My husband has been out of rehab for 6 months for opiates - he did OP, continues to see his therapist twice a week, shows me receipts and takes regular drug tests… I still can’t help but be suspicious of him allll the time. I feel like I don’t even know or can tell the difference between him using vs him clean. I think back on his active drug use and Its almost like I’ve blocked it out. I don’t have serious concerns of him relapsing but I can’t help but let my anxiety take over constantly just bracing myself for something bad to happen and interrogating him constantly for what I’m creating in my head. It’s really taking a toll on our relationship. I resented him for so long for all the shit he put us through but he’s been doing all the right things and overcompensating trying to make me feel better. When will the trust come back and when will the anxiety subside?
Oh man, @vieve, I feel this. Trust has been something my husband had to really, really work on together. He went to rehab for opiates as well, did the OP, did the therapy, did the drug tests. Even after he would do a drug test, I would start wondering if he was faking it (he’s done that before, too), and I would even sometimes try to spring it on him first thing in the morning so he didn’t have time to “prepare” - like he had some secret stash of clean pee somewhere in the house that he could just swap out at any time. Yep, the mind sure does create some crazy narratives sometimes when we let it.
I think this idea of trust “coming back” makes it feel like it’s this external thing that will just appear when it’s ready. For me, I’ve learned that everything I need is within, including trust. There’s just a bunch of other stuff that I’ve had to let go of and be aware of in order to make space for trust to build and grow. I had to let go of old resentments, expectations of him and our marriage and our family, future outcomes, fears. I realized that it wasn’t so much about trusting him but trusting myself and something greater. I’ve seen the progress that we’ve made, how far I’ve come from feeling very alone and confused and stuck to now living happily, and I’ve learned to trust the process. I’ve learned to trust my own resilience and trust that no matter what happens, everything will work out. Maybe not always how I expected it to, but it will work out.
Do I trust that my husband will never use again, never lie again, never hurt me again? No. He’s got these demons that he’s fighting every day, and unfortunately I know how powerful they can be. I do trust that he loves me and our family, and I trust that he’s a good person, and I trust that we want the same things for our family and each other.
The anxiety and the triggers and the what-ifs and the fears never truly go away. I believe they’re a part of the human experience, and they come in waves for everyone. I still get suspicious when my husband acts a certain way, when his eyes droop or if he spends too much time in the bathroom. But learning the skills to recognize them, accept them, nurture them and let them go helps to manage the anxiety for sure. Just because a certain behavior meant one thing in the past, doesn’t mean it’s the same now. We’ve changed so much and I have to remind myself it’s different now. It takes time and patience and self love and… trust. Sometimes just communicating my fears to him, talking to him about we’re doing, will bring up the truth - oh he’s acting a certain way because he’s stressed, or some other reasonable explanation.
Recognizing the anxiety, reaching out, finding community and sharing are all very big first steps in your own recovery. Have you and your husband considered couples therapy? That really helped my husband and I learn to communicate better and build back trust together. Thanks for sharing here… sending love!
Thank you so much for your message! This really helped me a lot. I often feel very alone since many (all) of my friends can’t relate.
We have done a few sessions of couples therapy but not sure if we found the right therapist. When we talk about some things that have happened in the past, he completely shuts down and feels immense guilt and shame. He’s working very hard -but I think has a hard time understanding how something as simple, like you said, spending too much time in the bathroom or droopy eyes can still be a serious trigger for me.
I feel like I was in survival mode all throughout his active addiction and him going into rehab (we have a 1 year old son and he was only 6 months at the time) and even continued after with OP & adjusting back into real life… now being months into his recovery all the anxieties are really coming to the surface for me personally. It’s really crazy how trauma can affect the mind like it does and almost always just on guard waiting for something bad to happen.
Thank you so much for your support and sharing.
@vieve None of my friends could relate, either. In fact, I can count on one hand the people I’ve connected with who have stayed with their husbands after opioid addiction, and they’ve all been either through this space or Instagram. I started to lose hope, thinking it wasn’t possible to be married to and raise a child with someone who was addicted to heroin. But I’ve learned that recovery is possible, and there is always hope.
I’m glad to hear you’ve tried out couples therapy. Our first therapist wasn’t really a great fit either. Turned out she didn’t accept our insurance and she referred us to someone else who ended up being much better. If both of you are open to it thought, stick with it.
I also had a young child (he was 1.5 years) when my husband was in active addiction. There was a lot of resentment over being the only person caring for our child at the time. When I look at photos of my son when he was that age, I can’t help but think about what a horrible place I was in mentally and emotionally. I wish those memories didn’t come up, but they do. But I’m grateful that my son was too young to remember any of it.
Feel free to send me a message here if you ever need someone to talk to.
Hi @vieve - so glad you found this space. You’re not alone in having these feelings. Trust is a big topic for anyone who is loving someone through active addiction, early recovery, and even long-term recovery. Next time you feel a suspicion and you start creating outcomes or explanations in your head, notice that and lean into truth, instead. What is something you know is true in that moment? Ground into presence, truth, gratitude rather than letting the anxiety carry you away.
Below are a few other threads in this space that you might find helpful. Let us know if any of these resonate.
Thank you so much! These links really hit the nail on the head for me.
The back of my mind, I think, how can I stay with someone that has deceived me so many times in the past even though I know he loves me and I know I love him. There’s so many societal judgements that lean in to my mind in such a negative way. Building back trust and fully forgiving is tough but something I need to figure out for my own mental health and wellbeing.
Hi @vieve, checking in with you here. How are things going with couples therapy and working on trust? Have you been able to put into practice anything that has helped you build trust and manage anxiety/suspicions in the moment? Let us know how you’re doing, and your shares might help someone else, too.