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Penny Rayas, MFT
Penny Rayas, MFT, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 394
Experience:  I have 20 years experience in the mental health field
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My husband usually drinks 6-10 beers a day, starting toward

Customer Question

My husband usually drinks 6-10 beers a day, starting toward the end of his work day ( (he works at home most days), around 3:30 until just before bed around 11pm. He doesn't drink liquor (on rare occasion if we're out); in fact, we've agreed not to have any liquor in the house. He only drinks beer. I will drink occasionally when with friends, but 1 - 2 drinks is all I ever have. He doesn't get obligerant or abusive by any means. He even takes care of all of his responsibilities, helps plenty around the house and with our 3 month old son. Regardless, his drinking really bothers me. If he only drank occasionally or even 4 or less beers a day, it wouldn't bother me. However, once he starts drinking each day, it's incredibly hard to NOT say anything to him, and when I do he gets extremely defensive.

He admits he is an alcoholic, as he comes from an alcoholic family. Years ago and long before we were together, he did many worse additive things, including hard core drugs. He was forced to grow up and moved on after going through hard legal times and admits he never wants to go back there. However, he says he will not stop drinking beer no matter what and feels that is his only vice.

In my mind, it's like I'm keeping track each day and he crosses the line when he starts too early in the day (before 3:30 on occasion or before 1pm on a weekend) or when he has more than 4 or so. I always seem to notice and bring it up in some way. For example, I may say, "starting already?". Just saying one thing to that effect will begin the cycle and the evening seems to be ruined because he gets defensive. In turn, I feel guilty, we begin arguing back and forth and can get pretty loud at times. I'll start slamming doors and he yells in defense. We usually end up extremely mad at each other because neither of us will back down or apologize. Then, things won't be normal again until morning.

He reminds me that he's always drank this way since we first got together and he's right. But, as I've gotten older and once we began planning a family, I have a lot less tolerance for it. He agrees and appreciates that fact that I have kept him and still do keep him on a straight and narrow path, but he would just like to keep this one bad habit. I don't intend to try to change him, but I worry that he may begin drinking more and more. He's a wonderful husband, but I see his drinking as a weakness. I just want him to be the best that he can be; not only for me, but for our son.

I am tired of fighting and am longing for a peaceful, less stressful marriage. We have talked about this many times and even saw a counselor once. He consistently tells me he won't stop drinking. He says I'll probably find something else to nag about anyway. Then, why do I keep bringing it up when it simply results in the same thing over and over? How do I learn to accept and live with the fact that he wants to drink? I know that if I continue to nag him, this could drive him to drink more. I also know that he won't stop unless he wants to and he won't stop if I constantly ask this of him. So, why do I continue and how do I stop?

Couple more notes to add:
-My husband says he feels I'm constantly judging him.
-I know I'm not perfect, but he says I act like I am.
-He says there are many things that I do that he doesn't like, but he looks beyond them without nagging.
-Occasionally, our fights will continue until I get so angry, I resort to swinging at or hitting my husband. Because of this, he says he is afraid of me. Lately, this is why I try to stop the fight early by saying "Let's just drop it!", even though I'm the one who started it. But once I've pissed him off, his defense kicks in and it's tough for him to turn his bad mood off. Obviously, I don't want to be physical, but when we continue to yell back and forth and don't get any where, this is what happens. Is this a controlling behavior on my part because I can't get him to do what I want him to do?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Penny Rayas, MFT replied 3 years ago.

Customer:

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Penny Rayas, MFT, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 394
Experience: I have 20 years experience in the mental health field
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Expert:  Penny Rayas, MFT replied 3 years ago.
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Expert:  Penny Rayas, MFT replied 3 years ago.
Hello it is hard to live with someone who abuses alcohol. Maybe if you talk to him from a place of worrying about his health would work better. Yes nagging does not help and alcoholics will stop drinking when they are ready to do so. Have you heard of Al-anon? It is a great group that focuses on family members of alcoholics. It would help you to get some support from this group. Can you tell me what is his health like? I wonder if he knows that 10 beers a day are damaging his liver. I would also wonder if you feel neglected in your marriage.
Expert:  Penny Rayas, MFT replied 3 years ago.

Hello here is the link to meeting

http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/

I also have a question for you. Do you have a good group of friends that you can do things with? Having your own hobbies with help. I also wonder if you heard of co-dependens anon.

 

Here is some information

The concept of codependency was first applied to couples in which a partner has an alcohol or drug problem, says Scott Wetzler, PhD, author of IsIt You or Is It Me? How We Turn Our Feelings Inside Out and Blame Each Other.

But other issues in a couple’s lives can foster codependence, too. One partner may have trouble controlling other impulses, or simply not show much interest in the partnership.

The other partner - who is the codependent one - then works all-out to try to “fix” the problem.

“For example, if someone is with an alcoholic, that being the most typical case, taking care of that person or kowtowing to them solves something in their own personality. They have a hard time leaving it,” says Daniel Bochner, PhD, a psychologist in Savannah, Ga. and author of The Emotional Toolbox.“They get locked into trying to save their partner or the relationship over and over.”

Codependency can also arise when a partner is self-absorbed or uninterested, Tessina says. This may happen “in a relationship where only one of you is ever asking to get together or making moves toward the other one.”

Still, the codependent partner often finds some type of reward in this setup.

“Probably the most significant theme is a sense of control. The other person plays the out-of-control person, and so they get to be the person who is in control and thus is respected,” Bochner tells WebMD.

“They can be the better person, the smarter person, the person who’s recognized as having it all together. They’re defining themselves as strong enough to deal with it, when actually they need to realize that maybe they should be taking care of themselves instead of proving their strength."

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi Penny, Thanks for your response. The next 5 paragraphs are in response to your first response.

I have told him that I worry about his health and he understands, because his step-dad has tons of health issues from drinking all day, 7 days/wk. But my husband does not drink obsessively like that and handles his intake fairly well. It does NOT affect his day-to-day life and responsibilities, so he doesn't see any harm to have a few beers a day. He gets regular doc check-ups and his health is fine. I'm not sure about his liver specifically... is that tested in regular exams (cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.)?

He agrees he could use some regular exercise to get in shape and to feel better. We agree that we both can and talk about it all the time, especially since he's almost 40 and I, 35 and we will have to keep up with our little boy running around soon. We both are so busy with work and now the baby, so it will take lots of motivation. There was a time a few years ago when he didn't drink his regular beers for a couple of weeks and he worked out to get in shape. So, we both know he can stop, but he chooses not to. I think I started nagging more after that happened and constantly remind him of that time.

I didn't realize that I could go to AA. I am the one who doesn't like his drinking and has the problem with it. If I never commented on it, he might even begin drinking less. But I can't seem to keep my mouth closed. Once I do "judge" him, we argue. I am not attracted to him when he has a beer in his hand. What's up with that?

I do feel that his beer is more important than me sometimes, especially when he won't try to quit for me. He thinks I'm trying to control him. I do tend to have controlling tendencies.

He does not have a sex drive (and he's not getting it from anywhere else-he's always home with me). We had sex twice the month we tried to conceive, once or twice during my pregnancy and haven't at all since the baby was born. I understand men can be weird about it during pregnancy and of course I needed time to heal, but I am all healed up now. Neither of us have tried to initiate it though. Could this have something to do with my feelings?

I just read your next post when I went to post the above.

Thanks for the codependency info. This has also crossed my mind I agree it's something to look into. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. As you notice, I mentioned me being controlling above. I guess I'm trying to "fix" him?

As far as having a good group of friends, we do — but together. We share the same groups of friends. My husband and I both also enjoy the same fun activities, so we are usually doing them together with or without our friends. For example, we went boating and wakeboarding with 5 other friends yesterday. I always thought having the same interests is good for a relationship. I wonder if we spend too much time together? Can that contribute to codependency?
Expert:  Penny Rayas, MFT replied 3 years ago.

I think you answered your own question. You spend too much time together. Focusing on some activities you would like to do separately will help. Find something you always wanted to do like taking a class. Yes AL-anon is a good place to start. I think people who judge others do that because they are hard on themselves. You can start by being less critical of yourself and you will be less critical of your husband. Another reason that I think people judge is that they feel out of control. http://www.coda.org/


Patterns and Characteristics of Co dependence

These patterns and
characteristics are offered as a tool to aid in self-evaluation.
They may be
particularly helpful to newcomers.

Denial
Patterns:


I have difficulty identifying what I am feeling.
I
minimize, alter, or deny how I truly feel.
I perceive myself as completely
unselfish and dedicated to the well-being of others.
I lack empathy for the
feelings and needs of others.
I label others with my negative traits.
I
can take care of myself without any help from others.
I mask my pain in
various ways such as anger, humor, or isolation.
I express negativity or
aggression in indirect and passive ways.
I do not recognize the
unavailability of those people to whom I am attracted.

Low Self
Esteem Patterns:


I have difficulty making decisions.
I judge
what I think, say, or do harshly, as never good enough.
I am embarrassed to
receive recognition, praise, or gifts.
I value others' approval of my
thinking, feelings, and behavior over my own.
I do not perceive myself as a
lovable or worthwhile person.
I constantly seek recognition that I think I
deserve.
I have difficulty admitting that I made a mistake.
I need to
appear to be right in the eyes of others and will even lie to look good.
I am
unable to ask others to meet my needs or desires.
I perceive myself as
superior to others.
I look to others to provide my sense of safety.
I have
difficulty getting started, meeting deadlines, and completing projects.
I
have trouble setting healthy priorities.

Compliance Patterns:


I am extremely loyal, remaining in harmful situations too
long.
I compromise my own values and integrity to avoid rejection or
anger.
I put aside my own interests in order to do what others want.
I am
hyper vigilant regarding the feelings of others and take on those feelings.
I
am afraid to express my beliefs, opinions, and feelings when they differ from
those of others.
I accept sexual attention when I want love.
I make
decisions without regard to the consequences.
I give up my truth to gain the
approval of others or to avoid change.


Control Patterns:


I believe most people are incapable of taking care of
themselves.
I attempt to convince others what to think, do, or feel.
I
freely offer advice and direction to others without being asked.
I become
resentful when others decline my help or reject my advice.
I lavish gifts and
favors on those I want to influence.
I use sexual attention to gain approval
and acceptance.
I have to be needed in order to have a relationship with
others.
I demand that my needs be met by others.
I use charm and
charisma to convince others of my capacity to be caring and compassionate.
I
use blame and shame to emotionally exploit others.
I refuse to cooperate,
compromise, or negotiate.
I adopt an attitude of indifference, helplessness,
authority, or rage to manipulate outcomes.
I use terms of recovery in an
attempt to control the behavior of others.
I pretend to agree with others to
get what I want.


Avoidance
Patterns:


I act in ways that invite others to reject, shame, or
express anger toward me.
I judge harshly what others think, say, or do.
I
avoid emotional, physical, or sexual intimacy as a means of maintaining
distance.
I allow my addictions to people, places, and things to distract me
from achieving intimacy in relationships.
I use indirect and evasive
communication to avoid conflict or confrontation.
I diminish my capacity to
have healthy relationships by declining to use all the tools of recovery.
I
suppress my feelings or needs to avoid feeling vulnerable.
I pull people
toward me, but when they get close, I push them away.
I refuse to give up my
self-will to avoid surrendering to a power that is greater than myself.
I
believe displays of emotion are a sign of weakness.
I withhold expressions of
appreciation.

The
Patterns and Characteristics of Codependency may not be reprinted or
republished without the express written consent of Co-Dependents Anonymous,
Inc. This document may be reprinted from the website http://www.coda.org/ (CoDA) for use by members of the
CoDA Fellowship.

Copyright © 2010 Co-Dependents Anonymous, Inc. and its
licensors -All Rights Reserved

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Awesome! I was just reading this from the CoDA website before you sent your last response. The only thing is I didn't see the "Avoidance Patterns" section in the PDF I downloaded and ironically those patterns are what I'm most like. I will look into going to meetings to get better. However, I'm having a hard time finding a non-secular organization. I guess I can still apply the steps, while overlooking the religious references. Thanks so much for your help!
Expert:  Penny Rayas, MFT replied 3 years ago.

Yes you don't have to be religious. One of my clients used the ocean as her higher power another used recovery as her higher power, yet another used her own wise self as a higher power. The meetings now say our higher power the way we understand it

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