We need to talk about letting go of guilt.
There is so much debate these days about leaving or staying with someone who’s addicted. Everybody has an opinion. Your mom, your therapist, the guy who wrote that book, your pastor.
But you know who I think has the most judgmental opinion about the choice to leave or stay with the one you love who is struggling with addiction? You.
You shame yourself for wanting to leave.
How could you break up the family?
How could you even dream of wanting something different?
You said forever and you tell yourself that breaking your promise would make you a quitter.
You may doubt that anyone else would ever love you.
The idea of ever being with another partner makes you sick.
Or finding love again with someone else makes you excited and then you really feel ashamed.
You don’t know how much longer you can take this.
What if they never get better?
Or what if things get worse?
You see all your friends and family and you think how nice it would be to be loved by a stable and thoughtful person.
I remember looking out my window and seeing my neighbors’ husbands coming home from work and thinking how nice it must be for those wives to always know their husbands are coming home when they say they will.
My truth was that most nights I was left waiting and waiting to hear my front door open.
I craved from the deepest part of my soul to stop feeling so lonely and start feeling good enough to be loved.
My other truth was that somewhere buried in my heart, I knew that one day I would need to leave.
And that’s ok.
But you may not be like me. You may be the kind of woman who wants to stay. Who is deeply devoted to her partner and the idea of leaving feels wrong.
You’re searching for a way to stay committed to your relationship and feel happy and confident whether they get sober or not.
You have your friends and your home and you don’t want things to change. You are prepared to do your work and see this thing through.
And that’s ok too.
The debate of leaving vs. staying is constant when you love someone as unpredictable and unreliable who suffers from addiction.
The truth is we must not beat ourselves up for wanting to stay or needing to leave.
We must stop judging ourselves and each other for the decisions we make about our relationships.
Instead, we should embrace our right to choose and our right to change our mind.
Are you with them today? If so, forgive yourself for staying and remember you reserve the right to change your mind tomorrow.
Have you left or are you planning on leaving? Dream big and keep moving forward. One step at a time, my sister.
And let’s be super clear: addiction will try to blame you for whatever choice you make. But you are a smart woman and you will not fall for the lies of this disease. You will remind yourself how courageous you are. That you are worthy of love and care. And that if they can’t give it to you – you will discover it for yourself.
You are following God’s path for your life and everyone has a different road to travel. Don’t let another person’s opinion or “rules” keep you in a state of shame. Own your choice and get on with it with the grace that you absolutely can change your mind at any time.
You, my sister, are amazingly strong and are under tremendous stress. Be kind to that loving heart of yours. You’re doing the best you can and that’s good enough.
I love you with all my heart. And if you’re not a part of our community yet – what are you waiting for? We give you free weekly tips and inspiration for the relationship breakthrough you’re looking for.
Also, if you are considering leaving vs. staying we have an entire module devoted to the topic in the Love Over Addiction Program so make sure you check it out – it comes with a beautiful workbook and a free bonus – the Love Over Boundaries program (and what woman doesn’t need to master boundaries?)