Redux

redux (adj)brought back
Her husband is alcoholic.  This is her second marriage.  Her first husband was alcoholic too.
 As was dad.
 “I always swore I’d never marry someone like my father,” she says.  “Then I do it twice.  What am I, stupid?  Self-destructive?”
 “Neither,” I say.  “You’re still trying to get dad to stop drinking.”
 She looks at me as if I just spoke Klingon.
 “Kids with a problem parent often grow up to find partners that remind them of the parent.  It’s why kids from alcoholic families marry alcoholics, kids from abusive families marry abusers, and so on.”
 “We’re all stupid?” she frowns.
 “No.  You’re all trying to heal the old wound.
 “First you recreate the scene of the crime by finding someone like dad.  Then you try to fix him.  If you can fix him it’s almost as good as fixing your father.  At least that’s the unconscious logic.  It’s called repetition compulsion.
“Does it ever work?”
I shake my head.  “Not in my experience.”
“How can I stop?” she asks.
“Well, you become conscious of your unconscious motive.  That’s what we’re doing now.”
She nods.
 “Then you grieve the old wound – let yourself feel and express what you couldn’t as a kid.  The helplessness, anxiety, sadness, anger.”
 Her eyes fill.
 “I know.  Not fun.  But essential to putting the past behind you.”
 “Then you start making choices based on your current situation instead of the old nightmare.  For example, you accept that your husband’s drinking – like dad’s – is a problem only he can solve.  You stop trying to control it.  I’ll help with that.”
 “Sounds like lots of work,” she says.
 “Sure,” I say.  “Recovery’s never a walk in the park.
 “Just better than repeating the nightmare.”
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