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A Pastor’s Wife on Loving Her Husband Through His Recovery

Deborah Beddoe shares how she came to understand that her fears and insecurities were not all the fault of her husband’s addiction to prescription drugs.

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My name is Deborah Beddoe, and my husband Dave and I have been married for 27 years. And 15 of those years, he struggled with a prescription drug addiction. I struggled —not with addiction, but with trust and fear during that time.

Loving someone and living with someone in recovery seems risky. But the truth is that there is risk in every relationship, no matter what relationship it is, no matter whether it is your child, whether it’s a friend, there’s a risk that you’re going to be hurt. And it’s a chance that we take with every human connection.

So the secret is, if there is a secret to loving someone through the process of recovery, it’s trust in God, it’s acknowledging our own fears, and it’s realizing that it isn’t just that there’s a risk in loving them. Once you acknowledge that, it makes loving someone in recovery seem less risky.

I think we have to be patient with ourselves and be compassionate with ourselves. Our tendency has been to put blame on where we’ve thought, for so many years, our stress was coming from. This other person’s behavior was stressing us out and making us fearful, but recognizing that we don’t have to put that blame on them again—and, if we’re struggling and find ourselves stressed and blaming and fearful and all those things, the insecurities, the tensions, coming back, it’s okay to reach out for help.
If you don’t find it in your church community, if you don’t find it in friends—I had to go to a therapist, you know, even as a pastor’s wife, I went for a couple of years to work through some of those things that were buried, really, for years under the crisis of my husband’s addiction.

I would say that facing my fears and naming them, made a big difference in my life. A friend of mine gave me a book on the Ignation Spiritual Exercises, and it was very much like the 12 steps that I had already been through.

In this process of doing the spiritual exercises, there are questions at the very beginning about fear. And for this exercise, the authors of this particular book wanted me to go back all the way into my childhood and just start listing the fears and move forward. Just write down everything I’d ever been afraid of, and just keep on going through. Fears from, you know, my kids getting in a car accident, to fear of getting cancer, or fear of this.

And I realized, after I had written all of those things down, not one of those things had to do with my husband, and his addiction or relapse. And what it showed me was, I had a lot of fear, completely apart from Dave and his recovery. I was relieved that it wasn’t about Dave, that there wasn’t something that I was having this intuition or something that something was wrong. It was definitely that there was something inside me, and something that—just this fear that I was trying to control my external world.

I think acknowledging that I don’t have the power to control not just my husband, but my own life, but that I can trust God with that, with my family, with the future. It brings a lot of peace.







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