Recently discovered relapse


Sounds like time for an ultimatum. “Me or the drugs” and then run to the nearest escape door. He is not related to you in any way, has called off the wedding, had stated his preference for drugs. He hasn’t slept with you or touched you physically in seven months and you wonder how to hold on to this relationship. What relationship? Couples counseling will not help you because you are not a couple. Cut your losses and run. Seven months should have taught you something and given you all the answers you need. Do you really want to marry a drug addict, bear his children and spend your life a slave to HIS issues?


Thanks! It’s our job to take care of ourselves first…
I am grateful for my willingness to do this!
I definitely can appreciate your perspective. I do have enough love for myself to know when to draw a line in a relationship. I am not abused or in any danger.
I believe we all have a person…a person we will fight for when the world says to run away…and fast. This is my person. While I can’t control his choices I CAN control my reaction. His disease is not mine to manage. I CAN be the best me for myself, our kids and us!
I am learning about the effects as the body tries to recreate Dopamine paths and learn to feel pleasure without drugs. It doesn’t happen overnight.
We are both growing in our communication and I am seeing him prioritize counseling to work through things. This is not a man who doesn’t show love for me… I feel this is a man who struggles loving himself. I’m sorry if my initial post appeared that way.



You are dealing with two issues. It’s hard to know if one is related to the other.

Don’t ever let someone make you feel selfish because you are taking care of YOU. He is trying to drag you down, because if you rise above and break out of the slump he will loose you. Love you, you deserve it!

After reading your post I have several questions:

  • What is his reasoning for sleeping on the couch? Does his back hurt, does he snore, or is he just trying to separate himself from you?
  • Why did he postpone the wedding? Are you trying to save money, does he want to work on himself first, or does he not want to make the commitment.
  • What was his excuse for the infidelity if he has no desire to be intimate? She came on to him, he thought he was talking to you, or it’s not what you think?

It doesn’t sound like the behavior of a man that is in love with his partner, and it sounds like he is searching for something else. In reality he is acting like a roommate. Remember, it takes two people to have a relationship.

  • What are you getting out of this relationship?

It should be an equal exchange, a balance. I understand sometimes one person may carry the load more than the other but this should not be the case all the time. We all need to be shown that we are appreciated and loved by our person. You need to set boundaries and know what your expectations are for this relationship. You are not selfish because you want him to show you affection, and if he can’t live up to it you are cutting yourself short by staying in the relationship. Relationships involve work on both your parts and he is not putting in the effort. You can try couple counseling but it is not going to solve the main issue which is the drug use.

He stated he hates being sober. Why? Because he doesn’t like we’re he lives?
You can’t force or convince him to be sober. It sounds like you feel obligated to help him, but you cant “fix” him. No matter what you do, he has to want to be clean in order to stay clean. Even then it will be hard for him. Right now it seems like he is prioritizing drugs over you and blaming it on you because he came back for you. Even though he is back physically, he is not back mentally.

Regarding your relationship-
For 10 years I stayed with a husband who was looking for the next best thing. We met in high school and he was my first love. Throughout our marriage, he chose his friends over me and our children, he would go out at least two nights a week and come home drunk at 2am, he once bought a “friends” jewelry from Tiffany’s for their birthday, and hid the credit card statement (which I obviously found). He joined a gym near his work with a female co-worker. On night he told me he forgot that we got invited to a friends party until it was too late get a babysitter so he could go by himself. He would lie to me, he cheated on me at least once that I know of, and even once tried to tell me he never wanted children. I felt alone and desperate. This behavior started before we got married and I should have left him then.p, but I was naive and believed he loved me. I was his safety net. I went to counseling on my own because I thought it was me. We went to couples counseling and he told the counselor that I wasn’t the same person he married, NO CRAP! I didn’t want to give up on us. I was in my early 20s, I thought if I was a good wife I could have the perfect marriage. But near the end, the trust was destroyed, the lies continued, and I lost all respect for him. I eventually asked for a divorce, he begged me to go to counseling again but I refused. He thought I would always be there for him, but I deserved better. We are both happily remarried. We communicate for our kids, and sometimes I see why I fell in love with him. Then he opens his mouth and says something mean to one of our kids and I see why I dislike him. Just because you care about his welfare, doesn’t mean he should be your life partner. The key word is PARTNER and sometimes we have different paths in life.
Regarding the drug use-
Again, you need to set boundaries. Are you going to allow drug use in your home? Will he allow you to do a drug test so you know what he is and is not using? These are jus a few questions I would ponder. Are you going to require him to attend rehab? How is he working on recovery? From your initial post, it didn’t sound like he was doing anything because he hates being off drugs. Will you require a timeline?

3 years is a long time, remember this is your life also. He is not doing you any favors by living with you as an addict. In my opinion he is not holding up his end of the relationship. Hopefully Naranon will be a huge support for you and help you along your path. I’m not saying run (even though it was my initial thought) but you have a lot of reflecting to do and it’s ok to be optimistic towards your future, just don’t let him determine your worth or your happiness if he chooses addiction over your relationship.

Best of luck!


Thanks, @jewelrydiva70- I’m sure that @Rltybites will appreciate this, and will so many other people who read but do not post. Thanks for the thorough analysis of the situation as you see it. I was in a similar situation with my second husband, and we were never able to get to a true partnership. Thank you for your candor.


@jewelrydiva70 Thank you so much for this post, and seeking more information regarding the situation.
I don’t judge you for initially thinking I should run, prior to meeting him I would have had the same thought.
I do have a lot to reflect on and I definitely have been.

  • Reasoning for sleeping on the couch: states his back/hip hurts. Also he doesn’t sleep at night /very restless. He listens to YouTube videos to help him sleep. My gut says that while that may have truth to it, there’s more going on. Perhaps he’s using at night?
  • Postponing the wedding: he wants to focus on his recovery. Doesn’t want to give married when we feel like roommates. We mutually decided we weren’t happy and we want to work on connection. I’m struggling understanding what’s behind the lack of desire for intimacy? He states that since he sobered up 5 months ago he just doesn’t desire it. He says he’s working on it. I think there’s more to it I don’t know yet, but I live by high anxiety so it’s hard to say.
  • The infidelity is not what it seemed. I am not in a place to discuss, but I trust that this is really not what I initially thought and is related to a past trauma . My gut has little concern after talking with him.
    He said I could request a drug test anytime. If he refused- then I have my answer. I asked him for a test this morning. Last night he agreed to lay in the bed with me. Around 0230 I awoke to hear him getting up and it sounded like he was in his dresser drawer. He thought I was sleeping, when I heard him go to the bathroom. I heard what sounded like what I would interpret as one strong ‘snorting’ sound followed by a cough. I’m naive too drug use, but my gut says I could trust what I heard. This morning I approached him with concerns of use. Stated I’ve noticed he hasn’t slept in days and I felt I heard him using. He agreed to take a test. Honestly I only requested it to hold him accountable and show willingness to be transparent. I know what I heard.

He has not returned emotionally and he admits this. He doesn’t use coming back as anything against me, but rather states that he loved me enough to come back here. It was genuine and appropriate with the discussion we were having. Returning home may not have been his best choice…he has not been doing well. Part of me remembers him going off the rails occasionally in Yosemite too, so I think it could just be a matter of time before he no longer found peace there. Hopefully for him I’m wrong.

What is the relationship providing:
Actually a lot more than I’d prefer to be without.
He invests in my kids…shares finances fairly and supports me taking care of myself. He did make that comment to me but that was a fluke. 90% of the time he encourages and finds joy that I care for myself. Part of me denying there was a problem led me to just ‘do my own thing’ and basically leaving him to ‘feel the pain of his choices’. My reaction was not healthy and I know I have my own work to do.

He greatly respects being held to align his values and actions. I am fearful of losing him so I throw most things under the rug or turn a blind eye. I can see the damage both of these responses create. Hence the counseling appointment. I struggle with communicating clearly or at all if I feel anxious. He encourages me to stay in counseling and to use my voice. We problem solve life together and work well on compromises. He is actively attending AA meetings- has found a sponsor- creates YouTube videos on AA readings and research he has done on the topics from them-and he has recently started journaling again. He is making obvious steps in the right direction. He is currently looking for a less demanding job.

We have SO much in common and I love the way I feel when I’m with him. I love his willingness to work on himself and honestly look at his struggles. I can tell him anything (when I’m willing). He is slow to judge. He is aware of my love language and does things to speak to it. We adventure life in SO many ways and are working towards future aspirations of more adventures in nature once my kids move out. We have a LOT to enjoy in this journey together.

I get why people would be concerned. I am also concerned about his willingness to live sober. He prefers to not feel at all over feeling what he does when the drugs wear off. I know I can’t fix him or convince him to change. It’s not my job. I can own my own shortcomings and help him fight if that’s what he chooses. If he decides he wants the drugs (which wouldn’t surprise me as they are very convincing).


I realize it’s hard when you’re only getting so much of the story and through text at that… I do appreciate all of the insight. It’s definitely helping me to reflect on the WHOLE picture. My perspective is obviously only one sided. Truly sending hugs to this community for all your shared wisdom.

Harm reduction? I’ve never heard of this. Any books or podcasts you would recommend? I’m happy to look into it for sure.


Maybe you and your person can look into Harm Reduction as an alternative . You know him best and we’re just trying to interpret what you’re sharing. A real counselor may be able to get to the nut of this issue if your person is willing to get some therapy. Couples therapy is another direction you could take together.

I didn’t enjoy being in a relationship with a person who refused to go to meetings, see a counselor, or get treatment. It was a complete drag. I loved them, but I was just the servant to them since the drugs took precedence. I am in a healthier relationship now, and don’t have to hear excuses, and I don’t make excuses either. We take responsibility for our own %^$&. But, I know other people who have worked out how to be with an ongoing user but even then, with harm reduction- there are agreements and parameters. Maybe you can look into that.


As far as recommendations for podcasts, I strongly recommend “In Recovery” with Dr. Nzinga Harrison on Lemonada Media. She talks a great deal about the Harm Reduction approach.

I’m copying a post from @momentsandlight who is away this week. Her husband is using a Harm Reduction approach.

I believe that “recovery” is a return to one’s true, whole self. This may or may not involve complete abstinence from drugs or alcohol. How one chooses to return to self is completely different from how another might recover. I can’t define someone else’s return to self. I can barely define my own. That’s why I think it’s so important that as we support our loved ones in addiction, we look at ourselves, too. How can I expect my loved one to heal if I’m unwilling to heal myself?

This is an interesting article that goes further into this idea of recovery as return to self: Defining Recovery (from Psychology Today) 3

I also love this phrase that I first read in the Al-anon daily reader Courage to Change: “Recovery is about getting something back. That something is me.”


I love the Podcast recommendation! Thank you for providing this resource.

I’ve never thought of a harm reduction approach…any step towards the healthiest version of ourselves is a coin in the success bucket. I am learning so many tools that help in ALL aspects of my life through this journey.

Tonight I am grateful for this community and this groups willingness to be vulnerable and real. This is what community should feel like.


Your story sounds very similar to mine. And although after years and years of suggesting (we have been married for 13 years, he had been using the entire marriage until recently) there was nothing I could do to get him to seek treatment. Nothing. He has been sober though for 140 days now. So it is entirely possible. But my best advice is focus on what you need, that you can’t control what he does, and support him by letting him know you want to help him. The worst part is that if he refuses treatment, you can’t do a thing. And I watched my husband suffer for years, and it almost broke me. We both have been in individual therapy, we have not done couples therapy, for the last 6 months. and that has helped a ton. So if your person refuses help for themselves, get it for you. You deserve it. And it may help you see what you want next. That is my best advise: help him by helping yourself. It sounds awful especially when you may be used to taking care of him (i know I was) or covering for him and controlling everything (also guilty) but he is his own person. You can’t control what he does. You can only control what you do. Find a therapist that helps with partners of addicts. You can do it.


@islandgirl- Kind regards to your person and his sobriety. Your post was very helpful and it’s right on point. Thank you for staying in the community and contributing your understanding to others. :hibiscus:


The more you know the better.
Happy Independence Day, all! See you tomorrow


@islandgirl I am so grateful for the encouragement and hope your post offers. Thankful for the blessing that you stuck by your person to see them find sobriety. I wish continued success for them and you both.

I attended a ‘SMART’ meeting for family and friends and it offers very valuable tools to use. Taking care of me will be best for ALL involved.
We have couples therapy next week and he is keeping it a priority in his busy work schedule.
I have been very guilty of prioritizing caring for his needs and trying to control. This is not working for either one of us- there is a better way and I’ll keep fighting to learn! We are worth the investment.


I think the harder I tried to “motivate” my son to seek treatment the further he was from it. They have to decide they want treatment for them


In addition to resources like Narcan and clean needle exchanges, harm reduction can also refer to an alternative to abstinence only approaches to recovery. Harm reduction is really difficult to navigate. Especially when the only treatment and recovery programs that most people know about are 12-step based, which take an abstinence-only approach. My husband is very much of the harm-reduction mindset when it comes to recovery. He’s been on Suboxone for years, he’s used marijuana to help with anxiety and even to curb heroin cravings, he’s used ketamine and psychedelics for anxiety and to connect spiritually. In addition, he takes medication for his ADHD, which is another highly controlled substance. When he was in active addiction, he started testing his drugs for fentanyl.

For the most part, I’ve been supportive of these methods because I can see the difference between when he’s on acid for example and when he’s on heroin. He’s not addicted to those drugs. There is no dark demon that accompanies them. They have not ruined our family. If anything, they’ve helped him become more connected and honest and true to himself.

This whole recovery journey has really helped me realize that nothing is black and white. What works for one person may not work for another. Abstinence only is not the only approach, and those who push it as the only approach are pushing away a lot of people who feel judged because they rely on meds or because they’ve found a different approach that works for hem. My husband is hesitant to go back to 12-step meetings because he never feels fully accepted, which is unfortunate because there’s not too many recovery communities out there that aren’t 12-step.

What has helped me is to remember that every recovery is different, and to let go of expectations of what I think it’s supposed to look like. People will do what they need to do to become a healthier version of themselves.


Yes, @PJD19 - I think that’s true- when it springs from the wrong source, it runs dry quickly.


@rltybites Thank for your openness & sharing - I think this has been such a helpful/productive conversation overall :heart:

While I see where each person is coming from, I feel like you’re clearly a strong person who knows self care, putting themselves first, & appropriately prioritizing so it’s made me sad to see you have to defend your relationship. Yet you consistently speak with strength & grace. Your situation is relatable to me so I appreciate you sharing & everyone’s input/insight. Wishing the best for you & yours!!


@momentsandlight. Thank you for sharing you and your husband’s journey. Finding this forum to share experiences, hope and wisdom is SO much more than I had imagined.
My partner and I speak often of letting go of expectations and judgement. This is truly where peace is found.
Reading your story leads me to believe you have found this peace. You stand behind your husbands individual journey to be his healthiest self. He is blessed to have you in his story.
I share your perspective that 12 step, abstinence programs are the most common. I feel we need something different out there for the men and women who, like your husband don’t grow from the current choice. Have you guys ever dreamed up what that would look like?
I have been attending SMART meetings and I really like the focus and empowerment they have on self care. I have the workbook and I am excited to dig into it. I’m grateful for that recommendation.
Keeping making the next right choice for your family and sharing your experiences. You are an encouragement for me and others.


Hi @rltybites - How are you and your loved one doing today? Were you able to attend couples therapy and how did that go?


@va.ra you’re welcome! I love hearing this thread has been helpful for you! I know I have benefited a LOT from everyone’s experiences and suggestions.
Thank you! It’s wild to hear you say that because I wasn’t a person who lived by these actions 5 years ago. This validates that the work I am putting into myself is beneficial. I appreciate hearing your perspective. It means more to me than I imagine these words are expressing!
I OFTEN ‘defend’ and this is a habit I’m trying to gain understanding of and recognize sooner. Would you mind sharing some examples of how my responses were doing this? I would love your feedback.
Thanks again for your post… I have an extra skip in my step today. :grinning: