My Recovery from My Husband’s Addiction by Anonymous (Rabbi Nivin Testimonial)

My Recovery from My Husband’s Addiction by Anonymous (Rabbi Nivin Testimonial)

Yesterday, my teacher, life coach Rabbi Aryeh Nivin started a new Personal Development Chabura. I highly recommend this life-altering Chabura to every JewishMOM reading this. For me, the Chabura has improved my life DRAMATICALLY in so many ways.

This year, for the first time ever, there will be two chabura options: the full-weekly Chabura (for only $5!) and the mini-monthly chabura (for only $1) for the entire 4-week Elul session. Every JewishMOM.com reader who signs up for this nearly free session will automatically enter the raffle to win a free 12-week course registration (worth $165). This means that you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain by trying this out.

I cannot tell you how many Emails I’ve received over the years from JewishMOMs thanking me for telling them about this phenomenal course. Who knows, maybe in a few months you’ll be sending me an Email like that too;)

Visit www.newchabura.com to learn more. You can also call (646) 863-4123 (US) or 02-580-6406 (Israel), or email newchabura@gmail.com for more information.

Read one mother’s story about how Rabbi Nivin’s Chabura enabled her to cope with her husband’s alcoholism:

It all started around Elul this year. Really earlier, but the awareness, as we call it in recovery, started in Elul. I became aware of a lot, but here I will just focus on one issue.

My husband is an alcoholic. Alcoholism is a disease. My husband is a good, loving person but his addiction can be all encompassing, leaving no space for me and our children. B”H we have little kids at home and I was pregnant at that time. I was so tired, we couldn’t host, I was working, had no extra energy and hit rock bottom. I had no support and when I tried discussing with my friends about being tired they would say, “Well let your husband help!” The thing is he couldn’t help me – he was drinking.

After listening to Rabbi Nivin’s Chaburas I decided my 72 days of Chesed project was to stop my husband from drinking and I was sure Hashem would grant me this by doing my mini avodah. My avodah was reaching out myself to find resources to help him so we could all be helped. He would obviously have to change for me to be happy because life was untenable like this. I was connected with an organization called JACS – Jewish Alcoholics and Chemically Dependent Persons and significant others. They told me to read Al-Anon literature and go to a meeting. I said, “I’m not going to a meeting; there is nothing wrong with me. My husband drinks too much and is dysfunctional, that is the problem.” They then set me up with some wonderful women to speak with and one of them convinced me to go to a meeting and it was wonderful. People shared stories I could relate to and it was an environment filled with love and community vs. the extreme isolation I had been feeling.

I didn’t want to share much but at the end of the meeting a woman came up to me and hugged me and told me how happy she was that I was there and she enabled me to open up. I only said a little about the deep inner struggle I had faced and she smiled and looked at me with approving, empathetic love.

I realized through these initial experiences that there is something called co-dependency which is when someone bases their happiness on someone else. It is very common for the spouse/child/parent of someone with an addiction to suffer from this. It is a very sad, angry, isolating existence because the addict can only change if he or she chooses to change. Rabbi Shaus Taub says there are 3 things in life we cannot change: the past, the truth, and another person. So what does that leave for us to change? Ourselves. And that is the goal of recovery from co-dependency. To show us that no matter what happens around us we can create a happy environment for ourselves and G-d willing our children and eventually the addict themselves.

So is my situation better? Immensely. Do I still need to keep going and working on myself? Absolutely. “Open for me a keyhole and I will open a gate wide enough for Horses and Chariots to go through.” I just read a little, made a few phone calls, davened, and now I’ve been to 3 whole meetings. I am so thankful to Hashem because for the first time in years, maybe in my life, I can be present to enjoy myself and my family. It’s a long road ahead but I have love, resources, and my G-d, our G-d, Who can help all of us in our times of trouble.

I’m sure other JewishMOMs out there struggle with this quite often in silence, just as I did, because of the stigma attached to it. If we had a family member that had an accident and was injured severely, G-d forbid, we would be able to talk about it and receive support. With addiction that support is lacking and it is stigmatized to talk about in public. If you haven’t faced it you may not understand, but if you have, you know it is a lonely road. I hope there are women who can help themselves when they find this. Thank you to Rabbi Nivin, who enabled me to take the first step towards healing myself and my family. May we all find simcha and continue to have the koach to grow.

Visit www.newchabura.com to learn more about Rabbi Nivin’s Chaburas. You can also call (646) 863-4123 (US) or 02-580-6406 (Israel), or email newchabura@gmail.com for more information.

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6 comments

  1. To the lady who wrote the post,
    I just want you to know i read your story and notice your pain and loneliness as well as your hope and strength. Thank you for spreading awareness. I know from other different life experiences that one of the best things you can do for yourself is not do the pain and the hard alone. May Hashem bentch you and your family with a kesiva vachasima tova lishona tova umisuka.

  2. Your Friend

    Dear Recovering,

    Please forgive me for saying this.
    You must speak to a rov about stopping to grow your family.
    I know this is painful to hear. Children are the greatest blessing! And yet:
    The reality is (a) you are raising them alone, and (b) you are likely to have to marry them off alone, and (c) the ones you already have will require much EXTRA attention from you due to not having a functional father. Also because children of alcoholics are painfully likely to either (a) become alcoholics themselves, or (b) marry alcoholics. So you see you have a lot of work cut out for you even if now all the children are cute and small and you can handle it all. There’s big stuff awaiting you. Stop now with whatever number you have, count your blessings, and work hard to raise them as well as possible with the burdens they necessarily have. i am sure a thinking, educated Rov (well informed about addiction) will agree that you have no business having more and more children while in this terrible situation.
    Good luck, my friend.

    • Dear Ms. Friend:
      I appreciate your concern about this lady’s welfare and the pain of living with an alcoholic. but please be careful with your suggestions, they almost sound likea demand. tread very carefully here. you are extrapolating a very dire future for her. although I am not saying you don’t have a point, but everyone’s situation is different. Perhaps it would be better to say: maybe you would want to speak to a Rav considering your challenges with your spouse and explore options, re birth control, etc if necessary.. also, we are not sure there will “be big stuff awaiting her” or the likelihood of her children becoming addicts. scientific evidence may be on your side, but still it is only one side. This lady is intelligent and I am sure she will seek the proper resources rabbonim and medical intervention as necessary to embark on the best possible course for her, her spouse and children. not all sizes fit one shoe.

  3. thank you for voicing what I am learning as well. my husband has been addicted to oxycontin and benzodiazepines for intractable head pain. finally, after a hard battle, he has gone thru detox with the help of medical cannabis. being off the meds, however, is only one part of the battle. he has alot of emotional work to do and some major changes re his perspective and letting go of a sick/victim role, which is the only role he has known his whole life .He is being quite obstinate about reframing and taking risks for positive change. I have suggested life coaches, rehab, exercise, art, even horseback riding! now I realize I can only suggest and remind maybe once or twice. but bottom line he has got to want to do it, and I need to bow out. I think the hardest thing is to watch someone you love self-destruct, why the spouse remains powerless. but it is precisely at that point that we have to find positivity and nourishment with other people and create a full and varied life separate from our spouses.you will need alot of support systems as it is a lonely path to embark on, but if you have a strong sense of self-esteem and a happy disposition it is possible. it will be more challenging for you with little kids. please somehow arrange as much help as you can, and take good care of yourself too. good luck

  4. Also dealing with a very close relative with heroine addiction. With a lot of tffilot, love and support from family, we are slowing getting on the right path. We need moshiach NOW! Please Hashem, send the geula!

  5. As the publisher of this article I wanted to Thank everyone for their input.
    Em: Amen and thank you for the warm message. A kesiva vachasima tova lishona tova umisuka.
    Friend: I am going down the pathways that I know to do best with H’shems loving help. This was in my story about my responsibility for my part. None of us can control what happens to our children and yes BH’m they are little and cute and amazing now but in the end they are people. I hope with the work I am doing and H’shems help that they only have the best and of course that is consulting with Rabbinim there are numerous ones in the recovery field, My Mashpiach who is amazing, and finding Orthodox recovery specialists that are out there for experience, strength, and hope.
    Sara: Thank you for the loving boost of confidence in your words. It gave me a lot of strength.
    Chana and Anonymous: You are the woman I especially hoped to reach. It is so hard to watch a loved one self destruct and the beauty in recovery is we can find their strengths too. I know how hard I wanted to fix everything. Now that I know my limits i have a lot more peace. I am still very early in recovery but I’m thankful to be in the rooms and thankful for the support.
    For others for what it’s worth Al-Anon has phone meetings and online meetings. Nothing is like the face-to-face meetings but the others help.
    We need Mosiach!! We should all have the strength to do our Avodah’s and our Mitzvah’s to help bring the coming of MOsiach now! This year in Yerushalayim!!!

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