How Can His Addiction Not Matter To Me?
By 1Dayattatime
4/30/2012 4:28:49 PM
I am new to this site and am just learning how to deal with my husband's addiction. I have been to a few Alanon meetings and one ARP class. I have read a lot of your blog and have one burning question:............

How can his addiction not matter to me?,, How do I let his problems be his problems and mine be mine. He is my big problem! I have been worthy to have an eternal family. He has taken that away from me. He is not the man I married and I am devastated that my life has to change because of bad choices he made. How can this be just his problem and not mine too? How can I give it over to Him to deal with and not care that this has changed my life in a very bad way.? I just can't understand this premise. Go about my own life and let him deal with his life? Isn't it OUR life??????


Good Question    
"I want to share something that the Holy Spirit put in my heart. Love him, love him with all of your heart! Do it as if though you were your Heavenly Father and you loved him, from his point of view. Also, be supportive and don't try to overwhelm him with murmuring and complaining. I don't understand how a wife feels in this kind of situation, but.. the one reason why I became free was because, as a kid growing up with just my mom, we had no emotional support nor leadership from my father, I had to be the man of the house. I was forced into a tight hole where I had to pick up on maturity fast. But, despite my life's circumstances, I was an addict to pornography and masturbation, and it did not allow me to be the things that I knew I needed to be. It seamed as if though I was frustrated enough with myself, and if I told my mother, it would add even more to my frustration. I reaped bad fruits upon bad fruits and life seamed to spiral out of control, I was damaging relationships, began failing at everything I started, was unable to cope or relate to people. Not good. But once I found the courage to tell my mother, she did the most humble kind generous thing that still blows me away. She still loved me. She still loved me and treated me the same loving way. In fact, she prayed for me, she beared the pains that I kept causing her, she treated me the way that she would of liked to have been treated if she were in my shoes. Sounds familiar? and that is one of the major reasons why I found it a duty of mine to quit my addiction! I would talk to wives on this site who have been in the similiar situation, too. Hope it helped."
posted at 17:45:37 on April 30, 2012 by regal777
wait for Maddy and AngelMom and the other wifes.. they can explain is really well.    
"They can have lived it. Seems like every partner has to have an ah-hah moment where they give it up and humanize their spouse again. That gives them the peace that God will sort everythng out.

good luck"
posted at 18:49:20 on April 30, 2012 by Anonymous
You helped. Thank you    
"Thank you for your advice. I know it was meant for me. I really want to do this right.
Can I ask you one more question?
Step 1 is admitting that we are powerless over our addictions. ( I can'tt get past step1..)
Your Mother's love and treatment of you really helped you to make progress. So, she did have some power in helping you. Right? She wasn't powerless to help you. I know my actions will either help or hinder my husbands recovery. Am I really powerless?"
posted at 20:08:50 on May 1, 2012 by 1Dayattatime
Sorry about the much to say    
"I feel uncomfortable thinking I can explain this well, like I have some 'answer'. The answer is the Savior. Nothing I can say will really help in the end because everyone's journey is different, but I am happy to share it if you want it. Just know that I haven't ARRIVED anywhere....I am still struggling and living each day as it comes.

When I read your post 1day I heard the words, "Lord, how is it done?" echo in my mind. I don't really understand how it can happen. I just know that it can.

Your questions are an exact wording of what I felt. I would often say, to my Bishop, my counselor and to my husband that HE was the source of my pain. He was the problem....or at least his addiction was. If you took his addictions out of the picture I would be happy. I was totally convinced of that. (And since I couldn't and he couldn't seem to make himself stop, then the obvious answer was that he had to go so I could be happy.) But there came a time when looking at him and his addictions became too much and finally too painful for me and I pulled away and couldn't do it anymore.

I went to my God and went through a process that almost felt like dying. I think something in me did die actually. Funny you should bring up the concept in Step 1 of powerlessness because I believe that was what it was. I submitted. I think it was the first time in my life I actually trully knelt before God, groveled is more like it. And this is what He taught me, while I was there at His feet:

My husband was not and never had been the source of my pain. My husband's addictions were not the source of my pain. I was. My husband had nothing to do with it. Nothing. It was all between me and Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and I was far removed from them and that was what was hurting me. My judgement of my husband was poison in my soul. My anger, my fear, my focus on him, him, him kept me alone and trapped. My self-deceit about what my life was and what it wasn't and my expectations were what caused me pain. Not my husband or his infidelities. It sounds simple, but I cannot emphasize how profound and powerful this revelation was. It changed everything.

Miracles started happening when I realized this. Like Regal said, I started feeling overwhelming compassion for my husband. I felt so weak and sinful myself that I couldn't judge him. We were both broken children dumping addictions into the holes into our lives. I wanted to help him, but it wasn't in the same way that I wanted to help him before. Before I wanted him to stop....for my own sake. Now I wanted him to stop for his. I just didn't want him to hurt anymore. My heart broke for his actions, but it was for him. Not for me. His addictions weren't about me. They weren't mine. They didn't make me angry, they made me sad. There was such a huge, huge difference. But more than that, I felt sad for my own sins. I just wanted to be free of the emotions that were so ingrained into my psychology that they were physical and can only be called an addiction themselves. The desire to be free from them, led to actions and slowly I felt my instinctual reactions turn from pain to love.

I want to pause to say this though. I am scared every day to going back to the way I felt before and somedays I do slip. Somedays I feel the codependent and painful filth creeping into my emotions. It is a constant battle to hold on to the peace. But I am hungry for it. I know it is real and I know it would destroy me eventually to live in that angry and bitter place again and so I try as hard as I can to stay in the place of total submission. I am happy here, but I know it is fragile.

I am just at the beginning of this road and I believe that there is more to learn. It will be precept upon precept. For now the precept that I am working on is letting my husband go. My walk in this life is not with him. My walk through life is with Christ. If my husband chooses to walk with Christ as well then we will walk together by extension of that fact. But when I take my eyes off the Savior and look at my husband then I fall from the path instantly. I repeat, my walk is not with my husband. Maybe, someday, there is another principle to be added to that and the sacred nature of what a SEALING trully is will come into my life, but in my mortal eyes and my current state, I do not think I am prepared to understand that. If that is the case, then I believe that I will come to that through obedience to the first principle of letting go of my husband and holding on to my Savior.

You asked if our husband's life wasn't our life too....of course it is in the ways that it impacts your life, but I don't believe our lives our OURS to begin with anyway so the point becomes mute. It is only when we try to hold on to or posses our own life that we are miserable with it's outcome. When we give it over to God then it becomes beautiful no matter what it is.

It honestly doesn't matter if we are in prison or unjustly accused or betrayed or whatever we are called to go through. Lots of greater people than I have been through worse. Wasn't it THEIR life?!?! I often think of Alma and Amulek. Or Paul. Or Abinidi. Or the Savior Himself. Wasn't it their life? Were the people they lived with, served, and were 'hurt' by, wasn't it their fault? Didn't the guilty people devastate their innocent lives???? Weren't they a bad influence on them???? Didn't those people rob them of their right to earthly happiness???? No. I don't think so. I think that they were happy people despite the difficulty of their life-path. I think their lives were glorious and beautiful not just despite their trials, but because of them. If it was good enough for them, the greatest people on the face of the planet, then it is good enough for weak and pathetic me.

I do not doubt Heavenly Father wants me to stay married to my husband. (For those who have been given the direction to leave their spouse then I believe they will receive the same joy and blessings by following that commandment.) And the joy of following that personal direction is absolutely huge now. That comes with a certain amount of a burden, but I now see that it is the perfect set of circumstances for me and necessary for my salvation. I am so grateful for my life and ALL that it is. That includes being married to a man with addictions. I have come to know God more through this gift/trial than any other single thing in my life. How can I not be grateful. God is wise. I trust Him. My life is perfect for me.

Powerlessness - Jesus Christ Himself was powerless to convince the masses that were unwilling to listen. Prophets have no power to make a wicked people change. I am powerless to change my husband. ....and most important....I am powerless to change myself....

But I can tell you I have changed. Look up my very first post here. You can see the anger and hurt dripping off of every word. I am not that person anymore and good riddance. But if I have changed and I didn't change myself then how did it happen?.... "Lord, how is it done?" ... Because there is only one thing I could do and that was give my heart, utterly and completely to my Savior and HE does the changing. But that meant for me that I had to be willing to completely let go. I had to let go of all of the secret fears. The darkest spots of pain. To let Him change me I had to give Him the keys to my locked closets and all those little things that I simply wouldn't put on the alter of sacrifice. It was a total blank check.

And I have to continue to write that same blank check every day. I haven't arrived anywhere. I just want to be on the journey and I believe in the destination.

This story isn't about my husband. It is about me. This is my life. Not his. The same way that his story is not mine.

I hope this helps!
posted at 07:21:30 on May 2, 2012 by maddy
It does get better    
"1 Day At A Time, I’m sure it must be hard after you did everything they taught you at church to wake up one day and find yourself in the middle of a made-for-TV-movie, with family problems that you only thought you would find on the Jerry Springer show. It really must seem unfair. Have his choices had a devastating impact on you? Absolutely. I think of my addiction as a wrecking ball on my family. I can never repair the damage I have done, but the Savior can. As one wife of an addict put it when someone asked her why she didn’t leave her husband, “The Atonement makes unfair things fair.”

Your husband probably is the man you married, just not the one you thought you were marrying. That is part of the problem. He was screwed up before he ever met you. He probably started around 12-14 years old. You didn’t cause his addiction and you can’t fix it no matter how much you try. There are things you can do to help his recovery along, if he wants to recover, but I’ll get to that later. You could be the “perfect wife” and he can still die an addict. Years ago I saw one of the wives that came with her husband to the 12 Step meeting and briefly thought, “With a wife like that why does he have this addiction?” Then I quickly remembered, “Oh, that’s right, it has nothing to do with her.” That is why men married to the “Sexiest Woman Alive” or whatever title the media gives them, end up cheating on their wife. That is why you have to accept that you are powerless over your husband’s addiction. I am powerless over my addiction. How could my wife have any control over it?

Your husband’s problem does matter to you and impacts you, but it can’t be your focus if you want to be happy. Turning to the Savior and becoming one with Him has to be the focus for each of us if we are going to heal. Only as you submit your will to God and do what he asks can you be assured you are helping your husband. Your husband may need nurturing and understanding or he may need a kick in the butt. Your Heavenly Father knows exactly what is needed at any given time and can help you to know to do or not do.

I pray that both you and your husband are ready to do whatever it takes to be healed. I have seen wives heal without husbands and husbands heal without wives, but it is really great when they both have the miracle. I am sorry you have to deal with this, but I want to echo what Maddy said, it can become the greatest blessing in your life. I would never have the wonderful relationship I enjoy with my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ if it wasn’t for my addiction. My wife who is a great singer and never gets choked up to the point that she can’t sing, recently sang “This Is the Christ” in sacrament meeting. She was overwhelmed and the end of the song and she attributed it to the miracle that has been taking place in her life recently regarding her food addiction and co-dependence. We are both in a good place now and improving, but we each had to take our own path, moving at different paces to get here.

I wish you healing,
posted at 15:20:35 on May 2, 2012 by justjohn
Amazing Maddy    
"Thank you, Maddy, for your "answer."

What's absolutely amazing is that the "answer" for Maddy (everything she wrote) is exactly the answer for ME--a recovering addict. Her growth and change sound exactly like mine.

And Maddy sounds exactly like my wife, although my wife probably will never take the time to write those feelings on this site. My wife has always acted the way Maddy speaks--she has focused on her own relationship with Christ, not on me. Consequently, she leaves me free to focus on my relationship with Christ. She supports me (she doesn't attack me) when I make a mistake, and I do the same to her. When either one of us has a bad day (in any way), we have learned to be very understanding and nonjudgmental--because we BOTH have bad days.

Thankfully, we are both walking a path that brings us closer to Christ, and it has brought us incredibly closer to each other. I didn't know love could be so strong and powerful!!"
posted at 19:11:47 on May 2, 2012 by beclean
My husbands addiction    
"Thank you soooooo much. I have been reading your messages over and over and over again. I know I can do this. I just need to jump in and trust the Lord. I am scared."
posted at 09:20:04 on May 3, 2012 by 1Dayattatime

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"I need not define your specific problem to help you overcome it. It doesn’t matter what it is. If it violates the commandments of the Lord, it comes from Satan, and the Lord can overcome all of Satan’s influence through your application of righteous principles. Please understand that the way back is not as hard as it seems to you now. Satan wants you to think that it is impossible. That is not true. The Savior gave His life so that you can completely overcome the challenges you face. "

— Richard G. Scott

General Conference May 1990