Bipolar Husband: What to say to encourage positive behaviour

by Bella

My husband has been a compulsive exerciser. Training for triathalons. All of a sudden he has stopped exercising and has said now it's time to be normal - Lazy and an alcoholic. He is very down and depressed sulking like a toddler cause I won't let him get an expensive race bike.

What do I say to someone when they say they want to be an alcoholic? I did hide the alcohol but do not know what else to do. My partner was diagnosed with bipolar 3 yrs ago and at the moment it is difficult for everyone, our son is 4 yrs old

Bella nsw

Ben's Answer:

Clearly your husband is in denial about his Bipolar Disorder. Drinking will make it worse. Sounds like he self-medicates himself with either exercise or alcohol. Of course exercise is the better choice - but either way, it sounds like he's not really taking responsibility for his own recovery. It never works for a spouse to be in the position of policing and enforcing the "rules." You can't be expected to hide the alcohol and this will only be a temporary and useless measure to keep him safe.

If a person says they want to be an alcoholic, then you have to ask yourself if you want to live with a person who wants to be an alcoholic. He has to want to get healthy and if you and his 4 year old child aren't enough of a natural incentive for him to stop drinking, then you had better start focusing on taking care of yourself and your son, and less on saving your husband.

He has to get a serious wake-up call or he's not going to change. Just keep yourself and your child safe, first and foremost.

There are many paths to health, but you have to really want it.

Take Care,
Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist

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