Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Married to an alcoholic and praying istikhara

Alcohol abuse

His addiction is ruining our lives as well as his...

My spouse is suffering from chronic alcoholism for the last many years. He reverted to Islam whereas I am born into the faith. Increasingly things have gotten worse for him and us and the kids.  We try to show compassion and realize now it's a disorder of his brain. Addiction is a terrible thing to have and I don't wish it on anyone.

He is the sole breadwinner and successful and happy and healthy when he doesn't drink but invariably something triggers him and then he's disappeared on a binge til he returns and we do this again.  So this past binge where he is missing and he's gone in a hotel to drink I've been doing istikhara a few times. From watching the lectures on the topic it has to be a decision to be made. So I ask if it's okay to leave my husband or stay.  Right now he isn't supporting us and I'm not sure when he's going to return.

A part of me wants to get out after many years of therapy, rehab tries, aa, you name it. He says if I leave him and take the kids it will destroy him without family support. As it stands now we have not much of a family life because of the drinking, the detox, then a few weeks go by and another relapse.

I've left a few times and went to my parents. Everyone's opinion is stay or go it's my decision. And I don't know what decision to take. Can istikhara help in this situation or I guess it's not permissible because what he's doing is haram anyways and I should be seeking a divorce. Ideas, thoughts, practical advice, prayers?


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2 Responses »

  1. Assalaamu Alaykum,

    Istikhara is entirely appropriate in your case and certainly adviseable. No one can say what Allah knows is the best thing to do, only Allah can show you that Himself. Certainly many people who make istikhara are making it for similar reasons- something is going on in a marriage that shouldn't be going on, the person seeking guidance is being hurt by it, and because life and people and relationships are complex we yield to Allah to show us the best solution for all.

    You said something that actually is 100% true: If you leave him, you will be cutting him off from his only remaining source of support. That is true. But here's the thing, many times addicts NEED that to realize how bad their addiction is, and that if they continue to cycle through their addiction it will destroy them in the end. It's called 'hitting rock bottom', and research shows that the addicts who do manage to succeed in overcoming their addiction (and there's only a percentage who do- the odds are not in someone's favor with this) only are able to do so because they hit rock bottom and had to be left to stay there and see reality for what it was.

    Often times addicts don't hit rock bottom soon enough because their family hurts to see their suffering and step in to rescue or help them before they can. They are enabling them, and enabling lets the addictive cycle continue. It's only until all the friends and family get truly sick of being used and hurt and burned by the addict that they finally cut him off. Then, and only then, there is hope that he can see himself as he truly is and actually start working toward sobriety in earnest.

    You've mentioned a lot about the treatments and interventions he's received, but what about you? Do you go to AlAnon meetings? Have you thought about getting your own therapist to help you see the situation objectively? Have you considered getting into family counseling with your children to process what you've already lived through and help chart a course for your future that feels right for the entire family?

    Addiction is a selfish pattern. Addicts end up drawing everyone into their world, making their needs and problems the only focus. But it doesn't have to be that way, and you don't need to keep doing that. Whether you decide to divorce or not I think you need to shift the focus back to yourself and your kids for a while. If that means going back to your parents and taking the time to sort it all out, and access some support resources for yourself, then do it. Actually I think that is the best course for you right now, since obviously your situation with him is shaky and uncertain anyway. You need to put priorities back in the favor of you and your kids, and entrust your husband to Allah's hands fully.

    -Amy Editor

  2. Salaam sister Lat,

    Please, try therapy, try rehab... inshAllah, don't let this carry on...Talking and crying will not help.
    Pray to Allah and try the above.

    Good luck!

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