Help For Couples
“I just wanted you two to know that your willingness to re-engage with me for a couple of conversations several years after our sessions proved to be very helpful to me. I hope your message continues to get through to others.”
This note we recently received from a former client is typical of another service we offer that other programs do not: brief, focused, follow-up at any time after you have completed your work with us.
No, we do not say, “Oh God! You’ve relapsed! You must come back for 30 days and start over and….”
Instead, we note that you might benefit from expanding on the work you’ve already done and/or reinstituting the practices you have, perhaps, let slide a bit. As in the case above, that may merely be a couple of phone sessions, it may mean a couple of days back here with us, or in the case of some local clients, it may mean continuing on to address other issues after the self-medication has ceased.
Regardless of the reasons or circumstances, we never suggest that you have failed but only that it’s time to re-engage, modify, adjust, add to or whatever else may help in improving your life. And once again, life itself is a process and that process may be positive, benign, or malignant. And which it is, remains your choice.
“They’re Having An Affair!”
More often than not this is what we here from spouses/partners when we ask how your drinking feels to them.
Think about it for a minute, please. You “relationship” with alcohol is always at the expense of your relationship with them.
Instead of engaging with your husband you’re spending your evenings and weekends with Chardonnay.
Instead of doing things with your wife you’re hanging out with your drinking buddies at the sports bar or golf course.
And the list goes on.
The same barber has been cutting my hair for over a decade and he’s had some patrons for 40 plus years.
“Ed,” he said, “you know I have a number of men who make their appointments for early evening and when I’m done they sit around talking to the waiting clients. Occasionally the punch a number into their cell phones, listen a moment, and hang up.”
“I thought they were checking messages but that wasn’t it. They were checking to see if it was safe to go home. If the wife answered they hung up and waited another half hour. If she didn’t it meant she’d passed out and it was safe.”
Questioned, the wives reply, “But I’m so lonely. He’s never home anymore.”
To which he replies, “Why would I go home? I just walk into a buzz saw of abuse.”
On the other hand, spouses of hard drinking husbands note that “he’d rather spend his time with his buddies than me. He only comes home when he wants to get laid and he’s too drunk to manage that even if he wasn’t repulsive. What kind of marriage is that?”
And he says, “But she’s no fun anymore.”
These relationship “dances” are very difficult patterns to change and require an effort on the part of both parties. The drinker, fair or not, has to go first but the spouse can only be a micro-step behind. Together with some goodwill and good humor, the habits can be changed.
Sometimes, of course, the drinkers do prefer the wine and the bar. The marriage ended sometime back and it’s only the drinking that makes the façade bearable. But here too each can create a happier life with the pretenses and alcohol gone and the reality formalized.
Yes, we help you sort that out.
Since we work with the drinker our reminder is, “You don’t have to make any big decisions about things like divorce. All you need to do is get your drinking out of the way, begin making small changes in your life – the things you can control – and see what happens. After 6 months or a year you will know.
“In the meantime take care of yourself. That means knowing exactly where you stand medically, financially and legally. No one can make an informed decision without knowing all three – and everyone should know these things anyway.”
And, yes, we’ll help you prioritize and keep moving ahead instead or staying stuck in the swamp your drinking has marooned you in. But it’s not the Everglades and dry land, both actual and metaphorical, isn’t that far away.