#31 What can she do about his beer drinking? / Wife's
addiction feeds husband's
Dear Ann Landers: I've been reading your column for years, but never dreamed that one day I would write to you. I am hoping you will print my letter so my husband will see it. I know he reads your column every day, and I'm not getting my point across.
"Pat" seems to be drinking more beer than ever, and I am trying not to nag him about it, but it's getting harder and harder to keep my mouth shut. He can't seem to do anything unless he has a beer in his hand. After work, when he reads the mail, he will have four beers before I can get dinner on the table. Even if dinner is ready when he walks through the door, he'll open a beer. After dinner, he drinks a beer and watches TV or reads a magazine. He sometimes takes one with him to the bathroom and drinks it before or after his shower.
I love him very much and hate to see him do this to himself. Pat is 55 years old and a health nut, always watching his weight and cholesterol, but he is totally blind to what he is doing to himself by drinking so much beer.
We have a hard time communicating, so I have been going for counseling ever since his mid life crisis began. My counselor told me my husband is definitely an alcoholic. What now? A LOVING WIFE IN PALATINE, ILL.
Dear Loving Wife: No woman has ever nagged , cajoled or threatened a man into sobriety.
I assume the health nut gets an annual physical. You might phone his doctor and talk to him. Meanwhile, make a promise to your self that you will never mention his drinking again. Has your counselor suggested that you attend AlAnon meeting. If not, look in your phone book. —Ann Landers
Hi "Loving Wife:" Let's begin with your use of the word "love" because that's not my experience of you. You believe you are loving but the results clearly show otherwise. Love expands and inspires others to live and excel. In truth what you call love is suicidal behavior. Given that you are the enabler, the trainer, the rewarder, it is virtually impossible for him to choose sobriety around you.
Picture if you will, what it must be like for him to know that his wife is psychically trying to change him 24/7. Love is accepting and supporting another exactly the way they are and are not.
Unbeknownst to you you communicate nonverbally, daily, hourly, "Keep drinking so that I don't have to acknowledge the effects of my addiction to mediocrity. As long as I have you to make wrong I don't have to create my purpose in life."
Your counselor says "Pat" is an alcoholic. My guess is Pat denies being an alcoholic to the degree that you deny being the enabler and being addicted to having an alcoholic in your life. One is an alcoholic if their drinking negatively impacts those around him/her.
Re: "We have a hard time communicating . . ." This reveals your addiction to blaming. A responsible statement would be, "I've been unable to have a mutually satisfying conversation with him about . . ." or, "I have lapsed into doing an imitation of communication with him."
When you begin studying communication and the effects your leadership-communication skills have on others you'll come across the subject of responsibility. Once you have accepted responsibility you'll have a choice to be with* the following sentences:
1) At some point in my relationship I made something more important than mutually satisfying communication (it's a specific conversation-incident).
2) When I first noticed that he began drinking more than was comfortable for me I did not get to the source of what it was about.
3) I not only have a hard time communicating with him, I have lost my ability to communicate in a way that inspires his health.
4) I have trained him to drink.
5) Around me he prefers to go unconscious.
6) I am addicted to living with an addict.
7) I am so needy, so addicted to what I call "love," that I refuse to allow that another woman/person could love him in a way that would inspire him to live.
8) I know that he does not respect me enough to stop drinking if I were to insist so.
9) I have heard the term enabling but I have ignored it.
10) I have resisted acknowledging that his drinking mirrors a problem of mine I have been hiding even from myself. I see now that it has been my unconscious intention for him to drink so as to draw attention away from my problem.
LW, you don't say how long you've been going to a counselor, however, I do know that a communication-skills coach would effect a transformation with one 3-hour session/conversation. All results are produced by how you communicate. I don't get from your letter that you are ready to heal yourself. I don't get from you a commitment to support him in choosing to live or die. That is to say, you must be willing to not have him in order to heal yourself. He may or may not ever heal. As long as you think of him as being more sick than you, the both of you are doomed to more of the same.
There is nothing more invalidating than to discover that what you call love, the way you relate, the way you communicate with someone, not only doesn't inspire health but drives them unconscious, accelerating entropy. It's you who are suicidal.
Do you think there is any correlation between his drinking and the fact that you still support deceit? Do you think that deceit has consequences? Having an advice columnist do your communicating for you behind his back, and quite possibly, your counselor's back, is deceitful. Remember, he is counting on you to continue being a conniving, strategizing, wimp so that he can continue to kill himself and to take you with him. He even knew he could count on you to choose a counselor who would support you in silently putting up with it for another 24-hours. Worse yet, you are counting on him drinking for another 24-hours so that you don't have to acknowledge your own addiction to mediocrity.
1) Read and do The Clearing Process (it's free).
2) Complete your relationship with your husband by acknowledging to him (deliver verbally what you have been non-verbally communicating) what you have been hiding/withholding from him.
3) Effect a change in housing. Communicate to him you will not communicate/relate with him except in writing, about logistics, until he can say he has not had a drink in six months.
4) Engage the services of a communicologist, a communication-skills coach, who will model how to communicate responsibly, from cause, with a new counselor.
You will prolong yours and his healing process for as long as you hang out in hope about saving the relationship. —Gabby
PS: One clue about people who take mind-altering drugs—to include cigarettes and alcohol—without exception those around him/her operate from mediocrity (at home, on the job, and in his/her community). Each friend/family member has compromised his/her integrity and is living with an unacknowledged perpetration that doesn't inspire respect. None have mastered how to get high naturally via intercourse (true mutually satisfying communication). Each have succumbed to doing his/her imitation of communication.
In other words, you have yet to discover your purpose in life. Once you are on-purpose everyone around you will be inspired. It's virtually impossible to laze about in a house in which there is even one person on-purpose in life. If you don't have a purpose find someone who has a purpose that you admire and serve that person. In serving one who serves you will discover your purpose, and, most importantly, you will discover who you are. Once you know who you are your husband will realize what an incredible opportunity it is to spend conscious quality time with you.
Note: If you are doing what you call service and it's not inspiring those in your immediate family, if you are not impacting others positively, daily, through your conversations with them, then you have become stuck doing an imitation of service and you need to clear with someone who is in-service. Once one commits to a life of service one goes in and out of service for life. One minute one is in service the next they are not. A purpose that works for all concerned keeps one self-correcting to be in service.
* To be able to be without upset, arguing, explaining, justifying, feeling badly or guilty, just as you can be with the sentence, "Grass is green." It's what's so. So what!
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occasionally for minor edits (last edited 9/24/17)
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Check back occasionally for minor edits (last edited 9/24/17)