Ask Amy: A friend is with a man who is married to a woman with Alzheimer’s disease
Dear Amy: I’m so divided about what to do about my marriage.
I stopped drinking in 2010. My husband promised to stop me.
Unfortunately, he still drinks a lot.
I have expressed my need to be with a sober husband. He promised to stop drinking. He even went to a hospital to detox. This took seven weeks but ultimately failed because he did not participate in a follow-up plan.
The hospital diagnosed him as depressed and alcoholic.
He took his medication for six weeks and then stopped.
It is very difficult to live with him. He’s never hit me before, but the verbal abuse is getting bad.
I told him that if we stay together, we have to stop drinking. He agreed, but continues to drink. He claimed he could drink once a week, but that didn’t work. Now he drinks 200 beers a week.
I started going to a counseling for myself.
Today he told me that he doesn’t like the way he feels drinking, but doesn’t know how to stay sober.
I again offered to help with inpatient rehab and an aftercare plan, but he insists he can do this on his own.
I keep reminding him that if he keeps drinking I’ll file for divorce.
He’s just so used to me taking it!
I love him, but living with a drunk husband sucks the life out of me.
– Ready for change
Dear Ready: If you are really ready for a change, instead of expecting your alcoholic husband to make it for you, you will make that change.
I hope you will discuss your decisions and reactions with your advisor. You can also visit a “friends and family” support group such as Al-Anon (al-anon.org).
I suggest that your husband will have one less reason to avoid treatment when you eliminate your own need to monitor, pay attention and respond to your husband’s drinking.
My point is that you take turns pushing him to stop and then cushioning him when he doesn’t, and this is how you absorb some of the real consequences of his drinking that may be for him to face treatment for his depression without having to decide to distract him by making empty threats to leave. Your conflicting feelings keep you both in place.
Did you sober up for your husband’s sake? (No, you haven’t.) Is he getting sober for your sake? (It’s doubtful.) He has to do this for himself.
You fought for your own sobriety. You have a duty to make a protective and healthy decision for yourself and let your husband learn to fight for his own sobriety.
Heartbreaking as it is to you, you may need to continue loving your husband from a safe distance.
If it is time for you to get out of marriage, get out of it without a bargain.
Dear Amy, a friend of mine met a lovable man with whom she had an appointment.
She found out that he is married to an Alzheimer’s sufferer.
My friend goes to his home to look after and help his wife.
They go out together.
He is a married man!
Is it me or is that a little strange?
Dear wonder: I think it’s you.
You don’t seem to have any personal insight into this situation because you don’t know the man and his wife.
Having your friend around the house can be very beneficial for everyone involved.
I don’t think this is a situation where you as a friend should necessarily be in court.
Dear Amy: The question of “Not Nameless Wife” fascinated me.
This was about the man who always called his wife “Honey” instead of by name.
So did I until my wife died after 47 years of happy marriage.
I am a bit introverted.
When I think about it, I realize that I have always addressed people by their name as a completely socially acceptable way of creating a certain distance between them and me. But when my wife and I fell in love, we were so close that she became “sweetheart” for me.
I think it was my way of expressing love, inclusion, comfort and trust.
– Also a mister honey
Dear Mr. Honey: I appreciate your insight into how your introversion affects your verbal caresses. Your wife was a happy “sweetheart”.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)