Married life after rehab

Three scenarios paint a picture of difficult roads for families

Your husband has had a long-term drinking problem. The longer it went on, the more alone you felt. He may have been a good provider, but you felt neglected, because most evenings he was zoned out on alcohol.

It came to a head two months ago when you were ready to leave. He quit drinking and went to rehab, returning last week. He declares he quit for good this time. He looks the same, and you wonder…

The two of you have just entered one the highest risk periods of your marriage. If living with a functioning alcoholic was difficult, living with a recovering alcoholic may be temporarily even more taxing. It is no coincidence that many marriages end after rehab.

Below are three common post-drinking/post-rehab scenarios (without relapse).

Scenario one

All he changed was his drinking. If he smoked before, he still smokes. If he was grouchy before, he is still a grouch. If he wasn’t interested in sex in his drinking days, nothing much has changed. He hangs out with the same friends, only he doesn’t drink. He gets defensive if you try to talk about it, just like before.

Scenario two

He goes to a meeting every night, leaving you alone. He explains that his sobriety depends on it. His behavior is a little better, and he definitely smells better, but you’re still lonely in the evenings.

Addiction is compulsive seeking and consuming something. It was alcohol. Now it’s meetings. He has substituted one addiction for another. Just as he used to get agitated if he couldn’t drink, now he gets agitated if he can’t go to a meeting.

After a few weeks or months of this some men will shift into scenario three.

Scenario three

He may or may not go to a few meetings, but he sees a therapist who is helping him deal with the old demons that underlay his drinking. He is becoming more personally insightful, happier, more energetic and more loving. In short he’s experiencing a burst of personal growth. He wants to talk about things including whether he should change professions. His old friends are drifting away.

All three scenarios can be scary for you as the spouse, because a lot of personal change is required of you too, starting with an abundance of patience.

The problem was alcohol, you thought, but it turned out to be something much deeper. His dealing with his demons (scenario three) exposes your demons. Surprise! When something changes, everything changes, including you, if you’re still there.

Making it through the first couple of years after alcohol will at the very least make heavy demands on your reservoir of patience … and on his.

You can reach Registered Psychologist Dr. Neill Neill at 250-752-8684 or through

his website www.neillneill.com

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kyle Patrick McGuire was give a nine-month non-custodial sentencing to be followed by two years of probation on Wednesday, March 3, at the Nanaimo Law Courts. (PQB News file photo)
Bowser man sentenced to house arrest after guilty plea to child pornography offence

Nine-month non-custodial sentence to be followed by two years probation

The Regional District of Nanaimo faces challenges with garbage bin replacement requests. (Michael Briones photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo faces challenges to meet requests for garbage bin replacements

Waste manager says RDN will have a surplus of 100-litre carts

Members of the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. set up the tube where rainbow trout were released into Spider Lake on Thursday, March 4, 2021. (Michael Briones photo)
Fishing time: 1,800 rainbow trout released into Spider Lake

Society records spike in fishing licences during pandemic

A map showing where the new developments for affordable housing will be located on Moilliet Street in Parksville. (submitted photo)
Parksville city council approves development permit for 87 housing units

Development to include four-storey apartment and eight townhouses

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Most Read