Direct Answers - Column for the week of September 23, 2002
My husband has a twofold addiction problem, drinking and drugs. In the six years we have been married, he has had periods of sobriety, but they don't ever last. I feel he has not confronted the underlying problem: he was molested as a child by a family member.
He is currently in jail due to getting drunk and hitting a police car. Before we met he had an arrest history for violent crime, but he was never violent with me. He has a good core to him, as well as a feeling of worthlessness. When things are good they are very good, and you know the rest of the saying.
Al-Anon does not appeal to me. There are too many victims. I will not bail him out or give him money. He knows I feel he has to face the music. Luckily I am financially able to take care of myself, but I wonder if this marriage can ever be saved.
I am nearing the end of my patience with him. I refuse to allow him to make more excuses. My feeling is you always have a choice in what action you take. You do not have to be a drug addict. I don't want to kick a man when he is down, but I'm very tired.
Emmy Lou, you are not kicking a man when he is down. You have done nothing but try to help. Now it is time to decide on your best course of action and what your life will be.
Sometimes helping someone, in the sense of protecting them from consequences, is exactly what they don't need. Consequences are the only thing which will make them change, because they won't change until the worst that can happen, happens.
If you are drawn to individual counseling for yourself, then by all means do it. It may offer you an opportunity to talk about how you got into a relationship with someone under the influence of drugs and alcohol. How do you have a genuine relationship with someone who is chemically impaired?
No one can make your husband change until he is ready. That may be long after he is out of your life.
Wayne & Tamara
Tell me what to do when your own mother can't stop screaming at you, when you know what she's saying has nothing to do with you. The worst thing is she knows it, too, but she still screams.
Being a vent for her is not what I want. No one would want that kind of anger in their life. I hate it, but I'm turning into her. I scream the same way she does, except I do it when no one is around.
Cate, one day a man with a problem dog went to see a monk who was a dog trainer. It seems whenever the man moved toward any doorway, his dog bolted through ahead of him.
The monk and the man talked as the dog lay beside them. Down a hill, a short distance away, was a gate. The monk asked the man to get up and walk toward the gate. The dog raced to the gate, and the monk called the man back.
Again and again the man was directed to walk toward the gate. Each time when the dog ran before him, the monk called the man back. Each time the dog made less effort to follow. Finally the man reached the gate and went through as the dog watched. In this way, the monk broke the dog's habit.
Each time your mother screams at you for no reason, walk away. When your mother realizes what happens when she screams, her behavior will change. When you realize you have power over the situation, you won't need to scream. At that point, the two of you can begin to talk.
Wayne & Tamara
About The Author
Authors and columnists Wayne and Tamara Mitchell can be reached at www.WayneAndTamara.com" target="_new">www.WayneAndTamara.com.
Send letters to: Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield, MO 65801 or email: DirectAnswers@WayneAndTamara.com.
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