Marital Support: I'm looking for guidance



I have been married for 9 years. My husband for much of our marriage struggled with alcohol/crack cocaine addiction He is sober now as recently released from prison. We have a 4 year old daughter. After a lot of the struggles with addiction he has also developed mental illness symptoms as well. Since being home from prison he isn’t seeking any support for substance abuse, however; very slowly attempting mental health treatment. Due to the severity of both, i feel more supports need to be in place. I am finding it difficult to love someone who is actively suffering from mental health symptoms. I suggested a trial separation but he is not interested. He doesn’t seem to understand why i would not be in love with him after significant substance abuse stints/repeated arrests, etc. I don’t want to make it harder for him to be sober. I am looking for guidance to approach my situation.


Hi @JDodson518 thanks for sharing,

I’d love to hear from other community member experiences on the topic <3

For me, a couple thoughts come time mind:

  1. It’s great that he is attempting mental health treatment. I know this can be scary for people. In my experience with my husband drug users have an almost uncanny resistance to professional help! An idea for you to action here is to keep encouraging this - positive reinforcement is a behavioral change CRAFT skill we teach in our Course and one of the ways we can use our relationship to influence positive change. Don’t get attached to a specific counselor or program he tries, but the idea of trying at all, and trying to find what works for him. That’s a winning strategy! Stay open and reinforce positive actions with rewards - whatever is reinforcing to him, could be a hug, praise etc. :slight_smile:

  2. I think engaging your and his support systems during this time could take some pressure of you and of your relationship. We have an exercise in our Course about brainstorming the people who can be their support, your support and some may fit in both categories. Then we plan how to engage them, what do we want to say and what do we want to ask them for? Is it to stay over for a weekend or week? Is it for them to plan activities with your husband? Things can feel a lot easier and lighter when we allow others who care to get involved and help us.

  3. I had to add, I don’t believe we’re obligated to stay if the relationship isn’t working for us. But I do believe, whether or not we ultimately decide to stay in the relationship, there are skills that can help us better relate to them and their recovery which we’ve combined into our Course, and I have seen them transform relationships. Again, whether or not we stay, as perhaps the only or one of very few people who know the details of their addiction and other struggles, I do think we can help to or attempt to put other support in place if we need to step out for a minute, a day, a week, a month, or a lot longer than that…going back to the above point on support systems.

How are you feeling today?
All my very best,