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Ask Carol Kryder LMFT Your Own Question
Carol Kryder LMFT
Carol Kryder LMFT, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 808
Experience:  APA Board Certified, Diplomate,Substance Abuse Professional, 20 years family therapy experience
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ive been married for 28 years. my husband & I met when we

Customer Question

i've been married for 28 years. my husband & I met when we were 16. he started drinking heavily from age 13. yes i knew it & i drank too but not as much.
he stopped drinking (past 18 months) i have ver very little.
he has gone to only a few AA meetings and has gotten very little therapy help.
he is a dry drunk. i am in therapy & my therapist tells me i am a co-dependent.
my family was dysfunctional to be sure.
i feel like a loser...the co-dependent thing confuses me.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  cathy replied 7 years ago.

Hi Poco and thanks for using


I don't know where you live but I am going to give you a link that may help you very much. In addictions many of us no longer use blaming terms such as dry drunk, co dependent and enabler as terms. I think you might like this approach and it very well might help your family in recovery. The approach is actually for the family in recovery and not the addict or alcoholic alone.

I like this approach a lot because it reduces stigma so much. They have both 12 step and non step options. Whatever is palatable for you and your family.


If you contact them they can refer you to a program nearby that can help you. If you live in Massachusetts where I do, the Department of Public Health now uses this approach and no longer uses some of the older models as the first line of treatment. I do not know when it is available in other states, but I know the Federal Government (SAMHSA) has alotted a great deal of funding to provide ARISE training around the country.

Good luck to you and you have all my very best on such a tough situation.


Edited by cathy on 2/2/2010 at 12:24 AM EST
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
not much of an answer, just a link to an online referral
Expert:  cathy replied 7 years ago.

Yes, sorry about that. I was responding to your last line that co dependent confuses you and it has always confused me, so perhaps I jumped the gun here. I have never been one for labels so when you said loser, codependent and other things I thought maybe you were looking for an altnerative to what you have tried. You didnt really formulate a question so perhaps I answered your post too quickly. I am going to repost this so other experts can answer but please be sure to formulate a question. I am sorry you were not satisfied with my response but there are many other experts here who have different perspectives than mine and I am sure they can help you better.


Thanks poco and very best of luck to you.


Edited by cathy on 2/2/2010 at 12:45 AM EST
Expert:  Carol Kryder LMFT replied 7 years ago.

Maybe I can provide some further insight for you. You sound very confused and discouraged about your situation. You seem to be very disappointed that your husband doesn't appear to be working a program, such as AA. You are calling yourself a "loser" and confused that your therapist calls you "codependent." A codependent is merely someone who is overly involved with another person, usually that person drinks or has some other addiction. Your therapist is trying to tell you to detach from your husband's behavior and start doing what is right for you. I suggest you try Alanon. If you have and don't like it there are many books that explain the process of codependency and give concrete suggestions on how to overcome those behaviors.

Anything by Pia Melody or Melanie Beatty would be a good start for you. You feel like a loser because your husband's behavior is not changing and for some reason you think he should change. Maybe that is true, but one of the basic truths of life is that we cannot control other people, only ourselves. When you accept that truth you will no longer be codependent. It is time for you to concentrate on your own recovery from living with an active alcoholic for all those years, not to mention your dysfunctional family.

Please value yourself enough to learn about codependency, start putting yourself first and most of all stop trying to control others.

Let me know if you have questions about anything I have said. I wish you well.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
thank you that was helpful. that is exactly what my therapist is telling me.
to be more detached, put myself first, and whether my husband changes or not it not within my control.
but...if i want to stay with him he has to try a program or get help from a therapist.
he has promised me in writing that he will do this.
now i feel contoling. can't win! i am frustrated...
any thoughts?
Expert:  Carol Kryder LMFT replied 7 years ago.
Glad I could be helpful. Unfortunately, you have already set out the conditions, he gets help and tries a program or you will not stay with him. You cannot control whether or not he does this. You really don't want to leave him; you want him to get help and your threat was an attempt to manipulate him. This does not work. I repeat: This does not work.

You have set the terms, now he makes the choice. Now is the time for tough love, meaning setting a limit and following through. That is why you must never make a threat you are not willing to enforce. That is why your therapist calls you codependent. Your choices: either change the terms or follow through with your threat. Those are your choices. Please discuss this with your therapist.

Best of luck to you.