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Drug Addicted Husband, Divorce Him?

Question and answer details
S (20-female-US)
2014/06/05
Asalamu 'alaykum. My husband is addicted to crack. I have a 1 1/2 month old son and I need help. I want to divorce him and move away. I want a reliable and good Muslim father for my child. What can I do? Any advice? Please make dua' for us.
Attia Zaidi
Answer

Wa `alaiykum as-salaam dear sister,

No-DrugsI am so sorry to hear this. It is very hard to live with someone who has addiction issues; however, I am not going to immediately say that this is sufficient reason to leave. It may be, but it also may not be.

Marriage is a sacred contract and divorce should always be a last resort. You and your husband took vows that you will be there for each other in good times and bad times. This sounds like a bad time.

Does he want to change? If he is putting in effort to leave his habit and work at being a better person, are you willing to be by his side to help him through? If you feel helping him is worth it, then it is.

However, if you feel that it is too hard and there are too many risks living with an addict, then make a plan and leave. Whichever one you choose, please choose wisely and know what it is that you are leaving and what your life will look like after divorce.

It is important to understand that fighting an addiction is very difficult, especially crack. I do not know what the situation is and why your husband is addicted. If he decides that he wants to quit, he will need an addictions counselor and lots of family/friends support.

You mention that you have a son and I know that he is probably your number one priority. Perhaps you feel that you are unable to meet your son’s needs with a husband whose needs are so high. However, if you are dedicated to both, you will also need a strong support system. It will be a difficult journey for all of you, but it is not impossible. Many have done it before and continue to help their loved through their addictions.

If your husband is an addict by choice and feels that he does not want to quit, then there is no real reason for you to stay in the relationship. If your husband does not hold up his end of the marriage contract by being responsible, providing for his family and being a good husband/father, then you aren’t gaining much from the relationship. If his addictions cause him to be abusive towards you or your son, then you should make a plan to leave safely.

I do want to clarify that no matter whether your husband is an addict or not, he will always be your son’s father. You cannot replace your son’s father and find him a “reliable and good Muslim father”. You can find him better role models but no matter which way your marriage goes, your husband has a right to be in his child’s life. It would be very unwise for you to try to break that relationship because you feel it is not a good one for your son. If you feel his safety is threatened, then you can take various measures to ensure it. You cannot be blamed if you leave your husband to provide your son a better life, but please be realistic in your expectations.

I pray you find clarity in this difficulty.

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About the Counselor:

Attia Zaidi is a writer, educator, social worker and mother. She has worked with the GTA's Muslim community for over 15 years in various capacities. Currently, Attia runs a small private practice offering therapy for Muslim families. You can find it at: http://www.restoreyourelement.com/

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information that was provided in the question. You are strongly advised to seek face-to-face counseling and consult your physician or therapist when making a drastic change in your lifestyle in terms of behavior, medication or diet etc.

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