What do I do when I trust my gut?



Three months and three weeks sober. Each day, a piece of my heart waiting for the relapse, a bigger piece growing bolder with hope. Clear eyes, full eye contact, articulate conversations, alert and fully present- all the signs that I could relax and begin to let down my guard.
Then tonight. He comes up for dinner. I sensed a change that I couldn’t put my finger on. High alert. My husband asked him a question, just a simple one about potato chips, and his response was off. Red alert. I tried to be casual, making a comment about dinner. No eye contact. Then I asked what was going on. Still no eye contact, and an answer that made no sense. Poor articulation. I called him on it. I know he is lying. My husband ( remember, my husband is an active alcoholic), wants me to drop it. I refuse to let it go.
I know that he either used or drank alcohol. He knows that I know. I reminded him that the very clear boundary is that he can’t use and live here. I told him that I am back on Cop mode, but I absolutely won’t do this for long. I’ll be able to tell if he keeps using.
So, now what? If he seems normal tomorrow, and continues to seem normal, do I let this go? I know what to do if he is using. I have done it before and will do it again. He will have to leave.
But how to I kick him out if I know, but he denies it? Do I have to prove it?
Please help!
Please let me be wrong.


Hi @Alair - how are you doing today?

I’m sorry you’re in this situation right now. Stay calm and remember that if there was a slip, it doesn’t have to mean the end of the world. You’ve been through much worse and you can get through this. It’s possible to get right back up, and you can help with that.

I wish I could tell you these situations get fewer or easier. My husband still slips, and my red flags still go up, and I freak out in my head and my heart and my gut. The difference is in the way I handle the situation, and the way I approach him. Just like he doesn’t have to spiral, I don’t have to spiral, either. We can both get right back up and keep going. And we have. And you can, and you will.

Can you ask him for a drug test? Explain your fears and why you need this? This a tough moment where you decide if this boundary is truly something you think you can keep, and if you really think it would be helpful right now for either of you. Don’t forget that your boundaries are yours. They are flexible and can change and soften as you grow. A boundary I’ve set is that I won’t go back to a cycle of lies and using - I will support my husband as long as he’s working toward recovery. This allows him to stay in our home even if he has a slip.

I’ve also drug tested my husband when I was sure he was using, and it came out negative, and then I started questioning whether he somehow faked the test results. Which he’s done before. In the end, I’ve had to learn that I can be wrong, too. Sometimes what I am sure is behavior linked to using is actually behavior linked to something else going on.

I hope you’re feeling better today, @Alair. In the end, each decision is yours, and I trust that no matter what happens, it will be okay.


Thank you so much, @momentsandlight. The flexible boundary notion helps so much. This is a confusing, heart breaking, soul torturing disease. On one hand, I have people accusing me of being an enabler. ( a word I detest, and a role I have been determined to never be a part of.) I do want him to stay safely here. But of course, I can’t allow him to go backwards. A slip is one thing. But the lies and the deception, the fear in the pit of my stomach is quite another. Yet I am living a double standard, because I continue to live with my husband/his dad, who drinks every night. But we are in our 70s and need both retirements to live comfortably. And I do not try to cover up my husband’s usage, refuse to go with him for him to drink, won’t purchase alcohol, won’t ride in the car with him - I have built a mostly separate life. So it isn’t as much a double standard as it would seem. And my son’s drug of choice was the Hydrocodone that was prescribed to him, and in addition, he was drinking alcohol.
You are right. I can stop my spiral. I will continue to take care of myself. And since today, he still denies it, I will allow a bend in the boundary.
One final issue about this. The anger that I have managed to suppress for all this time came to the surface last night. I didn’t express it. I don’t know what to do with it. I. Am. So. Angry.


@Alair It’s okay to be angry. I think what’s important is that you’re aware of it. Can you look at that anger without judgement, and try to understand where it comes from and what you need to release it?


@momentsandlight, I am fairly certain that my anger is towards my son, but where it comes from? Wow! That opens a lot of feelings that I wasn’t aware were there. Yeah, this is going to take some work. I thought I was simply really angry because of all that we have gone through, but suddenly I realize these feelings are hidden and buried deeply. It feels too scary to dig them up.
I have some serious thinking to do.



My heart goes out to you. I know when I feel I am being lied to and deceived it is like a stab in the gut, and it hurts bad. I have always told my children that they can come to me about anything, no judgement. So when I find out they have lied or hidden something it angers me. But it’s not about me it’s about them and their shame from whatever they are dealing with. I find that often they are trying to protect my feelings, but they don’t realize that it makes it worse when they lie about it. If you can accept his slip up, then that is good but don’t take his denial personally. He is doing it out of shame.

If I have learned anything from this community, it is that YOU are not an enabler. You have set boundaries with both your son and your husband and it sounds like you have done a good job determining those boundaries so far. Remember, that they are your boundaries and nobody else’s.

Is it possible that some of your anger stems from your husbands drinking and lack of concern? I am not a therapist or trying to be, but I know personally l would feel alone in my home. You are not only dealing with one addict but two and I would think it would be stressful and overwhelming to not have some type of support from your husband. I would also think it would be harder for your son to stay clean.

One way I found to help me build trust with my son is by drug testing him. He agreed to it, it wasn’t something I demanded of him. I have randomly tested him twice in the last month. I made it part of our recovery and healing process. My son doesn’t live with me so I am not sure how I will deal with a positive test, maybe we will discuss rebuilding the trust. I know it will be an elephant in the room that can’t be ignored or there would be no sense in testing him. But ran a test on your son and IF HE had a positive test, how would you handle it? Maybe calmly discuss the rules and boundaries of his recovery and living in your home. Maybe you could ask him where you both should go from there and what the next step should be? Determining how you are going to handle the situation in advance is part of setting your boundaries. I hope today is a better day for you!


Thank you for your insight, @jewelrydiva70. Yes to being angry about my husband’s drinking. And my dad’s drinking, followed by my mother’s drinking. I was primed for this life. I’ve lived with alcohol and drug abuse my whole life. I wanted to escape it by never using or drinking. I can’t imagine what it would be like to live in a household that is completely drug and alcohol free.
I’m mad that society makes people feel uncomfortable for not drinking. And the medical profession. How many times and in how many ways have doctors dismissed my concerns about a loved ones use? Or given prescriptions for opioids over long periods of time.
Doesn’t it feel like we are a tiny segment of society fighting this huge war by ourselves?


Yes, a lot. It’s overwhelming and frustrating and infuriating at times. But I try to remember that change starts within. My husband comes from a family of drinkers, but the recovery in our home is hopefully breaking that cycle. Small changes lead to bigger changes, and there is a ripple effect. :droplet: