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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.


Why do I Need Help if My Wife is the One Who is An Alcoholic

D
ear Dr. Steve:

I recently consulted a psychologist about my wife’s drinking. I wanted to find out what I could do to get help for her. After politely listening to my story, the psychologist spent the majority of the consultation telling me how I needed to go to support groups and be in therapy myself. I feel like he was making me out to be the one with the problem rather than my wife who has a drinking problem. What’s up with that?

Your reaction is very understandable. Oftentimes even the most well intended professional’s message of help can be misinterpreted as blame and judgment. But here’s the sad truth about chemical dependency. Alcoholism and drug addiction do not exist in a vacuum. Chemical dependency exists in the community of mankind. Alcoholism spills over into the homes of innocent children and spouses. Drug addiction spreads its toxic influence to all who come in contact with it—whether it be at home, in the work place, in your place of worship, or at the community center where you spend your recreational time.

It’s likely that much of your emotional, physical, and psychic energy has been consumed by your wife’s drinking—cleaning up the messes created by her drinking, shouldering more than your fair share of the responsibility for ensuring that your children are taken care of, covering up for your wife’s drinking, trying to manage her drinking, hiding her bottles, emptying her secret stash—all of it is an incredible drain on your emotional and spiritual well-being. Because of the strain that the disease of alcoholism places on you—how it taxes your emotional, psychological, and spiritual energies— it’s likely that the quiet, insidious ways in which your wife’s drinking has affected you and your family members’ emotional and spiritual well-being has gone unnoticed.

But let me assure you of one thing, being a prisoner of alcoholism, and make no mistake about that, you are a prisoner, takes it toll on even the hardiest of us after a while. Hopelessness begins to warp your spirit. You begin to feel alienated from your family and your friends as you find yourself becoming more and more isolated.  The perpetual state of helplessness you find yourself in leaves you feeling chronically enraged. Constantly butting heads with the denial system of an alcoholic wears you down psychologically. You begin to doubt yourself. You begin to doubt what you see. You begin to doubt what you feel. You begin to doubt everything about yourself and your life.

But let me be as clear as I can be about the following point. You are not crazy! You are not the cause of the problems created by your wife’s drinking! Nonetheless, you have been negatively affected by your wife’s drinking. Because of that, you not only are equally in need of, you DESERVE the support and genuine concern of other people. So it’s time for you to do something different than you’ve done up to this point. Not because you have been going about things in the wrong way but because you need to find a different way of coping with your wife’s drinking. It’s time to start fighting back! But fighting back in a way that you may not have considered to this point in time. Namely getting support for you and your family by getting involved in Al-Anon and Alateen for your children.

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.) Acknowledge all the ways that the disease of alcoholism has negatively impacted your emotional and spiritual well-being.
2.) Talk to supportive people about how you have been affected by alcoholism.
3.) Give yourself permission to start feeling better emotionally and spiritually, whether or not your wife chooses to do anything about her drinking.
4.) Ask for help and support from friends, family members, your spiritual community, support groups such as Al-Anon, Co-dependents Anonymous, and Adult Children of Alcoholics.
5. Hire the services of a qualified professional to help guide you out of the dark forest of the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction.

G.B.U.

Steve



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