Dear Rav Twerski,
Lately, we have been having somewhat of a machlokes on GYE regarding what advice to give wives who have discovered that their husbands are addicts, and the husbands are not motivated to get help.
One view claims it’s best that the wife “forces” the husband to get help in any way possible, including threatening to leave the house or divorce. This way the addict will hit rock bottom, “hopefully.” This is based on the idea that the addict will only seek help when it hurts enough, and the wife can make it hurt… Another idea is that the wife should insist on getting the Internet out of the house or put in a good filter.
The other view claims that the S-Anon approach is not to try to control the husband, but that the wife should first deal with her own recovery, and she can decide to stay or leave, but pressuring the husband into getting help is not productive.
Can you help us get more clarity on this issue?
Rabbi Twerski Responds
I don’t believe in threats. If a wife feels that she cannot live with her husband because of his behavior, she should tell him so, but not as a threat. And she should not say this unless she means it. Very often, when she threatens, she later backs off.
So, go to S-Anon and decide what you want to do for yourself.