My husband does not want help and wants to quit drinking his way. He was sober for 6 weeks and I found a half gallon of Jim half empty in the cabinet. How do I approach him about “sneaking” since he still states he is sober?
When a person does not want help and does not want to be held accountable, that person is not serious about quitting. Essentially what he is saying is that he wants to control the situation so that if he ever really wants a drink, he is free to go have one. It is true that the decision to quit has to be his; however, no alcoholic can quit alone. Support and accountability are essential ingredients of successful sobriety. If he really wants to quite, he will say something to the effect, “Don’t let me take another drink!”.
No alcoholic has a total desire to quit. When someone wants to quit drinking they also don’t want to quit drinking. It’s natural for him to be torn over this decision. For instance, if you are addicted to chocolate, you want to quit eating it because it’s bad for your health, effects your weight, and causes poor skin conditions, but you don’t want to quit eating it because it tastes so good. Alcoholics feel the same way. They are aware that they should quit but they don’t really want to. This is why he is avoiding accountability. He wants to know that it’s always still an option. The problem is: If it’s still an option, he’ll surely return to it.
He has to view it ONE DAY AT A TIME. If he thinks about going forever without alcohol, he will never make it. He just needs to ask you to hold him accountable that he won’t drink TODAY. And, do that every day, one day at a time.
I think you should definitely confront him about the Jim you found in the cabinet. Give him the benefit of the doubt and let him explain why it’s there. Remember, you can’t make this decision for him. He will never quit unless he wants to. Having said that, you can encourage him to pursue what’s best for him and for you. You can support him. You can be his cheerleader. Tell him that you believe he has what it takes to quit but you don’t believe that any human can do it alone. It’s an addiction, and it’s strong. Tell him you’d like to hold him accountable not in order to control but in order to assist him in controlling it on his own.
I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LCMHC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. I have since settled in North Carolina. I have experience working with various stages of addiction, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, trauma, stages of life concerns and relationship concerns.
I tend to use a person-centered approach which simply means that I meet you where you are and work collaboratively to help you identify and work towards accomplishing goals. I will often pull from CBT when appropriate. I do encourage use of mindfulness and meditation and practice these skills in my own life. I believe in treating everyone with respect, sensitivity and compassion.
I recognize that reaching out for help is hard and commend you for taking the first step. We have professionals available who would be happy to help you move closer to reaching your goals related to your drinking concerns. You may reach these professionals by calling 877-322-2694.