Can Church Help a Cheating Alcoholic Change?

| 11/04/2011 | Comments (1)

Dear Ms. HeartBeat:
I’ve been married for three years and have a very young son with my husband. Before we were married my husband had a drinking problem that he received counseling for and stopped for a couple of years before we got married.

After we got married, he started drinking again. Now he has added the layers of abuse and adultery (2 out of our 3 years married). After I found out the second time about him cheating, he swears he’ll change. He’s started going to church, bible study and men’s ministry meeting to help keep him get on the right track.

This behavior of him being committed to church is new.  So I don’t know if this is a true change or if this just another tactic to keep me with him. What do you think?

Praying for Change

Dear Praying for Change:
Only time will tell. I say that because right now he is seeking religion and using that as a crutch to prop himself up.  If he’s going to church on Sunday, bible study 2x per week and men’s ministry 1-2x per week, it means he is using other people’s strength to stand strong. My concern is that whatever is bothering him and causing him to seek solace and comfort in a bottle will still be there. Whatever the motivation was that caused him to go outside his marriage and involve himself with other women, risking your health in the process, will still be there.

Black folks have a tendency to think they can pray away their mental and emotional problems, but that is impossible. Church is not therapy; pastors are not psychologists. Whatever demons are haunting your husband are not going to go away just because he buries his head in a bible.

So the question remains: will he be able to stand on his own two legs and be the man your son and you need him to be without a crutch? That is what you must wait to see. Make him prove himself to be a changed man over a period of time. Don’t believe him to be changed just because he says he is – where’s the PROOF!

And remember, there are heathens and adulterers in every church in the country, so going to church is in itself no guarantee of anything being different long-term.  Take your time here and don’t promise him anything. Be cool and watchful. Don’t worry about him – he’s a big boy that got himself into a mess and will have to dig himself out. Right now, protect yourself and your son from any further abuses should be your sole priority.

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Veteran social researcher, relationship advice columnist, author and radio host. Author of hundreds of articles on American and black culture, gender issues, singles, dating and relationships. Author of "Sucka Free Love!" , "The 24 Types of Suckas to Avoid," "The Black Church - Where Women Pray and Men Pray," and "Why Vegan is the New Black" all available on Amazon.Com. Her unique voice and insightful commentary have delighted fans and riled haters for 20 years. Read her stuff on SurvivingDating.Com and AskHeartBeat.Com.

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Category: Women's Issues

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  1. livingforpeace says:

    My FIL went to church on Sunday and married the other woman while my ex’s mother had slept with him the night before. His church watched him swing between two women to produce 3 children with each one. Eventually, the non church women’s children were brought to worship at the church his father was a LEADER or Deacon or whatever at. The same one he attended when he married the other mother. Didn’t know this mess when I married him. Many men, including my ex hide behind and in church or religion and no one, especially in the black church, will say a word. Why? Maybe they are the product of the same style of “family” structure if you can call it that. No one shudders at the idea of a church full of babies mamas there! Some of the best men aren’t even the ones that can or will post up in church and do all the stuff to busy themselves. Many men of strong spirit and faith don’t show up with bible and pen in hand. Women are often the one’s keeping the working and visible “faith” with themselves and children. My ex used faith as a way to put me and my children on the cross while he cruised the gutters and called himself a conservative Christian. I don’t suggest getting caught up in the religiousness of life to save your marriage or your husband. You would be surprised the games people will play to get their way. Read the sociopath post if you need help spotted the behavior to help send up the necessary red flags. Google “narcissism” since that is another personality that will use the church to find or keep victims. If I had that info early in my marriage or just the www, the game would have been over before it got started. I am not an out on the range holding down the fort for the children or need a ring on my hand to keep my man kinda chick. Don’t put your value in that mentality because that weakens your senses and neutralizes defenses you SHOULD have to make the right decisions for you and especially your child. I hate divorce but early with less consequence is better than being on the end of a really draining and spirit killing long run for the sake of numbers.

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