Posted by: addictionstinks | September 26, 2010


Forgive: 1. To cease to hold resentment against (someone or something). 2. To grant pardon for (a mistake, wrongdoing, etc.) 3. To free or pardon (someone) from penalty.    Source:

The subject of forgiveness came up yesterday with my 12-year-old, as he was once again poking fun and calling J names, because of the fact that he is in prison. B (my 12-year-old) goes to a private Christian school, where he has been since kindergarten. They are really big on forgiveness there! The conversation was mostly between my husband and B. My husband made the point that Jesus forgave us all on the cross, and that’s what we are supposed to do too. No easy task!

Now, my husband’s way of dealing with J’s imprisonment has been to NOT deal with J’s imprisonment. He never speaks to him on the phone. He has never written J a letter. He will never visit him. When I talk to J, I let my husband know. He usually asks, “Oh how’s he doing?” And I will tell him the latest news, and then it ends there. He never asks me if I have spoken to or heard from J.

Basically, I am doing this all alone.

What does this mean? I’m somewhat confused. Before, when we were going through all the madness of J’s addiction, and while he was incarcerated in the county jail, my husband wouldn’t even acknowledge his existence! If I mentioned that I had spoken to J, I would get a sneer and he would move along.

The ONLY time they’ve spoken since September of 2009, was last December on my husband’s birthday, when J called from county jail, and I stuck the phone in my husband’s ear so he could wish him a Happy Birthday. The conversation went something like this:

J: “Happy Birthday Dad.”

Husband: “Thanks”

End of conversation. Three words exchanged between the two of them in the last year.

Again, I’m confused. My husband can talk to B about forgiving J, but has HE? Does the fact that he’ll now ask, “Oh how’s he doing?” mean he’s beginning to forgive him? Is it even possible that they will EVER have a relationship back again?

I miss the two of them together! They were a pair! Most weekends you could find them out in the garage together taking apart one car or another. Getting their hands greasy together, while my husband taught J the finer points of car mechanics. These two are cut from the same cloth. They are clones of one another (well, except for the addiction part). They are exactly alike.

My husband even said the other day, when talking with B about possible future careers, “Its weird, cuz I know exactly what J’s talents are, I have no idea what D’s (middle son) talents are, and I don’t know what B’s talents are either.” He’s KNOWS J, because he IS J. Or rather, J is him, 30 years younger.

Its just heartbreaking that these two, who were once so incredibly close, so close that my husband always knew exactly what J was thinking, and can now still read him like a book, are now strangers to one another.

I try not to push my husband where J is concerned. I realize that he really needs to work this out on his own, and in his own time. But I hope that some day he can truly forgive J, and that they can be a team again.



  1. Maybe he has forgiven but has detached from J. I know that I don’t want to be part of the drama and mess of active alcoholism. Mabel that is how your husband feels.

  2. You remember the commercial: “Only her hairdresser knows for sure”? Well, only God and your husband know the state of hubby’s heart for sure, if he has begun to forgive J or not. But most of us forget the incredible power of prayer. Keep praying for your husband. Nothing is impossible with God. Nothing.

    When our oldest son got in trouble, the pain for me was so much that it took many years for me to come to terms with that heartache. I fought to forgive, but I did hold my son at an emotional distance for at least five years.

    God’s now done a work in me, and things between him and me are being restored, a little more each and every day.

    Miracles still happen today, and the restored relationship with my son is a modern-day miracle. I believe He has the power to do one for your family too!

    Hugs and prayers,

  3. I think you are quite incredible….for understanding your husband’s distance from J as much as you have. My husband also distances himself from our addict son who’s not in recovery and until this past week was still living at home. However, he was not here much except to sleep….not even then every night, and certainly wasn’t interacting with us much, …especially with his dad. If I didn’t bring up the subject of our son, my husband didn’t ask about him very often, or mention him,…other than referring to something he’d done that had cost us money and was affecting something else. I’m sorry to say that I actually have held that against my husband ….at some level…..for he knew that I was in pain emotionally but avoided the whole thing….ie. I felt like it was only me dealing with it all. I was really the only one communicating with our son about 95% of the time. I do think that the class thing of men dealing with their emotions differently is very at play here…..we women tend to want to talk about things more when they trouble us….men “go into the cave” and stuff it more. Anyway,..I do understand very well how you feel….but you should know that you are incredibly understanding of your husband’s actions more than I have been of mine. I need to do better for I certainly know that he loves our son and he has done SO much these past 4 yr.s to try to help him and gone through pain as I have. And thank you Cheri,…for what you wrote,…I also believe that prayer is very very powerful. I’m hoping our prayers are answered for our sons,…yours and mine, as well as all of the other addicts whose parents share their heartbreak within these wonderfully helpful blogs.
    Peace to you.

  4. I meant to say “classic” thing of men dealing with their emotions,…not class thing !

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