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

Arrowsmith Search and Rescue members, before descending into a gorge near Nile Creek to rescue an injured woman on Sunday, May 2, 2021. (ASAR Twitter photo)
Arrowsmith SAR crews help rescue hiker who plunged 10 metres onto rocks near Nile Creek

Helicopter with winch system required for technical operation in remote location

The graph provided by the City of Parksville in a release issued on May 4, depicting a balanced financial budget for 2021. (submitted photo)
City of Parksville announces a balanced budget for 2021

Penalty date for property tax payments extended from July 2 to Oct. 1

Musqueam and Qualicum First Nations artist, Mathew Andreatta, next to several of his ongoing projects, including carvings and illustrations. (Submitted photo)
Qualicum First Nation artist considers art a means to reconnect with his Indigenous identity

Andreatta thought of TOSH as a space of learning and creation

FILE – Pharmacist Barbara Violo shows off a vile of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the Junction Chemist, an independent pharmacy in Toronto, Friday, March 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Looking for the nearest COVID shot? Tech entrepreneur creates texting software in B.C

Zain Manji says app took just one or two hours to create

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

A picture of Shirley Ann Soosay was rendered from a postmortem photographer and circulated on social media. (DDP graphic)
B.C. genealogist key to naming murder victim in decades-old California cold case

In July 1980, Shirley Ann Soosay was raped and stabbed to death

Mary Kitagawa was born on Salt Spring Island and was seven years old when she was interned along with 22,000 B.C. residents in 1942. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds health services for survivors of Japanese internment

Seniors describe legacy of World War II displacement

Meghan Gilley, a 35-year-old emergency room doctor and new mom was vaccinated from COVID-19 in January, while she was pregnant. She’s encouraging others to do the same. (Submitted)
‘The best decision’: B.C. mom encourages other pregnant women to get COVID-19 shot

Meghan Gilley, 35, delivered a healthy baby after being vaccinated against the virus while pregnant

Former Vernon Panthers football standout Ben Hladik of the UBC Thunderbirds (top, in a game against the Manitoba Bisons, <ins>making one of his 38 Canada West solo tackles in 2019</ins>), was chosen in Tuesday’s 2021 Canadian Football League draft. (Rich Lam - UBC Thunderbirds photo)
B.C. Lions call on Vernon standout in CFL draft

Canadian Football League club selects former VSS Panthers star Ben Hladik in third round of league draft

Most Read