Why does it feel like my spouse has 0 empathy/care in the world about me/our child and his self-care is also at a level 0 He’s been sober 7 yrs. I thought after the program they gradually progress and their attitudes change?



I hate being negative on this positive community, but I am really lost, confused and it gives me the pain I cannot contain anymore. Just the other day I burned my stomach with a cup of boiling hot water and he said we are not calling the ER cause it’s nothing major. At times I feel like either I or our toddler need to die for him to realize : oh wow they did feel bad. Zero compassion. It’s just hard. Sorry for the negativity. I am from Georgia (country not state) by the way. Nice to meet you everyone. It’s my first question. Thank you :pray:t2:


Welcome here @Maya and thanks for your honesty! This space is by no means meant to ignore the dark sides of what we go through loving someone through addiction. We just aim to add a healthy dose of optimism to keep us going through those dark days because it lasts way longer than we might expect.

So truly, thank you for sharing. I know lately @katie has been posting about conversations with her dad that center around him and finding it hard to break through and connect beyond that. And I think we can all relate in ways to what you are saying.


For the first year after rehab my husband was pretty numb. He’s (now over the 3 year hump post rehab) has lately been telling me how much emotion he’s been feeling and he’s been finding it pretty overwhelming in sort of non-critical situations like movies.

I do think recovery takes way longer than we can imagine. And I do think there’s so much under the addiction that our loved one’s can grow from and so maybe it’s a place to get inquisitive and try to understand what’s behind that. Using substances can numb us so maybe what is it that he needs to numb?

Just throwing out some ideas :slight_smile: and love <3 and I’d add - are there people around you you can share this with who can step up their support of you? It can be helpful to let friends and family in and tell them you need a bit of extra support right now to do some good self-care and come back to the situation with a bit more inner rest and strength.


Thank you Jane, very supportive of you and I am glad I found the community where I can get some questions answered and ppl that share the same struggles.


Thank you Polly, as a matter of fact we have recently moved to Georgia from Ukraine (for his work) and there is literally 0 support here in terms of friends/acquaintances at the moments. It’s been 1 months we are here and still settling. My family is my brother (living in Russia) and I. And my brother is into pocker games (gambling I think it is called) a whole other large problem:( I married my husband when he was already 2 yrs post 12 steps recovery. So I haven’t known him the way he used to be. But the longer we live together and the more I read about addictive behaviors the more of it I see in him. I wish I knew there would be so many underlying personality issues besides using the substances… Trying it hard to live with this and struggle daily: self-centerdness and lack of any kind of empathy being the biggest ones for me. Maybe if I knew him the way he was (when using drugs for 12 years) it would be easier for me to cover those small (compared to major things while using) nuances. His mom keeps telling me he is an angel and I should be very grateful. Well …


@polly I loved that you mentioned how as your husband has recovered, he has felt more emotion. This is something I have experienced even going through standard therapy. It’s crazy how our bodies can sort of “wake up” as we heal.


I’m sorry your going through this. He seems like hes not working any kind of program, I’m not sure how long you guys have been together but it might best if you find a physical support group, that you can find people to support you , and in turn might be able to help him.
Sometimes people get clean and sober, for everyone else but themselves, he has to like himself in order for him to like anyone else .
Id definitely have a conversation with him, let him know your not going to tolerate this, and that you’d like to help him, if he’s willing .
Another suggestion would be getting a substance abuse therapist, as they may also be able to give you some good suggestions and ways to talk to him about his behaviors.
He sounds like he’s depressed as well, when selfcare is absent that can reflect some type of mental health issues.
Always here
Recovery Coach & Advocate
Ambrosia Treatment Center


Mayaaaaa yes this question hits so close to home!

My dad stopped using after rehab 2 years ago. I think there have been some slip ups since, but for the sake of this response, let’s say he’s been generally substance-free! For the first little while after rehab, conversation was all about him and positive behaviors and his recovery etc. and I was all aboard because this was important - it was “his” time! I was all in to support him however I could.

However, this self-centeredness started to go on longer and longer. It felt like all of our conversations were more and more about him and less and less about me/others/anything else - moving away from recovery talk to what felt like just plain ol’ self-centered talk.

PLEASE do not apologize because like @Jane said, this space exists to share honestly what’s happening in our lives as we journey with someone through addiction. It’s hard!

I shared a little more on this thread and this thread about my experience with my dad. Maybe you might find something helpful there (or at least reassuring that you’re not alone)?

In the past few weeks, I’ve had some encouraging experiences/conversations with my dad (shared here). He’s remembered important dates for me and my sister and texted us such! He seems to be actually listening and responding to me - not just brushing over whatever I say and responding with something irrelevant/self-focused.

I definitely don’t have an answer about brain chemistry, or how long it might take, and I’m a little hesitant to get too excited about the moments I’ve just mentioned - but I do acknowledge & celebrate these small victories!!

Welcome here, @Maya! You are not alone.


Maya, I am so sorry you are going through this and you are in the right place : A non-judgemental zone! My heart breaks for what you are experiencing. As I read your post, I just want you to know if you feel the need to leave because you or your baby aren’t safe, there are MANY resources that will help you. But the one key ingredient is that you have to want help in order to get out.

That being said, you need to do what is best for you and your baby and please keep us posted on your progess!:heart_eyes::star_struck: