Drink­ing forces part­ner into de­ci­sion

Orlando Sentinel - - Local & State -

Dear Amy: I’ve been with “Brad” for six years (we’re in our 50s, both divorced). Six months be­fore he moved into my house, he lost his job. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do next. Some­what against my bet­ter judg­ment, I let him move in, with the un­der­stand­ing that he would get back to work quickly.

In the four years he’s lived here, he has had three jobs. None lasted long. (I work from home.)

Brad has be­gun to drink. A lot. Many days, he drinks up to 15 beers.

His par­ents send him money, which he uses to pay child sup­port and buy some gro­ceries.

He does keep the place spot­less and does all the yard­work.

He typ­i­cally is very lov­ing, but when he drinks, he gets an­gry, snarky and crit­i­cal of me and ev­ery­one else in his life.

He is di­ag­nosed with de­pres­sion and takes his meds, but he won’t dis­cuss the pos­si­bil­ity of need­ing dif­fer­ent meds or dosages with his doc­tor.

Over the years, we have had many talks. I say I need him to quit drink­ing and get a job and be help­ful. He al­ways prom­ises to try, and I give him another chance.

In Fe­bru­ary, we agreed that April 1 was a dead­line, and if he didn’t meet it, he would leave. Then every­thing shut down (due to COVID-19). He is drink­ing more. I hate it. I’m go­ing crazy.

This is an ed­u­cated, pro­fes­sional man. He has al­ways worked hard and done well. I do love him, but at this point, I just want him to leave. Where will he go? How will he live? I’m afraid of what might hap­pen to him, so I re­main stuck.

Dear Worn Down: At one point, you two agreed that April 1 was “Brad’s” move­out dead­line. You don’t seem to have wor­ried about where he would live at that point, which tells me that you ba­si­cally ex­pected him to get with your pro­gram.

This says a lot about the power of cog­ni­tive dis­so­nance: He has not demon­strated the abil­ity to change, and yet, you keep ex­pect­ing it.

Stop try­ing to bar­gain with Brad. It’s not work­ing.

Brad has been di­ag­nosed with de­pres­sion, and al­though he takes his meds, he is also dos­ing up with one of the world’s most pow­er­ful de­pres­sants: al­co­hol. That’s the power of an ad­dic­tion dis­or­der: He drinks even though it makes him feel worse.

The pres­sure to find a pro­fes­sional job might be too much for him, and he might be a ful­filled and ful­fill­ing “house hus­band” with part-time work, if he was able to com­mit to so­bri­ety.

All the same, Brad’s prob­lems be­long to him. When you get the “all clear,” you should sim­ply tell him that you love him, but that he has to go. You don’t need to re­state all of your ex­pec­ta­tions. Where he lands will be his prob­lem, and he will fig­ure it out. (This is why it’s called “tough love.”)

You say, “Honey, I love you, but it’s time for you to leave. I hope you will choose to get help. I’m in your cor­ner all the way, but

I can’t help you.”

I hope you will choose to stay in his life, as a faith­ful and con­cerned friend.

Dear Amy: “Scared Teen” wrote to you re­gard­ing their par­ents, who seemed to be ar­gu­ing a lot. I’d like to sug­gest that the teen write a let­ter to them.

In a let­ter, the writer can clearly state their feel­ings, con­cerns and wishes — and the par­ents don’t have to spon­ta­neously re­spond.

When I was in my early 20s and not liv­ing at home, I wit­nessed my par­ents hav­ing a hor­ri­ble ver­bal ar­gu­ment that re­ally up­set me. I left and wrote my par­ents a let­ter ex­plain­ing how up­set I was, es­pe­cially be­cause of how they had al­ways taught me to show re­spect and un­der­stand­ing to others and had in fact lived that them­selves, but now weren’t do­ing it with each other.

I told them that I didn’t want to visit them to­gether if this was go­ing to be their be­hav­ior.

They never ar­gued in front of me again.

More than 30 years later, (I had long for­got­ten the let­ter), my mom told me how pro­foundly my let­ter had af­fected my dad. He was so proud of me for “speak­ing up” and point­ing out how their be­hav­ior wasn’t in keep­ing with their val­ues.

Dear Proud: This is a won­der­ful trib­ute — to you and your folks.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.