You’ve seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel All Alone in Their Marriages, keep the Braxton sisters calm on the hit show Braxton Family Values. Now it’s your turn to sit in her chair…
Dear Dr. Sherry,
I need to know if I am enabling my husband with what I think is an addiction to drugs. We have been married for 13 years but together 23. I didn’t know about the drug use in the beginning but once I found out I expressed my dislike and displeasure. He hid it from me. My problem is that I wish I had been strong enough to tell him to leave when he started using in our home. I have begged and pleaded for him to quit and get help. He is so consumed with image and what we have as far as material possessions and because we have possessions, he doesn’t think he has a problem. I have tried to make myself believe that because he only does it two or three times a week that he doesn’t have a problem. I have told him that it’s disrespectful to get high in our home. He tells me that he is grown, so in other words, because it is his home too, it’s not disrespectful. We are both in our 50s and I don’t want to live my life or what I have left of it married to someone on drugs. Am I wrong and is there something wrong with me? I want to help him but he gets angry when I bring it up.
The mere fact that you are questioning if you are wrong or if there is something wrong with you, is a clear indication that you know something is not right. Yes, you are definitely an enabler. Your husband continues to do what he does because you continue to do what you do. For years, you have complained, moaned and groaned but accepted his drug use and even him getting high in your home. Why should he do anything differently? His drug use is not a problem for him. It is only a problem for you. He has been getting high for years despite your objections. After being with him for 23 years, it is highly likely that he is not going to change or get help unless he decides to do so on his own. Save your breath and tears because you may really need them later on. You can’t change your husband but you can change yourself. If you don’t want to live with a drug abuser or possibly an addict, leave. Leaving does not mean that you don’t love him. It means that you love yourself more.
At the age of 50-something, you deserve happiness and you must do whatever you need to do to find it. But remember, happiness starts within! I recommend that you join Nar-Anon or other support groups for family members with loved ones that use or abuse drugs. These groups are usually free and offer a great support system. You will find out that you are not alone in dealing with drug related issues. I also recommend that you seek individual therapy to work through issue related to being an enabler and learning to let go. If you want more, do not settle for less! – Dr. Sherry
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