January often finds individuals reevaluating all areas of their lives, including relationships. Recently, we received this question on our website:
Is it bad to want to leave a marriage with a person who has an alcohol or substance use disorder?
No, it’s not. But before you do, I’ll ask you the question one of my mentors asked me during the dark days of my husband’s addiction:
“Do you love him?” (her/them)
Yes, I know, sometimes finding the love under the hurt or pain can be tough. But if you can find any love under the rubble, and you are safe in the environment you are living in, I invite you to consider not leaving yet. And if you have already left, consider this.
Loving someone with a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) or Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) often hurts, destroys trust, and confuses the mind. This can result in a number of unhappy thoughts and feelings in the spouse such as:
- What is going on here? - Am I messed up or is he/she? - Do I stay or do I go? - How can I get out of here?
After all, it’s not supposed to be this painful, is it?
What I have learned over the years is that my wants tell me what I feel is missing in my life.
So what is this wanting to leave asking you to pay attention to?
In my case, I was feeling the burden of having been lied to and the pain of being involved with someone who was, at that time, so untrustworthy. I didn’t understand what was going on and I knew things had to change for me to continue being involved with the relationship.
Fortunately for me and my family, I chose the path of learning everything I could about addiction and recovery and applying it in my relationship. What I learned and applied helped me cope and thrive, and gave me tools to help me help my husband make new and healthier decisions in his life.
Over the years, I realized I had something useful to share with others vis-a-vis my experiences and all of the lessons of how to grow peaceful within while helping a loved one choose to enter and stay in recovery.
Eventually, I became a life coach. Then, seeing the gap between what I knew and what was out there for others who wanted to get well AND help their loved one get well, I developed a robust program designed to help other families do what I did. That program, known as the BALM (Be A Loving Mirror) Family Recovery Education Program, has been helping families all over the world take a pause before taking extreme action and often avoid leaving altogether. A life built together in recovery often erases that desire and brings joy and service into the world in ways previously unimaginable. We see it with spouses, we see it with parents and children, we see it with siblings.
Interestingly enough, we are now seeing family members join together to become BALM coaches and start their own family businesses in which they are working together to help other families and loved ones heal and grow! It’s a result we never could have imagined and yet, here it is. Husbands and wives, parents and children, previously at odds, now working together to bring BALM recovery into the lives of families all over the world.
So there is hope. And it all starts with a pause, followed by a commitment to educating oneself before taking drastic action.
We cannot promise your loved will get well as a result of your learning and practicing BALM or that you will stay together forever. We can promise that if you dive into the Be A Loving Mirror (BALM) Program, you will grow peace and understanding in your life and will become their BEST chance at their own recovery!
To learn more about the BALM and what it can do for you, visit us at https://bealovingmirror.com
Looking forward to sharing more with you as we grow together in our inner peace and loving interactions.
Would you prefer to speak with someone right away? Call our Outreach Representative Karen Zimmerman at 1-888-998-2256 Ext. 5
About the author
Beverly Buncher, MA, PCC, CBFRLC, CTPC, known as the "Foremost Family Recovery Life Coach in the Nation", is the Founder and CEO of Family Recovery Resources, LLC, and the BALM® (Be A Loving Mirror®) Institutes for Family Recovery Coach Training and Family Recovery Education.