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KansasTherapist, LSCSW
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  17 years experience with depression, abuse, and borderline.
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I asked the question below yesterday. I received an answer

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I asked the question below yesterday. I received an answer suggesting she get help... Well Dah... My question to you is, Can you suggest any book that describes Julie's situation and that may be of help to both Julie and myself... Thank you...




Where do I start this story?


I (Tom) met Julie five and a half years ago via a singles website. She had been divorced from her husband of twenty plus years, for five or six years at that time. She has three wonderful sons that she can be proud of. I believe from pictures, videos etc that Julie was an unusually devoted, attentive and loving mother and wife.


As a family they lived a ChristXXXXX XXXXXfe attending the same church for over thirteen years. Julie has never lost her faith in God. Things started going wrong when her husband who was self employed ran into financial troubles which he hid from her. He borrowed money from her family without her knowledge and generally ran them both into around a hundred thousand dollars of debt. When Julie finally found out she felt betrayed by her husband and her parents.


She took a close interest in the finances and over the next years dug the family out of debt. Julie can be exceptionally frugal.


He continued in his construction business but quickly got back into debt. The final straw came when he lied to Julie about a check she’d cosigned. He told her it was for a building permit when in fact is was to buy an unneeded vehicle.


She emotionally drew away from her husband and (stupidly) started “talking” to a guy online. She finally had a brief affair with this man which is totally out of character for her. She also started drinking heavily.


I’m not sure of the exact blow by blow reasons but their marriage finally ended in divorce. The next five years for Julie consisted of a string of relationships and one night stands. She slept with a lot of guys basically for the comfort of having someone to hold at night.


The drinking turned into alcoholism that led to four DUI’s and several other brushes with the law.


Julie’s drinking is usually confined to her days off work. She has a very responsible job and her coworkers would never guess she has a drinking problem. Julie is a mean and violent drunk.


Even now after thirteen years or so, she has never forgiven herself for her affair and sadly regrets giving up on her husband for “simply” lying to her. She is destroyed by the breakup of her family and has never been able to move on from that time. She told me recently that she still dreams (in her sleep) about being back with him.


So what I’ve written is all the “dirt” on her. I need to balance this with the fact that Julie is capable of being the kindest, most caring person I’ve ever met. I love her with all my heart and am totally committed to her.


She is very depressed. She spends every moment she can in bed. She says she feels it’s the only safe place for her. Twenty hours a day is nothing unusual. She is taking medication for this and it does help to some extent, but I’m sure her doctor doesn’t have a clue as to the true extent of her depression.


Now here’s the big admission… I’m not perfect !! A couple of years ago Julie asked me to read an article she’d brought up on line. It was an article describing a person with ADHD. To me it was a total epiphany. In a few moments my whole life (and two failed marriages) dropped into a sort of jumbled order. Things made sense right back to my early childhood. I realized that I have this thing called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Wow… I’ve been thorough fifty odd years and didn’t have a clue. When I was a kid at school there was no such thing as ADHD. You were just labeled stupid.


So what’s the point of this letter? One thing is I needed to write it down for my own clarification. The other is to try to make some meaningful headway in my relationship with Julie. I’m sure that she loves me as I do her. We tell each other constantly, but at times she tells me that she feels that she is not deserving of anyone’s love.


Recently we’ve spoken seriously about marriage, but she seems to sabotage any real happiness that comes between us by drinking and going crazy.


According to Julie, most everything that goes wrong in our relationship is my fault. I don’t know how to “relate” apparently.


Julie has been to a string of councilors, some court ordered some on her own behalf. They have been next to useless. She once confessed to a church councilor that she’d been drinking against a court order. The councilor reported her to the Police and sent her to jail! So much for telling the truth to a councilor!


Just for your information, I’ve permanently installed alcohol interlocks in all our cars so that she cannot drink drive again.


Anyway I’m at my whit’s end…


How can I help her, myself and progress this relationship ?

Yours is a complex and very difficult situation. You say Julie has been in treatment several times. Have any of these times been inpatient alcohol treatment? If not, that seems like what is needed here. If she has been in inpatient, the question she needs to answer is what triggers her to go back to drinking. As to Julie's depression, that is very hard to treat while she is drinking. The medication can't work the way it should until she is sober. Which brings us back to the same step, inpatient treatment with a good after care plan.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.



Telling her she needs help is practiclly useless. Her reply is always "I've already tried to get help". Once she paid $10,000 for a month in a recovery home. All that happened is she learned to smoke from others there.


Another time she checked into a womens shelter and lived there for three months. They talked her into letting other "needy" people move into her house while she was away. That turned out to be a disaster.


Also whilst there she befriended a women that was addicted to Meth. Julie let her move in for a while. She stole evertyhing that wasnt nailed down.


By the way the councillor that reported her to the Police was (and still is) fully licensed in the State of Wyoming.


These things were all before I met her.


That is why in my question to you I asked if you knew of any book that we could read maybe together so that she may come to the conclusion herself that she need to give rehab another try. Just telling her that she needs to go into a rehab will not work. Its almost a taboo suject in this house.

Your added information about her past makes me thing she would benefit from a book called Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder by Marsha M. Linehan. I'm not saying Julie has Borderline Personality Disorder, but she does have some of the features. The skills the book teaches are distress tolerance, emotional regulation, interpersonal skills, which in large part is setting boundaries, and how to take a balanced approach to life.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Dear L Benson,


I'd like to thank you most sincerly for your answer a few days ago. I bought the book you suggested plus another on the same subject. We both read them with great interest. Tomorrow Julie goes for her first meeting with a councilor to try beating this situation. You have given us both hope by putting a name to this thing. I'm sure you are correct in your answer to me.


I've not written this very well but I hope you get the point. You have shown us the way ahead and given us both hope for as brighter future and a more healthy relationship together.


Thank you,



Your welcome and I really appreciate hearing from you that things are going better.
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