DrBeta: 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
3.Self-care (stay in good shape, dentist, doctors, etc.)
4.No negative talk
Are really all sub-ordinate to this one:
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.
Athol: I think it’s worth remembering that the MAP works for any “intolerable relationship breaking problem”. It’s just a case of getting to the point where you’re strong enough to walk away from them if they continue to persist in doing what they are doing. It’s not just about getting more sex.
It’s important that the Phase Four demand isn’t frivolous. You can’t pop these demands out willy-nilly and not eventually get a failed relationship as your partner gives up on the endless ultimatums. It needs to be something that an impartial observer would agree was a serious and meaningful problem. Alcoholism meets that requirement.
Also the simpler your Phase Four demand is, the stronger it is. “Quit drinking” is a clear simple directive understood by even a toddler. They may not want it, but they understand what you’re telling them. There’s no wiggle room on getting confused by the demand. Reading a shopping list of points dilutes everything and turns into a debate.
Also with a short simple demand, you can also say it with such greater force of will, that it has a better impact. If you’re a geek, Phase Four always sounds best “in the original Klingon”. Bonus points for the correct reference.
Phase Four means the debate is over. You’re demanding they stop talking and choose.