1. Realize you have two choices: Accept it and live with it, or leave. No matter which one you choose, please go on to step 2:
2. Get yourself a really good therapist and go weekly or bi-weekly. This has saved my life. She is the one who pushed me to the next step:
3. Go to Al-Anon. Try lots of different meetings and find one (or several) that works with your schedule. I currently go to a Saturday morning meeting just for women, a Tuesday morning meeting that has excellent babysitting (yay!), and a few other meetings here and there if I can or need to. I went once a few years ago and didn’t go back. Don’t do that. It was stupid. Try at least six meetings before you give up. Al-Anon really has changed my life just as much as my therapist. Here’s their web site so you can find meetings in your neck of the woods: http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/
4. Get a life. Stop obsessing and trying to change him/her. You can’t. But you can be a better person who’s a little less sad, and a little more in tune with themselves. It’s taken me almost a year, but I’m getting there. I find time to read, write (this blog is one of four writing projects I have going right now), work out, take long walks with friends, hike in the woods, quilt, travel, and get together with friends. What do you like to do? Go do it. Like, now. Not sure or don’t have any idea where to start? I joined some Meetup groups for ideas.
5. Get busy. Feel like telling him to go to rehab? Go to an Al-Anon or AA meeting yourself. I went to one AA meeting and it was very eye opening. Already kicked her out but feel like inviting her back over for an afternoon romp? (been there, done that!) Call a friend and go see a movie instead. Or drive four hours to see an art show like I did last weekend. Get out of your head and into the world.
6. Go to church (or synagogue, or the woods, or whatever). There is more than you and your problems. Church gives me quiet space, a time for reflection, and teachings that keep my problem in perspective. Tapping into my Higher Power has definitely helped me begin to heal from the effects of living with a alcoholic/addict for seven years.
7. Consult a lawyer. My friend is my lawyer. She’s awesome. She was the third phone call I made on the night I kicked my Husband out. (Call #1: locksmith. Call #2: sister). She reviewed my options with me and helped me see choices I hadn’t known existed. Why not find out what the ramifications of your decision will be before you do something out of fear/hatred/anger/irritation?
8. Go easy on yourself. Watch sappy movies and cry. Invite different friends over every night to listen to you weep. Go back to bed on Saturday mornings after you’ve turned on the TV and made sure the kids have access to Cheerios. This is a long, difficult, and lonely road. Your spouse is going to be angry and upset with you; you’ll need all the self-love you can get.