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Book discussion: "Getting Your Loved One Sober"

Old 02-23-2015, 03:31 PM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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I've read the first few chapters of the book and have some responses, both negative and positive.

In the negative column goes the authors' characterization of two typical couples. We're told that Manuel "expected [Clarisse] to satisfy his sexual desires regardless of her own feelings and, when she resisted, physically forced her to have sex with him" (12). I checked the book's publication date, thinking maybe it was published in the 1950s, which might explain why the authors characterize being married to a rapist as a relationship that "didn't satisfy [Clarisse's] needs." Understatement, to put it mildly? The book was published in 2004, so it doesn't get cut any slack for regressive attitudes.

The story of "Kathy and Jim," also introduced in Chapter 1, includes an equally sexist (I think) issue. The authors write that Kathy "was afraid to approach Jim about his drinking because the last time she did, he hit her" (18).

I have a hard time accepting the authors blase attitude toward rape and assault and the implication that these women should even try to change their abusers' behavior. It smacks of sexism and victim-blaming, in my view.

However, chapter 2, "The Road Map," did offer a useful framework for trying to understand and interfere with a substance abuser's triggers. Once I really thought about it, I realized that I do know many of the circumstances in which my husband chooses to drink.

So, Friday night, he called me at 6:30 from work, saying his company meeting/happy hour was over but he was thinking about getting together with a colleague to play video games. He sounded sober. I flashed on the story of "Kathy and Jim," in which "Kathy mapped out the events that typically led Jim to stop for a drink and arrive home late and useless" (43). To change that pattern, Kathy invited Jim and his friend to come home for dinner, which would be served at a precise time, giving him an incentive to come home instead. The authors note, "Kathy picked this particular strategy because she knew how much Jim valued family dinners" (45).

Well, my husband likes family dinners, too. So when he asked if he could stay out with his buddy, I said our daughter and I were looking forward to him coming home from work, so we could have a nice dinner together.

Lo and behold, he said okay; I'll be home in half an hour. And he was. And we had a nice dinner. And he didn't drink, then or for the rest of the weekend.
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Old 02-23-2015, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by sauerkraut View Post
I've read the first few chapters of the book and have some responses, both negative and positive.

In the negative column goes the authors' characterization of two typical couples. We're told that Manuel "expected [Clarisse] to satisfy his sexual desires regardless of her own feelings and, when she resisted, physically forced her to have sex with him" (12). I checked the book's publication date, thinking maybe it was published in the 1950s, which might explain why the authors characterize being married to a rapist as a relationship that "didn't satisfy [Clarisse's] needs." Understatement, to put it mildly? The book was published in 2004, so it doesn't get cut any slack for regressive attitudes.

The story of "Kathy and Jim," also introduced in Chapter 1, includes an equally sexist (I think) issue. The authors write that Kathy "was afraid to approach Jim about his drinking because the last time she did, he hit her" (18).

I have a hard time accepting the authors blase attitude toward rape and assault and the implication that these women should even try to change their abusers' behavior. It smacks of sexism and victim-blaming, in my view.
Thats an interesting take on it. When I read it I think of it more from the standpoint of understanding this is a doctor describing the facts of the case.

With Clarisse, she came to him for therapy and he discovered she had been in an abusive relationship for 13 years. He made a large amount of money, she was financially dependent on him. She entered therapy for help and made a decision to use Craft as part of the overall plan. What happened was a good example of craft I think. She began to work on herself and probably regain self esteem and strength. The dr states it took her months to work up the courage to tell her husband she was in therapy but she did ,so its a good sign. Meanwhile she had used craft techniques to modify her own behavior around him and her husband began to notice. After she told him about her therapy, he wanted to meet her doctor. From this he began his own therapy and eventually stopped drinking. She started taking college classes and becoming more independent, all while working with her husband on their marriage. She vocalized to him she would never tolerate abuse again and would end their marriage if it happened. The dr notes this as a seemingly hopeless case with a positive outcome. I think because of the longstanding issues of abuse and financial dependency but with treatment the situation improved.

I know with my therapist, what usually happened was not anything like telling me what to do, how to think, but guiding me through and giving me things to think about so I could make my own decisions. I have a feeling if Clarisse husband had not made an effort to seek help and change his behavior, ended all abuse. She would have found the strength to leave him, as she grew stronger.

I cant remember all of the other story in full, had something in it about fishing I think! Ha but I think when your talking about substance abuse there is often verbal and sometimes physical abuse involved. I do know the book doesnt exclude people in abusive relationships from using craft but I think there are warnings and advice to seek further professional help if this is happening in a persons life. this book isnt about domestic violence, but does include stories of people who have used craft while in an abusive relationship involving substances.
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Old 02-24-2015, 01:23 PM
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Does anyone else have experience trying the re-mapping strategy explained in the book? In other words, have you thought about what triggers your loved one's substance-using and then tried doing something different to elicit a different outcome?

I'm cautiously optimistic after my experiment last Friday; however, I'm also well-aware that my husband's triggers can be as simple as going grocery shopping, going to the drugstore, and taking the dog for a walk. In each case he encounters temptations, and there is only so much I can do (short of taking on all of the chores myself) to intercede.
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Old 02-24-2015, 02:11 PM
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I spent weeks on mapping initially. I went through and did my best to map out the process that led to his relapse, drilling down and looking at behaviors, and then I began matching it up to what we had been discussing in our family sessions when he would talk about how he saw it playing out. This part was insightful for me initially. I also informed my individual counselor I was doing this and she helped me to some degree.

Hes not been using drugs since his treatment, but I have been using mapping in relation to the anxiety attacks and other behaviors that have been identified as precursors to relapse in his particular case. (Relapse starts prior to a substance being used according to his addiction doc).

I can now see the signs of anxiety or other emotions building up through physical and behavioral cues, as well as things he voices to me. It works well with the traffic light analogy. Ive used mapping and figured out ways to offer a more positive path, instead of heading down the well traveled road where he falls into old familiar patterns, and it works. Example, when he was having a pity party and started emotional drinking. he stopped and tossed it out, and we altered the whole flow by finding a better solution for that moment.. I have examples like this where it was effective.

I will say, Mr Blue has also been learning how to cope better with the help of his dr, so I feel like its all fit together perfectly. His docs call us a team in his recovery and they encourage lots of communication and active support.
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Old 02-24-2015, 02:29 PM
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I have tried it, but can't comment at the moment, just too busy today! I'll try to answer later or tomorrow
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Old 02-24-2015, 03:25 PM
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I forget you might not know my husbands background, and might want to know how he got into treatment originally. It was family encouragement. Wont do details here, but he was very sick but still didnt realize he needed help. His parents are very knowledgeable, and they found a rehab they felt would work best for him. Had a doctor from the rehab come and talk to him when he was in the hospital and talked about what it would be like, it was a non 12 step, offered lots of personalized care. We showed him pics of the rehab after his parents visited, and using support from close family, friends, his employer we reinforced he needed professional help. Nothing like we will cut you off, you have hurt us all, or guilt tripping. Except his work did reinforce he couldnt come back until he got help, and they would give him time off and support his recovery. It was all very positive, and he agreed reluctantly. His parents told me I might have to tell him I would leave unless he agreed to go, but thank God it didnt come to that because I dont know if I could have done it.
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Old 02-25-2015, 01:33 PM
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I think Blue did an excellent job summing up what I also felt about the couples characterized in the beginning of the book. It was more like a clinical analysis, almost detached to me. As the wives didn't want to leave, the therapist worked with them to eliminate the abuse.

I have tried the mapping, and found it to be very true to my H. I have tried mapping as an experiment - first trying to work positively with him, and then the next time detaching. I find, at least for my husband, that we both work better when we both find more positive paths. He has also adopted a way like this with me, interestingly enough ... I build walls when we argue or talk about sensitive issues and he will recognize that, and try to take me down a more positive path before I build a wall or begin to hide behind it.

I know some think this is manipulation, but it's not ... when he is doing this for me, I can see what he's doing. I know that he's purposely taking a more positive path, that I'm perhaps at yellow or coming close to yellow light with my walls, and it's very obvious that he is trying to influence me to get back to green. And it's my choice to go down that road with him or continue on to my red light.
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Old 02-25-2015, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by soverylost View Post
I think Blue did an excellent job summing up what I also felt about the couples characterized in the beginning of the book. It was more like a clinical analysis, almost detached to me. As the wives didn't want to leave, the therapist worked with them to eliminate the abuse.

I have tried the mapping, and found it to be very true to my H. I have tried mapping as an experiment - first trying to work positively with him, and then the next time detaching. I find, at least for my husband, that we both work better when we both find more positive paths. He has also adopted a way like this with me, interestingly enough ... I build walls when we argue or talk about sensitive issues and he will recognize that, and try to take me down a more positive path before I build a wall or begin to hide behind it.

I know some think this is manipulation, but it's not ... when he is doing this for me, I can see what he's doing. I know that he's purposely taking a more positive path, that I'm perhaps at yellow or coming close to yellow light with my walls, and it's very obvious that he is trying to influence me to get back to green. And it's my choice to go down that road with him or continue on to my red light.
This is a good example. I feel like when we combine the mapping with the other parts involving listening and communicating it most effective. Its a lot about the willingness to engage, and participate in collaborative process with our partner.
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Old 02-26-2015, 12:26 AM
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Ive used the mapping also.. pretty much as described by Blue and Soverylost. I think there is more to it than mapping however.. its an internal change within us, a different attitude. No one is forced to use Craft, or to provide positive reinforcements if they don't feel good about it. Everything I did was authentic in regards to my feelings.. if I was encouraging a family dinner, it was because I enjoyed them also.. there is no manipulation or control in the end because each person has to make their own choices. Its just offers positive or healthy alternatives that are often not visible otherwise.

Off topic slightly.. but I also think this shows a substance abusers does have control.. they can choose to not keep drinking (willingly) because they prefer to stop and do something else... the mind of a substance abuser is really just like everyone elses.. they weigh options.. positive vs negative, its not all about people only being motivated to change because of negative consequences and I think CRA and CRAFT show this clearly; a mix of positive reinforcements and allowing natural negative consequences gives the best opportunity for change..
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Old 02-26-2015, 04:52 PM
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Very interesting insights, Allfor. "Everything I did was authentic in regards to my feelings." Hmm. Unfortunately I'm not in that place, but I can see how it would be ideal to be there. Thanks for sharing.

Your second paragraph makes sense to me, too. I get it that my husband makes his own decisions. Actually reading some of the postings on the substance abusers boards helps me to see how conflicted this can be for people, though. They ask each other why they are engaging in behaviors that they really don't want, knowing the consequences.
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Old 02-27-2015, 12:58 AM
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Originally Posted by sauerkraut View Post
Very interesting insights, Allfor. "Everything I did was authentic in regards to my feelings." Hmm. Unfortunately I'm not in that place, but I can see how it would be ideal to be there. Thanks for sharing.

Your second paragraph makes sense to me, too. I get it that my husband makes his own decisions. Actually reading some of the postings on the substance abusers boards helps me to see how conflicted this can be for people, though. They ask each other why they are engaging in behaviors that they really don't want, knowing the consequences.
What this makes me think of is the common denominator of the people who would make this comment.. I think it points to an awareness that there is a substance abuse problem, an inability to control usage despite their desire to stop.

I think the last part.. negative consequences is key.. and I think the other aspect is despite their own desire to do something different.. quite possibly engage in other positive options.

With Craft, I always keep in mind we are not taking on the challenge of solving our loved ones substance abuse problem, really I think we are trying to break denial, and help them become aware of their use and how its affecting them on a personal level.

With Craft, we allow the natural negative consequences to occur.. but we also provide the positive reinforcement for healthier alternatives… and I think it can be enlightening i.e. I really enjoy going home to my family dinners now, but I have a physical craving to drink, or I feel very anxious and having a few drinks helps but I will be late and ruin the evening.. (just an example tied to the one in the book). Then you get an “awareness” like the people on the forum come to discuss.. what to do now… I realize: I may or do.. have a problem.

This is a CRAFT goal.

I also think this ties into CRAFT studies that show a high percentage of people reduce their drinking and moderate if they are capable ( and I think some are ), stop ( on their own), or seek treatment (if they realize they want to stop and need help). And the choice becomes voluntary because they find awareness on their own.

I think another part of Craft is focused on what you said about addiction providing conflicting signals.. I think because addiction its complex. In Beyond Addiction book.. I think you’ve already read this one.. it focuses on several things like the concept of ambivalence being part of the process of change, and the book also works to educate us about addiction, and treatment options because the science based belief is treatment works best when customized to meet each person’s complex individual needs. Again we don’t want the person to be pushed into something that doesn’t fit their needs or even their personality. Again, we aren't trying to control. Willingly collaborating on solutions however is fine as long as both people feel good about it.

LOL I always come on at the end of my day, so sorry if I have any sleepy brain fog…
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