Married to an addict? How to get unstuck

If you cannot let go, leave, or change an addict… you are stuck in a loop! More here on how to break free and live the life you want. With a section at the end for you to share more about your own situation.

minute read

Do you love an addict and feel stuck? If you feel trapped, boxed in, vulnerable, and lost because of loving an addict you are not alone.

Read on for more ideas on getting out of an unhealthy relationship. Then, we invite your comments and experience in the section at the end. In fact, we’ll try to respond to your inquiry personally and promptly.

Am I Stuck?

Being with an addict can feel like looking through foggy lenses. You know what you are seeing but everything looks fuzzy so you cannot see exactly what is happening right in front of you. When you know that your loved one is an addict and you cannot let go, leave, or change… then you are also the one who is stuck.

You may not be able put your finger on it at first… or for even for a long time after—but you might start to see everyone around you moving forward in their lives. Further, you might end up feeling like you were left at the train station standing on the platform while everyone else boarded the train.

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Call us today. You don’t need to face addiction on your own.

Can you see the natural evolution of healthier relationships around you? Friends and family are participating in life events that you either avoid or go to alone. These are painful and constant reminders of what is missing in your own family.

Facing It

If you find yourself asking over and over again how you arrived at this point it is time to face facts. You are not being an advocate for you in your own life to make a notable difference in your situation. You cannot face something you do not acknowledge. So, when you are clear that you:

………a. need your situation to change;
………b. can no longer try to save your partner from addiction;
………c. you need to be responsible for your own well-being;
………d. you are tired of being codependent or “co-addicted”;

…you are ready to get unstuck.

Don’t let your loved one suffer.
Addiction responds to treatment. Call us to get started.

How to Get Yourself Unstuck

An addict constructs a world of deception, manipulation, evasiveness and anger. The life you want is the exact opposite of this. If you expect honesty, you are married to the wrong person. But just because they are incapable of telling the truth about anything does not mean that you have to live in that world.

Here are some strategies to get unstuck:

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  1. Trust in yourself. You are not paranoid.
  2. Stop asking the same questions expecting different answers.
  3. Disengage from conversations that lead the addict to tell stories. If you know the addict is using, do not ask them to admit it…they won’t! You will just become frustrated.
  4. Your partner’s delusions do not have to be your own. Use your head and not your heart. Your heart is what got you stuck and it is time to start listening to that voice that tells you things are not going to change.
  5. Stop trying to search for the answers you want to hear like how you can make this work and listen to the advice of people who have been there and gotten out of the situation.
  6. Just like an addict needs help to get sober, you need support to get out. Don’t try to do this alone, open up to the people you trust. You are going to need people rallying around you who won’t let you get away with the excuses you are used to making for putting up with the addict’s behavior.

Are You Making The Same Mistakes?

Just because the addict is in the wrong, it is no excuse for you to keep making the same mistakes you are making that keep you down. Using an addict’s behavior as an excuse to behave in ways that make you question who you are is just another way to stay stuck.

If you are stuck, you cannot expect someone to just come and pull you out. You have to make an effort to free yourself or you will end up taking other people down with you.

Start your
recovery today.
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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  1. RL & Shelly,
    Have you read Hope Street? Please pick it up if you have not as I really think it will be eye opening for you both. There are no concrete answers especially when you are on the rollercoaster. Every scenario seems depressing unless it involves a sober partner but unfortunately you can’t MAKE that happen as you have probably already noticed. You cannot force another person, you can only support positively and inspire with your own actions. That being said, you have to go with that gut feeling in the meantime. You can’t make decisions based on if it is going to help the addict stay sober. An addict getting the right help and serious about recovery can be sober anywhere.
    I am just so overwhelmed and happy that all of you have been reaching out here. I usually write back instantly but the posts have been sometimes too many for me to respond to daily. That does not mean I have not read every one and that I am not listening.
    I understand and I am here to help.
    But I cannot enable you the way we enable the addict. I could give advice to the specifics of each situation but the truth is that if it is not getting better (meaning the addict is not choosing recovery and at some point taking sobriety seriously) and getting the right
    kind of help there is not much you can do.
    It is a cycle and if you read back to yourself your own story and all of the stories here you will see the PATTERN, I PROMISE YOU WILL.
    It is like one day (and it wasn’t just one day but a series of days) I just woke up and said “I AM SO SICK OF LIVING LIKE THIS.” that is when I realized that I loved myself and my child and
    wanted and deserved to live a wonderful life. If I was going to be happy and try to love life and my husband (addict) was not going to follow my lead then I had to LEAVE.
    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY, READ HOPE STREET. I wrote it for you to really be an eye opener. Sometimes when you are in the situation it is difficult to see
    the forest for the trees and seeing it through the eyes of another (an unbiased party) is the best way to get the message.

    Amanda Andruzzi, MHP, CHC, AADP,published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the video book trailer:

  2. Hi,
    I too have found myself in this situation.
    Married 2.5 years, together 7.5. 7.5 years of recovery, relapse, treatment and repeat!! The absolute rollercoaster you have written about. Hope of him getting well and us living a happy life has some how kept me going until now but I am now accepting that I need to move on with my life. I feel a deep deep sadness that we can not progress in a life together but I can see how harmful this is to me. I am 31 now, thankfully no children so at least in someways I am not absorbed in guild around that.
    What I wanted to ask is, at what stage did people let their husband know they were leaving? I am just at the start of this ‘moving on’ journey and am unsure when to discuss it with him?

  3. Thank you for your article and all of the comments. It makes me feel less alone. I am trying to figure out what steps that I need to take in my specific situation. What’s best for me and my kids. Every option looks like it will result in devastation. If I have him leave, I’m doing this all alone all by myself, putting my kids in daycare just to get a low paying job, not in my field, and in an area that I absolutely feel discontent in (and I have tried to be content here for years). If I leave, I am again doing this all alone all by myself, having my kids in daycare and not having a place to go to that I could afford, nor are my credentials current anyway. If I have him stay, we’re staying in the same repetitive cycle and it’s destroying our finances and mental energy. If we move to a better suited area all together, the question of will his alcoholism continue to sabotage us in unfamiliar places? The best option would be for him to leave his alcoholism behind him and we all start fresh in an area that we can all flourish. I could then get my self built up in my field and take care of the kids. But, the big question is would that happen? I do know that a big part of his depression resulting in constant drinking is due to him not being happy living here. It’s a tough choice for me because so much hangs in the balance and I don’t want to put us in an even worse situation. Of course, I already am in a bad situation. The difference right now is that I am also not where I need to be. Part of me tells myself that I would be more content living in an area that I could do something with my life even if it means that I would still be dealing with these issues alone anyway. I’m considering this option because at least I’d be giving him the chance to start fresh. At very least, if it doesn’t work I’d at least have a foothold some place better for us. Like I said, it’s a tough call and I’m so exhausted and confused anymore. I’m worried that our devastating financial situation will keep anything from happening as it has for years. I’m trying to keep up faith though. I had begun a blog to organize my thoughts, gain support and reach out. Every situation is different and having support for specific situations is helpful in knowing what exact steps I should take. I’m hoping that including my blog address is alright here. Thank you again!

  4. jenny,
    please read my book Hope Street as you sound just like I did going through my marriage with an addict. He looked good on the outside too and blamed me but the truth is that it is not your fault he is an addict but it is your fault you are still living like this. YOU DO HAVE CHOICES and you can leave even though it will be hard. You can have him removed from your home and you can stand up for yourself when he blames you. We all do this because we are afraid but there comes a point where we stop fearing them leaving and start fearing what will happen if they stay and how much longer we can live like this. It is time to stand up and make some of your own choices and decisions that may affect you at first but will be fruitful later. You are in control of your own life. You can live a better life you just have to stop allowing this to happen to you.
    If you read back what you wrote, what would be the advice you would give yourself?
    It is time to let go and do this on your own. When you are ready to walk away, no looking back,
    I will still be there. In the meantime, please try some therapy for you and even an al-anon meeting. It will help you take the focus off of him and start putting it on you.
    Amanda Andruzzi, MHP, CHC, AADP,published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the video book trailer:

  5. My husband is a cocaine addict and he blames me for his addiction. He owns his own business and has full control of all finances. My hands are tied because I have no where to go and I’m a stay at home mom with two young boys. My husband keeps saying he is moving out and that is what it will take for him to get sober. He’s been a cocaine addict for 7 years and says it’s because he’s never “liked” our marriage but then he turns around and tells me he loves me and has loved our marriage. I know it’s best for all of us if he moves out but #1, I’m not sure he really is moving out because it’s been a threat for many years and #2, I’m scared he will recover and I will face the painful reality that it was possibly our marriage. He has problems connecting emotionally and grew up in an addict environment. He also has narcissist tendencies and can be emotionally abusive but I feel like that is from the addiction. I feel so stuck and know I am codependent and need to find answers for myself. I just don’t know where to go or what to do. I feel as though I should be able to stay in our home because it is where my boys deserve to be and feel safe. I’m so mad he is doing this to our family and I don’t know why I feel so scared that he will recover without me in his life. I feel extremely selfish in having these feelings but I know it’s par for course in a situation like mine. Is it possible for someone to be an addict because they are unhappy in their marriage? It’s so confusing and hurtful to hear because I’ve done 99% of everything around here with my boys and keeping the family in tact.. I feel like I’m his scapegoat. Anytime someone corners him about his addiction, the finger gets pointed at me. It’s such a terrible way to live but I feel like I’m just waiting for him to make a move. I’m scared to have our family broken and my boys to miss their dad and learn this behavior and have a family like this of their own one day. I’m sick to my stomach every day and my life has been consumed by him and what he is doing. Nothing seems normal anymore but I’ve lived it this long and I am just so used to it. He used to come around and be able to be a a part of the family but it seems so much less lately, like I’m losong him to the addiction. I think he has chosen the drug over us. He is such a smart man, I just can’t believe it has turned into this. I always thought he would pull out of this for himself and his seeet family but it’s not going that way at all. Thank you for this blog and all your comments. Although I sound confused, I think it’s mostly just my denial. How can I move past it?

  6. everyone thinks if only he was sober everything would be ok
    bullshit he will still be emotionally unavailable giong to meetings hanging out with sober people
    you wil hear my sobriety comes first —–did his addiction not come first
    its not the drugs or the drink —–its the person themselves —–i know i left after 2o years sobriety
    because nothing had changed ——i read the book women who love too much and i took myself out

  7. Jennifer & James,
    This is the most frustrating disease because we keep saying to ourselves “if this person would just stop using then we would be fine.” Then things don’t change and we become emotionally exhausted. It is a cycle of ups and downs and sometimes we come to the point where we have to get off the ride; and that is okay too. Your health and happiness is important too and if the person you love refuses to get help or help themselves then we have a choice too.
    Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer:

  8. I have been living with my wife’s addiction for 7 years, possibly more. We have two children under 5. When sober she is a fantastic mother and wife. She is highly successful at work, earning lots and gaining recognition for her achievements. But it all unravels at home. Usually at the weekends. Tonight I came home from work and couldn’t get into the house. My 4 yr old son managed to get on a chair to unlock the door. My wife was passed out. My two boys had clearly been un attended for sometime. I simply put her to bed, to avoid a scene. To keep it away from the boys. Tomorrow she will be full of shame and ill feel sympathetic. I will ask her to take Antabuse. She will agree, but won’t. And the cycle will start again in a few days. I feel completely stuck. The last thing I want is to separate her from her boys. Sorry. I just wanted to write this.

  9. I’ve been married to an active alcoholic for 18 years. We have two beautiful children. Halfway through our marriage I made clear that I was at wits end living with the effects of his disease and he went underground with it. He usually doesn’t get drunk in front of me or our children. He drinks at night after we’re fast asleep. He is highly functioning, a family man and doesn’t go out partying. For the most part I detached from him many years ago, but I slide back into fix mode on occasion and I need to remind myself that this is his issue. As u can surmise, detaching from his issue has had the effect of detaching from him. I was in fix mode a few days ago which prompted me to become more self aware and I’ve realized that I really don’t want him in my life. I’ve just been living parellel to his dark life – just putting up with it just because. Knowing this, I still can’t muster the courage to ask him to leave. My goodness what is it that makes this so darn difficult?

  10. Wray,
    Fear is he number one reason you don’t leave. You fear not having a husband and starting over, you fear he may kill himself, fear you won’t be able to support your children or make enough to live without him, fear he will get better and find someone else, fear of being alone, fear of anything that can happen as a result of you moving on. When you are ready, you will understand the only fear you should have is not leaving. This is no way to live and no current situation could be any better than a situation where you move on from this.
    Amanda Andruzzi

  11. I’ve been “stuck” for 23 years. I think I stay because we have 4 kids. A divorce is not something you want on your list of accomplishments. My husband gets angry at the drop of a hat. I haven’t seen him sober in a long time. He also has crack binges where is goes through a lot of money that isn’t his then has to pay people back. He blames his childhood for his addictions. I have spent 23 years chasing him around town at night looking for him to come home. Texting his dealers, texting him as if texts mean anything. I don’t know why I cant get a divorce. Maybe because I hid this life from my parents and a divorce would mean everyone would know. We argue everyday. He feels like its a waste of time for him to see a councilor and that it was my idea and that’s the only reason he goes. Then he says his councilor will tell him he should get the divorce and that I’m the problem. He doesn’t want to be controlled and yet he has his control over his family. His increasing violent outbursts and punching holes in the walls. I cant go anywhere with or without my kids. I am accused of not spending time with him. The reality is that he spends everyday after work and weekends in our backyard drinking etc with his friends to which I will not participate but have no say in this behavior. If I voice objections he will threaten to just go out then. I have resorted to looking at his phone, text records on our cell bill to see if he’s having contact with his crack dealer. When he’s wasted and can hardly walk which is daily by 6pm he gets mad dinner is not ready, he says things that don’t make sense but then gets mad. He says things to our kids that are hurtful. I try to avoid him. I don’t want to be emotionally involved with him because he always lets me down. There is always another crack binge just around the corner. 23 years of watching waiting and hoping things change. Loving a person who doesn’t want to change. He thinks AA or any other substance abuse treatment program is a time waster. He has said many times he has no intention of stopping the alcohol, but the alcohol leads his mind to the binges. My oldest daughter tells me I should get a divorce! So why cant I just do it?

  12. Tessa,
    Thank you for sharing your story. You are an inspiration and being vulnerable is the part that you have mastered by telling all and posting here. That is part of the co-addiction; being in control or the illusion of control is what made us think we could handle the addict. Keep going strong and keep me posted.
    Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer:

  13. Hi. Yet another great article!!! Story of my life… it’s five months and am still going strong! No Turning back to co-dependence. One of the vital elements of this article though is making sure that one’s support system knows the entire truth about their situation.

    I had to do this two weeks into my decision to leave the relationship. This was the hardest part of the break up for me, because my family and friends have never had to worry about a decision I am making; I have always been the voice of reason. Here I was exposing myself and making myself vulnerable to people that I felt viewed me as their rock. However, when I had all the truth spilled and the invisible lines of accountability set up, I knew it was going to be hard for me to go back and forth. The dishonesty though!!!!!! Up to date, for the life of me, I can not quite figure out why someone that loves (d) me would betray my trust that way. Watching videos on the physiology of addiction has been very helpful for me to understand why this happens and I highly reccomend watching a videos on the science of addiction on YouTube. When I understood that nothing I can ever do will remotely raise dorpamine levels in the brain to the level he gets when he uses his drug of choice, I found peace in knowing that this is way beyond me, and I deserve better. Apologies for long text but this forum has been a great resource to me and would hope my experience can help someone.

  14. Linda,
    Thank you for sharing your feelings here. I know this is not easy even though to others it seems like such a simple thing to do. You want to believe a person when they tell you that they are trying but you start to realize their struggle becomes yours and it is all consuming. There comes a point when you realize there is nothing left for you to do and that is when the enabling has to end. I am glad you are there and I am honored that I can be a part of that process. Keep me posted.
    Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer:

  15. Hi Amanda, this article tells exactly how i feel at the moment. i’m really trying hard to become ‘un-stuck’ from my addict. its been the hardest fight of my life. I thought i was going to be able to leave him, and kick him out so easily, because i don’t agree or condone him using drugs. i have never used drugs, I have reached out to people i trust. i am ready to get off the boat! I want feel free from this misery of a life that i have allowed for 3 yrs. I am currently reading your book,’ Hope Street’ , it is the a book of my life. Thank you for your blog, and God bless you for helping others.

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