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Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1165
Experience:  Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
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I am a recovering alcoholic with 3 1/2 years sobriety. I am

Resolved Question:

I am a recovering alcoholic with 3 1/2 years sobriety. I am in a relationship with a man who is beginning to drink every day. I don't know how to set a "boundary" about how much he can drink.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. L replied 1 year ago.

Dr. L :

Hello,

Dr. L :

I would like to help you with your question.

Customer:

ok

Dr. L :

Hello..

Customer:

hello,

Dr. L :

I am sorry that you are in this position.

Customer:

yes

Dr. L :

Your sobriety is critical to your life...

Dr. L :

Without your sobriety...your life is in jeopardy.

Customer:

Yes and feel I am in a good place. I don't know how to handle his drinking. He says he doesn't think he drinks too much

Customer:

How do people put "limits"? It also feels like a lack to respect.

Dr. L :

Yes...it is a lack of respect for your sobriety...and it is a very dangerous situation for you.

Dr. L :

Unfortunately, you have no power to make him stop.

Dr. L :

You can try to negotiate with him...but just like he can't make you drink...you can't make him stop drinking.

Customer:

What is a "reasonable" amount for him to drink?

Dr. L :

Zero.

Customer:

Most people in AA say that they don't tell others what to do regarding their drinking ... this is new for him and I thought he could have a few drinks occasionally. This week he drank every night and I am now facing a painful situation.

Customer:

He said most people are not like me....

Dr. L :

It sounds like he is making excuses...

Customer:

Would you suggest couples counseling? He also has a history of porn use and it broke us up last time.

Dr. L :

Absolutely - couple's counseling is in order.

Customer:

I wonder if it would allow me to be sure he cannot change.

Customer:

Ok... I want to give him one last chance. Is there any particular framework for this? I have never done it.

Dr. L :

Telll me why you want to give him one last chance?

Dr. L :

The porn, the drinking.. this is a man with an addictive personality...

Dr. L :

It might be good if you do some reading about this...

Customer:

We grew up in Iowa .. have a lot of history. I know this man cares a lot about me and I have found in my dating there is nothing better out there. I am a professional woman, but I am sooo tired of finding someone. I am going to give up after this.

Customer:

I have read a lot about this... it's his turn to work on himself. You are right.

Dr. L :

So it sounds like you have drawn your line in the sand...this is the last chance..

Dr. L :

Is this right?

Dr. L :

Will you please tell me what helped you to quit drinking?

Customer:

I feel like I have to. Do you agree? The only thing left is counseling..

Dr. L :

And...how did he react to this change?

Dr. L :

Do you go to both AA and Al Anon?

Dr. L :

But...agree couple's counseling...

Dr. L :

Have you read Co-dependent No More by Beattie?

Customer:

No, he has not been to any meetings. He went to a porn addiction meeting 3 years ago because I kept finding it on his computer but I just gave up. He cannot have sex normally . Peryroines disease and cannot have normal sexual relations. Has to masturbate. So, I wonder if he is just doing a "private internet " browsing now.

Customer:

I need to read this again. You know ... for years I have been fighting this. Co Dependance...alcohol seemed a good fix. But I feel recovered, but not able to be "OK"...

Dr. L :

Glad I brought up that title again...sounds like a revist is in order on it.

Dr. L :

What about you...do you go to AA regularly?

Customer:

Not as much as I used to. I like going , but work late hours. But... that needs to change.

Customer:

I really do not feel like my sobriety is in danger. I just want to be happy

Dr. L :

Are you okay if he is doing private internet browsing? Or is this an example of you just throwing in the towel?

Dr. L :

Okay...I am glad you don't feel your sobriety is in danger...but I would encourage you to get back into AA so that you have that support system around you.

Customer:

My original question about his drinking , which is new helps me. I guess I will set up an appointment and if he won't go then I have my answer . I found an email he sent to a craigslist woman if he could call her... he said it was a misunderstanading. I also found nude photos of a girl he says is a "friend".. I asked him if he said he thought it was cheating and he said no.

Dr. L :

And yes...if you set up a counseling appointment and he refuses to go...his answer is clear.

Customer:

What do you suggest I look for in a couples counselor. My many years of therapy has taught me not all are good.

Customer:

How would you begin a session with us... just curious?

Dr. L :

No matter what HE does...I would encourage you to get some counselling as a way to better understand your own needs.

Dr. L :

You are right...not all counselors have the same skills...

Customer:

I want him to behave :(

Dr. L :

First, I would suggest that you start at the top...that is be looking for a licensed psychologist. This is the top credential. Then I would look for someone who has expertise in counseling couples where addiction is an issue.

Customer:

Ok..

Customer:

I have read that a cybersexing is a top reason for breakups so I better be prepared.

Customer:

Add alcohol and it's just another disaster

Dr. L :

I would make a list of 3-5 therapists (you might want to see this website to locate a therapist: www.psycholologytoday.com). Involve him in the process of reviewing their credentials, looking at their website, and bio data on them. Narrow that list down to your top 3 choices. Call each one - explain what you are looking for and ask them if they have experience with couples like you and to tell you how they approach them...what their experience is with these couples...etc.

Dr. L :

Ask for a free introductory session so that you have an opportunity to meet them to judge whether this is a good fit for you and your partner.

Dr. L :

Yes...cybersex is becoming a bigger issue in couple's therapy....it often tears relationships apart.

Dr. L :

And yes..through in one more addiction and it's horrifying...

Dr. L :

*throw

Customer:

thank you for chatting with me. It is a depressing situation

Dr. L :

How I would begin a session is to ask each of you to tell me what brought you in to my office today and what your end goal is. I would attempt to determine the level of motivation and commitment each of you has to the therapy...and to leading a healthy life.

Dr. L :

I am sorry...

Dr. L :

Yes..it is depressing as there are multiple issues going on...the drinking is one, the porn is another, the reality of his sexual functioning...

Dr. L :

It does seem that he has used addiction as a way to cope with his disease...does that sound right to you?

Dr. L :

And stopping that cycle is not going to be easy.

Customer:

Yes, I know he is depressed about it. I am willing to work with him, but throwing porn in there means he would never have a chance of being able to perform normally. ( I have read the PornHubby.com article ) and this affect my self esteem a lot. This could be his one good , last chance to have a normal life. I will try this and then be able to say I did my best...keep my side clean as they say in AA

Dr. L :

Yes...the disease is a difficult one. I thought there were some new treatments...

Customer:

There are. I actually talked to his urologist, but you throw the porn fantasy in there and he will never be able to recover. Ever. It's a very strong addiction...

Dr. L :

Still...you are right...being with you...a devote and caring partner...is his chance for acceptance and love...if he throws that away then that is his choice...painful is that reality is...you have only one life to live...and you must be wise about your choices as well.

Customer:

I know and I really needed to have somebody to talk to today.

Dr. L :

Yes...the porn addiction is so harmful and hurtful for both individuals. How could that NOT impact you...I'm so sorry...you didn't sign up for that! But here it is a part of your life too.

Dr. L :

I am glad I was here to help you.

Customer:

The last person on this site told me I should have all his passwords to his computer and phone. I am not sure that will happen in therapy.

Dr. L :

I imagine that you feel very alone some days as this is a very difficult topic to discuss with others...

Customer:

That is something to ask a possible new therapist ... Yes I feel very alone .

Dr. L :

If you get all his passwords...then you become like the prison warden.

Dr. L :

Not sure you want to go down that road right now...I would see how the therapist feels about "monitoring"...

Customer:

I didn't think he was right. I have the name of the therapist on this site and I suspected he was wrong!

Customer:

Again... bad counsel.

Dr. L :

The reason I suggests Al Anon was so that you had another set of supportive people in your life who will have some level of understanding. You might also consider a group for partners of sex addicts.

Customer:

I agree... he doesn't think he is a sex addict. I hope I can find a counselor that will move him in that direction.

Dr. L :

I'm sorry you were given that counsel...I just don't think putting you in charge of monitoring him is going to help YOU. You don't want to see those images...that could be traumatic for you and you are already feeling vulnerable and hurt.

Dr. L :

Right...it would be wonderful if he could accept all these parts....and see them under the umbrella of addictions.

Dr. L :

Then he can begin to work on them in a comprehensive way...

Customer:

Doesn't sound promising does it... I am very hurt by this pictures of his " friend" I don't know if I can get over it.....

Dr. L :

All he seems to be doing is to move from one addiction to another ... back and forth.

Customer:

Yes.... serenity prayer is in order and I thank you for chatting with me. I now know what to do and what to expect. A little more peace.

Dr. L :

Well...it all depends on his motivation to change. If you say...this is my last ditch effort to create a healthy, happy relationship with you...there will be no more effort on my part beyond this...maybe he will get the picture.

Customer:

Very good way to put it! I needed that. He doesn't want to talk about it. I will say those exact words.

Dr. L :

I am glad this chat has been helpful to you! If you should ever want to chat in the future, please put my name at the beginning of a question and I will be contacted.

Customer:

I will ! It's not easy to find someone to trust. I did not think the last guy was correct...

Dr. L :

Great...sometimes we do need a little nudging about words...you are in the thick of all of this...

Dr. L :

Thanks for your patience...and your diligence in pursuing an answer!

Customer:

thanks much.

Dr. L :

You are very welcome!

Dr. L :

Take care!

Customer:

Thanks

Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1165
Experience: Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
Dr. L and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

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