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How do I rescue my marriage when my husband deserts me and the family for AA?

Stanton,

I believe that my husband has replaced his drinking with AA based on these facts: (1) he goes to meetings daily plus twice on weekends and once nightly during the week on a regular basis, (2) he goes to "the club" where the meetings are held for additional 15-20 hours per week, (3) he does not interact with friends at work, mutual friends or family anymore, (4) he does not interact with our children anymore, (5) he wants to leave, feels empty, lost and worthless.

I believe that AA has turned into a kind of cult for him (although I do believe it can serve a purpose for some) based on what information I have read so far.

I am desperate and terrified of losing him, please HELP!

Ellie


Dear Ellie:

Obviously, AA did not do this to him itself – your husband was lost and searching beforehand (and this was of course connected to his alcoholism). I don’t know how badly his drinking was affecting you before he began to attend AA. But you would have to undergo a marital reinvigoration/marital therapy to restart your relationship. Such therapy could include (a) reviewing together what made you love one another in the first place, (b) setting aside time together alone for pleasurable interactions, (c) systematically reviewing the elements of your shared life (e.g., child rearing, finances, household responsibilities, sex, etc.) to rate how you are doing and how you agree to each improve. You would also have to increase the positive nature of your interactions, making sure to praise one another before offering any suggestions or criticism.

Can you get your husband’s attention long enough to offer him to undergo such a program? If the marriage is worth saving, it will take some investment of time.

Stanton