Leaving an addict boyfriend or husband

Why do you stay? A personal story about what can happen when you FINALLY decide to leave an addict.

minute read

My Life After Leaving An Addict

The scariest part of leaving my relationship with my drug addicted husband was learning how to stand on my own two feet again. I had leaned on his sickness for so long. I had taken on his emotional problems and made them my own. I wasn’t sure how to live without him.

The two things I had left to prove that I had even been in a relationship with this person was my pain and my five year old daughter. I had a choice right then and there—I could become bitter and angry, trying to tie him down with court cases and requests for child support or I could move on with my life.

Choices: I Followed My Gut Instincts

Some people told me that I should do or not do other things that involved the addict but – unlike the twelve years I was with the addict – when I left him, I decided to go with my gut feelings. For example, many people told me that I was stupid and crazy not to file for child support and insist he be responsible. I seconded guessed my decision to raise my daughter autonomously from her father.

Perhaps my choices were unconventional, but so was the situation.

What I learned was that as long as my intentions were genuine, I could not go wrong with my decisions. I would not be perfect. Nor would my decisions. Not everyone would agree. In fact, some people were hurt by my decisions. Still, I was not going to revert to my old ways.

Not everyone was going to like how my decisions affected them, but I had to start doing what was best for me.

Being Me

When I made the decision to leave (the last time), I was finally ready to work on me. I went through a period of personal growth that was instrumental in my own recovery from my addiction to my husband’s addiction (co-addiction). For me to be able to do that I had to have him out of my life and, because of his risky lifestyle, my daughter’s as well. It was not too difficult because when I distanced from him, he simply disappeared from our lives anyway.

What I learned through the process of re-discovering who I was is a lesson about acceptance. I was not going to be angry about the years I spent with him, or bitter about the resources I had exhausted to help him. All I could do from here was learn from the experience and not resent the journey.

Get Honest with Yourself

This part is not always easy to do because it means not just pretending that you have moved on to others… but being honest with yourself. If you are separated from an addict, that does not mean you have let go. If you are:

  • still trying to find out about this person’s life
  • contact him through other people
  • are affected by their choices

…then you have not truly let go.

Let Go of Excuses

Leave the addict to gain back your life! It was not easy for me to leave the addict. After all, he was my daughter’s father.

But that could have been just the excuse I needed to keep me intertwined in his life. Despite what my soon to be ex mother-in-law insisted, I had to take my daughter away from this situation so we could have a healthy life. My mother-in-law at the time was angry and spiteful. I almost caved into her wishes many times but something did not feel right.

It was not until five years post-divorce that my mother ran into this woman and found out that even she stopped communicating with her son. He just couldn’t stay sober. He even had a few psychotic breakdowns.

I was also approached by two people five years later who wanted to speak to me about their current dealings with my ex-husband. This confirmed he was still stealing large sums of money from people, using drugs, and disappearing. They said his stories never added up and they wanted confirmation that they were not insane.

Find the Courage to Leave!

If I had not had the strength and courage to take my own road – despite the guilt and the anger I caused other people due to my decisions – I could have been tangled up in my old tendencies until this day. Instead, I decided to take those lessons and put them to good use in my life.

I could have easily remained the same person taking my behavior to other situations, but I chose to sincerely move on. It was not the easiest road, but, in the long run, it allowed me to be me and live a truly authentic life.

Don’t you wish that for yourself, too?

About the author
Amanda Andruzzi, MPH, AADP, CHES, is a Certified Health Coach, founder of Symptom-Free Wellness, and the author of Hope Street. Her first book, Hope Street memoir is an inspirational story of one woman's frightening journey of co-addiction that led her to uncover courage, unbelievable strength and overcome great adversity. She resides with her daughter, husband, and two sons in Florida.
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