Recently, I met with a couple for the first time and it was evident by her admission that the wife would drink regularly. This was the elephant in the room that was not only a major reason contributing to their divorce, but was standing in the way of a successful mediation because:
- She was unable to make decisions about pretty much anything,
- She had trouble concentrating,
- She could not relax.
I asked them to describe what was going on and any specific issues that they were facing.
The husband said, “My wife will get up at 2:00 a.m. and go and get a drink and then come back to bed smelling of alcohol.”
The wife’s response was that the drink helped her to relax. I asked her why sleeping didn’t relax her? She said, sleeping only allowed her to focus on the need for her to drink in order to relax.
We shouldn’t be surprised that this doesn’t really make sense to us – – we don’t have the addiction problem. However, this isn’t uncommon for people who have addictions, because they have accepted this behavior as part of their lives and have ignored what makes them do this.
I suggested they speak with a therapist I knew, who specialized in addictions. After a couple of visits with the therapist, they resumed the mediation process and we concluded a successful mediation. Although therapy did not save their marriage, I believe it played an important part in saving her life. She continued with therapy and entered a program to help with her addiction. I heard from the wife several months later. She had stopped drinking and was starting to deal with the reasons that caused her to start drinking in the first place.
I have seen how working with a therapist who specializes in addiction problems can be a great benefit to clients who have addictions as they go through the mediation process. Please contact me so I can offer this valuable benefit to my clients.