Open Letter to Those Who Love an Addict
Dear sister living with an addict,
I feel compelled to let you know that you are not alone in your struggle. My husband has been an addict for over 25 years. He has been sober only for short periods of time. We have been married 6 years. He was sober when we met. That did not last long. I have had him straight and sober, off of everything for less than a year total. He has been in and out of rehab. I have detoxed him off of alcohol myself at home. I have stood by him because I know he is capable of doing better.
I believe in my husband. He is battling some major demons in his life. He feels like he is unworthy of love because of how his father treated him. My husband puts pressure on himself to be perfect and turns to drugs and alcohol because he knows he cannot measure up to that impossibly high standard. There is none perfect. No not one except Jesus Christ alone.
I do know what you are going through and I will remember you in my prayers. I believe in God and in prayer. No one is beyond God's grace or redemption. I wasn't. My husband isn't. Your boyfriend or husband isn't. That is what the Gospel message is all about. I do not write my husband off. I do not give up on him. I do not count him as worthless. Jesus Christ did not count me as worthless. He relentlessly pursued my heart when I was letting sin rule my life.
You have to live truth in your own life. If you feel threatened or not safe, please, find another place to be. This does not mean you quit loving him or believing in him or praying for him. It just means he can no longer be a part of your life up close and personal. There is no shame in leaving for your safety or well being. You are a good, valuable person who doesn't deserve how he treats you. Remember, when he yells at you, it is the addiction that has consumed him. His addiction has nothing to do with you. You just happen to be there. A lot of people will tell you to leave your boyfriend or husband because of his addiction. Most of these people are concened with your safety. This makes sense but it is not a decision to be made quickly. Pray over this situation in your life. Tell God how miserable you are. Ask for wisdom and compassion. I often ask God to help me love my husband the way He loves my husband. Talk with a trusted friend, pastor, colleague.
I recently talked with my pastor and asked him how far I needed to go to keep the promises I made when I said I do. I respect my husband because he is my husband. I love him but hate his choices. I abhor his behavior. I am not quiet about his behavior. Our friends know he is an addict. I try very hard not to be deragatory about my husband to others. As his wife, I believe it is my job to make him look as good as possible in front of others. I do not lie for him or about his addiciton.
The men in our chuch are calling my husband to accountability. They are explaining to him through weekly meetings what God's plan is for him as a husband and as a man. They are loving him which is critical because he does not think anyone but me loves him. They are showing him that life does not have to be lived under the addiction of drugs. They are showing him that God loves him and wants to have a relationship with him.
I spend a lot of time out of the house just so I don't have to be around him while he is high and in an uncontrollable rage. I have joined a Bible study believing that the closer I am to God, the more I know God, the more I will know what God wants me to do in regards to my husband. If I live a Christian life in front of my husband, God may use that to change his behavior. However, God may choose to kill my husband to cure his addiction. I have to be in a place that whatever God wants for my husband has to be what I want.
The place where you are in your relationship is not easy. I know. I am there too. I love my husband. That's what I keep going back to. God loves us both and I made a promise to love, honor, and cherish my husband until death do us part. That does not mean he can do whatever he wants to me. I will not stay around him when he is mean to me. I leave. I do not yell back at him. I ignore him and when he calms down, then I talk with him. I do not try to have a conversation with him while he is high because I know that is futile.
Actually, I pray for him when he starts yelling. I pray for him that he will be caught when he steals to feed his habit. I pray that God will love my husband through me. I pray that the way I react to my husband and his addiction will be in such a way that he will see Christ reacting in love instead of me reacting in hurt or anger.
My marriage to an addict is only a part of my life. I know I am valuable. His addiction and behavior is not my fault. It is not even my problem. He has made these choices. They are apart from me or anything I have said or done. If I let it, his addiction will consume me like it has consumed him. I choose not to let Satan destroy me through my husband's addiction.
Stay strong. Be true to yourself. You know what you are capable of dealing with. Do not put yourself in a place of danger because you love him. God does not mean for you or me to be a martyr to our man's addiciton. Draw close to your heavenly Father. Revel in God delighting in you as His daughter. Draw your strength from the Balm of Gilead.
Blessings to you dear sister,
from a person in love with an addict
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