Drinking ruining marriage

What Would Debbie Do? Drinking ruining marriage Dear Debbie, My good friend has a drinking problem, and it’s ruining her marriage. We’ve had a mini-intervention on her, but she just doesn’t get it. She keeps blaming this, that and the other on her drinking. How can we make her see the light, before she runs […]

What Would Debbie Do?

Drinking ruining marriage

Dear Debbie,

My good friend has a drinking problem, and it’s ruining her marriage. We’ve had a mini-intervention on her, but she just doesn’t get it. She keeps blaming this, that and the other on her drinking. How can we make her see the light, before she runs that red light?

                —Cecelia

Dear Cecilia,

This is a question I can answer from experience. I had two friends, both with drug and alcohol problems, both careening out of control. I had interventions with each girl. One yielded a trip to rehab and a commitment to a sober life. The other yielded nothing but resentment. The point is this: unless someone is ready to change their life, nothing, and I mean nothing, can stop his or her self-destructive behavior.

If you know anything about addiction or recovery, you know “hitting bottom” comes in different shapes. Losing a marriage, friendships, even children, might not be enough to motivate a person to get clean. Sometimes it takes jail, personal humiliation, destruction, even someone else’s death to affect the necessary steps to change. Sometimes, the necessary impetus doesn’t come at all.

The adage, “you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make them drink,” is an important one to remember. Your concern for your friend is admirable; your attempt to get her help, well-intentioned. The rest, however, is up to her. You are powerless to change the course of events unless your friend is ready to surrender and get clean. All you can do is pray she wakes up and takes back her life, before it’s too late. Until then, I suggest you get out of the way. Destructive people tend to wreak havoc on all those around them. I believe in tough love. Therefore, tell her you’ll be there for her when she makes the courageous decision to get her act together. But not a minute before.


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