outgoing, funny and I know he would make an incredible father. Though my parents love him as well, they quietly told me I should think about freezing my eggs, which devastated me and now I’m second guessing my marriage.

Am I making a mistake to plan for kids with this man? Obviously I want my kids to grow up in a sober household free from addiction and binge drinking. What are my chances?


#2

@Eliza52585 I love this honest and earnest question thank you for bringing this up.

I don’t have an answer and I can’t share from my experience yet as we haven’t gotten to the children point…we’re still getting back to stable life now :slight_smile: I’d LOVE to hear from other community members who have faced this type of decision and I can still share how I think about this right now - below.

Being married to a man in recovery, and having seen people in recovery for 10 years relapse and recycle through terrible patterns for years, here’s the way I think about this:

  • My husband may relapse and his recovery might go backwards, and I don’t know if or when this might happen.

  • Additionally, relationships, whether they involve individuals in addiction recovery or not can end for many reasons. In fact a quick google search says about 40% of marriage ends in divorce. And maybe it’s higher if addiction is involved but maybe not - and depending on the relationships either outcome may be better.

Essentially, my point of view is that there are many reasons things don’t work out the way we hope and that we have to work with what’s in front of us and our particular context - which for you might be his stability and progress in recovery and your age and timeframe.

Also, if it provides any comfort, when I decided to marry my husband who was in very early recovery, my mother and one sister were supportive and my father and other sister were not. That was hard and I had to wrestle with marriage looking different than i ever thought it would for me. We went into it with eyes wide open - this may not work out, but we want to give it a try.

I think at the end of the day clear communication and honest transparency are the best tools we can work with. These are major principles underlying our coach-guided course - which I highly recommend if you’re interested in joining us. The new group cycle starts this week.


#3

Hi @Eliza52585. Oh man, such a difficult topic. First off, that is wonderful news that your husband admitted himself into rehab and is getting the help he needs. And that YOU are getting the help you need. This community is just a start - please look into resources like Course as @Jane mentioned, as well as groups like Al-Anon, self-care practices like exercise, meditation, journaling, support circles, anything that resonates with you and brings you peace, joy, growth.

Second, no one can answer that question for you. Only you can. If you search deep, I think you will find it.

I can, however, let you know about my experience, and maybe it will help. My husband is recovering from heroin addiction, and has also struggled with alcohol. He tried heroin the first time when we were dating, and got himself help. He didn’t touch the stuff for years after, and in the meantime, we got married and had a child. He is a wonderful father. I have absolutely no regrets. Even after my husband relapsed hard when our son was a year and a half, and I questioned whether or not to stay with him, I still have no regrets. His love for his family helped him recover, and our recovery journey has helped us become better parents.

We only have one child. I questioned whether we should have another. Most couples I know have their second child when their first is about 2 or 3. When my son was that age, we were still healing. It wasn’t a good time. My gut told me no, and so we waited. I trusted the process and knew that things would work out the way they needed to. When the time came and we thought we were ready, I still questioned it. What if he relapsed? How could I go through that trauma again with two children this time? I kept asking myself and I kept telling myself yes, I wanted this. I felt it in my whole body. So we tried, we are trying, for another. This time around is not as easy as the first, and I don’t know if it will happen. And if it doesn’t, then so be it.

A child changes a relationship, any relationship, whether addiction is involved or not. Sometimes people are completely sober when they have a kid and such a huge life change drives them to alcoholism. The “mommy wine” culture certainly doesn’t help. It doesn’t make them bad parents. And then I’ve met adult children of alcoholics in Al-Anon who are still recovering from the results of growing up in alcoholic households. The effects can be damaging, yes, but recovery is possible for everyone.

Trust your gut. Let go of expectations. Whatever happens, it’s going to be okay.

You can find related threads here and here. Sending love.


#4

Thank you so much for sharing your perspective and experience @momentsandlight :pray: :heart:
Always so helpful.


#5

I can’t answer this from personal experience at all. But reading:

made me think, if you do freeze your eggs, you can still use them with your husband. It would just buy you more time and relieve some of the biological urgency that you may be feeling.

I wish the best of luck to you and your family.