Did I make a mistake in assisting my wife with a plan?

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Did I make a mistake in assisting my wife with a plan? 2014-06-18T14:25:43+00:00
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  • Butch
    Post count: 3
    #1538 |

    Hello, I am about 2/3 of the way through the Beyond Addiction Book and I already see positive results.  However, I am concerned I may have made a mistake.  My wife and I have always enjoyed drinking together, but over the past couple of years it has become a problem for her (hiding her drinking from me, etc.).  She is open to communicating with me and has started and stopped several times (I am getting quite hopeful from the book and listening to interviews on youtube as well).   She knows that if she can’t control this she will need to quit (she isn’t capable yet from my observations).

    I shared that she should consider a reduction plan a little over a week ago…that maybe her problem was the way I confronted her in the past on two occaisions, and that she may actually be able to control the drinking.  She admits she likes to drink, and acknowledges she needs to control it.  I also confided in her that I don’t have an issue with controlling drinking, and that I only quit to support her.  I seem to be able to not drink when I want to.  However, part of this plan was enjoying alcohol together and only during “plan” times on Fridays and Saturdays.  Last night (Tuesday) I found a bottle in her hiding place, so she is obviously not following her plan.  My question (finally), should I slowly bow out of the plan where we drink together?  I don’t want to enable her!  How does it work where one partner can handle drinking and the other partner isn’t doing a good job of it?  This book is giving me great hope and I thank you for writing this.  I am worn out today from reading it late into the night, taking the tests, beginning a journal, etc.  Thank you, thank you….I am hopeful, but I also know we (my wife and I) are in a delicate stage, as she loathes lying to me, but still follow that impulse.


    • This topic was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by  Butch.
    • This topic was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by  Butch.
    Post count: 7

    Butch, if I understand correctly, you had a plan with your wife that you would try to moderate drinking with her by only drinking on the weekends (Friday and Saturday nights). After trying this, you found out that she was not adhering to the plan, and that she was sneaking drinks outside of the planned times. Is that correct?

    If that is the case, first I’d say that you didn’t do anything wrong! She wasn’t ready to stop drinking, and you couldn’t “force” her to be ready. And, she wasn’t convinced that she couldn’t drink moderately, so you gave it a shot. Now you have evidence that it doesn’t work for her, at least not now, and that the two of you need a new plan. I don’t think that’s bowing out of the plan, rather taking the information you gathered from the plan and using that to inform your next steps. That’s a good way to go about it, if you ask me!

    Maybe the next best step is to sit down with your wife when things are calm and have a conversation with her evaluating the moderation plan that you both had. Obviously, the evaluation will state that it wasn’t working because of what you found, and ask her what she thinks. Maybe there are some ways to “tighten up” the current plan, or maybe she will agree and say that she needs to figure out ways to not drink. Either way, you’re using a plan of action to meet her where she is and help move her towards a behavior change. Sounds like you really have been following Beyond Addiction!

    I am hopeful

    You have no idea how powerful that statement is. Hold that hope! It will take you far.

    • Butch
      Post count: 3


      Thank you for the reply, it means a great deal to me. I am considering your suggestions, as I am fortunate that she is talking to me, but she is still following her compulsion to drink. We talked about this today, and of course, I found a small airline sized bottle. She is aware that she needs to curb this compulsion. I think this is going to take time!

      I am disengaging from the emotional back and forth and looking at the big picture. Two steps forward and one step back is still one step forward. I “think” that she is in the contemplation/Getting Ready phase. I need to allow her time. I still look for hiding places, but only to keep track and get a better idea of where she is at. I don’t confront her, but when we talk I am more informed about her drinking.

      I have also contacted a close friend from work who I see often (same industry different company), who knows and cares for my wife, but is not in contact with her often. He has volunteered to be my sounding board. This is for me to keep my strong and motivated.

      Once again, I can’t thank you enough….As I learn more and work through this I hope and can be of help to others in the future.


  • Indi
    Post count: 2


    Hi Butch:

    I like this!

    Two steps forward and one step back is still one step forward.”


  • mousemouse
    Post count: 8

    Hi Butch!

    Re: “did I make a mistake”, these days I no longer think about things that way.  I like to think in terms of “I made a choice”.  Sometimes I am happy with the outcome and sometimes I’m not happy with the result of my choices.  When that happens, I regroup, just as I see you are doing.  There’s always a different way.

    In reading your post I was wondering if you and Mrs. Butch know that there are support programs to help people learn to moderate their drinking.  Probably some books on the topic, too.

    But those programs do start with 30 days of abstinence and it sort of sounds like Mrs. Butch might not be up for that.

    In fact, I was wondering if she might be physically dependent on alcohol (which might be a reason that she is drinking secretly).  If she is, then you may, at some point, what to encourage her to consult a doctor about what’s going on.  I know that’s hard for some people, but doctors aren’t there to judge people, they are truly there to help people (why else would they be willing to put up with all those  insurance company rules and regulations!?)

    One other thought that I had about something you might want to think about would be making some plans to do things that don’t involve drinking (taking a class, going to a movie,  joining a book club or a meet-up group, playing tennis, whatever works for your lifestyle).  Sober activities have been a good way for  us to carve out some ‘non-using’ time and to bond together over something fun or creative.  I find it  bringing us closer and also feels like a step toward something positive and away from the  negative (if that makes sense!)

    I hope this week was easier for you both. Hang in there!


  • Butch
    Post count: 3

    I have been off of this site for some time. Very busy and also a few ups and downs in the drinking department. But, overall I am very proud of how my wife has responded. My wife has largely stuck with HER plan. Thanks for the responses to my previous posts, they were quite helpful.

    We had a wedding reception for one of our sons and new daughter in law last weekend. My wife did have a little too much to drink (she has never been someone to drink to the point of passing out…she was just drinking in secret). The following morning she told me she was done. It would take some work, but she no longer wanted to have whiskey at home. She realized upon waking the next day that she can’t control this. I did not question her about this (as per my plan, I was going to bring it up in a couple of days). She brought this up while she was completely lucid. She asked me to be patient with her, as she does get the desire to drink sometimes and she never knows when it will happen. In following HER plan she has come to the conclusion that she can say no to alcohol, but can’t control it very well once she gets going. Her next phase is to stop hard liquor. She is admittedly a binge drinker.

    Once again thanks for the support. Things here are looking better.

    To respond to your kind suggestions. My wife, fortunately, does not have a physical dependence. She has gone for weeks without drinking. What brought all of this up is that after we both quit drinking she secretly started to drink again (I quit drinking to encourage her to stop drinking). Her reasoning or her secret drinking was to not disappoint me. The guilt from the secrecy just kept growing. Following the HAMS (HARMS) or KRAFT approach has gotten us to get our stories straight and talk quite a bit about this issue – we are talking openly about drinking now for several months. The most difficult aspect was not losing my temper when I did discover her drinking. During her last “drinking too much episode” I remained polite and cheerful as she was staying within her plan, but just overdid it. It is so hard to let go and think you are doing anything. I got so mad sometimes I had to go outside and kick a trashcan. Shortly after my previous post I started taking care of myself and not letting myself get angry. I knew it was a long process. So, the next chapter has unfolded….SHE has decided to quit drinking hard liquor. She has now decided to enjoy wine on weekends with dinner and maybe a beer on occasion. I couldn’t have praised her more, as she is moving in the right direction and has acknowledged that she may have to give up all alcohol if she can’t control beer and wine (or an occasional mixed drink while at a restaurant…although I think this idea scared her). Her words “I have too much to live for to let this ruin my life.” To address the other suggestion…we have always been great together and do a lot of stuff as a couple. So, it was difficult to come up with new activities LOL. But, a great suggestion to do non-drinking related stuff together.

    Sorry to be so long winded. If you are reading this and have a loved one who has not progressed, take heart, take care of yourself and realize that this works better than any other method I have read about. This process has been a 2-1/2 year trip for us…be patient and once again…thanks for all of the feedback. I only hope I can encourage and help others a fraction of what others have helped me with. I will stay tuned in in the hope that this is helpful to others and that my wife continues toward a healthier lifestyle.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!


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