Drinking, couples counseling, and clueless therapists.
We hear it all of the time, “We went to marriage counseling but as soon as my drinking came up the counselor said, ‘Oh, we can’t do anything until you’ve been to treatment!'”
This, of course, is just plain ignorance!
Nor is it excusable – any therapist worth spending money on should be at least somewhat informed about alcohol abuse, its nature, and what the effective approaches to eliminating it are, as noted in our article: Ending Alcohol Abuse: What Works.
Let’s also consider a few other factors:
- Suppose you are married to a very controlling spouse and drinking is a passive-aggressive way of say “FU” to that person?
- Suppose you have an abusive partner and drinking provides a protective “bubble” against their verbal and other assaults?
- Suppose your significant other has “addictions” of their own whether to porn, or the internet, or??
- Suppose you’re involved with someone who is much less mature than you are and you are simply drinking your way down to their level?
Obviously your misuse of alcohol won’t be eliminated unless these and/or other underlying and compounding problems are also addressed.
A good couple’s counselor would start by assessing the underlying factors – not shipping you off to some cult based rehab that will most likely exacerbate any and/or all of the above.
Traditional treatment will also, usually, give your spouse or partner a permanent pass on addressing their own problems which will frequently be as bad as your alcohol abuse.
How do you think that’s all going to work out?
Yes, you probably figured that out correctly – following the therapist’s demands will leave you worse off, in every way, than you were when you signed up.
Instead, why not address the actual problems, either with or without your “other half,” determine what’s actually going on and how to mitigate the confounding factors effectively?
And you won’t be demeaned and consigned to a “one down” role for the rest of your life, either.
Time is Finite!
A year ago my older brother, Eric, died suddenly and unexpectedly of a rare and aggressive form of lung cancer. This despite having lived the healthiest life style of anyone I know and coming from a long line of ancestors most of whom lived into their 90s.
The lesson? None of us know when our personal clock is going to stop, yet too many of us ignore that fact until it’s too late to do what we always meant to do.
Worse yet, our alcohol abuse becomes, a one client put it, a way of “filling time waiting to die.”
Or as we often note, it turns us into spectators of our lives rather than participants in them.
But no matter the metaphor, excess drinking is self-destructive and life diminishing, no matter how much we kid ourselves otherwise. It is not sexy, sophisticated, or an essential part of an exciting and colorful life.
No, it’s a dead end, sometimes literally, do doing whatever we actually want to do but lack the courage. So we settle for a secondhand non-life.
And the time runs out and clock stops and the things you might have done, the people you might have known and loved, the places and things you might have seen and tried, are all moot points.
Most of you, our potential clients, are well past 40 and many of you have choices readily available and responsibilities rapidly evaporating. Now, more than ever, you have the option to try almost anything.
So why are you electing to do nothing?
And, if not now, when will you “get a grip and get a life?”
Drinking away my chances? Been there, done that.