AB123 is encouraged by her Loved One’s sobriety, but not sure he’s ready to come back home. With children, the decision is so complex, and she is afraid it’s still too soon…
I’m struggling a bit… it’s been almost 6 mo and my husband has not had a drink which is great, but he is as closed off and isolated as ever. We can spend decent superficial time together… but we can’t and don’t talk about anything other than how great the kids are.
On the one hand I understand this is a long road and he’s stayed sober and I should let him come back home but on the other he did admit yesterday that has been struggling and not doing his recovery work and that’s been a bit risky… such that I feel I should trust my instincts that it’s too soon…
If it were just me and him I wouldn’t be worried at all about timeframe but I have these three kids and already 6 months without dad at home.. I look at them and realize their life story will be when I was in 10-7-4th grade my dad didn’t live with us that year.. that’s not the life I wanted for them!
Your husband is living outside the family as he gains a foothold in recovery from alcohol. It’s been 6 months, and while he’s still sober, he seems to be retreating emotionally. He recently acknowledged to you that he is doing fewer recovery activities now.
Your children are living without their dad under the roof. I’m sorry for them and you.… It’s hard enough raising a family without a serious condition like addiction tossing everyone around. Your children are getting an education about illness in the family and about addiction. So be it.
What does your husband say to family therapy? Perhaps at first you can try with just the two of you. After some time with this, perhaps then you can plan to include the children in the sessions? Is there a therapist that can see the kids individually? I’m sure they share information with each other and keep some things from you about what’s going on for them. It would be important to have this kind of support to allow everyone to process what is going on in their own ways.
6 months isn’t long on some scales; it is super wonderful on the scale of recovery. Make it special when he comes over. Hunt for a little more compassion to help address what all of you are struggling with. Take the time to acknowledge the success of his ongoing sobriety. Here is a round of applause to acknowledge the accomplishment. This is the sound of success!
Your family is bruised but not broken. You can absolutely find your way to a new way of being a healthy family, together. Everyone plays their own role in the family, so everyone will need to work a little: family therapy, therapy for the children… For your husband’s part, he’ll need to add someone who is more carefully monitoring his efforts. This should be someone he’d check in with more than once a week, like a therapist or a recovery coach. Is there a center near you where you can ask about recovery coaches? A men’s group could feel hard for him but would be very useful as well.
You have all come a long way. Take some time to re-watch Learning Module 4 on communication and Learning Module 8 on treatment. It’s time for a little intervention that will encourage your husband not to give up. Let him know what the next steps are that you need him to take, to be able to come back. To find support so that he can work towards the openness that you all need for your family to thrive.
You have been holding things together for your family single-handedly for so long. He’s still got work to do. But you all have made it this far… It’s time to find the momentum needed to help move things along. You can help your whole family move into a new chapter now.
Feeling like “I didn’t want this for my children” are so hard. This is a part of their life story… but there is so much in their story that is yet unwritten. Even with things so disrupted for your children in this past year, there is value in what they may be learning from you along the way. Seeing how you navigate this, finding a path forward for your family with strength and compassion, there are big lessons they can take away from this situation.
Having their father gone for that year may seem like a loss on one hand. But as he continues to gain footing with his sobriety, and finds a way to navigate the family relationships without using, this major shift can lead to a positive outcome down the road.
The struggles with feeling it’s still too soon are totally valid. Whenever he does come back home, it could go either way. There are no guarantees, and that is part of the enormous challenge you face as you consider what needs to happen next. Navigating this path, you’ll need to honor and heed your own reservations while holding space for the brighter days ahead. Giving space for your own feelings – whatever they may be – can help clear the road for that future, and keep things moving along at a sustainable pace for everyone.
But whatever the feelings – be they hope, fear, resentment, worry – it can be so helpful to remind yourself that they are temporary. Be patient and compassionate with yourself during this process. As you acknowledge the hard feelings and give them some time and space, you can learn from them as well. Even the hard feelings can end up being illuminating as you digest them. As you allow this process to unfold, allowing these things to move through you, you are ultimately freeing up space that can help you be more open when you do sit down to talk with your husband about his returning home.
Right now, it feels like he isn’t really ready yet. But it is possible to start things moving in that direction. You will need patience, clarity and compassion as you lay out the plan you’re envisioning to regain balance as a family. Let him know the good faith efforts he needs to demonstrate. Your centered, compassionate presence will be your ally in getting that message across.
Thank you for writing in. Please don’t give up. Stay active on this site and let us know how things are going. We are all here for you; you have the support of everyone in this community. Keep taking care of yourself, and continue to let us know what you need.