Home » Asking Eric: I quit drinking, but my wife is still drinking heavily

Asking Eric: I quit drinking, but my wife is still drinking heavily

by ballyhooglobal.com
0 comment

Dear Eric: We are a retired couple in our late 60s. In our younger days we enjoyed an active social life that often revolved around drinking, sometimes to excess. As we’ve grown older we’ve slowed down, improved our diet and taken up a near-daily fitness regimen that has us both in pretty good shape.

My wife still drinks more than she should, as measured by my opinion and numerous online articles I’ve read. We’ve discussed it a few times and she makes an improvement for a short term but soon backslides into her habit of having four, five, sometimes six glasses of wine a night. At the same time, I’ve eliminated alcohol entirely.

I don’t nag her about it. I’m all for everyone making their own choices in life, but I know the effects of this amount of regular drinking is not healthy. I used to buy the alcohol for both of us (my cessation is fairly recent), and since I stopped she has purchased the wine on her own.

Yesterday, knowing that I will do this week’s shopping soon, she put wine on the list. I am torn between telling her I won’t enable her drinking (while expressing my hope that she can again reduce to a more reasonable level), and just keeping quiet about it.

Winding: When one partner changes, the whole system changes. But that change is often a lot slower and more complicated than we’d like it to be.

Lets put aside, for just a moment, the facts and figures around alcohol consumption. In your marriage right now, you and your wife aren’t aligned in a vision for how you want to live life together and individually.

Your wife hasn’t made the same decision that you have about alcohol consumption and it bothers you because you care about her but also because it’s different from the choice you made. Perhaps it even makes you question your decision. There are hundreds of similar decisions that happen in a marriage, many around health and wellness. Conflict can arise from the fact that no one can make their spouse do what they think their spouse should do.

You dont have to keep buying the wine, and shouldn’t if it’s causing you consternation. You should tell her that you’ve made this decision and your reasons for doing it. Don’t expect that your reasons are going to make her change. When we comment on a loved one’s drinking (or any behavior), it can shift the loved one’s thinking or highlight things they’re not seeing. However, people’s decisions to change their behavior have to come from them.

Your wife isnt there. If you feel her alcohol consumption is having a negative impact on your relationship, say that. I’m sure you’ve already presented her with the data — the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend one 5-ounce glass of wine per night or less and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism categorizes four or more drinks per day, or eight per week, as “heavy drinking.” Show your concern and your love while also recognizing that this journey is new for both of you and it will take you different amounts of time to get to wherever you’re both going.

Dear Eric: I may be hopelessly old-fashioned at 73 years old, but when my children were young and received a gift, I gave them notecards, stamps, addresses, and explained the ways a “thank you” could be worded.

I encouraged them to include information about their lives, school, etc. It seems that now parents dont care enough to teach their children to acknowledge a gift. I’ve been chastised for discontinuing to send cards/gifts/money to young people past the age of 15, who never thank me, or even acknowledge a gift.

I am frustrated that I am forced to contact the recipient simply to hear the excuse, “Oh yeah, I got it. Thanks.” Am I wrong for expecting a “thank you,” and setting the consequences?

— Disgruntled Gift Giver

Giver: Social mores may change but the words “thank you” still mean the same thing. You’re not asking a lot and if your relatives can’t teach their kids to respect your boundary and acknowledge your gift, then you don’t owe it to them.

Fifteen is old enough to learn the value of healthy communication and gratitude. Besides, it’s important to remember that relationships, especially with older relatives, aren’t ATMs. Hold the line!

Dear Eric: In response to the letter writer looking for ways to respond when people ask what she does all day in retirement, I always say: “I wake up in the morning with nothing to do and it takes me all day to do it.”

Booked: Love it! Enjoy your crowded, carefree days in good health and good humor!

(Send questions to R. Eric Thomas at eric@askingeric.com or P.O. Box 22474, Philadelphia, PA 19110. Follow him on Instagram and sign up for his weekly newsletter at rericthomas.com.)

2024 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Comment

Adblock Detected

Please support us by disabling your AdBlocker extension from your browsers for our website.