My husband returned home from a residential program a few months ago. I guess things are going OK (he’s still sober and drug-free) but I find it annoying that he still isn’t willing to talk about me or my feelings. The kids and I went through three years of pain waiting for him to reach the point where he admitted he needed help. We went to the family weekend and it was somewhat helpful but all they would say was be patient. My best friend insists I’m depressed, but I think I’m just frustrated, like I need to get some things out in the open and cleared up before I can move on. Bobby just says he’s not ready. What do I do?”


This isn’t an uncommon problem in early recovery. A psychologist might say your needs are not congruent – meaning you feel you need something that he can’t provide at this point.

Interesting that somebody who knows you well is convinced you’re depressed. This may be affecting you more than you realize.

Seems to me there are a couple options.

You can get some counseling for yourself, without Bobby. Not a bad idea, especially if you are as depressed as your friend thinks. You can get some of your feelings about the past out in the open. If you’re not willing to see a counselor, what about a sponsor in a 12 Step group for families?
You and Bobby can enroll in couples’ counseling. That might be acceptable to him – with a third party involved. If he’s not ready now, perhaps in the near future.

What I wouldn’t recommend is trying to resolve this by initiating a conversation with Bobby when he’s so obviously reluctant.

He might be at that stage where he’s just hanging on one day at a time, focused entirely on the present, and you surely don’t want to provoke a crisis. Few things terrify a newly sober person more than a heated confrontation with the family.

That might be what he’s afraid of. That fear goes away with time, however.