face
home contact us site map Links Guestbook About Dr. Frisch Psych Services Order Books

ASK DR. STEVE...

Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in
Chicago, Illinois and Northfield, Illinois.

You can contact Dr. Frisch, Psy.D. at
(847) 498-5611.

Recover 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. Frisch’s, Psy.D. Recovery book series.


What to Do if Your Loved One Continues to Drink and Drug


D
ear Dr. Steve:

My husband has had a drinking and drug problem for years. I finally told him enough is enough, the time has come to do something about it other than us fighting about it. He is in complete denial and tells me that I’m the one with a problem. Wanting to prove, at least to myself, that I wasn’t crazy, I made an appointment for a consultation with a counselor at a drug rehab facility near our home. My husband refused to go but I went anyway. The counselor was very nice but not very helpful. Although she agreed with me that it’s likely that my husband did have a problem, she didn’t offer me any advice as to how to get him to stop drinking and drugging. Although it feels good to know that I’m not crazy, the only thing that she recommended was for me and my kids to go to Al-Anon and Alateen meetings. What good will these meetings do any of us if my husband keeps drinking?

You ask a good question. The counselor suggested that your family attend Al-Anon and Alateen meetings because chemical dependency is a family disease. Because chemical dependency is a family disease, each family member is vulnerable to being adversely affected physically, emotionally, psychologically, behaviorally, and spiritually and, therefore, may be in need of help for themselves whether or not the alcoholic continues to drink or not.

Interestingly, your question reveals a common misconception about the family disease of alcoholism and drug addiction. The misconception that you’re laboring under is that the only way that the family members of an alcoholic can be helped is if the alcoholic stops drinking and drugging. But the truth of the matter is that not only is it unnecessary to wait until your husband stops drinking, it is unwise to wait before you get help for yourself and your children.

It is unnecessary for you to wait for your husband to quit drinking before you get help for yourself because there is much that you can do and need to do for yourself, whether or not your husband stops drinking. The implementation of a program of self-care for yourself is the best way you can help yourself, regardless of your husband’s drinking status. The first rule of self-care is focusing solely on you and your children while learning how to detach from the actions of your husband. Simply put, healing and Recovery begins when you take the necessary actions to put the focus on yourself by taking care of you and your children, not when your husband stops drinking and drugging.

Secondly, it’s unnecessary for you to wait for your husband to quit drinking because there’s much for you to learn about yourself. You must examine what unhealthy role(s) that you may act out in relationship to your husband’s drinking and drugging. You are not to be blamed for his drinking but many of your choices have knowingly and unknowingly fed into his drinking. Until you better understand the relationship between your choices and your husband’s drinking, it’s likely that you will continue to act out unhealthy choices that only serve to fan the flames of his disease.

A third reason that it’s unnecessary to wait for your husband to stop drinking is because he may never stop drinking. Simply put, you should never predicate the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual well-being of you and your children on whether or not somebody is going to quit using alcohol and other drugs. There is a process of change that your husband must go through before he quits drinking. He may be years away from that process starting. What you have the most control over is yourself. You are in a position today to take the necessary action to start a process of healing for you and your children, with or without your husband.

Which brings us to why it’s unwise for you to wait for your husband to stop drinking before you get help for you and your children. As I said earlier, each family member is vulnerable to experiencing the adverse effects of family alcoholism. Each family member’s physical, emotional, psychological, behavioral, and spiritual well-being is at risk. As a result, it is unwise to put off getting help for you and your children because you’re needlessly putting you and your children at risk.

Why the recommendation to attend Al-Anon meetings? Al-Anon meetings are a safe place to express your feelings, talk about your experiences with alcoholism, examine to what degree your choices have been maladaptive and self-destructive, and develop the skills necessary to cope with family alcoholism.

An important aspect of Recovery is support. Attending Al-Anon and Alateen meetings will give your children a place where they can have an opportunity to say out loud what they have been denying or kept bottled up inside of themselves. By participating in these meetings, your children’s feelings will be normalized, their thoughts affirmed, and their perceptions of their harrowing experiences validated. Also, by attending Al-Anon and Alateen meetings, your children can learn effective coping skills to empower them to deal with an active alcoholic.

Don’t wait for your husband to stop drinking. You can begin the process of Recovery for you and your children with or without him!

You can contact Al-Anon at:

Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc.
1600 Corporate Landing Parkway
Virginia Beach, Va. 23454
Tel # 757-563-1600
Fax # 757-563-1655
www.al-anon.alateen.org
1-888-425-2666 for meeting information
Monday-Friday, 8am to 6 pm ET except holidays

You can contact Alateen at Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc.:

Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc.
1600 Corporate Landing Parkway
Virginia Beach, Va. 23454
Tel # 757-563-1600
Fax # 757-563-1655
www.al-anon.alateen.org
1-888-425-2666 for meeting information
Monday-Friday, 8am to 6 pm ET except holidays


Recover 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. Frisch’s, Psy.D. Recovery book series—From Insanity to Serenity.

Pathfinder’s Checklist

1.) Take action even though your husband may continue to drink.
2.) Have your children evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
3.) Encourage your children to talk about their feelings.
4.) Learn more about the family disease of alcoholism.
5.) Attend Al-Anon and Alateen meetings.

G.B.U.

Steve



To return to the top of the page
CLICK HERE

Bridges_Cover-Thumb.jpg (14473 bytes) FREE ONLINE BOOKS!

Enrich Recovery
Resolve Conflict
Reclaim Your Life
Stop Self-Sabotage
Love and Be Loved
Mountains Cover-Thumb.jpg (11877 bytes)
FREE ONLINE BOOKS!

Enrich Recovery
Reclaim Your Life
Liberate Your Soul
Stop Self-Sabotage
Develop Your Spirit