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couples therapy but he's not going to give up alcohol?

Old 05-06-2018, 09:56 AM
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couples therapy but he's not going to give up alcohol?

Hiya,

My husband's alcoholism manifests as binges and then long sober periods. The binges always follow a period of "moderated drinking". Like he'll go a few months sober, then say, "huh, maybe I can drink normally after all," then a few weeks later we've got a binge again.

I say husband but I have actually moved out. I have told him that I couldn't take the alcohol and the Russian roulette of living under the threat of the next binge.

There were a lot of good things to the marriage. There is a lot to lose.

He wants to do couples therapy but also says he is going to drink the way he drinks and he is not going to change. He says that we should just accommodate each other's failings (like he accommodates my moodiness). Also says his drinking is not so bad.

I just don't see the point of therapy if his position is "I'm going to drink" and my position is "I can't live with the alcohol".

I think I'm just looking for a reality check.

And... has anyone successfully reunited with an alcoholic spouse? How?
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Old 05-06-2018, 10:00 AM
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I did not reunite. But what a crock of ...your moodiness? Couldn't possibly be due to living with active alcoholism and the subsequent fear and anxiety it causes for the spouse, could it?

Nah. 'Course not.

You did the best thing for your own sanity. It is hard, either which way. At least this way you have some peace and stability.

I wouldn't go to counseling with a spouse or ex who said he was going to continue to drink/drug. Nope. What's the point?
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Old 05-06-2018, 10:07 AM
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What is the point? You don't want him to drink, he refuses to quit. That's pretty cut and dried.

He is agreeing to go to counselling based on the fact that somehow you will have an epiphany and decide you are happy to live with him drinking?

I think I'm just looking for a reality check.
I think your reality meter is spot on.

The only way you can reunite with your Husband is if you accept his drinking. Can you do that? He has been very clear where he stands, which is actually a good thing, horrible for your marriage, but at least he isn't being manipulative and trying to string you along with promises to quit, then "relapsing".

Are you wrong to question this situation? Not at all. But the facts here are the facts. He does not want to quit drinking. Period. Unless you are willing to be ok with that (and I mean really ok, living with him drinking, no spying on how many drinks he's had, which bar he was at and for how long, how many empties are in the garbage) then how can it work?
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Old 05-06-2018, 11:43 AM
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some do continue living with a drinking spouse.....and find some measure of "peace" altho to be honest it boggles my mind.

you and your H seemed pretty entrenched in your positions....for him, drinking takes precendent, even tho you have left, he remains unphased and devoted to his first love, alcohol.

you have no desire to live like that.

full stop.

they say that therapy is really pretty useless unless and until the drinking party quits drinking. it MAY give you the opportunity to speak clearly, voice your thoughts and feelings. but he probably won't "hear" it. he'll be the charlie brown cartoons where adults just make Wah Wah noises.
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Old 05-06-2018, 11:59 AM
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My ex and I did couples therapy when he was actively using. It didn't work and the therapist said there was no point in us continuing in couples therapy and we should seek individual therapy. I went in to talk about what his drug use and alcoholism was doing to us, him, and me. He was 9 years sober when he first relapsed. I had never known him not sober so it was a huge change in our relationship and I was so lost in what to do and how to help him find sobriety again. He would stop for brief periods but never embraced sobriety and so it was still just as miserable.

He went into the sessions with the attitude of I am an adult, I am choosing to use, that is what I plan to continue to do and you are the one with the problem. Which I guess was true, I had a problem with the drug use - he didn't. He also claimed that the problems in our relationship didn't go away when the drug use did. Again true, but when he would stop he was just dry - not working a program - and I didn't know I needed to work my own program. I found my way to Al-Anon a couple years later and I regret waiting so long to save myself with my own recovery.

The therapist tried to convince my ex that if he wanted to start addressing the "real issues" in the relationship the only way to do that was for him to get sober as that had to be dealt with before we could get any deeper. He was like no thanks and the therapist was like this isn't going to get anywhere so we ended the sessions.

If you did try to do couples therapy I doubt it would last long if he isn't willing to stop completely, unless you ended up with someone not familiar with addiction and that would end up a mess.
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Old 05-06-2018, 12:14 PM
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This reminds me of my marriage. My husband was very clear - he was not going to give up alcohol. He was a binge drinker. It was causing our marriage to fall apart. He even told me - if I wasn't happy with how things were, I was free to leave and not let the door hit me on my way out. Guess what I did - I left. Filed for divorce. He has made the divorce a living hell but I am standing up and I am staying strong through it. My way or the highway is an easy attitude to adopt in theory. Now when his finances are on the table - his way does not seem like a very good idea to him. Either way. I never heard from him. There were a lot of things that this divorce brought out to the firefront for me. He is still drinking. Found someone pretty fast who would support his habit. 6 months is all that it took for him to start seeing someone else. Don't waste your time and emotions on a man who is so blind to everything and hell bent on destroying himself
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Old 05-06-2018, 12:40 PM
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Thanks you guys.

It's just that it's become something he and his very loyal brother are harping on about. "Akrasia won't even go to therapy!"

That said, all of my/our friends have been lovely. Though many of them have said something along the lines of, "I had no idea how bad things were, you seemed so happy."
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Old 05-06-2018, 01:25 PM
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Hi akrasia,

Not being familiar with your situation I read one of your old threads from 2010, where you said:

Originally Posted by akrasia View Post
Back about a month ago, we were having a talk about alcohol. He said he was glad to be sobering up but he wanted to drink socially someday in the future.

We were having a gentle talk, not an argument, but I did say: "Yeah, but then if you know that alcohol likes to get its claws in you, why not just avoid the whole thing and have juice or a Coke? You can be the guy who drinks Coke, that can be your thing."

He sort of got annoyed and said, "See, you're trying to woo me into your way of thinking..."
Perhaps when he brings up counselling you can use that same line he used 8 years ago?

Hang in there!
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Old 05-06-2018, 02:00 PM
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Binge drinking is part of the progression of the disease and he will become a daily drinker if he doesn't stop and get help. Your instincts are right: stay away and make a new life for yourself. Big hug.
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Old 05-06-2018, 04:23 PM
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Hi, akrasia.
Agree with the others that this is really a no win situation for you, as he does not want to stop drinking.
My opinion? He wants counseling so he can say, “well, I tried. It wasn’t me, it was her.”
And continue to drink feeling all justified.
It shouldn’t surprise me at this stage of the game, but the knots alcohol addicts tie themselves in trying to make their behavior okay still continues to amaze.
Good luck.
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Old 05-06-2018, 04:50 PM
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Oh geez.....I hear a lot of quacking going on in what he's saying and I will say that my XAH tried the same thing: Suggesting counseling while he was an active binge drinker. And, when one counselor called him out on his drinking and even told him that moderation wasn't enough, my XAH would tell me he wasn't going back to so and so counselor and that we need to find a new one. And, then the saga would start all over again.

What I learned was that counseling was a bluff to keep me satisfied in thinking that he was actually going to work on our marriage. I also learned that if an alcoholic is still drinking and/or using, counseling is not worth the effort. The addict is not healthy enough to look inward, they know the right words to say, they truly do want to change, but it's not until they hit their own bottom and choose recovery for themselves that they can afterwards try to fix their exterior relationships. The relationship with themselves must be fixed first.

You may get different answers here, but I'm just sharing my experience and what I learned along the way. You may want to suggest individual counseling for both of you and ask him to find one who specializes in addictions as well as family therapy? If he really wants to save his marriage, he will move the earth to do so, but that means being humble enough to not justify, gaslight, or quack about YOUR behavior.

Hugs to you. I've been where you are and I completely understand. Make sure you take care of you. Keep coming back!
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Old 05-06-2018, 06:59 PM
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My RAH and I reunited after he told me he'd cut down. He did for 6 months, then back to normal drinking. Fast forward 3 years and I was so stressed out, diagnosed with ptsd from his drinking and me doing nothing to help myself, and I was horribly miserable. I told him quit, or leave. He got the flu and couldn't drink. He said after 3 days his mind cleared enough to see what he was doing, and he quit. Its been 4 months, he is doing great with his sobriety. BUT, he quit drinking and is working AA. What you said here.....
I just don't see the point of therapy if his position is "I'm going to drink" and my position is "I can't live with the alcohol"....says a lot. Many therapist won't even see a couple when one partner is actively drinking. QUOTE=akrasia;6886882]Hiya,

My husband's alcoholism manifests as binges and then long sober periods. The binges always follow a period of "moderated drinking". Like he'll go a few months sober, then say, "huh, maybe I can drink normally after all," then a few weeks later we've got a binge again.

I say husband but I have actually moved out. I have told him that I couldn't take the alcohol and the Russian roulette of living under the threat of the next binge.

There were a lot of good things to the marriage. There is a lot to lose.

He wants to do couples therapy but also says he is going to drink the way he drinks and he is not going to change. He says that we should just accommodate each other's failings (like he accommodates my moodiness). Also says his drinking is not so bad.

I just don't see the point of therapy if his position is "I'm going to drink" and my position is "I can't live with the alcohol".

I think I'm just looking for a reality check.

And... has anyone successfully reunited with an alcoholic spouse? How?[/QUOTE]
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Old 05-07-2018, 07:30 AM
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He wants to do couples therapy but also says he is going to drink the way he drinks and he is not going to change. He says that we should just accommodate each other's failings (like he accommodates my moodiness). Also says his drinking is not so bad.

Moodiness is something that everyone experiences from time to time, and in any normal relationship, both partners should expect that the other person might sometimes be moody. Furthermore, living with an active addict is going to give you a very good reason to feel moody. Addiction is unpredictable and dangerous... it is detrimental to the physical, emotional, and financial health of the couple. I would actually expect you to be more than a little moody. I would expect you to be really unhappy. In contrast to this "moodiness", his alcoholism is not a behavior that anyone should expect as part of a normal relationship.

But you knew that already. Maybe he doesn't "know" this. You can just print what I said on a little note card and hand it to him. Kidding. Don't do it. He might google it, find this forum, and stalk you.

I just don't see the point of therapy if his position is "I'm going to drink" and my position is "I can't live with the alcohol".

You are right. It is pointless. I don't see the point of it either.

I have complex PTSD from relationships therapy with an active addict. I had counseling with them for a number of years and during the sessions, they gas-lit both me and the counselor... . My stbxAH was, I thought, my soulmate. I also used to think that we had a pretty good relationship "except for his addiction". Wrong. He was a liar. He lied his way through the entire relationship. I found out the hard way.

Here's why I'm so against relationships counseling with an active addict: In my experience, he will use the sessions to manipulate and control you. If he's not going to stop drinking, and you left because of that and only because of that, the only reason he wants the sessions is not to fix what went wrong, but to have access to you to change your boundaries or erode your values. I know that sounds harsh. I'm super harsh on SR these days for personal reasons I don't want to get into here (will take too much time)... but from my experience, relationships therapy with an active addict who is not in recovery and has not been in recovery for at least a period of 12 months is totally pointless. You will go into the sessions as an honest person, and you will tell the truth. Meanwhile, he will sit there and most likely lie. He might make promises or even shed tears. The counselor might believe him (if the counselor doesn't understand how addicts work). Then you both leave with two different things on your mind -- you will be taking the information revealed and thinking about how to compromise to make the relationship work. He will take the information revealed and think about how to get you to compromise while he figures out how he can hide parts of or all of his questionable behavior. In my case, it led to him thinking he could cheat on me with a human instead of just cheating on me with drugs... (because he was already telling so many lies anyway).

I think I'm just looking for a reality check.

Trust yourself. TRUST YOURSELF.

And... has anyone successfully reunited with an alcoholic spouse?

No idea.

How?

Why?

In some cases it can take up to 9 attempts at sobriety for sobriety to stick. It can take up to 10 years to change the behaviors that led to the addiction. I guess you need to ask yourself if you want to invest that much time with someone who has behaviors that are destructive.

There is no right or wrong answer -- stay/go, reunite... .

Just bear in mind that if you are 30 now, and your husband is really serious about changing RIGHT NOW and he sticks with it (and you), you might be living your best life together when you are 40. But that means he'll only start living at 40 (and maybe you too) because addiction is like running in place instead of journeying to get to your destination. I know this because I am living this now. I've only started trying to figure out my life.

Addiction is progressive if the addict does not stop and change. By progressive I mean that not only does the dependence on the DOC increase, but the behaviors that come with the "disease" get worse. These behaviors might progress from lying to cheating, from borrowing to stealing, from shouting to shouting abuse, from breaking things by accident to breaking things on purpose... etc. I watched someone who I felt was a gentle person turn into a monster. I don't believe that I will ever get that gentle person back and am skeptical that that was who he really ever was.

Just some things to think about. Trust yourself.
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Old 05-07-2018, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
You may want to suggest individual counseling for both of you and ask him to find one who specializes in addictions as well as family therapy?
Agree with this.

Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
If he really wants to save his marriage, he will move the earth to do so, but that means being humble enough to not justify, gaslight, or quack about YOUR behavior.
I really, really agree with this.
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Old 05-07-2018, 09:23 AM
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I just don't see the point of therapy if his position is "I'm going to drink" and my position is "I can't live with the alcohol".
I can't see the point of it either. This is a stalemate, and you both deserve to lead the lives you want to live. It would be the same if one person wanted kids and the other didn't, or if one person wanted to live in Mexico and the other wanted to live in Alaska. It's just a fundamental difference where one or both people are going to come out wounded , and is a perfect storm for animosity, resentment and bitterness to build.

I'm guessing your life is a bit different since you've moved out. Mine sure was. After a couple months out I knew there was no possible way I could live the way I had been living again, and it became clear fast that X's lifestyles and mine were completely different. (((HUGS)))
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Old 05-07-2018, 01:10 PM
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Its a little hard to tell from your post, but if he and his brother are saying this just to try diminish you/place the ball in your court/blame you - in some way -then I don't see the point.

I did individual and family therapy with my husband . In fact, family therapy is often recommended for people who are seeking to make changes in their drinking. And for the family member to share how the home, relationship has been affected by the behaviors.

It was helpful for me to be able to communicate calmly with the therapist there to sort of guide us. I was able to express a lot of things that I might not have been able to otherwise. My husband was seeking help for drugs and alcohol, but he was still drinking alcohol at this time. He was a binge type user also and alcohol was only a problem when he mixed with drugs. If a person is consistently drunk, depending on the severity, the way it affects the brain then it might be a pointless effort unless you are working with someone who specializes in addiction/therapy. That is what we used and what I would personally recommend anyway. Many doctors work with patients on moderation and not complete abstinence. Often people think they can moderate (some can, some cant) and there are reasons why a person may binge, etc. Different degrees of alcohol use disorder, etc that a therapist can share with both of you. The whole process can be really hard for a family member and sometimes its just not worth it IMO if there is not enough of the relationship foundation remaining. It also doesn't take long to find out if it will be of any value.. more than one session. I mean they even say to go to alanon l 6 times and different meetings to see if it might be of value.

If you are done with the relationship and feel content with your decision then I probably wouldn't bother. Id just try to move on with life and not look back.
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Old 05-07-2018, 08:13 PM
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Sorry you are going through this. Most reputable counselors won’t treat a couple if anyone is in active addiction and will advise to take up individual counseling. So yea, IMO - waste of time.
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Old 05-07-2018, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by akrasia View Post
Hiya,

he is going to drink the way he drinks and he is not going to change. He says that we should just accommodate each other's failings (like he accommodates my moodiness). Also says his drinking is not so bad.

I just don't see the point of therapy if his position is "I'm going to drink" and my position is "I can't live with the alcohol".

I think I'm just looking for a reality check.

And... has anyone successfully reunited with an alcoholic spouse? How?
I think he's made it clear, he's going to keep drinking like a madman and there is nothing you can do about it. Yet will try therapy in a desperate attempt to verify why his alcohol abuse is ok.
Make a run for it
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Old 05-08-2018, 11:21 AM
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He's deflecting and blaming......no good therapist would do marriage counseling with an active A...you are absolutely right in your thinking.

And I agree with the others - you two are at an impasse. He doesn't want to stop drinking you don't want to live with the drinking.

I did think of one thing though my T at one point said he could see both of us to help us get to a point of being ready to divorce so we would feel psychologically ready....but that was only once he was sober and at that point he knew (even though he was denying it) the split was inevitable (I'd made up my mind)....so I don't think that would work with an active A.
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