How do I handle being made to choose between my husband and my son (coming home from rehab soon)?



My husband is making me choose him or my son. My son should be getting out of rehab either January or February. He has nothing but debt which will make him use again.


@Kristine this is a tough one, but luckily you have a little time to prepare and consider how to handle this ultimatum. And with time we can help you think through some of the conversations that might help to get your husband on the same page as you.

I know a lot of mom’s have faced this. You can see a thread here asking a similar question: How do I choose my husband over my addict daughter?.

Sharing the above so you can have a read and inviting other mothers to weigh in with their experiences and knowledge of what has worked for them <3

Would you share a little more detail with us here so we can better help navigate this situation. What would choosing your son OR your husband mean? Is it more about living under the same roof or something else?


They both can’t live under the same roof. My son is extremely disrespectful to me and plays my husband and I against each other. My son has gotten up in my husband’s face and threatened him. The problem is all of us are on the lease. Also, the neighbor upstairs is who he relapsed with.


@Kristine I am really sorry to hear about the situation you are in. It’s no fun at all when we’re put in a position to make ourselves feel forced to choose between loved ones. Doesn’t that feel like the opposite of help?

Unfortunately, though, these sort of ultimatums do occur. I agree with @Jane that I want to know a little more detail about what choosing either your husband or son entails. When you say your son pins you and your husband against each other, is it because you and your husband have fundamentally different views on addiction or how to handle the situation with your son?

Let us know so we can figure out how to best help you. :slight_smile:


My husband will be driving my son somewhere and he will tell my husband lies like I am over medicated myself or I am not eating or make up crap from my 1st marriage and when my husband comes home we argue. A few months ago he tried to commit suicide and I call 911. He went from the hospital to the county jail because he missed drug court. I BEGGED his PO Officer to have him stay in county until he could go to rehab. I love him to the moon and back but his addiction along with his lies and manipulation has taken a toll on my marriage and my health. PTSD, anxiety and depression I am on so many medications.


This sounds super hard @Kristine. Thanks so much for raising the question here!

If you ‘choose’ your son, what does your husband say he will do? Move out, financial repercussion, not be around when your son’s around, divorce? Curious about the severity of the outcome of the ultimatum.

I’m also wondering, to hopefully unlock some thinking, if you ‘choose’ one over the other, what in your life will improve - in the short and long term? Of course of course of course, there is no easy answer, but I’m wondering if we start to look at different angles, maybe we’ll see a possibility we didn’t see before? Asking out loud so this Community can get creative with you.

Hopefully we can get some other parents on this thread to share any insight they might have from a similar vantage point? What do you think @Julie_Smith @Marie_Marie @Sheryl_Ann-Morton_Ca @adoumeng @LisaD?


Hi @Kristine, you’re not alone in this, we’re here to help! Your situation certainly drives home the idea that addiction impacts the entire family, and I have seen that in my own family as well. When I was younger I saw the strain my brothers addiction put onto my parents, almost driving them to divorce, it is difficult but you are reaching out for help and support here which makes a big difference! I’m glad you’re giving yourself time to sort through this all. You are not horrible to think this break has given you a sense of freedom! You clearly needed the space and time to focus on yourself and that’s okay!

What I hear you saying is:
You are struggling with trying to support your son, keep your family together, and make sure you are getting the support you need.

Our professional perspective on the topic of managing relationships when supporting a loved one through addiction is:
When it comes to our relationships and the support system we call on, engaging in supportive and positive conversations decreases our stress levels and we’re more likely to encourage positive change. When we engage in conversation with someone who is commiserating with us and/or sharing their stresses or negative perceptions, our stress level increases. You also have to make sure to take care of yourself, which it sounds like you’re doing when you say you’re looking into a marijuana program.

Let me ask you a few clarifying questions:
Now that you clarified that your husband will leave and file for divorce, what do you think could be possible outcomes of your scenario? If you choose your husband, why can’t you continue to emotionally support your son, and in addition could you help him find housing? Ultimately the goal is for all of you to support each other, and I wonder if you have had any conversations with your husband about the stress you feel about this? Getting on the same page with him, or at least gaining understanding of each other can greatly benefit all parties!

Please ‘comment’ below so we can continue this dialogue, @Kristine. I’m here & happy to help!

A note from Village ::love_letter:: Our Coaches are trained in the leading evidence-based methods. If you’re interested to learn more about Coach Erica, click here 1.


My husband will leave and file for divorce. On April 17, 2009, we took a sacred vow for better or worse. Not I will leave if your son comes back home to live with us from rehab. Right now I am on xanax, valium, oxycotin, wellbutrin, adderall and now I am applying for the marijuana program. I permanent nerve damage along with the other issues. My son has picked open my huge lock box took 40 40 mg of my oxycotins left tbe empty bottle in the lock box and told me that I took them and just didn’t remember. Am I horrible to think that this break from him has given me a sense of freedom ? When he was here, I had to carry all my medications with me. I felt trapped. I understand where my husband is coming from. We have raised our xhildren. He shouldn’t have to work a 2nd job to support my son. I texted my ex last night and said we need to talk about tbe next step - surprise surprise, he didn’t answer me. I am all alone in this.


I have been faced with the question of who are you going to choose from many. At first, I am very defensive and in my head can say, “My family wins, no matter how dysfunctional as they are always there for me!” My son’s birth father died when my son was 13 (my son is now 28) and his step dad left us about 5 years ago. His step dad gave up on him prior to leaving us. My current fiance did nicely question the hierarchy with me as he has experience …his ex-wife was an addict. At first I would pick my son I thought. Then I reflected and pondered this question. Months later I thought of a different perspective. While my son has the addiction which erupted in the last few years, it is me who is paying for the mortgage and living, etc for my son. The man in my life comes first as he is my partner. My son won’t care for me, pay the mortgage or bills, or help me when or if I need assistance. Who sleeps in my bed is the person I care and who cares for me. I can love my son yet I do not have to have my son as #1 in my life. My son can be #1 family in my heart as he is my one and only son. As I am over 50, my partnership with my fiance is true and I value the partnership I am blessed with today.


Hi Kristine,

Is there potentially another environment where your son can live when he comes out? Coming out of recovery is a very delicate process and everyone is very vulnerable (you and your husband included). Is there any other family members your son can turn to? Have you been able to see or have contact with your son while he is in recovery? I would personally also be concerned with the surroundings being triggering (ex, the neighbour who he used with). Maybe we are “preparing for the worse” but will be pleasantly surprised with how he is when he comes out. I’m sorry if any of this upsets you, it is not meant to. Lots of love xo


Wow, thank you for your honesty @Marie_Marie! I think what you share is really helpful for anyone struggling with this kind of decision.


Hi Kristine,

I am sorry for all the pain you are bearing. Perhaps your son could go to a sober living home like Oxford House. Every parent must decide for him or herself what is best for the family. I have known parents who chose not to intervene in their adult child’s lives during addiction (except by providing emotional support), and the child finally came to his senses and went to rehab and took other positive steps to recovery. Not every story has a happy ending, but I know it is not your fault that your son has all these issues.

I think the best thing you could do for your own recovery is to understand in the depths of your soul – your son’s problems are not your fault. You did not cause it, and you cannot control or cure it, as Al-Anon would say. You can support your son emotionally if it does not harm your own health, but he’s in charge of his own recovery journey.

I’m also concerned because your husband is so concerned. Which of his worries do you share?

I’ve found that financial support to my son needs to be limited. It’s an area where my husband and I have had to work to set boundaries. Otherwise, it can easily become unmanageable.

I wish you all the best in this difficult time.