How to Improve My Marriage with an Ex-Drug Addict?

06 October, 2020
Q My husband has been on drugs since we got married 7 years ago. He is clean from drugs for 5 months now but is only out of rehab for 2 months.

We have been living separated for 3 years now but I do go and spend every second weekend there as my son attends school near to where I work.

I can’t afford to live with him as he is very far (36 km) from where I live. I know this is disliked but is it ok for me to do this until we can afford to live together.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

  • Living apart from your husband right now may be seen as a mercy from Allah (swt) while you both heal. He has more time to clean as well as adjusting to his programs and new life.
  • Please, do some self-reflecting on your needs and seek counseling for yourself and your son if needed.
  • Utilize this time away from your husband for healing, draw closer to Allah (swt), and seek His guidance while your family heals.

As-Salamu ‘Alaykum dear sister,

Thank you for writing to us with your important concern. I am sorry to hear of your husband’s drug problem but alhumdulillah he has gone to rehab and received treatment.

Time

While I do not know which drug he is addicted to nor do I know how it has impacted your life, I would kindly recommend that you continue to give your husband time to recover.  In fact, recovery is a lifelong process, sister, with the most critical time being right after rehab.

Alternatives in Treatment states that “Individuals, family, and friends need to understand that recovery from substance abuse is a long-term process that requires ongoing effort. Like caring for chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, recovery requires daily attention.

Relapse rates are 40 to 60 percent, but the swift action and careful preparation can help maintain the gains made in treatment and prevent the dire consequences of a severe relapse.”


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Strong support

As you know, in rehab, your husband had a very strong support system. Now his support system is greatly diminished with the exception of any programs he is assigned to. This is a very delicate time for him and he should be focusing on his immediate and long term recovery as well as his relationship with Allah (swt).

As you are his wife, it is important that you show your love and support. Perhaps living apart from him at this time is in both of your best interests until he gets stronger in sha’ Allah and has more “clean time”. Allah (swt) in His mercy knows what is best for us; thus, I would not worry about living away from him at this point in time.

Recovery time

Perhaps this is a period in his life wherein your husband is getting closer to Allah (swt). All of your husband’s time, as well as mental, emotional and spiritual energy, must be devoted to his recovery.

Perhaps that you are living apart from him is saving you and your son from some future pain or misfortune. While only Allah (swt) knows, you are separated for a reason right now.  When the time is right, sister, Allah (swt) will make a way for you and your husband to live together again, in sha’ Allah.

Healing

I would kindly suggest sister that you focus on yourself as well. Look at what it was like living with someone you love who is an addict. Was there abuse? A loss of trust? Trauma? Loving and living with an addict brings about a whole host of issues for those who love them.

Please, take a self-inventory on what you have been through with him and give yourself some time as well for healing. If you have gone through 7 years with him actively using, you may have some unresolved issues yourself due to the stress and trauma of living with someone who is addicted. Please do seek counseling if you feel you need it.

DrugAbuse.com recommends therapy for the significant other stating that it can be beneficial for “gaining education surrounding the nature of the substance abuse and addiction; understanding their role in relationship struggles and patterns; as well as addressing their own mental health and “self-care” needs related and unrelated to the addiction.”

How to Improve My Marriage with an Ex-Drug Addict? - About Islam

You may also wish to consult with your son’s pediatrician to see if there are any services available for children who have a parent who is addicted. Children often suffer from the dynamics present in a home where addiction is an issue, yet they may remain silent. 

Please, ensure your child’s emotional needs are met. While your husband is in recovery and you are living separate, this is a good time for both you and your son to heal as well. This way, when you and your husband and son are living together, in sha’ Allah your family unit will be well on the way towards healthy relationships without all the “baggage” that addiction can create.

Conclusion

Sister, I also kindly recommend that you draw close to Allah (swt) and make du’aa’ for your husband and family. Allah (swt) hears our cries for help and He is most merciful. In sha’ Allah, try to go to the Masjid as often as possible for prayer, spiritual support, as well as the support from the sisters there.

Sadly, addiction occurs in our ummah as well, so please do not feel ashamed or feel shy asking for support. Some Islamic communities have support groups for Muslims with an addicted spouse. Please, see if there are any in your area. Make time for yourself. Exercise, take up a fulfilling hobby, try to spend time with uplifting sisters and family, and spend extra time with your son doing enjoyable things.

Living apart from your husband right now may be seen as a mercy from Allah (swt) while you both heal. He has more time to clean as well as adjusting to his programs and new life. Please, do some self-reflecting on your needs and seek counseling for yourself and son if needed.

Utilize this time away from your husband for healing, draw closer to Allah (swt) and seek His guidance while your family heals. In sha’ Allah, this time will soon be over and when you and your son do reunite with your husband, you all will move forward in life enjoying a wonderful, happy Islamic marriage.

We wish you the best. You are in our prayers.

***

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.

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About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.