How to balance self care and being encouraging to recovering spouse while handling the aftermath of addiction?



This is my first post. I want to start by saying thank you. I found this community months ago when my husband went to rehab. I’ve read through almost everything that’s been posted and it’s really helped me not feel so alone. I am so very thankful for that.

The recent posts about self care have made me rethink what does self care really look like for me? I’m struggling with this because I’m still cleaning up the mess my husband made that has affected all of us. I’m having to be mindful about expenses and going from 2 incomes to one while still supporting 2 kids. It’s hard for me to find the mental energy to come up with ideas for self care that don’t require spending money.

I’m still trying to be supportive (not financially) to my spouse, even though I filed for divorce, but it’s difficult for me to refocus on myself after he texts me to tell me about all the things he’s going out and doing. I find myself feeling frustrated and I have to stop myself from falling into that swirl of negative thinking. I’m tired of spending so much mental energy on this and I just want to let it all go so I can breathe again.

Any suggestions on how to balance being encouraging to a recovering spouse but not letting it throw me off balance? I feel like I’m doing what I can when I can and I’m mindful about not allowing my frustrations to spill over when talking with him but it’s exhausting.


Me again, a couple more things! :slight_smile:

Love this video I found on Instagram that examines self care as sometimes doing things you don’t want to do “just to get to the starting line”:

Today my self care has been taking the day off work to catch up on other things. I’ve been feeling super overwhelmed lately with all the to-do’s at work, home, life, etc. Even self care seems like another to-do sometimes. So giving myself space to get all the things done (and forgiving myself if I don’t get all the things done), even if I don’t want to, is helping me clear the clutter in my brain and be able to breathe again.


Hi @Kelligraphy! Thank you for sharing here - I love that you’ve been a part of the community and have found support through the others’ posts. It’s a brave thing to write out your challenges in this space. Vulnerability shows strength. You’re already taking care of yourself in small ways that are actually big ways. :muscle:

It’s wonderful to hear that your husband found help and that you’re continuing to pursue help for yourself to better support him, yourself, and your family. It’s a process for sure, but trust that process. Keep going.

You’ve got a lot going on and I hear you, making the time for yourself often seems impossible. My son was a toddler when my husband went to rehab and we were navigating early recovery. It helped me to have family close by to watch our son. My mom had just recently moved out of state, but I asked her to stay with us for a few weeks while my husband was in IOP. Do you have any support, trusted family or friends, who could help in that way?

One practice that really helped me was creating a safe space within my home. An alter of sorts. The house was a mess but I created a small corner that was just for me, where I could sit and tune out all the other noise. It was literally a corner of the floor in the family room, but I cleared it out, got a small table and rug, some pillows and soft lighting, and I made it mine. Mornings are the best time for me - I was never a morning person, and it took a really long time to make a habit of waking up extremely early, but now my morning time is sacred. My mind is clearest in the morning, before all the clutter of to-do’s fill it up, and everyone else is asleep so there’s no one asking me for things. I spend the time journaling, coloring, meditating, reading - whatever I need at the time.

How does this sound to you? Can you identify a time of day and a ritual/activity where you can carve out space just for you?

I also really like this idea of mini-mediations from @Thinkstet - if you really have 0 time within the day, how can you make everyday tasks a time to slow down and find your breath? Click here to view the topic.

Honestly, what helped me was being transparent with my husband about my own struggles and “recovery” and healing process. Being completely transparent with my current mood. Like saying, “Hey, I’m really struggling today with xyz and it’s making me irritable/paranoid/triggered/insert feeling here. It’s something I’m working on and I hope you don’t take it personally.” He’d start to do the same, and we’d find compassion for each other because we knew we were both humans just trying to get through this really tough situation, and we were both doing our best. I also got into the practice of telling him “I’m feeling this and need xyz to help me move forward. This is how you can support me. How can I support you?” Our recoveries become a team effort, and I think my husband appreciated that I showed my vulnerability and weaknesses, that I wasn’t perfect, and that he could be there for me, too. And acknowledging that we can’t be everything to everyone all of the time, and being okay with that.

Also, gratitude lists. All day, every day.

What are your thoughts on all this?


Thank you for your response! I have my Mom that’s been helpful through all this so I’m not completely alone. As far as friends go, that’s a work in progress. I shut a lot of people out when it started getting bad as a way to avoid what was going on. I’m slowly getting back out into the world and not isolating as much.

I do have a safe space that I go to when things get overwhelming. I’ve communicated to my kids that sometimes I need some time to myself but I’m struggling with the guilt of not always being a “present parent”. They’re older so they understand for the most part but I feel like I shouldn’t let it bother me as much as it does.

Thank you for sharing the mini-meditations and the video. I’ll definitely check those out. So when I’ve tried to talk to my husband about how I’m feeling, he gets upset with me and says I’m living in the past. I end up feeling like I shouldn’t have shared anything at all and I feel regret for allowing myself to be so vulnerable. This is one of the many reasons I filed for divorce. I care about him as a human but it’s not reciprocated and I’m just tired.


You’re doing a great job taking care of yourself, @Kelligraphy. :seedling::heartpulse: