What Made Ray Give Up Alcohol

Ray came to see me because his “marriage was in trouble”, it was his decision to come. He started by telling me about his weekly binge drinking sessions which were originally just on a Friday night but over time were occurring at least three times a week. Over the past year he and his wife “Ronny’ (short for Veronica) fought nearly every day, they had not been intimate for nearly two years and things were really “rock bottom”. They had 2 kids under 5 and he didn’t want them to grow up with a drunk/hungover dad. He was teary and looked worn out.

I asked him to tell me what his life was like before marriage and also what he thought married life would be like back then. As Ray’s story flowed out he realised that he had never really stopped still living like a single guy and that he definitely wasn’t being the husband he had envisioned when married Ronny. Ray became very upset, speaking about himself as a ‘loser’ who doesn’t deserve a life with Ronny and the kids”. With a bit of time Ray came to accept that his ‘past behaviour’ doesn’t need to be his ‘current behaviour’ and that beating himself up for all the hurt he had caused wasn’t at all helpful. His two main focusses were to work on ‘self care’ by going to the gym a few mornings a week and to ‘practice being truly present’ when he was with Ronny and the kids.

During the first few weeks of our work together Ray barely had a drink, mainly because he was too scared of what terrible things he might say or do and what disaster that might lead to. Interestingly for Ray these few alcohol free weeks turned out to be the most uplifting weeks of his ‘grown up life’ (sic) and that was enough to turn him off booze for ever. He loved waking up with a clear mind and good energy, he loved not upsetting Ronny in a drunken stupor, he loved playing with the kids early in the morning without a hang over and he loved the feeling his life now gave him.

Ray’s time on my couch and helped him connect to his values of health and family and, as this connection became stronger it naturally over-rode his inclination to hit the pub. It was not a forced decision and as he tells everyone, it wasn’t even hard because it was all based on his priority and commitment to nurture his health and family. And yes, Ronny is over the moon.


Image by Filios Sazeides


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