Further Reading

After decades of passivity, how do I escape my husband's alcoholism?

Mr. Peele,

Let me briefly give you some background information about myself. I am a 48 year old woman, have been married for 30 years to an alcoholic, we have 3 grown children and 4 grandchildren. I grew up in a children's home, I have one brother. I recently attended my first Alanon meeting and realized that my problem may be more than living with an alcoholic I feel I need counseling but don't know what would be best for me, that is where you come in. I have little self confidence and my self esteem is low but the biggest problem I see in myself is I am extremely passive most of the time and I don't handle difficult situations very well, I basically wait for problems to solve themselves and in the mean time I get angry and frustrated. Does any of this make any sense to you? If you could suggest what you feel would be the best way to go in getting treatment for myself I would be very appreciative.

Thank you,
Cheryl


Cheryl:

Yes, it makes sense to me — you answer the question — "Why have I put up with being with an alcoholic all this time?" You do bring out the feminist side of overcoming submission in a relationship with an alcoholic. You need to assert yourself — and after all these years, wouldn't that be amazing! What a triumph!

What would it take for you to feel you can navigate the world on your own? What would it be like to visit with your children and grandchildren without your husband (how would your children react after all these years)? What if you started seeing friends on your own, volunteering or working outside the home, taking walks and going to movies and shows by yourself or with friends?

What would a therapy look like that can enable you to do these things? It certainly will involve more action than the typical discussions that permeate many groups — after all, you have identified the critical problem in your life to be "I am extremely passive most of the time and I don't handle difficult situations very well." As a part of the therapy, you will need to begin to tackle difficult situations in the home, and to expose yourself to more demanding situations outside the home.

"Does any of this make any sense to you?"

Yours best, Stanton