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My estranged husband is in treatment for his addictions, and even though we've separated, I am considering a reconciliation now that he's in treatment. What do I need to be aware of?

My estranged husband is in treatment for his addictions, and even though we've separated, I am considering a reconciliation now that he's in treatment.  What do I need to be aware of?

I am so glad to hear that your husband has been successful at getting treatment for his addiction.  There are several things you want to be aware of as you consider reconciliation.  First, addiction is a chronic medical illness.  This means, he will need to maintain his sobriety regimen for the rest of life if he is to maintain remission of his addiction.  Consider it the exact same way as you would High Blood Pressure and Diabetes.  An individual has to continue diet and exercise changes as well as recommend medication regimen if they hope to keep their blood pressure and blood sugar normal.  Secondly, his risk for relapse to addiction will never completely disappear.  Both of you need to be aware of his triggers, and have a safety plan for how to manage those triggers should they arise.  Third, there are likely several things that happened during your marriage that will have to be discussed and resolved if you all are to have a healthy relationship.  Addiction is a family disease--affecting everyone around the individual who is using.  I would strongly recommend you try Alanon or Naranon to learn about the common issues loved ones encounter, and how to deal with them as you both heal from his active addiction.

In the meantime,Alcoholic Spouse: Coping With An Alcoholic Husband or Wife (Coping With Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Book 3) is a great resource to help you maintain balance and perspective.  While the title specifically says alcoholism, the information definitely applies to other addictions as well.

Hope this helps and best wishes,

-Dr. H

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