Strange Brew, Part 2

Eleanor, last week you told us you are 34, in an open marriage at your own instigation. Your life is spent in grubby pubs. You are an alcoholic, living with a man in his home, trading sex for your alcoholic lifestyle.

Your husband is 39, handsome and fit. He is going to the theater, having nice dinners in good restaurants, and living with your gorgeous, fit 54-year-old mother in what used to be your house. You spy on them while drinking vodka from a bottle, and you ask what to do about the disgust you feel that they are together.

We promised you an answer. Here it is.

Most of us have a sense of “we should do this; we shouldn’t do that.”

For example, when we see an older woman trip on the street, we should feel the desire to hop out there and help her up. We shouldn’t think, “I’m going to run out there and snatch her purse.” When we see a man in the surf fighting off a shark, we should think to help or get help. We shouldn’t stand on the shore and root for the shark.

Eleanor, you have your shoulds and shouldn’ts mixed up. You think stalking, spying and sneaking around will somehow improve your life. But they have nothing to do with improving your life.

We don’t know which came first, the chicken or the egg. We don’t know if your miserable life came first, or your drinking caused your miserable life. We know alcoholics come from normal families, and we know they come from dysfunctional families.

But we do know you are at a level of constant drunkenness that you admit without owning. We do know that you seek the company of drunks so you don’t have to face up to your own drinking. And we do know your life cannot improve until you stop.

We also know that a woman who writes a perfectly punctuated and paragraphed letter is both smart and educated. Not the kind of woman who should let herself go and let men take her home in exchange for booze.

You aren’t at a place where you want to stop drinking. You are at a place where you want to point your finger at your mother. You came out of your alcoholic daze just enough to think, “That’s supposed to be my man.”

The worst of your problems is not what those two are up to. It might be you who brought them together. The point is, when you looked at them together, you thought, “I want my life back.”

You are no good to yourself now. If you were happy with your life, none of what they do should matter. But you aren’t happy. You are miserable. You are jealous of life outside the bottle, but you can’t have both. You can’t live in both worlds.

We are not going to waste our breath telling a smart, educated woman where to get help. Anyone with a smartphone can find the answer. Google it for god’s sake.

There’s a story behind your alcoholism, but you have no ability to deal with it until you get help. You have no problem to take care of before you take care of this problem.

~ Wayne & Tamara

Direct Answers – Column for the week of August 14, 2017

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