I Can’t Cure You

I can’t cure you. But I can work on myself.

I didn’t cause your alcoholism. Or your depression. Or your inability to get better. Or your belief that self-will and inner strength can conquer this beast.

But I can, with God’s help, realize that I am powerless over your addiction.

I can continue to work on letting go and letting God. I can pray more, and be more compassionate. I can always be more compassionate.

I know you are sick. I pray that you will let go and let God, as you cannot do this alone.


This has been one hell of a week. I had my four month check-in with alcoholic Husband. We have now been separated for four months, and it’s as if the clouds have parted. I’m still sad, angry, and disappointed, but my piled up resentment is starting to dissipate. As we chatted over coffee and pie–our first non-kid related adult conversation since our two-month check-in–I was able to listen to Husband without telling him what to do. I was able to hear, with an open heart, where he is in his struggles. I didn’t offer advice, or suggest he read this book, or tell him (again!) that he should call a sponsor, or a friend, or anyone. I was open-minded and compassionate.

It was like an out-of-body experience.

Artist's depiction of the separation stage of ...

Artist’s depiction of the separation stage of an out-of-body experience, which often precedes free movement. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was watching me, watch him, feeling so detached I almost forgot he was my husband, the father of my children. In my head, already, on many days, and without meaning to, I call him my ex.

Because that’s what he feels like. A distant friend. An ex.

He does not seem like someone I could possibly be married to. He does not seem like a partner. He isn’t even someone I’d want to hang out with.

In a nutshell: I’m doing great. The boys are doing well. I’m going to Al-Anon meetings, reading, and I want to start working the steps soon. I’m exercising and getting out with friends. I’m working my tail off and it’s paying off, in spades.

In a nutshell: he is not doing well. He’s isolated, and depressed. He knows he needs to get better but he can’t seem to take the first tiny step. He doesn’t feel strong enough. He’s getting increasingly isolated and can’t seem to control it.

I say, well, you’ve talked about yourself, and I hear you’re not doing well. But what of substance abuse? Are you using?

Well, don’t you know, he tells me like a Rhodes scholar, isolation and use are but part of the same disease.

Yeah, I get that… But are you using?

Hedging, not answering the question. I let it drop. He is, he isn’t, who knows.

He has been showing up for the kids, he helped reorganize some stuff around the house today.

He attended the family Christmas gathering.

I guess that has to be enough for now.

I’m looking forward to working on myself. I’m wishing him well and praying but letting him be himself. At this point I can’t imagine how he could ever move back in. He’s not getting better, he’s getting worse. Sadder. More detached. Tired, perpetually.

My therapist contends that he had no hope of getting better under my controlling ways. Perhaps she is right. Well, now I’ve accepted that I’m powerless over his sickness, and I’m putting this in God’s hands. If ever he had a chance to kick in and recover, this is it.

In the wake of yesterday’s tragedy, I’m reminded of how precious this life is, how short our time on earth can be.

Contemplating senseless evil makes me feel closer to God, to my children, to my community. I’m thinking about the love I have to give, my need to grow older and wiser with a partner who will walk through life’s difficulties by my side.

Could Husband be that person?

Not today. Not tomorrow. Maybe not ever.


3 thoughts on “I Can’t Cure You

    • Thanks for reading and commenting. I feel alone, too. I can’t recommend Al-Anon highly enough. It has changed my life. Someone who’s been in the program longer told me you have to be ready for it, though, and until recently I wasn’t. You will get there when you need it.

  1. Thank you. Now I know Im not the only one. Im leaving my husband. And dont feel anything, no more guilt, nothing. Just extremely tired.

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