Help/Advice - What do I do now?

Old 08-07-2010, 08:44 AM
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Question Help/Advice - What do I do now?


I am the husband of a serial relapser. My 47 year old wife of 10 years has been in rehab many times - and for 34 weeks in the last 21 months. She also self-harms and has over-dosed on medications several times in apparent suicide attempts. She has two children at home - the youngest 18. She has been seeing a psychiatrist who specialises in alcoholism for some months.

My wife had a big drink problem long before I met her but I think it has become worse over the years we have been married - although she did manage three (almost) sober years on Antabuse.

After 3 months sober she has relapsed again recently and is in a bad way. She also crashed her car last week and is being charged with DUI. This is her second offence in 10 years so she will get a long ban (at least 36 months).

My BIG ISSUE is that, apart from the obvious problems I have, I am concerned I am now part of the problem but unsure what to do to avoid further damage.

Despite telling me she depends on me and that she would have spent her life in jail without me, my wife tells me that (a) she no longer trusts me over money (she spends it like water so I have to keep an eye on it which she resents) (b) I am always angry and (c) she tells lies about her behavior because she is frightened by me

As far as (b) and (c) are concerned I am not really surprised to be honest. I have long been at my wits end over her behaviour and the humiliation it brings. I don't need to describe here the kind of things I have been through because you will have too (ask me sometime about the occasion it took the police and I a week to find her car after she abandoned it to drink). And - yes - it makes me angry and I react.

So - maybe it is in both our interest for me to move out and move on - but the problem I have is that any time previously we have discussed me moving out, she has over-dosed and I have had to pick up the pieces. Only today I caught her on a chair, with a necktie round her neck, trying to find something to tie it to.

I have tried to my best over the years even though I am probably not the easiest person to live with. I have ignored her affairs, paid off her bank and credit card debts repeatedly, paid over $100000 for rehabs, paid for psychiatric help - and taken responsibility for the house and my step-children.

So folks, how does one move on in this situation when I know what she will try to do and am scared by it? The 18 year old (who has one year of college to do yet) cries with fear when she is like this and I have to be away on work. How do I leave this situation even if its what she says she wants/needs?

Or do I just have to accept it as my life's burden?

Sorry if I sound selfish. I am well aware I have contributed to this and am weighed down by guilt - but cannot see a way forward for us both.

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Old 08-07-2010, 08:56 AM
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Can you have her temporarily committed due to the suicidal gesture?

You need some good legal advice on how to protect yourself financially and keep yourself and the children in the home. Obviously she isn't in any position to care for the house and the kids, and getting her out of the house would seem to be the first step.

You've done what you can to help her, but the ball is in her court at this point. Allowing her to continue to hold you hostage to her disease is not going to get her well, and it is likely to push you and the kids over the edge.

You and the kids might benefit a lot from some Al-Anon meetings. Everyone needs to understand the limitations on what can be done to help someone who is bent on self-destruction.

It's a scary situation, but you need to take care of yourself and the kids for your own sakes.
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Old 08-07-2010, 08:57 AM
  # 3 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Baton Rouge, La.
Posts: 13,479
My family did an intervention
on me where I was picked up
by the authorities and taken to

The first night i was there I spent
on the bottom floor of the phyciatric

With a number of test given an
passed, it was soon determined
that i had a drinking problem
which contributed to my crazy

My family saw that i was in trouble
and got me the help i so needed
and couldnt or wouldnt get for

I spent 28 days in rehab where
I picked up the tools and knowledge
of my disease of alcoholism.

Applying those tools to my everyday
life, i have managed to accumulate
a number of one days at a time to
get me where i am today.

Hi Im Sharon and Im an alcoholic.

By the grace of my HP and people
like you here in SR I havent found
it necessary to pick up a drink of
alcohol since 8-11-90.

For that and you I am truely grateful.

My family doing for me what I couldnt
do for myself yrs ago saved my life.
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Old 08-07-2010, 01:28 PM
  # 4 (permalink)  
peaceful seabird
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Welcome to the SR family!

Please make yourself at home by reading and posting as much as needed.

You don't sound selfish to me. You sound like I did when I hit my emotional bottom of living with an active alcoholic. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired of the chaos.

There is help for you. One of the things I needed to understand about my partners alcoholism was the three C's of addiction:
I did not cause it
I could not control it
I would not cure it

This is a progressive addiction. It gets worse. It is up to the alcoholic to get lasting treatment. Unfortunately, some do not succeed in kicking the addiction.

Here is one of our sticky (permanent) posts about how to help an alcoholic:

Those steps have worked for many of us.

Let us know how we can support you. You are not alone.
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Old 08-08-2010, 06:27 AM
  # 5 (permalink)  
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Posts: 2,059
hi tantalus-

well, if you want to leave, you should. we have a saying here "let go or be dragged" ...

since you live in the UK, she will have access to medical support without you.

i think if i was you, i would put together a plan of exit and execute it. due to her fragile emotional state, it might be best to not tell her or forewarn her.

if it was me, i would make my plan, exit, tell her as you walk out and also, call the police to say you are worried about her safety to herself. in the uk, they will come and take her to a doctor for evaluation.

as for the children, well, they aren't children at 18 and older, are they? i would carefully weigh telling them of your plans before you execute them. it depends if they can keep a confidence or not. if they can, they might want to exit themselves, as the burden of their mother's excesses will fall on their shoulders if they are last man standing.

for yourself, have you considered therapy? i find it very helpful in sorting out everything which has occurred with my xABF.

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Old 08-08-2010, 11:16 AM
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Hi Tantalus

It's been a few day and not a lot of responses.

I actually waited to say anything myself, because your situation is quite scary. And to tell the truth way out my league as far as advice goes.


One thing I can say - is you don't have to suffer. You have done all you can. You put in your time - paid your dues - all of it.

You are not required to give up your entire life and any chance of having happiness.

Your wife is very very sad- but she is grown woman and must be responsible for her life, or ending it even if that is what she wants.

She makes her choices and you have the right to make yours.

It's called FREE WILL.

Good luck - keep posting and reading

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Old 08-08-2010, 12:38 PM
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Wellcome Tantalus,
(your nick certainly sounds appropriate). So sorry you're going through this.
I agree with others who say you're wife is grown up who should be responsible for her own life, but I think it is obvious at this point of her alcoholims she's uncapable to think or act rationally or responisibly. Also IMO things will not ger better unless she gets treatment and during that time maybe does enough work on herself to decide she wants to recover. Also, lately I think the alcoholism is always only a symptom of some deeper underlying problems in personality. My opininon is she would have to work on these issues first. But you know all this.
I think if you still want to keep trying to do something for her, you can try having her committed into psycic ward, I don't think that should be a problem with all the suicide threats. That's something I'd do.
Actually that is something I did. I'll tell you my story. Six months ago my RAH, stil active in drinking, started looking very bad, losing weight, having all kinds of crazy bahaviours, and at some point I realized he was possibly dying. he kept refusing to go to the doc's, so eventually I asked him to move out, so he did. I knew at the time he was unable to think straight, to make any decisions, but I just simply couldn't take it any more. I was terrified of the idea of him dying with kids being present. But I decided to just to try to do another thing before I let him go for good. I phoned his mum, and made a huge fuss over him going to die, and that they have to take him to hospital, so after resenting me they decided they don't want to take chance that just maybe I'm right, so his brother literaly dragged him to hospital.
My RAH was diagnozed with end stage liver disease, and told he is not likely to survive. 3rd day in the hospital he suffered DT, halucinated he's being chased by someone and run away from the hospital. The morning after friends found him wondering the streets, all bruised, his clothes torn, barefoot and wet. I committed him to psyhiatric ward, and they took care of him but only overnight, as they were worried they can't treat his liver problems properly, and were afraid he might die there, so they shipped him back to the initial hospital. Of course they were reluctant to have him back there for the fear of more episodes. I insisted they have him strapped to his bed. He was on strong tranquillisers until he's liver started working a bit better, so his brain started clarning from the toxins. After one month in the hospital, and since he was recovering well (I guess mainly thanks to the fact he's only 38) they send him to home rest. The same day I took him back to the shrink, who's been working with him ever since. That was a month and a half ago. Only recently I can see he's able to think straight, he can make rational decisions, and the more he's able to do that, the more I'm stepping back and letting him take charge of his life. As before he was simply unable to do that. I don't know what is going to happen, if he's going to stay true to his recovery, I can see he has his heart and mind in the right place for today, and to me that is good enough. If that is to change than I'm afraid I'll have to let him go his own way. This is as much as I can do.
My point is this, and I'm only saying this bacause you've asked for advice: you should do something: either have her committed and maybe give her support through it, or just leave her and remove yourself from this situation, whatever feels right in your heart, but please remember, and this is only my opinion, things will not get better by itself, as I'm afraid it sounds to me she's passed that point where she can help herself.
Also, I'd like to say, please take care of yourself, and work on yourself. Through all this ordeal in my life in the passed 6 months I have learned so much, most importantly how to be happy regardless of other people.
I wish you well
PS And all that guilt is not helping you: you did the best you could, that's is as much as any of us can do. Forgive yourself for everything you feel you did wrong, you're only human.
Take care
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Old 08-09-2010, 09:07 AM
  # 8 (permalink)  
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Hi Tantalus and welcome.

What do I do now? ... My BIG ISSUE is that, apart from the obvious problems I have, I am concerned I am now part of the problem but unsure what to do to avoid further damage.
From what you describe in your post, it sounds like a valid concern. To avoid "doing further damage" (if you have, in fact, DONE damage in the first place) you likely would benefit from learning about the disease of alcoholism, how it affects families, and the dynamics of the codependent relationship. You may also want to take steps to examine yourself and how you came to be involved with an alcoholic.

So folks, how does one move on in this situation when I know what she will try to do and am scared by it? ... Or do I just have to accept it as my life's burden?
I think your answer depends on YOUR OWN morals and values. In everything, I trust my instincts and follow my heart. This has never failed me. But I also have had to train myself to recognize guilt when it has masked itself as morality.

I hope you return to SR soon and let us know how you and your family are doing.
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Old 08-09-2010, 09:43 AM
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Hi Tant,

So sry for your troubles, they make mine seem miniscule by comparison. Gosh I dont know what to say, and am certainly not qualified to be advising you on this.

What I will say though is that her children are all of age? The youngest being 18, so I assume you are not their biological father?

I think that your feelings of responsibility has to end, you have done all you can for her. I know that it is not easy to get people comitted in the Uk even if it is for their own good so that may not be an option.

You may find it helpful to telephone the Social Services,explain the situation and tell them that you are ready to leave ( they have a vunerable young persons section that may be able to help find the children some constructive professional advice and maybe even some young persons accommodation that would remove them from the situation.) They also have departments where professionals will go and see your wife assess the situation and act on any suicidal tendancies that she displays.

I think you are entitled to a decent life of your own and have gone beyond the call of duty in respect to how much you have tried to help your wife and it looks from what you said, you cannot do anymore, they is simply no way you can help her.

You cannot go on being held to ransom like this hun, and all the effort, money and self sacrificies you are making, just are not working. Maybe it is time to walk away.

Let the guilt you feel go hun, it is a typical addicts reaction to any criticism "I drank because of this, I drank because of that" we blame our own failings on everybody else. You dont have anything to feel guilty about, most people would have walked away before now.

God bless
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