We wish you a good 4th of July weekend – and hope that this Independence Day also sees you becoming free of your alcohol abuse and the myths that keep you stuck.
Couples – why won’t anyone else work with couples?
No one else works with couples because no one else can. It’s that simple.
Yet “success” frequently depends on spouses working together to solve whatever conditions the drinker is self-medicating. It’s even more important when you’re both drinking.
So what does working with us look like?
First we work as a team – whether you are an individual or a couple. That in itself is unique and also helps insure your success.
How? You get the benefit of our experience, both personal and professional. Mine as the ex-drinker and Mary Ellen’s as the family member frustrated by dysfunctional family dynamics. When working with couples this means you each have someone who understands your part of the problem.
Obviously no one is stuck with a particular gender view point either. We are both way past gender stereotypes.
Most importantly, you will avoid the kiss of death that dooms virtually all “Couples Counseling” – the triangle that results whenever 3 people are involved in any emotional encounter.
It’s impossible to avoid. Whatever the gender of the counselor, the client of the opposite gender is always going to feel ganged-up on and, sadly, they are frequently right. Even when it’s not true, it’s a great excuse to dismiss anything that’s said or suggested and to simply walk out the door.
But when it’s four of us?
The triangulalion isn’t there, nor are the excuses. Each of you has someone who understands your part of the couple’s dynamic. Each of you has an advocate, to some degree.
We can cut through your past with all of the grievences, justified or not, and shift the focus to the present and future and what you actually want.
Alcohol abuse is a symptom. The causes may be loneliness, boredom, anxiety, depression, pain, hormonal imbalances (yes, men get those, too), or any of a dozen other things, either alone or in combination.
You can endlessly blame each other, or you can fix things, but you can’t do both.
If you’re both drinking, you very difficult to fix your problem without your spouse or partner also fixing theirs.
And we’re the only program that allows this to happen – and, as usual, the research is clear. Heal the relationship or forget leaving the alcohol abuse behind.
There are also other reasons why your spouse’s involvement is important. Your spouse or partner needs to learn how to be supportive. They also need to understand that ending your alcohol abuse is going to affect them just as your drinking did.
Many people believe the myth that life won’t change – it’ll be the same except without the drinking. That is a total fantasy. Reality? Everything will change to one degree or another.
If you want a better life, if you want to grow and change, if you want to be more self-aware and in control of how your life will change for the better, then you need to call and let us help you through the process.
Don’t let negative change and/or failure overtake you – you don’t want to be road kill on the trip to a sober and satisfactory life. You are powerful – not powerless – and you deserve a life, not a “program”. Both of you do.
Sex, Alcohol, Hormones, and….
As we have noted in past issues, many women in their 40s and 50s drift into alcohol abuse as do-it-yourself hormone replacement therapy without ever knowing that that’s what they’re doing.
Many men also risk hormone problems with even less self-awareness. Did you know that alcohol abuse results in ebbing testosterone levels?
Added to the emotional, physical, and other tolls exacted by age and a lot of men end up feeling less than wonderful. We can help you learn to pay attention and reverse a lot of that.
This is another of those issues we address with clients that no one else will even touch – SEX!
The majority of our clients report that their sex life is non-existent. Or that they’ve never had sex sober (yes, men report this, too). Or that alcohol has become their intimate friend. Or… well, you can fill in your own situation.
Again, happy people don’t have alcohol problems and for a lot of folks happiness includes having a good sex life. As we noted in the article above, much of what happens with alcohol abuse is escalating problems and intimacy being destroyed.
We see husbands who stay late at work because it’s better than coming home to drunken wives, who claim they drink out of loneliness because their husbands never come home.
We see husbands who drink because their wives lost interest in them after the first child showed up, and whose wives complain their husbands have isolated themselves from them and the children.
There are dozens of other situations but they all come down to men and women who’ve made alcohol their intimate friend rather than their spouse.
As with other problems, if major relationship problems aren’t addressed the drinker will keep on drinking. These are problems that can’t be fixed in isolation.
Fix the relationship and fix the problem (no, alcohol is not the problem) or ignore it and you can both keep on doing what you’ve been doing. It is your choice and one that both of you need to make.
Wouldn’t you really rather have the relationships you imagined?
Odds and Ends
Alcohol Abuse, Alcoholism, and 12 Step Programs That Can’t Tell the Difference, don’t care, and will gladly burden you with inappropriate and damaging labels that will haunt you for the rest of your life.
Women and Alcohol – What To Consider In Treatment and why women need and deserve services built around women’s needs, not just another recycled (and failed) men’s program – which is all anyone else has to offer.
Confidentiality, why you want to avoid residential treatment and groups of all kinds.
The Bucket of Crabs or Why AA and Al-Anon are Bad For Your Health.