When he is high, his sexual demand gets abnormal. Otherwise, he doesn’t feel any urge and we don’t have a child because of this. Last year, he left his job so there were financial problems, but now he got one again. However, if he continues with drugs, it’d be difficult to continue because he stays awake for 2 or 3 days continuously and then he sleeps for 3 days. This cycle goes on and on.
I’ve given him so many warnings and chances and he makes promises every time, but to no avail. I don’t want to leave because he’s a good man and he’s kind towards me, but I don’t want to live with an addict and don’t see a future with him.
What should I do?
In this counseling answer:
•If you decide to stay and help him, I strongly suggest seeking counseling.
•During the intervention, make it clear that if he refuses to quit, then there will be consequences.
•Avoid enabling him. Enabling is doing things for someone that enables them to keep using without any consequences or accountability.
•Help him find positive coping skills.
•Talk to him openly about it, give him a safe space to be honest and open with you without any judgment.
•Make duaa for your husband and ask him to do the same.
As-Salamu alaikum rahmatuulahi wa barakatu.
Thank you for writing in and trusting us with this difficult situation.
To begin, please know that addiction can be beat and your husband can break this cycle, inshallah. It is not easy and sometimes during his life he may feel temptation to use again, but if both of you are willing to work on this, he can overcome these urges.
Imagine for a moment when you felt very happy and had a lot of energy. A moment when you were motivated and active. Imagine if you took those feelings and multiplied them by 10, it is more exhilarating than a rollercoaster ride. That is how he feels when he is high on cocaine.
You mentioned he has unusual sexual requests during those moments, cocaine is known to increase sexual desire. Just as his emotions come down once his high fades, so does his libido. He literally cannot be as sexually aroused or as happy as normal when addiction has him caught in these ups and downs.
First, let us understand why cocaine is so addictive and what is happening to him internally. Cocaine is a stimulant that triggers high levels of dopamine to flood his system. This gives a sense of euphoria, focus and motivation. Dopamine is a
neurotransmitter in the brain. Imagine how you felt immediately after you signed your marriage contract or even how you feel when you eat an amazing piece of cake. That happiness and euphoria is a sign that your dopamine was heightened.
Narcotics like cocaine push dopamine levels to unusual highs, maxing out that euphoria and alertness. As it pushes these levels high, they will inevitably crash and when that happens the addiction cycle begins because your husband wants to feel that good again and he knows it will not happen without the drugs.
The cocaine user does not go “back to normal” when their dopamine levels crash, rather they sink below their normal baseline and may feel lethargic, sad and have little to no energy to do much else. It is a vicious cycle and part of detoxing would require your husband to endure emotional lows and physical cravings.
Psychologically, an addict begins to see the drugs as an absolute necessity and dependent how heavy they use, their thought patterns begin to focus only on how they can get high again. Even if they feel guilt over their substance abuse, that usually passes as their cravings are too strong. Cocaine users also develop tolerance to the drug, meaning your husband has to take more now than he used to in order to get high. This only increases his physical dependency on the drug, which escalates his psychological addiction.
Stay or Leave
You mention not wanting to leave him. You said he is a good man and kind towards you, but you do not want to live with an addict. Please, know this is your choice and no one can blame you if you decide to leave him. As you have already given him warnings and chances in the past.
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If you decide to stay and help him, I strongly suggest seeking counseling. Even if only temporarily to get both of you on the right track, drug addiction is very difficult to navigate alone. You can utilize secular or Islamic counseling to assist both of you.
Consider having an intervention. As you have already spoken with him more than once, bring together some trusted family or friends to sit down with him in a circle. People expressing to him their own emotions and insights into his drug use. It should serve to make him feel supported as well as ensuring he understands he has to quit.
During the intervention, make it clear that if he refuses to quit, then there will be consequences.You must decide what those consequences are, as an example it could be that you will pack your bags and go to your parents. Do not make idle threats, you have to mean it.
Avoid enabling him. Enabling is doing things for someone that enables them to keep using without any consequences or accountability. For example, if he is asking you to stop spending so much on groceries so he can afford his drugs say no. Saying yes is like handing him the drug money.
Do not coddle him if he loses his job due to his addiction. Be honest and tell him he caused this with his behavior and it needs to stop. Do not give into his sexual requests while he is high; rather tell him he can come to you when he is sober. If you are relaxing with him or doing fun things with him while high, you are enabling his behavior. Take a strong stance against it. Whatever you tell him will happen if he refuses to quit, you must abide by that.
Help him find positive coping skills. During the moments he feels stressed or sad he is at higher risk of using again. Help him find coping skills, which he can utilize during those moments. Such as exercising which is a natural way to trigger dopamine to a healthy level. Some other examples of coping skills include cooking, prayer, gardening, reading or going for a walk.
Identify the root. It can help to figure out why he started using in the first place and address that issue. Did he feel sad or that he was not productive enough? Was it meant as a way to socialize? Talk to him openly about it, give him a safe space to be honest and open with you without any judgment. Do not shame him or make negative statements during this, allow him to vent and explore his emotions.
Make duaa for your husband and ask him to do the same. Addiction is the enemy and shaitan wants to keep this enemy around. You know that Allah (swt) knows your struggles, knows your pain and is your greatest adversary against this darkness. He is Al-Hafeeth, The Protector and the Guardian. You are never alone in this struggle Sister, Allah (swt) is with you every step of the way.
“And Allah is most knowing of your enemies; and sufficient is Allah as an ally, and sufficient is Allah as a helper.”[Quran 4:45]
Pray with your husband and spend time discussing religion with your husband. The more he is reminded of his faith throughout the day, the stronger it can make his resolve. Encourage dhikr, even if he sees you doing it he may feel compelled to do it more himself. Play Quran in the house, especially during times he often used.
Here is a summary of your steps moving forward.
Speak honestly and candidly with him, arrange an intervention with loved ones and be mindful not to enable these behaviors.
Help him identify positive coping skills as well as the root issue that caused him to start using in the first place.
Seek out a counselor that can assist both of you in this process and rely upon your faith for support and strength.
You and your husband can beat this, inshallah, but it is important he knows this is not a choice it is a necessity. Make it very clear that if he does not take this seriously and does not work alongside you to beat his addiction, then he will be held accountable and face the consequences of his actions.
Visualize how things would be once the drugs are gone and he has spent time working on his addiction. See how much happier you would be, visualize how things could improve within your marriage.
Ask him to do the same. These positive visualizations can act as motivators and encouragement.
May Allah (swt) heal your husband of his addiction and guide both of you to a path of healing and righteousness,
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.