Ozzy Osbourne's Relapse: Should Sharon Divorce Him?

Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne relapse

The Osbournes have survived 30 years of addiction, showbiz and scathing headlines in their marriage, but it may be the end for this celebrity couple. After ten years of sobriety, Ozzy Osbourne has relapsed on a binge of booze and drugs. He's reportedly gotten clean in recent months, but it was enough to provoke the media into a investigative frenzy on whether the couple should stick it out or get a divorce.

Ten years of sobriety is a long time, so his wife Sharon and the family must have felt secure about Ozzy's sobriety. The nightmare of worry about whether he would get drunk, how drunk and what he would do must have been a dim memory. So, on that first day when Ozzy fell off the wagon, Sharon's world must have been turned upside down. ("It's been so peaceful for so long — this could not be happening, not again!")

Then, after the realization struck that yes, Ozzy is actually drinking, it must have felt like she was being dragged — kicking and screaming — back to that dark place where they had been as a couple over ten years ago — dealing with his addiction. She was back to the chaos, the uncertainty, the anxiety and the fear of what the future would bring. But the most prominent feelings were enormous disappointment and betrayal

If we could step inside Sharon's mind at that moment, we would hear her screaming, "How could he do this? How can he say he loves me and — in this one action — take away all the security, trust and respect that we had built up over the last ten years?" The feelings of betrayal would have been almost unbearable.

Whether Ozzy understood the consequences that his relapse had for others is questionable. In that moment of relapse, there's little or no thought about the accumulated trust he had built between himself and his wife. In that moment — no one else exists. For the drinker, it's not an act of betrayal; there's no consequence to consider. Instead, it's a moment in which time ceases to matter and the promise that alcohol offers is irresistible.

We are not condoning or excusing Ozzy's behavior (he probably did plenty of that himself). We are just trying to explain the contrasting perceptions of the event. Part of Sharon's feelings of betrayal must stem from the fact that she stood by him and supported him for years as he went through the circle of getting sober, relapsing and getting sober again. She probably feels that she has earned the right to have a quiet and peaceful life (if that can ever be true of any celebrity couple) or at least one that is not fuelled by alcohol and drugs. So should she stand by Ozzy while he goes through the sobering up process again or is it time to leave him to it?

More divorce advice from YourTango:

This is one decision that only Sharon and Ozzy can make. Despite living their married life together in the public eye, this is a decision that needs to be made in private by the couple. 

One of the main considerations of this decision will be whether love has managed to survive the uncertainties of living with an addict. The most common piece of advice for those who have an addicted spouse is to get out of the marriage as quickly as possible. However, what we find in our practice is that the majority of people who consult us are in love with their drinking spouses. They want to be able to find a way to live with and love the partners they chose as life partners.

The Osbournes have been married for 30 years, which (even in a marriage without alcoholism) is long enough to have weathered some rough patches. That shared time brings a closeness that cannot be created in any other way. It creates stability and a resolution to continue that helps the couple to negotiate troubles that might end another relationship. 

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Whatever they decide to stay together or divorce, it's their decision and we cannot possibly know what this decision costs them. Love can be blind; it can keep relationships together and it can help change people — even addicts like Ozzy. But it also has a tipping point. Then it can be very clear-sighted indeed, where the lessons and experiences of the past are distinct signposts of the future. When that happens, there may be no way back.

We wish Sharon and Ozzy well for the future. If they do stay together, then it is a great testimony to love and the healing power of forgiveness. If they do decide to divorce, it will be sad, but completely understandable.

If you are facing similar issues to Sharon and Ozzy, visit us at Bottled Up; we can help. There is information and support at Bottled Up to help to support you to stay with your drinker or to leave if that is your decision.