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Living with new reality

Old 07-10-2010, 12:27 AM
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TeM
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Unhappy Living with new reality

I'm new here, and my problems don't seem quite so severe or urgent after reading some of the other posts. However, I feel like I'm in a slow motion train wreck, and need to tell somebody about it. From reading other threads, I'm assuming the abbreviation AW stands for Alcoholic Wife, so I will use it here. If that's incorrect, somebody please tell me.

I've been married 29 years; things were okay at first, but AW was diagnosed with OCD early in the marriage. Her obsession was cancer... any little bump or pain would send her into a dibilitating, obsessive panic. She finally went to a psychiatrist and started taking Prozac, which seemed to help. That was just the beginning, though. She now takes 21 prescription drugs for depression, panic, OCD and numerous physical problems related to obesity.

Eventually she reached the point that she couldn't work, and was able to get disability and Medicare. I feel guilty about having to take government assistance, but her meds would have bankrupted us years ago without it.

The drinking has been there in the background the whole time, I guess. She always liked beer, but would only have two or three at one time. After she stopped working, she drank more often and in greater quantities, maybe because of the boredom. She doesn't do housework, has no hobbies... just sleeps and watches TV all day.

A few years ago she started drinking Crown Royal. I first learned how much when I came home and our daughter said AW had fallen and broken her glasses. AW was in a stupor and smelled like a wino. Daughter and I checked the cabinets and found fifteen or twenty of those little blue velvet Crown Royal bags. I knew she had been drinking the stuff, but it was that day that I realized she was an alcoholic.

I confronted her the next day and she said she'd stop. For a while it seemed like she did, or slowed down. She would still drink beer, but not the hard stuff. About a year ago she started drinking Jack Daniels, and would be drunk when I came home about twice a week. I confronted her again after another fall, and she promised to stop... again.

Same pattern... she drank beer but didn't get sloppy drunk. Then, a few months ago, she tried Vodka, and has been drinking it ever since. Now, when she does switch to beer, it's virtually nonstop.... 10 to 12 cans in a day. She's back on the Vodka this week, and I believe it's the longest I've gone without seeing her sober. She's been drunk every night this week.

I've come to face the reality over the past couple of months that she's probably not going to quit. Whenever I bring it up, she tells me to stop making such a big deal out of it. I can't even get her to discuss it with her psychiatrist; she's in total denial.

Daughter is 17, and she's totally disgusted and embarrassed. AW has been drunk in front of her friends several times. I, too, am disgusted and embarrassed... even angry. I'm feeling a little ashamed because my feelings for AW have undergone such a drastic change. It's like living with a total stranger. After dealing with the OCD and the drinking for all these years, my sympathy reservoir is about dried up.

Sorry to ramble on so long. I know that nobody can tell me what to do, or solve my problem. It's just nice to know I'm not alone, and others have gone through similar situations. I'm just recently coming to grips with the magnitude of the problem and it's implications for the future. I know we've got a long road ahead.

Thanks for listening.
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Old 07-10-2010, 01:25 AM
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get it, give it, grow in it
 
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Take care of you.
I rec. working the program of al-anon by going to regular meetings. There you can have a shift in thinking followed by a better capacity to make good decisions for yourself.
You can learn to focus on your own needs and make the necessary changes to get them met. Your home could use change, let it begin w/ you.
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Old 07-10-2010, 02:03 AM
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21 prescription drugs....AND drinking?

How many of those drugs have a "do not drink while using this medication" label on them??

That's really a rhetorical question because i'm sure you're aware many psych meds, you're not supposed to drink with them-I don't think I have to tell you she is putting her life at grave risk.
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Old 07-10-2010, 03:09 AM
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Welcome TeM. When I found this board it felt like I had found a life raft! To have others that understood. The stickies at the top have a lot of great things in them. Keep reading and posting.

I would also recommend findind and attending al-anon meetings. There are also al-ateen meetings for your daughter.
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Old 07-10-2010, 06:57 AM
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Welcome to the SR family!

You will find support and information here. Please make yourself at home by reading and posting as much as needed.

Some of our stories and lots of wisdom can be found in the permanent (sticky) posts at the top of this forum.

This is from a sticky post at the top:
http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...l-problem.html

The three A's of recovery are:
Awareness
Acceptance
Action

Congratulations on achieving Awareness of the situation. Your recovery journey begins here.

You are not alone. We are here to support you.
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Old 07-10-2010, 08:10 AM
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Old 07-10-2010, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by TeM View Post
1)Daughter is 17, and she's totally disgusted and embarrassed.

2) I, too, am disgusted and embarrassed... even angry. I'm feeling a little ashamed

3)Thanks for listening.
1) & 2) maybe its time for AL ANON...and your daughter maybe AL ATEEN...?? the tools will help you

3) THANK YOU FOR SHARING!!
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Old 07-10-2010, 08:44 AM
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Hi TeM, and welcome

Now that we know all about your AW, how about telling us a little bit about how you're doing? Do you have any sort of plan?

Counseling was very helpful for me, and al-Anon is always there for you also.

You can't fix her, she has to do that for herself, so focus on your needs
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Old 07-10-2010, 08:46 AM
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L2L just love the serenity prayer....learn more about those words EVERYDAY
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Old 07-10-2010, 10:13 AM
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TeM-

Take care of yourself...right now your daughter needs one parent to be healthy and strong.
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Old 07-10-2010, 01:29 PM
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Thanks for the replies. I'm on an older computer, and I can't seem to reply to individual posts. I'll try to briefly address the questions here.

Sandrawg, you've hit the nail on the head. I've pointed this out to her several times in our "discussions". She just stares off into space and doesn't reply, even when sober. The thing that frustrates me is that she's always been so finicky about health issues, almost to the point of hypochondria... yet she's systematically poisoning her liver with alcohol. I don't get it.

Still Waters, thanks for asking. I don't have a plan yet, but I'm working on one. I think I've been deluding myself until recently that she might quit, but that doesn't look so likely now. Right now I'm doing as HanahGoodness suggested, trying to be there for my daughter. Beyond that, I'm not sure.

I used to drink on occasion... a beer or two or a Bloody Mary, but I've given it up completely after seeing what it's done to AW.

Our finances are less than wonderful, due mostly to foolish credit card debt (for which I have to take part of the blame), but we'll maintain as long as I have a job. I can't do anything drastic right now, because we're upside down in our house. Besides, I'd like to keep things as stable as possible while our daughter is still living with us. Once she moves out, I'll have to step back and take inventory.

Fortunately, AW isn't abusive or dangerous to anyone but herself when she drinks. I do worry about her falling or setting the house on fire if she's here alone, but I don't really know how to guard against that. Mostly, she just drinks herself into a stupor and sits there. It's painful to watch, and I feel like I should be able to help her, but all the research I've done on this subject tells me I can't.

Thanks again to all of you. I suspect that I'll be visiting often.
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Old 07-10-2010, 02:13 PM
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Unfortunately, you'll probably never get it.

Alcoholism makes no sense from a logical perspective. People in AA call it a "cunning, baffling" disease. You never really know what that means until you're in a rel'ship with an A.

I would suspect her mental problems have a lot to do with it.

As for providing your daughter some stability...I'm not trying to give you a hard time. But how stable to do you think an environment that is, when she has to walk around embarrassed about her mother's behavior? When she sees that, instead of a mother who's active in her life-the kind of parenting a teenager needs-she has a mother who sits around getting blotto?

I remember being that age. I was so lucky my mother was always there to talk to, to get guidance from....my mom made me my prom dress...I mean, she was THERE for me.

Your daughter not only has an effectively absent mother. She has a mother who has to be treated like the child of the family. Y'know, keep the keys away from her, she might drive drunk. We gotta figure out how to keep her from setting the house on fire accidentally....not to mention, seeing her mother just sit there and drink herself into oblivion and effectively kill herself slowly.

I can't imagine enduring that at the age of 17.

People with A parents often grow up to become As themselves, or to end up in rel'ships with As, unless they get help. I think your daughter might be silently screaming on the inside to get help and protection from all of this insanity. I'd hardly call this situation "stable."

Originally Posted by TeM View Post
Thanks for the replies. I'm on an older computer, and I can't seem to reply to individual posts. I'll try to briefly address the questions here.

Sandrawg, you've hit the nail on the head. I've pointed this out to her several times in our "discussions". She just stares off into space and doesn't reply, even when sober. The thing that frustrates me is that she's always been so finicky about health issues, almost to the point of hypochondria... yet she's systematically poisoning her liver with alcohol. I don't get it.

Still Waters, thanks for asking. I don't have a plan yet, but I'm working on one. I think I've been deluding myself until recently that she might quit, but that doesn't look so likely now. Right now I'm doing as HanahGoodness suggested, trying to be there for my daughter. Beyond that, I'm not sure.

I used to drink on occasion... a beer or two or a Bloody Mary, but I've given it up completely after seeing what it's done to AW.

Our finances are less than wonderful, due mostly to foolish credit card debt (for which I have to take part of the blame), but we'll maintain as long as I have a job. I can't do anything drastic right now, because we're upside down in our house. Besides, I'd like to keep things as stable as possible while our daughter is still living with us. Once she moves out, I'll have to step back and take inventory.

Fortunately, AW isn't abusive or dangerous to anyone but herself when she drinks. I do worry about her falling or setting the house on fire if she's here alone, but I don't really know how to guard against that. Mostly, she just drinks herself into a stupor and sits there. It's painful to watch, and I feel like I should be able to help her, but all the research I've done on this subject tells me I can't.

Thanks again to all of you. I suspect that I'll be visiting often.
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Old 07-10-2010, 02:46 PM
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You're right, Sandrawg... maybe I'm still in a bit of denial myself. The good thing is that Daughter has a boyfriend who treats her very well, and they spend a lot of time together. His mother is also an alcoholic, so they can relate to each other....and neither of them drinks. I told her to never start; hope she listens.

I know I should probably separate myself and Daughter from the situation, but that is impossible financially. AW also has a slight hoarding problem, though it's confined to a couple of rooms... I refuse to let it consume the whole house. A divorce would mean selling the house, and there's no way it would ever sell in the shape it's in, not to mention what we owe on it. Getting it back in shape is part of my evolving plan.

Thanks for the advice; I still have lots of reality to face.
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Old 07-10-2010, 03:15 PM
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Believe me, I understand denial. We've all been in it.

Be careful that you're not just engaging in narrow-minded thinking to feed that denial. You are never a prisoner...you're never locked into any situation..there are ALWAYS solutions.

I got divorced, and we didn't have to sell our house. I wonder if "this house will never sell" is just an obstacle you're placing in front of yourself. Change is hard, I know. But sometimes we make it harder by imagining more obstacles to change than there really are.

Originally Posted by TeM View Post
You're right, Sandrawg... maybe I'm still in a bit of denial myself. The good thing is that Daughter has a boyfriend who treats her very well, and they spend a lot of time together. His mother is also an alcoholic, so they can relate to each other....and neither of them drinks. I told her to never start; hope she listens.

I know I should probably separate myself and Daughter from the situation, but that is impossible financially. AW also has a slight hoarding problem, though it's confined to a couple of rooms... I refuse to let it consume the whole house. A divorce would mean selling the house, and there's no way it would ever sell in the shape it's in, not to mention what we owe on it. Getting it back in shape is part of my evolving plan.

Thanks for the advice; I still have lots of reality to face.
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Old 08-13-2010, 04:05 PM
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TeM,

It sounds as if there are several layers of your own recovery (from living your married life with an A wife) that you are in the process of peeling away. Like you, I've had to take stock in what is necessary to take care of first. Then, you will one by one be able to make your move thoughtfully. It is a painfully slow process when you have finances, child(ren), house, and property. For me, I felt it necessary to stay and try to support my A husband in the start of a recovery program. However, I am finding that my compassion for his healing has come at the expense of my own happiness within myself. By giving up my happiness for him, I am burying myself. Not a good thing to do. My ah-ha moment came this summer when I realized that leaving him is the only thing I can do to save my own sanity. It takes time to start peeling back my layers. I will get there....and when I do, it will be a glorious day indeed!
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