Divorcing an Addict

by Jason Deines

in Questions & Answers

Submitted by Kris

What if divorce from an addict is the only thing to do? Does God still understand?


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jason

God understands everything, it is us who fail to see the big picture at times. The bible only talks about certain instances where divorce is not a sin, for example infidelity. Whatever you have chosen to do, either way, God loves you and will forgive you. Of course this isn’t an excuse to live a sinful life but sin is sin. Some have more consequences than the other and that is why He hates divorce, it really hurts people’s lives. Do whatever you can to help your husband. You obviously loved him at some point. Did you know about the addiction then? If so you knew what you were getting yourself into. Is your husband a Christian? Can you get help from a local church? Consider everything you can to help him. Imagine how glorious it would be if God was able to save your marriage and your husband freed from his addiction. If you feel you are in danger you must certainly put some distance between you two.

2 Jen

I’ve been married to an addict (alcohol, sex, compulsive lying and spending) for 7 yrs. I’ve been “helping” him for that entire time, supporting him, loving him and praying for him. He addressed only the issues I called him on and never the underlying issues. I finally realized two months ago that I could not LOVE him into recovery. After he lied to me, I made the decision that it was time to leave and I have, letting him know that I would absolutely be open for reconciliation if he were to get into recovery. He has chosen to NOT recover and would rather permanently separate from me and our three young boys.

You can pray for your husband. You can love your husband. You cannot choose recovery for him. I suggest going to Celebrate Recovery and talking to women in the co-dependent group.

I know this sounds harsh. My decision was heartbreaking for me as I truly believe in doing EVERYTHING one can to keep a marriage. But when the other person stops trying and starts bringing down the family as well as the kids, you have to start placing boundaries and this is where I’ve had to place them.

3 Gerry

I divorced my husband after 29 years. He is an alcoholic marijuana user. He refused to get help over the years, when we married I was into that kind of lifestyle but “grew up”. I ignored things for years knowing what the bible says about divorce. I was so alone in my marriage it wasn’t surprising that I fell in love with someone else. My husband and I were never close..we never talked, never touched in the way married couples should. Should have gotten help years ago but after his refusals I gave up. He ridiculed my faith, not supporting me in church going..our 2 sons now involved in alcohol and drugs too. I am heartbroken. I can’t be with another because God’s word forbids it. I crave love. I know I need the love of God most. Now my ex says he still loves me and wants me back..I don’t love him. He hurt me too much with his words and neglect. I am at a standstill feeling sorry for everything and just waiting on God for answers.

4 barb

I have been with my husband 18 years,12 living with him and 6 married. when he quit drinking 15 years ago, he became a dry drunk for a long time, then he got into gambling and lying, then when he couldn’t afford that he started taking antianxiety medication and became an addict. within the last three years he mixed all 3 together.I tried to set him up 3 times for in patient treatment and once to have him commited for mental health issues. We’ve had to file bancrupcy, I lost my home, my vacation home and he had pawned most of our belongings to support his habit. I’ve tried marriage counseling, pastoral couseling from our church and individual couseling on top of GA and AA meetings and tried to get him a sponser. lenghthy all night conversations,love and intervention from children and family members..nothing was enough. The one thing I seemed to do most often was pray and talk to God. Finally I had to file for divorce. Not at all what I wanted to do but what I needed to do for my own wellbeing,health and sanity. God knows I have tried and I hope he forgives me for breaking the marriage covenant…What else could I have done? through these awful times I never stopped taking care of him and as long as I kept enabling him and providing for him,I thought he would have to learn on his own to take care of himself. Unfortunately this hasn’t worked either, is this my fault for loving someone and what else was I supposed to do?

5 Jason

I feel we simply do the best we can and we do have a breaking point… I pray that God will heal your heart and help your ex.

6 barb

Jason, please give me biblical feedback on what God would have wanted me to do,being a woman of faith and trying everything I could do for him and trying myself to stay sane. Do you think I did something in my life like cohabiting before I was a christian that WE were being punished for? Is this what God wanted for my destiny or was this the devil putting a stonghold on my husband, or not enough praying?….I’m so confused!

7 Jason

Barb, God isn’t punishing you. I do think the enemy is putting a stronghold on you and your husband. To be honest we can’t control what others do, we live in a fallen world and life is hard. God loves you and you should not measure your relationship with Him based on your past, current or future sin. We all fall short, that is why Christ had to die on the cross. Confess your sin to Him, accept forgiveness and let it go.

Keep lifting your husband up to God. You can only do so much. He has to make a choice to change and sometimes that requires hitting rock bottom.

Read the book of James… it helped me.

8 barb

Jason my thoughts exactly! He has to want to change and hitting rock bottom is where we are at right now. Christ died on the cross for everyones sins so that we may live, and I realize the awful pain and suffering he endured during his crucifiction, but I cannot suffer the abuse any longer and sorry to say, even if he does get better somehow, I cannot mentally take even one setback with him so I am done with him and am handing it over to God and letting go. I will read the book of James, and thank you so much Jason—God bless you :)

9 den

I have been married for 31 years. I knee my husband liked pot and porn before we got married. In fact, I kicked him out before we got married because of this. The pipes in his apartment froze, so my kind heart let him back in the house. Over the years, he gave up drinking after a few AA sessions, but every so often, I caught him smoking pot and into porn. He always said he would stop. A year and a half ago, I finally got the truth. To my horror, he admitted he is an addict and he was getting the pot from our neighbor friend for 30 years. I asked my neighbor to stop supplying my husband with pot. He said ok. A year later, same thing. This time I told my neighbor if I get a divorce over this, I will report him. My husband said he would stop and went to pot addicts group for a few months. He seemed on the up and up so I said he could stop going to meetings. My mistake, today, 6 months later, I found his pot stuff. I am devasted, confused, disappointed, hurt, you name it. He says it is my fault he is an addict. “He smokes because I told him not to.” If I get a divorce, I will lose my house, my business, my health insurance. But I just can’t take the lies any more and the fact he puts pot and porn ahead of me and has damaged our marriage so much. I am allergic to pot. I get nose bleeds and cysts in my nose when I sleep with my husband from allergic reaction. I am better off with him, financially, but mentally it is so upsetting to have no trust left in my husband. He blames me though. I work 80 hours a week at my home job to pay bills. He works hard too, but it is all so sad that we could have had a great marriage. We work together in a home business. No kids. Just did not want it to come down to divorce. But I am tired of being an enabler and forgive him again and again. Not sure what will happen tomorrow. Friend says divorce, but it is a frightening thing to do.

10 jodi

I have been married for 23 years and am looking for permission (I think) to divorce my addict husband. We have been through alcohol, smoking, chewing, and now prescription medicine. I left when my second son was only 2 but came back when he promised to stop drinking. He actually did, but I figured the smoking and chewing were not that big a deal. He had a surgery screw-up that left him with a damaged nerve in his shoulder that he says constantly causses him pain. So his first try at prescription medicine started innocently enough, but it didn’t take long for things to go wrong. I threatened to leave if he didn’t quit. He quit cold turkey but never got any help and after only a year he was back on them. When I told him he had to stop or get out, I also told him I will never put myself or my children through that again. Well here we are again and I found out that he is back on them again, (I had already guesssed) and I told him he is choosing his addiction over his family. I have an appointment next week with a divorce atty. and I feel so aweful! I said for better or worse but how much am I expeced to take? I need some help, I feel like I am letting God down. I am not sticking with my husband when he needs me but, he is causing so much grief and bad feelings in our house I just don’t think I can handle any more. What should I do?
Jodi

11 Jason

Jodi, addiction is a difficult thing to deal with and I have been there. It often takes a person hitting bottom before they decide to change. The pain of addiction has to be more than the pain of life. People get an idea in their heads that they need drugs to cope and that is where the majority of the problem is. The belief that drugs can make life better needs to be changed.

I would recommend that you talk to a counselor on how to deal with being married to an addict. I would also talk to your husband and see if he is seriously open to getting help and more than simply going to an AA type meeting. Counseling that deals with cognitive behavior is a powerful tool when overcoming addiction.

Instead of divorce consider a moving out for awhile, until he gets the help he needs. I pray that God will put the right people in your life to help you and your family through this.

12 Mike

The bible talks of divorce allowed by immoral behavior.
One book says sexual infidelity one says immoral behavior.
Is alcoholism immoral behavior?

13 Jason Deines

Mike,

For a believer it basically comes down to sexual immorality. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay in an horrible relationship. There are other options besides divorce. Also, you never know if God is going to use you to turn your spouse to Him.

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