How to Make Your Loved One Stop Drinking and Drugging
Dear Dr. Steve:
Without rehashing the bloody details of the last three years of my life, let me just say
that I believe that my husband is an alcoholic and is addicted to marijuana. My question
to you is how can I get my husband to stop drinking and drugging?
The simple answer
is that there is not much you or anyone else can do to force somebody who is either
abusing or dependent on alcohol and other drugs to stop drinking and drugging.
thats not what you want to hear. In fact, youve likely fought hard not to
accept what Ive just said for much of the past three years. Emotionally, this must
be a very difficult time in your life as you desperately seek a way out of the hell that
the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction creates in your familys life. I can
imagine that your emotions run the full gamut from helplessness to hopelessness to out and
out rage as your life continues to deteriorate and spiral out of control. And all the
while, as you find yourself feeling more and more sick, as you feel yourself getting more
and more crazy about your husbands drinking, he remains oblivious to those who are
suffering around him.
because your husband is in denial about his drinking and the associated consequences of
his drinking and drugging. Its likely that your husband has an explanation for each
and every problem associated with his drinking and drugging. He can explain away any
evidence of the problems that his drinking causes through rationalization and
minimization. No matter how obvious his drinking problem may be to you and to others, your
husbands denial is fortified by blaming other people or circumstances for his
drinking. Sadly, your husbands denial of his problems with alcohol, his ability to
rationalize his behavior, his reliance on blaming others for his problems enables him to
keep drinking as everyone who cares about him feels helpless about how to help him.
what experience has taught me is that your husband wont quit drinking and drugging
until the consequences of his drinking creates enough emotional and circumstantial
discomfort to force him to look more honestly at his drinking. I assume at this point that
the negative consequences to your husband and your family from his drinking, whether they
be legal, financial, family, interpersonal, occupational, physical, emotional, and
spiritual have done nothing to slow your husband down. So until your husband is ready to
stop drinking and drugging, until the pain from the consequences of his drinking and
drugging overwhelms his denial of his problem and the fear he has about doing something
about his drinking and drugging, theres little anyone can do to get your husband to
stop drinking and drugging. In fact, as you may have already discovered, family pressure
applied on your husband to stop drinking and drugging may actually make the overall
helpful, am I? Thats because the answer to your problem does not lie in your ability
to change your husbands behavior. The answer to your problem lies in your
willingness to take care of yourself. In other words are you willing to put less energy in
to forcing your husband to stop drinking and drugging and more energy in to taking care of
yourself? Taking care of yourself entails the following:
1.) Learn about the disease of chemical dependency
2.) Learn about the unhealthy role(s) that you may be playing in the life of your husband
3.) Learn about the tools of Recovery that will empower you to detach from the problems
created by alcoholism and drug addiction
4.) Actively engage the help and support of others
does one go to learn about chemical dependency? The best place to start is a support group
called Al-Anon. Al-Anon is a support group for family members who have been and/or
continue to be affected by family alcoholism. Its a safe place for you and your
family members to go and be with people just like you who have been affected by the
disease of alcoholism in much the same ways that you have.
Al-Anon is more than a place for support. Through your involvement with Al-Anon, you can
learn more about the family disease of alcoholism. You can learn effective coping tools
for dealing with the disease of alcoholism. Most importantly, you can learn how to detach
from the problems of alcoholism.
more information about how to best cope with and confront your loved ones use of
alcohol and other drugs you can contact Alateen at Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters,
Family Group Headquarters, Inc.
1600 Corporate Landing Parkway
Virginia Beach, Va. 23454
Tel # 757-563-1600
Fax # 757-563-1655
1-888-425-2666 for meeting information
Monday-Friday, 8am to 6 pm ET except holidays
Just remember it is your God-given right to go through what youre going through all
alone but you dont have to.
from chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your children to
choose to be alcohol and other drugs free. Learn how to in Dr. Frischs, Psy.D.
Recovery book seriesFrom Insanity to Serenity.
1.) Do not minimize what is going on in your life.
2.) Start attending Al-Anon meetings.
3.) Seek out the services of a qualified mental health professional who can help
facilitate the changes you need to make before your situation can start to get better.
4.) Stop pouring your energy in to getting your husband to stop drinking.
5.) Put more of your energy in to taking care of yourself and your family emotionally and
6.) Check out Al-Anon. Give it a fair chance. Dont be discouraged.