In love with an alcoholic
I was in a very controlling marriage for 13 years. My husband left me and I had to learn how to be strong and to regain who I was. My whole identity was as his wife. I also had the personal crisis of being infertile. Thus, there were no children, so my spouse was destined to be my only family for the rest of my life. Then, I met Mr. Wonderful...he showed me how to live again, like getting back to nature, having lots of friends and hobbies. He was so romantic and devastatingly handsome…and, an alcoholic. He completely wears me out, and I'm so mad and saddened by the WASTE...what potential he has! I absolutely do not want anyone else, but this relationship is impossible. I am the responsible one; I pay the bills. There's no time/energy for Al-Anon. Plus, I live in a very rural area, so Al-Anon around here is a joke.
I know what you will suggest: I can't control him and the situation. I have to concentrate on myself because he's too demanding but he's also important to me. Then what are my options? I'm becoming a very unpleasant person, overweight, and moody. How do I deal with an active alcoholic who has no desire to stop? How do I get my wonderful guy back? Help me to deal with the stress.
You've ruled out alanon; you've ruled out leaving him; by implication you've ruled out therapy or even pastoral counseling. But what's left? You've told us nothing about his family if one exists. Would they support you in a group intervention to get him to go to rehab? What about his friends? Would they help with that goal?
What happens if you don't take all those responsibilities, the bills, etc.? Will he hit bottom if you stop being the caretaker?
Finally, I can't help wonder what your previous marriage was like. Sometimes women who have trouble conceiving feel so inadequate that they become the compulsive caretaker that you present yourself as being now. Is there a community college in your area or a church or some other institution where you could rediscover your own self-worth and esteem. I think when you realize that you're an important human being, either it will be easier to detach and effectively bring about your husband's trying to become sober, or alternatively, for you to decide to leave.
Sincerely, Kenneth A. Weene, Ph.D.
This question was answered by Kenneth A. Weene. Ken Weene is a graduate of The Institute For Advance Psychological Studies at Adelphi University is a licensed psychologist practicing on Long Island, New York. His orientation is holistic and eclectic. In addition to a variety of contributions to the professional literature, Dr. Weene has published a number of poems. Before entering private practice, he directed Children, Adolescent, and Family Services for The Counseling Service of The Long Island Council of Churches. Ken's central belief is that life is a gift to be experienced, enjoyed, and celebrated. He knows that this is sometimes difficult in the face of physical, emotional, and other forms of distress and sees his goal as helping people to find their inner peace and joy in the face of stress and anguish.