Phase 4 reboot

DrBetaDrBeta USAPosts: 1,688Silver Member
edited December 2012 in 911 Relationship ER
Several posters have advised me in my Phase 4 "State Your Expectations" that I needed to move to a Phase 4.1, wherein these expectations:
  1. Healthy sex life
  2. Productive wife.
  3. Self-care (stay in good shape, dentist, doctors, etc.)
  4. No negative talk
Are really all sub-ordinate to this one:
  1. Quit drinking.
Those of us that remember the book know that Phase 4 is supposed to be quick compared to other phases, and I've been there about two months.

So I rebooted Phase 4 yesterday, and it started with "Quit Drinking".

To my surprise... no defensiveness and no denial.  Some pleading.  Some, "I wish..." and me foreshadowing Phases 5 and 6, as in
"I am making changes in my life.  I am going to become a much better man.  You are going to have this choice.  'Do you want to keep up with me?  Or do you want to lose me just as I'm becoming the best man I can be?' "
She wants to try and keep up.  So I say:
"You do not drink anymore.  You are no longer a drinker."
And she agrees.

Now, we didn't say, "Go to AA." or anything positive that she could actually do.  We kept this in the realm of the "what not to do", which ain't the strongest way to put things.  I have serious doubts about whether she can make this work.  The only times she was completely sober was during pregnancies -- but those interludes do provide some hope.

Coincidentally, another sister has quit drinking (for a week), lost two pounds, and Mrs. Beta is thinking, "Maybe it's time for me to do this, too."

In the meantime, I'm practicing my this statement-of-fact-as-if-it's-already-true wife hypnosis technique, and we'll see where it gets us.
Im_a_ManAngeline
«13

Comments

  • ChimpyChimpy Posts: 2,591Member
    Good luck! There prolly ain't many harder things to try than quit the drink. Keep on keepin on Dr B :-bd
    AngelineIm_a_Man
  • JAKJAK Posts: 111Member
    DrBeta said:

    Now, we didn't say, "Go to AA." or anything positive that she could actually do.  We kept this in the realm of the "what not to do", which ain't the strongest way to put things.  I have serious doubts about whether she can make this work.  The only times she was completely sober was during pregnancies -- but those interludes do provide some hope.

    I'm in favour of whatever works, but lots of people make it work w/o AA.

    Sobriety during pregnancy is a huge reason for hope, apart from the obvious consequences - when something crucial was at stake, she was able to put people she loved ahead of her need to drink. That's very important to what you're working on right now.
    PhoenixDownDrBetaAngeline
  • Im_a_ManIm_a_Man CanadaPosts: 861Silver Member
    Some people just make up their mind and successfully move forward. Others succeed by trail and error. 

    She will have to figure out what works for her but as her husband you'll have to be prepared for her to stumble and determine what plan B, C and D will be.

    The fact that you both agreed this is a problem is half the battle.

    I like your positive statements, negatives work well too: "When you drink our marriage starts to crumble". So not only is she going to lose "future you", she's not even "current you" worthy.
    DrBetaAngeline
  • 2manypasswords2manypasswords OhioPosts: 363Silver Member
  • NotelracNotelrac Posts: 3,552Member
    Be aware of what a "Dry Drunk" is.  Because you're steering her in that direction.

     

  • DrBetaDrBeta USAPosts: 1,688Silver Member
    edited November 2012
    Notelrac said:
    Be aware of what a "Dry Drunk" is.  Because you're steering her in that direction.
    Heard the term, followed the link, and read up.

    My intuition says that it depends on whether she feels like she's quitting for me, or quitting for herself.  The idea that quitting booze can be like losing your best friend (i.e., grieving) seems very sensible, and the question is what happens when she stumbles -- e.g., when we fight, or she's suffers a setback, or she gets angry.

    On the whole, it's been an excellent three days.  We're 3-for-3 on morning sex, with her orgasms escalating in squirt volume each time.

    Mostly, this is because she wakes up in a much better state, physically and emotionally.

    Also, she's been a whirlwind around the house with the chores and the domestication and the phone calls and the getting stuff done.  Plus she's been to the MD and started blood pressure meds and 20mg Zoloft.  Considering she used alcohol to blunt anxiety attacks, the Zoloft seems like it comes at a good time.

    She hasn't gone completely cold-turkey.  As she describes it, she's "tapering off" (which looks true from my vantage).  Last night was a half a shot of rum.  She seems to be getting happier and healthier is real time.  (Or at least, I am).








    PhoenixDown
  • Athol_KayAthol_Kay My Underground LairPosts: 6,514

    Perfect.

    I think overall your Phase Four demand is stronger the simpler it is. "Quit drinking" is a lot stronger than a shopping list of points.

      

    The Mindful Attraction Plan Book      One Hour Call   12-Week Guided MAP

    "The turnaround is tremendous.  And I'm lifting weights, eating better, and tackling projects.  I have all this great energy without a vampire sucking my life force.  :)  He's a lot stronger standing on his own two feet, as well."  - Scarlet

    PhoenixDown
  • DrBetaDrBeta USAPosts: 1,688Silver Member
    Athol_Kay said:

    Perfect.

    I think overall your Phase Four demand is stronger the simpler it is. "Quit drinking" is a lot stronger than a shopping list of points.

    Quit drinking comes first, and that does simplify, but I think the whole "shopping list" has to come out at once. 

    You can't bake a cake if you don't have all the basic ingredients.  If you leave one thing out, you just get crap out of the oven.

    So, while I agree that the message is stronger when it is simpler, I can't "trickle" my expectations.  I have to be able to say, "Here's what all my expectations are.  No surprises.  No moving goal posts.  I expect you to get here."

    And she's making progress on all fronts. 
    1. The drinking has not come to a complete halt.  It's way down, but there's still booze in the house, and it's been harder for her to quit than she thought.  The holidays aren't a "reason" -- they're an excuse.
    2. The productivity is up, but of course it's still spotty.
    3. The sex life is way, way up -- so that's helping me stay patient with other things.
    4. The negative talked has turned around.  That's way better.

    My understanding of Phase 4 is that I'm looking for a response from her.  It's not reasonable to expect her to accomplish everything all at once.  The point is that her behavior changes for the better, and it keeps getting better overall.

  • DrBetaDrBeta USAPosts: 1,688Silver Member
    edited December 2012
    There is beer in my fridge.

    Now, to most guys this ain't a shit test.  Maybe they'd even be like, "Good job, honey!"

    But given that expectation zero of my Phase 4 reboot is "Quit drinking," the beer that Mrs.Beta put in my fridge is a shit test.

    Or at least I hope it's just a shit test.

    The fact is that Mrs. Beta has responded to Phase 4, but she's been backsliding -- which for her means drinking again.  Daily.

    And she still hasn't gone to a single damn yoga class, or even to the gym.  And she isn't taking her zoloft (prescribed a month ago.  She filled the prescription, but hasn't taken it). 

    I won't touch her when she's drinking, and she knows this.  So I've largely been ignoring her at the end of the day when she drinks, but paying attention to her in the mornings, when she's cold sober.

    Meanwhile, she's complaining of minor aches and pains like she's some kind of an old man and pre-emptively rejecting sex that I'm not initiating.

    She's fallen behind on some chores, kept up with others, declined my invitation to attend an after hours work party, and declined another invitation to attend a friend's graduation party.

    She's withdrawing into herself and into her alcoholism.

    I'm reading The Turmoil of Someone Else's Drinking, and Courage to Change: One-Day-At-A-Time in Al Anon is on order.  I need to get thru the reading before I go to any meetings.

    I'm running thru how to handle the beer in my head.  I've got several different movies storyboarded in my mind.

    The one I'm thinking about is most like this (it's short).
    Me:  I want you to take the beer you put in my fridge and pour it down the drain.
    Her: Fuck you!  I can drink if I want!  I only had like a half a glass.
    Me: You may certainly drink all you want.  What remains to be seen is if you can both drink and stay married to me... . 
    Going this route is escalating.  It's foreshadowing a Phase 6, and I'm only just beginning Phase 5.  (E.g., I write on these boards in front her now.  I don't attempt to hide my contempt for the drinking.  I go to the parties without her and say what a great time it was.  I still need to get some "ducks in a row", though).

    I can't go that route as a bluff.  I would have to go deeper into Phase 5.

    Everybody on these boards knew that this moment would come, including me.  My preference is still for her to get her shit in one bag and our marriage back on track.

    The difficulty is that I can't MAP an alcoholic who won't take her prescribed antidepressant.

    Which means my other option is a re-re-boot of Phase 4 that goes back to "quit drinking" and adds, "take the damn Zoloft."

    Compared to that, the financial hell of divorce doesn't look as bad as it once did.
    Angeline
  • pastorgeekpastorgeek Dodgeville, WI. USAPosts: 752Silver Member
    If you run a "dry house", you could just pour all alcohol down the sink upon discovery. Leaving beer in the fridge seems to be enabling your wife.

    Can't offer any other advice on quitting drinking, as the Lord took my desire for alcohol away 18 years ago. (Good thing too, I was well on my way to becoming an alcoholic.)
  • fredlessfredless Posts: 2,133Silver Member
    Sadly, individuals with substance abuse/dependence issues do not quit unless they truly want to quit.  Moreover, substance abuse is often a maladaptive means of self-medicating underlying emotional pain/distress.  Until the underlying issues are dealt with, the substance abuse continues as it is the most expedient method of escaping the emotional pain.
    [Deleted User]JAKDrBeta
  • DrBetaDrBeta USAPosts: 1,688Silver Member
    If you run a "dry house", you could just pour all alcohol down the sink upon discovery. Leaving beer in the fridge seems to be enabling your wife. Can't offer any other advice on quitting drinking, as the Lord took my desire for alcohol away 18 years ago. (Good thing too, I was well on my way to becoming an alcoholic.)
    I've thought about pouring it down the drain, and I'm not going to do it. (I've done the pour-out in the past, and it doesn't seem to have gotten me anywhere).

    At this point, I prefer detachment.  She's free to drink as much as she wants without my nagging.  The problem is that she's in denial about the consequences of her drinking in our marriage.

    I am avoiding her this morning, just like I ignored her last night.  She's knows she's in the doghouse, but she won't confront.  I'll probably get some bullshit text messages at work today.

    I need to get some financial things in order and decide what kind of lifestyle I and the kids would have after a separation.  (Answer: pretty crappy).  I did re-read Phase 5 in MMSL last night, and it seems this can go on awhile.

    Also, I need to get to some Al-Anon meetings which is going to suck, from a schedule perspective.

    I'm not satisfied with the screenplay I've got above.  Although it does seem alpha to tell her explicitly what to do, I think addiction changes that equation.

    I can't count on dopamine/oxytocin/testosterone dominating the alcohol and its metabolites.  If she's not ready to quit drinking for herself then I need to get-the-fuck-out.

    I agree with AlphaStud that a Phase 4 re-reboot is a slippery slope to Nowheresville.  The more difficult thing here (and thus, the thing my inner child wants to whine about and avoid) is Phase 5 as a prelude to a Phase 6 ultimatum.

    So I'm still rewriting the screenplay, and it's along the lines of,
    "You need to choose whether you want that bottle or you want me, because I'm getting absolutely nothing out of your drinking anymore. 

    "You are cheating me out of my marriage."
    PhoenixDownAngeline
  • KatherineKellyKatherineKelly SeattlePosts: 1,402Silver Member

    Anxiety as specific triggers. Social anxiety is probably the most common.

    Boredom can lead to anxiety of an existential nature because the feeling of living "unalive" will create internal self talk of "whats the meaning of suffering and life"  leaving the person with a sense of purposelessness and fatalism.

    Our minds our living "experiencing" entities that will actually shrink in physical size when not given certain experiences and it is in this "shrinking" where suffering is experienced because the person is trapped in a belief system that prevents them from going "into" the experience necessary to sustain the brain as life.

    Fear of failure as it pertains to a sense of self worth and safety is also another common reason for anxiety because it is in this failure that existential fears are triggered (feeling unsafe)

    Anxiety is basically reinforcing fears that result in behavior that harms the physical brain by depriving it of the experiences it needs to be physically healthy.

    She needs to practice better "brain" management to escape the anxiety.

    This is broken down into two areas that are intertwined. The physical brain and the mental brain and each affects the other.

    The "physical brain" needs regular body exercise and proper nutrition otherwise the "mental brain" will suffer from the harm being done to the physical brain. (you are what you eat and do as "mind")

    The mental brain needs to address the question of "the meaning of life as pain (spiritual problem)"

    It needs to learn as an expression of curiosity to support and give reason to the meaning of life (purpose).

    Basically the mind needs to always be "expansive" or it will experience contraction which is felt like death.

    Her belief systems are keeping her from living expansively and by not living expansively she does not have the "will to life" so will not practice good self care of the body as "physical brain".

    The anxiety has her trapped in fear loops that than harm the brain "by the mind" so harms the mind creating a vicious self reinforcing loop of destructive behavior fed by fear and it is this fear she needs to be shocked out of. Our thinking changes the physical brain so changes the "mind" so you think yourself into sickness.

    If she has social fears that may be the place to attack by forcing her into society so she experiences the fear and survives it because in the surviving of the fear the fear will be lessened and she will break the habit of thinking herself into fear (sickness)

    Most social fear separate from physical violence is violence against the self by humiliation,embarrassment, rejection (anything that makes the person feel devalued as a human being so "less than" others) and comes from constant measurement as an act of negative self judgement so these patterns of thinking must be broken because they were learned so can be unlearned.

    If it is boredom she needs structure to create and feed the mind/brain "curiosity need" (hunger to experience) but it cannot be passive like televison but active as creative where learning is an "expansive experience" such as schooling, creative hobbies, reading to learn ,ect.

    The mind/brain relationship as the experience of "health or sickness" must be solved holistically by changing both "what effects the physical brain" and "what affects the mind" because they are separate so separate problems but intertwined so interdependant.

    Exercise, good nutrition, curiosity as learning for an expansive experience, confront fears to "go into and through anxiety" by physically creating the potential for the "bad" thing the mind is thinking will happen so it than survives "the bad" and slowly learns there is no "bad" so reducing anxiety i.e.( you must never run away from fear)

    The yoga could be an important tool to challenge social anxiety and give her exercise. The alcohol will change brain chemistry because the physical brain only should be given that which supports the physical body as nutrition. If the body does not need it than it is bad for the brain so the mind.

    Regular exercise also stabilizes brain chemistry and without exercise it is impossible to have good mental health for very long. You are (feel as mind) what you do as exercise and much depression would be solved through exercise.

    Sex as exercise is very good for the brain "so mind" and also addresses existential problems of separation and death so is good for the "mind" and that is good for the brain. Sex relieves existential anxiety but only temporarily.

    I usually do not recommend cult solutions to anxiety problems but you may want to read up on "landmark" because it can be a very powerful form of psychological  "shock therapy" by the group dynamics and control techniques they implement.

    I do not use the word cult in the perjorative sense but as a word to describe a certain form of organizational structure through methodology. In a sense all organizations are "cults" as  a form of indoctrination necessary to sustain the organization.

  • DrBetaDrBeta USAPosts: 1,688Silver Member
    AWACS said:
    It seems pretty clear it's time for either "quit the booze or I serve you divorce papers in a week". I for sure would not want my kids growing up with an alcoholic mother. 
    LOL!  Too late for that.  Youngest of three is in HS.

    I don't want to over-dramatize the impact on the kids.  I'm not saying it's a positive!  I'm saying that the outcomes for adult children of alcoholics range from terrible to excellent.    The kids seem to be more on the excellent side (so far), so there's no use looking back with regrets on that front.

    My fear for them now is more like, "I wouldn't want my adolescent children to enter adulthood with a Father that is incapacitated by an alcoholic wife."
  • DrBetaDrBeta USAPosts: 1,688Silver Member
    edited December 2012
    If you run a "dry house", you could just pour all alcohol down the sink upon discovery. Leaving beer in the fridge seems to be enabling your wife. Can't offer any other advice on quitting drinking, as the Lord took my desire for alcohol away 18 years ago. (Good thing too, I was well on my way to becoming an alcoholic.)
    I've thought about pouring it down the drain, and I'm not going to do it. (I've done the pour-out in the past, and it doesn't seem to have gotten me anywhere).


    At this point, I prefer detachment.  She's free to drink as much as she wants without my nagging.  The problem is that she's in denial about the consequences of her drinking in our marriage.

    I am avoiding her this morning, just like I ignored her last night.  She's knows she's in the doghouse, but she won't confront.  I'll probably get some bullshit text messages at work today.

    I need to get some financial things in order and decide what kind of lifestyle I and the kids would have after a separation.  (Answer: pretty crappy).  I did re-read Phase 5 in MMSL last night, and it seems this can go on awhile.

    Also, I need to get to some Al-Anon meetings which is going to suck, from a schedule perspective.

    I'm not satisfied with the screenplay I've got above.  Although it does seem alpha to tell her explicitly what to do, I think addiction changes that equation.

    I can't count on dopamine/oxytocin/testosterone dominating the alcohol and its metabolites.  If she's not ready to quit drinking for herself then I need to get-the-fuck-out.

    I agree with AlphaStud that a Phase 4 re-reboot is a slippery slope to Nowheresville.  The more difficult thing here (and thus, the thing my inner child wants to whine about and avoid) is Phase 5 as a prelude to a Phase 6 ultimatum.

    So I'm still rewriting the screenplay, and it's along the lines of,
    "You need to choose whether you want that bottle or you want me, because I'm getting absolutely nothing out of your drinking anymore. 

    "You are cheating me out of my marriage."
    Wow. I'm so sorry. I do think you are on the right track. She is going to have to become completely miserable in order to want to change. We all have to get there. Losing you, or the realization that you are serious and making plans to leave, might be what it takes. But we all have to hit our own personal bottom in order to change the hard stuff. Don't let her worsening misery change your action plan. That's actually a sign that there is still hope. I hope you can make some special memories with your kiddos this Christmas. Find some joy in the little stuff. I read an idea of driving around and voting on the best light display, then leaving a note and some goodies on that doorstep telling the family that they won your family's contest. Fun times, with carols cranked up and candy canes being munched. :) We are rooting for you and Mrs. Beta. :x
    That's an awesome idea

    I agree that I need some alpha plans for me and the kids this holiday.  I think we're going to bundle up and find some snow.  Head to the mountains.  Maybe even find some skis.

    Mrs.Beta can spend it staring into the bottom of a wine bottle, for all I care.  But I really like the idea of a change of scenery for me and the kids.

    Thanks for your post and your support.
    AlphaBelleAngeline
  • DrBetaDrBeta USAPosts: 1,688Silver Member
    @KatherineKelly

    As usual, you've looked deeper into the black pool of emotion from which troubles like this arise and you've seen things that I could never find.

    Mrs.Beta experiences both social anxiety and boredom, and these reinforce one another.  Her low self esteem prevents her from having the courage to take her zoloft, because that would seem like piling another failure onto the waste that is currently her life (in her opinion).  So she self-medicates with alcohol, which damages her body.

    Thus leading to aches, pains, restless nights, and a general malaise.

    This gives her reasons to avoid the social situations (e.g., holiday parties) that she didn't have the courage to go to anyway.

    It also is a passive-aggressive, preemptive rejection of me (which is really a rejection of herself).  Her unconscious mind is hoping that I'll respond to her rejection with anger or some other moral transgression that will allow her to project her self-rejection onto me -- as if I were somehow responsible for her choices -- and thus escape responsibility for her own self-loathing.

    In her mind, forcing my behavior is her only hope.  That is, I think she's unconsciously hoping that I'll do something terrible (like cheat on her) that allows her to hit the emotional circuit breaker.  She'll be able to forgive herself if she can write off all the sins of her past as DrBeta's "fault".

    She would emerge from that crisis (in this unconscious fantasy) as chaste again -- cleansed of her previous transgressions and giving herself a clean moral slate.

    That's a huge price to pay (and of course it would never work), but I do believe she's desperate for this kind of external second chance.

    The alternative, which is to try to climb out the hole she's in without the luxury of this forgiveness boost is to risk an existential failure.  That's too frightening.

    In a way, drinking is a way of buying herself some time -- like living her life at half speed by anesthetizing herself, and praying for a miracle.

    I rarely have the energy for such complexities. 

    I'm like, "Quit drinking.  Get yourself to the fucking yoga class and then I'll screw your brains out.  How hard is this?"

    I want it to be simpler than it is.  In fact, I need it to be simpler than it is.

     


    [Deleted User]LokiAngeline
  • JAKJAK Posts: 111Member
    KK's comment reminded me of something. Not sure how relevant this is to you, but putting it out there.
    I have a cousin who drinks for anxiety. She doesn't call it that, but she feels overwhelmed and jittery, and has a drink or two slowly over the afternoon and evening and feels better: self-medication. She doesn't get puking/slurring/accidentally setting fire to things while cooking drunk, although she doesn't drive in the latter part of the day.

    For the longest time, she resisted getting medication to deal with this. She saw it as weak and dependent and an admission of mental illness (the irony being that objectively, drinking every day to accomplish the same thing fits these words better than taking a prescribed anxiolytic.) Her blood sugars started getting screwy, though (she's pre-diabetic) and her doctor finally got through to her that however she feels about taking a pill, it is easier on her liver and metabolism and brain and body in general, it won't incapacitate her (making her unable to drive, for instance) once it's properly calibrated and it's way less addictive.

    Part of it was her self-image - to her an alcoholic was a guy who drank til he puked at the bar and woke up in strange places, not a functioning housewife who drank to steady her nerves; and someone who took prescriptions was crazy/weak. The blood sugar thing was a wake up call, though, and shook her out of this.

    Anyway, knock wood she's been doing well for a few months now. She's close to me - closer than some of my siblings - and for a while we didn't talk much because this was just too frustrating. This has changed the way I thought about her drinking, and drinking problems in general. There was a problem that wasn't being met; she was unable, due to misconceptions, to get appropriate help, so self-medicated. It was a coping mechanism of a sort, just one with a lot of problems associated with it.
    DrBetaAngeline
  • DrBetaDrBeta USAPosts: 1,688Silver Member
    @JAK

    There's a lot of Mrs. Beta in your cousin's experience -- except she adds the extra-special sauce of drinking to the point of passing out, waking only to puke up her confessions at the porcelain altar the next day.

    Looking back on the dozen or so times that this has happened, it's probably fortunate that she hasn't choked on her own vomit.  (Undergrad College Roommate Care 101).
  • DrBetaDrBeta USAPosts: 1,688Silver Member
    @KatherineKelly

    Coincidentally, I have been doing some reading on Landmark.  I've looked at courses in my area and talked with a Landmark instructor in some detail. 

    I haven't attended Landmark Forum.  I haven't committed to that, but I haven't written it off, either.
Sign In or Register to comment.