Ask Amy: Even with sobriety, alcohol dominates a marriage

Dear Amy:

Since the day we met over 40 years ago, my wife and I have been social drinkers. Gatherings at weddings, vacations, concerts, sporting events, etc., have always featured alcohol. While I can have a couple of drinks and stop by, when it comes to my wife not so much. She will keep ordering drinks until 2 in the morning. And while sometimes silly fun when we were younger, as we got older the end results often became embarrassing.

I was becoming very concerned about my wife’s drinking and her health. One night when she went over the edge, I filmed her, sent her the video, and told her I no longer wanted to be a part of that lifestyle. I dumped all the alcohol in the house and neither of us have drank since. I almost don’t miss it, and she hasn’t had a problem quitting either, but mentally it’s been very demanding on her. Alcohol was her social lubricant. Alcohol is what allowed her to overcome her social anxiety and self-esteem issues.

Now she either doesn’t attend events at all, or sometimes we leave early because she is so unhappy. How do I show her that she can still enjoy these same events without using alcohol as a crutch?

Sober husband

Dear Sober:

Your wife has been able to give up alcohol, but hasn’t successfully addressed the reasons behind using alcohol in the first place. In recovery and 12-step circles, her challenges might be called dry drunk syndrome. Her crutch is gone and she limps now, trying to function without it.

Even if your wife quit drinking quickly, driven by the videotaped shame of seeing what alcohol abuse was doing to her (and bolstered by your subsequent sober support), she would still benefit from seeing an addiction specialist, therapist, and/or or attending meetings with others who are recovering. Spending time talking regularly with others who are also struggling to work their way inside her and through her recovery might help her understand her anxious responses and feel less alone.

I hope you will be patient and supportive as your wife continues in the life changing recovery process.

#Amy #sobriety #alcohol #dominates #marriage

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