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Husband In Alcohol Rehab

Question:

My husband is in alcohol rehab the first time ever. He is 64 years old. I am 63. What type questions should I ask his therapist when I call for family group? My husband is angry at me for "putting him there". He will not admit to being depressed to me, but only to my daughter. He told my daughter he will not tell them he is depressed. Thank you very much.

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Answer:

It is difficult for me to know what questions you should ask the counselor when you have a family meeting at the alcohol rehab. center. However, what I can tell you is that the issue is not whether your husband has depression but whether or not he can admit that he has an alcohol problem.

At the moment he does not appear to take responsibility for his drinking because he is blaming your for his being in rehab. instead of admitting he is there because of his problem.

In fact, the entire issue of your husband blaming you for his being in rehab is one of the things that should be openly discussed.

The other issue that will be important to discuss is what happens when he is discharged from the program. Unless he is willing to go to AA or whatever post rehab program he will relapse and end up there again.

I know this is extrememly difficult for you to have to cope with, especially at your and your husband’s age. In point of fact, the rate of older people experiencing drug and alcohol problems is increasing by leaps and bounds.

I want to suggest that you or you and your daughter attend ALANON meeting. These are for the family members of people who suffer from alcoholims and can help you understand how to understand this illness and how to protect your self.

Good Luck

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Comments
  • JR

    The "First Step" of Alcoholics Anonymous reads: "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable". I have issues with this "Step" - my life only became unmanageable when I was driven, or stupid, enough to drink the stuff. Details aside, I believe that the basic idea behind the first step is very sound - to have any chance of shaking free of practicing alcoholism, one must accept that one does not have control over the adverse consequences for one's life when, as an alcohol-dependent person, one actually drinks the stuff.

    I have great sympathy for you in your situation. I entered alcohol rehab for the first (and hopefully last) time about 2 years ago. It was not a pleasant experience, but I am eternally grateful to my wife, and to my (equally female) family doctor, for persuading me to take the step. Owing to a combination of depression (diagnosed) and drink, my life had indeed become unmanageable. If it did nothing else, rehab helped me to accept this fact, and the fact that I needed to do something about it other than drink myself to death. If the sufferer never takes another "Step", this one is essential if any positive change is to occur.

    I obviously do not know the circumstances that brought your husband into rehab. Clearly, however, he has not really accepted his need to be there. This may come with a little time. Believe me, it is quite amazing what a few days clear of the Evil Spirit can do for one's awareness of this problem. It is however very, very difficult for an alcoholic to get those few clear days. The supportive environment of a good rehab program may be of great assistance to your husband in achieving this small, but all-important step. Failing this, it would seem very important that he be confronted with the objective indicators of his alcohol problem, of its adverse consequences for his own life, and of its corrosive impact on those who love him. It is not usual for people to end up in rehab unless things are pretty awful on these fronts. Confronted with the reality, one can only hope that the (primary) sufferer can accept this reality.

    Beyond the immediate, I would agree that, at least in the earliest period of recovery, attendance at AA or at a secular support programme is likely to prove helpful. AA certainly helped me, at least at the start. As the brain clears, it may not appear so helpful to many, but it is hard to have an open mind when the mind is full of fear, humiliation, and alcoholic fog generally. In the end, your husband will have to find a road to recovery upon which he, himself, feels safe and comfortable. In the meantime, may I wish you all the best. There is hope - really - and the benefits of recovery for sufferers and those who love them are well worth pursuing.

    Yours in grateful Sobriety,

    JR

  • NW

    First, I wish you the best of luck. Im in recovery and it took me a lot to admit that I was powerless over my addiction. Its ok that your husband is blaming you, because there is nothing that you can do to control his actions and to blame yourself for your husbands actions will not do you any good. I know this first hand. My brother is a recovering drug addict and me, an alcoholic. My family was extremely disfunctional due to our disease.. this disease does not just effect the person using or drinking. It effects the whole family and the friends of the alcoholic. My parents blamed themselve for our addictions and not until my parents understood that they were not responsible and that dragging that shame and blame around with them were not doing anygood, did our family began to function again. It won't happen over night. Your husband may relapse, It is not a smooth road. BUT, you must realize that you are powerless over your husbands actions and his addiction...This program of sobriety is a selfish one. Your husband will need some tough love, and your support to recover. However, do not enable him to use, and be sure to take care of yourself and your needs, mentally, physically and spiritually. If you don't take care of yourself you certainly cannot help your husband. I encourage you to attend Alanon meeting and get the alanon daily devoting called "Courage to Change" I attend Alanon meeting and read "Courage to Change" everyday.

    God Bless

    NW

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