Will my actions cause a reaction? How do I stop that?



My husband is now just over 90 days clean. He was in rehab for 7 weeks and is on his last week of IOP. He just moved back home after staying in a sober house for a little while. Things are not easy right now and it is simply because of my expectations/needs/triggers and his lack of awareness/motivation/care/responsibility. This is what I mean: He forgets to lock the front door when he comes in. He leaves a mess everywhere he goes (dirty clothes everywhere, food messes, general inorganization, and garbage). He doesn’t take care of his things (especially his vehicle). He left the stove on last night. He also thinks that even though my sleep is insanely disturbed, it’s okay for him to have the TV on (I sleep with an eye mask and ear plugs, that’s how seriously difficult it is for me to sleep). He doesn’t put the toilet seat down when he’s finished because he says, “well I have to put it up.”

And all of this is making me nag on him every day, every moment, about something. I wish I could not care about these things but like I do. He has always been this way, but he also has always been an addict. I don’t know how to address this with him any longer and I know if things continue this way and I don’t figure out how to handle it, my actions will cause some sort of reaction in him. I do not want that, but I do not know how to stop, how to address these things or if I should even address them at all right now. Thank you for any guidance you can offer.


Hi @rebecca217 - how are things going? That’s great your husband has been clean for over 90 days. I can totally relate to being frustrated with his lack of motivation and your expectations. My husband is a recovering heroin addict and I’ve been in the situation where I am feeling resentful because I’m doing what seems like all of the work and he’s sleeping in, playing video games, in the garage smoking.

A few things that have helped me: empathy, letting go of expectations, and focusing on the positives. My husband was actually diagnosed with ADHD as an adult, which explains a lot of the behaviors that are so annoying to me and that I used to nag him about. He’s on medication for it now but just knowing that his brain doesn’t work the same way as mine is helpful. He has had to put into place techniques to get him to do things - creating lists and routines has helped him.

Letting go of expectations has also helped. This is super hard because I’d never seen expectations as a bad thing. I mean, shouldn’t I expect my husband to be the person I want him to be? Well… no. I shouldn’t expect anything of anyone. It’s almost like a form of control - like we can assign this mold to a person and when they don’t fit exactly then we just get frustrated. I would nag nag nag my husband about always being late. It got to the point where every time we left the house I was in tears. And nothing changed. Finally I just started to change my own attitude about it. I thought to myself, “OK how important is it that we’re on time? Big deal, we’re late to a party. It’s not the end of the world.” We’d get to the party or the appointment and guess what, it wasn’t the end of the world. I’d wait for him forever to get ready and just stew in anger while I waited. Now I take that time to do something pleasant for myself, or play with my son, or get something done around the house. Being angry about it just ruins my day. Being angry is my choice that I can control.

And then, focusing on the positives. Me being less angry all the time has helped him to contribute more. Me talking to him calmly instead of yelling at him allows us to have a conversation about these concerns rather than a fight. I now understand that he doesn’t want to be this way. He just struggles with it. He’s working on it. He’s getting better. It’s taking time. And I just try to remember: Progress, not perfection. Recovery is not linear. It’s hard, but we can do it.

Sending love to you. I hope you’re doing well. :pray::sparkles: