How do I leave?

detachment
divorce
self-care

#1

My husband is in rehab for alcohol for the second time. He went for 30 days in March, came home and immediately relapsed so he went back to rehab again. He will be coming back at the beginning of June and I’ve made my decision that I want a divorce. He knows how I feel and seems understanding now, but I’m just afraid that he will start drinking again when he gets out of rehab and will then start his belligerent behavior again, like he did last time. The big problem is that he doesn’t have anywhere to go. He stayed with his uncle for the week he was back last time but he and his wife both have issues with alcohol as well, so it not a good situation. He says he is “working on it” and will find a place to live but I don’t see that happening. He also needs to have counseling and support set up for when he returns but I don’t think he will follow through. I know I need to detach and let him figure it out on his own. We have 3 young children together and I just want to move forward with a divorce but I’m afraid this will set him off and cause him to relapse again. It’s been 18 years of this life with him and I just don’t have it in me anymore to continue this chaotic life. My children and I deserve happiness. Thanks to anyone who has read my post, I needed to vent. Any advice or words of wisdom are appreciated.


#2

Hi Renee,

I want to start by saying that I’m so, so sorry for what you and your children have undoubtedly experienced throughout the past eighteen years. Since you have found this forum, you must know that you are not alone - no matter how isolating this situation feels for you.

I left my alcoholic partner in January. It was one of the hardest things I have done. Practically, I cannot offer you any advice as we didn’t own a property together, we don’t have children, and we weren’t married. All I can do is implore you to please put yourself and your children first. Please ensure your safety. Make sure you tell a family member or friend when you have this conversation with your husband; tell them when he leaves rehab. Do you have family you can stay with in case of an emergency? If not, do you have the means to stay in temporary accommodation in case things become too dangerous to stay in your home? If your husband is already aware that he needs to find somewhere to live, is it worthwhile telling the rehab facility of your plans so they can support him in finding new accommodation upon his discharge? Do you have the ability to set up some emotional or mental health support for yourself and your children whilst this is ongoing? If your children are still attending school amidst the coronovirus outbreak, will it be helpful to tell them of the upcoming changes so they can offer them some support? Without being harsh, and whilst acknowledging that addiction is an awful illness, your husband is an adult and you have more done enough getting him into rehab not once but twice, never mind the years of emotional support you have offered at the detriment to your own wellbeing, and it is ultimately on his head whether he follows through with the support the facility has offered him. Your main concern must be yourself and your children now - but I fully acknowledge how hard it is to shake that guilt and feeling of responsibility.

I feel I also need to tell you that it is five months ago for me since I left my ex-partner and I am honestly doing well. I am still a ball of anxiety, but it is manageable; I take medication and have had EMDR therapy, which has been transformative. I can sleep again. I am slowly putting on the weight that I had lost through worry; my clothes fit me again. I am not responsible for somebody else’s behaviour, health, or life, for that matter. I am rebuilding relationships with my family and the lifelong friends I had distanced from. I have started reading again. I have thrown myself back into my university studies. I have a life again. It isn’t what I had expected it to be when I met him four years ago, but it’s a damn sight better than it was this time last year.

You and your young children will get through this, I promise. Just please be responsible for the safety of yourself and your children now - nobody else.

Take care. x


#3

Thank you, Louise- your words truly helped me. It’s helpful and reassuring to know that I will get through this and that I am doing the right thing for my children. I feel like a failure in so many ways but I’m trying to change that mentality. I am back in therapy and have opened up to several friends; something that has been tremendously difficult because I had shut out all loved ones. I am trying, trying, trying though.