Advice to My Younger Self
By now you know that your wife is an addict and alcoholic. It is okay that you are feeling angry, sad, guilty, and confused. You are wondering how you did not notice the signs until it was too late, when now you see them so clearly. You are wondering if your marriage is over or if your wife will ever be able to overcome her addictions. You are wondering if you will ever wake up in the morning without feeling exhausted by the weight you are carrying. You are worried about your children and how you will support them on your own. You also dread being asked questions by family and friends.
You are hurting, and it is okay. These feelings of anger, guilt, and resentment will fade and be replaced by empathy, love, and forgiveness. It doesn’t seem possible right now, but the Atonement and time are powerful tools of healing.
The most helpful encouragement I can provide is to let you know that you are not alone. Right now you feel alone and abandoned, but Heavenly Father is just a prayer away, and His love and capacity to reach out to you is boundless.
Know that your wife’s addiction is not your fault. It is not a result of your actions or your shortcomings. Work at releasing yourself from the guilt so it does not overcome you. You are not vindictive or heartless to insist your wife go to rehab—it will save her life.
With trials come opportunities for growth. I know you don’t feel ready to hear about growth and strength when the future seems so bleak. You will discover that you are stronger than you ever imagined, and you will get on your feet again.
Others have gone through similar experiences, and recovery and healing are possible. Let others help you. Often this is the way that prayers are answered.
Don’t worry so much about the small things. Let the kitchen floor be dirty and some laundry stack up, because the time spent with your children will help them and you to heal.
Let go of all expectations of your wife. Don’t expect apologies or explanations; they will only cause resentment. You will look back at this period of time of your life with appreciation for the knowledge you will gain. Your testimony of the Savior’s Atonement will grow and provide hope to you and others. You will also have the opportunity to share your experiences of healing and hope with others to help them in their time of need.
Simply put, you and your family are loved. You are worthy of your Heavenly Father and Savior’s love.