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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5401
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My wife is an adult child of an alcoholic and her diabetic

Customer Question

My wife is an adult child of an alcoholic and her diabetic brother was also an alcoholic. He abused himself to the point of needing a kidney transplant....guess which sibling was the perfect match...my wife. I have always been a fairly social person and consume alcohol at an above average rate. I do not think i am an alcoholic...i own a successful business, i am a good father, i don't drive after drinking, i even quit drinking for exactly 365 days to convince her that it does not control me...but we still have battles about my drinking. What should i do?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

 

Your wife is probably fearful that you will end up like her family. It is a normal fear for her. She was exposed to people who used alcohol and put drinking above all else in life, including family and health. To drink to the point of needing a transplant is serious alcoholism. And then to ask a relative, a victim of your drinking behavior, to sacrifice part of herself to you is making that relative a victim twice over. So your wife is fearful of alcohol and all the damage it has done in her life.

 

Although her fear is normal for her, it is not for you. You have seen the damage it did to your wife and her family, but you did not live with it until now. So to you, alcohol has a possibility to do damage but in your life, it is more controlled and you have more control. And you are not a direct victim of it's consequences, although you care deeply about your wife and her situation.

 

The balance here is to understand your wife's point of view while considering your own. There are some options to consider. One, you could stop drinking all together. How you would feel about that is the biggest factor to consider. Would you be ok with that or would you feel resentful?

 

Two, you could continue to drink but modify how much you drink. Make a deal with your wife so she feels she has some control over the amount you use. You also need to consider how you would feel about this, but it does offer the best balance of control and choice.

 

Three, you could keep drinking like you do now. The consequences of doing so you already know.

 

You could also seek counseling with your wife to talk this out. Having a third person who is neutral involved helps you both come to an agreement and deal with all the feelings involved so you can be settled with what you decide. To find a therapist, talk with your doctor for a referral. Or if you attend church, your pastor could help. You can also search on line at http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/ (look at the bottom for a link to Canadian therapists).

 

It is good that you care for your wife and how she feels. And you understand the effects of drinking too much. You seem very insightful about how much you use as well. All of these are good points in your favor and will help you work this out so both you and your wife are happy with the results.

 

I hope this has helped you,
Kate

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5401
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I quit drinking for a year to try and help her understand that it does not control me. I feel that was a meaningful commitment. She continues to count and measure the amount that i consume, which makes me very uncomfortable. She is constantly nagging and chastising our 'legal age' daughter to the point where she now prefers to only socialize away from her mother (and by extension me). She fear mongers my 15 yr old son about alcohol...to the point that i fear she will drive his experimentation stage underground and i will not be able to mentor him on the proper legal usage and dangers of alcohol abuse. I have asked her to take some initiative and seek some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy on her own. Thoughts?
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

It is probably a good idea she does seek therapy. She has been incredibly damaged by her exposure to those in her family who use. She is fearful and does not want to see you or your son become what the people in her family have become. As a result, she is trying to control you and your son. But her fear is now imposing and restrictive so it is hard to live with.

 

If she is willing, have her go to therapy. You can also go with her if you want. That would help her learn to cope with her fear and to learn to see you and your son in a different light.

 

Kate

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