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Ideas to help my wife - OCD / Alcohol

Old 10-06-2010, 02:25 PM
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Ideas to help my wife - OCD / Alcohol

I am not sure how to begin, so how about "hello everyone".

My wife is very ill and I am running out of ideas to help, so any thoughts or suggestions are welcome!

The underlying problem is OCD, dont want to go into the details, but she spends a lot of time in the bathroom. She is anxious every waking moment. We have two wonderful children but as time goes by she is less and less capable to be part of the family.

She has prescribed meds but these are proving ineffective and alcohol seems to be the only thing that gives her relief. Over the past year this has escalated from evenings only to all day starting in the morning. She has tried rehab several times now, and this time has managed less than a week.....we are back to square one again and she is very depressed.

The docs all say she needs to stop drinking first and then they can work on the OCD and anxiety but she cant cope long enough to move to the second stage.

Any ideas? Any doctors or clinics that we should look into? (e.g. UK based)

Thanks for taking the time to read this far.
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Old 10-06-2010, 02:28 PM
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Old 10-06-2010, 02:57 PM
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The doctors are correct. They cannot diagnose while your wife is drinking, and frankly prescribing medications for a drinking patient is scary.

Her "needing" to drink to cope is...an excuse. I know many people with OCD, none of them are alcoholics. Your wife "needs" to drink, because she is an alcoholic.

Until that is dealt with, dealing with the rest is about impossible.
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Old 10-06-2010, 03:08 PM
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I don't know if this will help you, but I'm in the UK and have some understanding of the NHS.

I went through a really, really stressful situation about 9 months ago (my partner left me with a newborn baby to move in with another woman) and it nearly killed me.

However, when it happened, I visited my GP, I was referred to a crisis mental health team. They visited everyday at first, then rang everyday to talk and check I was okay. They were amazing.

Would something like that help your wife?

Have you spoken to your GP about how you feel?

How old are your children - are they at home all day with her?

Have you thought about contacting Alanon to help you?

xx
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Old 10-06-2010, 03:25 PM
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Thanks Sasha!

Something like that would help. Right now we are living abroad in Europe, I want to nip this episode in the bud and get to the docs tomorrow with her and ask for more support. I think daily support is needed. I have tried this myself by taking time off work but it does not work.

I am realistic about the situation. I know there is no magic wand but I want to help her lead a fulfilling life for her own sake. In the meantime I am getting on with life and try and make things as normal as possible for the children who are middle school age. We have a lot of fun doing things together.

But I know my limits and I am close to mine now; I can not do any more and what I can do is not enough to help her.

I am trying the find the right balance of everyone's needs, as a family and individually, but I think we have reached a point when I would like to find residential rehab for her, probably for an extended period back in the UK, to address first the alcoholism and second the OCD.
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Old 10-06-2010, 03:55 PM
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I think a joint appointment at the doctors would help both of you.
Do you know what started this cycle of behaviour?

What I do think though is that you should not neglect your needs. If you working full time and away from your family (which it sounds like) things must be tough and tiring for you.

Maybe it's also time to get tough with her too. For example if she is laid in bed hungover, you and the kids go out for tea, or to the park and have fun and leave her at home.

Don't kill her with kindness.

It's hard but I think (from experience) it will work. She will want to be part of the fun and will learn that she has to sort herself out so she can take part.

Addicts are very selfish - it's all about them and their problems. I know because I am one. And the excuses they can come out with are amazing! I drink because I can't cope with this or that. Just don't ever let her blame you.

It is true about anti anxiety meds and anti-dpressants - they don't work if someone is drinking. They work on brain chemistry. But if this is altered by drinking (which drinking does - it causes major anxiety and depression) then they will be rendered ineffective.

Has she thought about AA?

A sponsor at AA would be able to converse with her everyday - be it meeting up or speaking on the phone. Attending AA meetings would be even better for her.

I think that there are lots of people on this forum that can tell you that rehab often turns out dry drunks. That is, people that are sober but still have that drinking mentality. They are bitter and unhappy that they cannot drink. People who embrace recovery are grateful and humble.

I wish you all the luck in the world.
But first and foremost, please look after yourself.
SR has so much knowledge and experience and love to give. Come and visit us as often as you can

And give those babies a big squeeze from me
xx
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Old 10-06-2010, 04:08 PM
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Thanks again Sasha - really appreciate your thoughts it is helping me a lot. Will pass on squeezes in the morning

I think I am being reasonably tough, the world does not revolve around her. She knows that and she never blames me.

I talked to her about AA yesterday, there is one here, but she is not keen saying it is too religious, maybe because the meeting point is at the church. But she has never gone. What would be a good way to encourage her to go?
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Old 10-06-2010, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by looking4help1 View Post
I talked to her about AA yesterday, there is one here, but she is not keen saying it is too religious, maybe because the meeting point is at the church. But she has never gone. What would be a good way to encourage her to go?
That is an excuse to keep drinking. She is not ready to quit. period. Her actions have shown that she is not willing to get and stay sober.

I'm sorry.

Welcome to the SR family. I am glad you are here seeking information and support for yourself. You will find loads of wisdom and experience. Some of our stories are in the sticky (permanent) posts at the top of this forum.

Your AW (alcoholic wife) has to choose sobriety for herself. She has to want it more than her marriage, home, and children. Until she is ready to find recovery, there isn't anything you can do or say to get her sober. I know, I tried with my spouse. I also know because I am a recovering alcoholic, and a mom.

Your AW's addiction belongs to her. She is an adult. Her sobriety belongs to her. Her choices. You have mentioned AA, and she has refused. That is all you can do. Saying anything more or nagging is an attempt at control.

I learned about the three C's of my spouse's addiction through SR:

I did not cause it
I can not control it
I will not cure it

This is a link to a sticky post. It contains steps that some of us have taken in dealing with our loved ones addiction:
http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...l-problem.html

Please keep reaching out for support for yourself as you recover from living with addiction. We are here to support you.
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Old 10-07-2010, 02:42 PM
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thank you to everyone who has replied so far.

Today I have taken a few steps myself and feeling better for it!

1. Contacting local AA person to find out about the groups
2. Starting research on suitable clinics

Any more advice welcome.
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Old 10-08-2010, 01:42 PM
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.....just back from dropping her off at a clinic once more...

Earlier in the day i met with the doc myself privately. He told me that she is an unusual case due the high degree of anxiety that she suffers from all the time and that once we are past this crisis, if she has the motivation, we probably should look at a program that tries to address both the anxiety and alcohol at the same time.

So, thoughts on how to how to get through the crisis and help her feel calm, or clinics with a suitable program?

Sorry to keep coming back but I really need help. If more details would help you respond please let me know what you need.
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Old 10-08-2010, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by looking4help1 View Post
So, thoughts on how to how to get through the crisis and help her feel calm, or clinics with a suitable program?
This is a really, really good suggestion by Pelican. I can tell you I followed all the steps as though my sanity depended on it. Please give it a good read.

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...l-problem.html
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Old 10-08-2010, 02:51 PM
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the link is a great summary of all the things i have been thinking of....doesnt make it any easier of course, but good to know i have my head on straight and have been doing the right things so far.
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Old 10-08-2010, 03:51 PM
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http://http://www.draonline.org/

Unfortunately, if she doesn't want to quit drinking, she's not going to quit drinking. it doesn't matter how many doctors you take her too.

Mostly, take care of your kids. Let them know that mommy loves them but she has an illness and that you'll always take care of them, no matter what mommy does.
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Old 10-08-2010, 04:39 PM
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You wrote ".....just back from dropping her off at a clinic once more...

Earlier in the day i met with the doc myself privately. He told me that she is an unusual case due the high degree of anxiety that she suffers from all the time and that once we are past this crisis, if she has the motivation, we probably should look at a program that tries to address both the anxiety and alcohol at the same time."

"So, thoughts on how to how to get through the crisis and help her feel calm..."

I can empathize with your situation. I am a codependent, being married to an alcoholic who is now a dry drunk. I suffered a massive stroke in DEC 2009. From DEC 23rd until JAN 8th I was comatose. When I came back into reality I was transferred to a rehab hospital for another two weeks before my discharge to my house. This was one of my worst decisions of my life. I should have been discharged to a skilled nursing facility. I have suffered immobility problems and can not move around very easy without my power chair. When I came home the only member of my family I could rely upon was my 35 year old son. I received more care and compassion from my three border collies than I did from my DDH. So take what you want from my recoomendations and freely leave the rest.

You have your wife out of the house and away from your middle school aged children. That is a good starting point! Don't be in a hurry to have your alcoholic wife come back home. Your primary attention needs to be focused on your children. "It's better to build your children than to repair your wife!" You might even want to think about her going to a halfway house for alcoholics while she is working on overcoming her alcoholism and OCD. It's HER problem not yours! She needs to accept this fact; you can not give her the motivation to want to overcome her problems! I've had to start therapy to help me break my addiction to my dry drunk husband. It sounds like you might also have some codependent traits.This is NOT going to be easy; your problems didn't start in one day and neither will it be one day for you to get through your crisis! Remember ONE DAY AT A TIME!

I would recommend you read the book entitled "Tough Love" written by Bill Milliken in 1968.

If I had my child to raise over again
I'd build self-esteem first and the house later
I'd finger paint more and point the finger less
I would do less correcting and more connecting
I'd take my eyes off my watch and watch with my eyes
I would care to know less and know to care more
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites
I'd stop playing serious and seriously play
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars
I'd do more hugging and less tugging
I'd see the oak tree in the acorn more often
I would be firm less often and affirm much more
I'd model less about the love of power
And more about the power of love.
Diane Loomans
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Old 10-09-2010, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by looking4help1 View Post
the link is a great summary of all the things i have been thinking of....doesnt make it any easier of course, but good to know i have my head on straight and have been doing the right things so far.
I've been in your situation. Sadly there's no quick fix and one of the hardest concepts I had to struggle with was that I couldn't fix this problem for her. All I could do was learn how to not make things worse and let go of attempting to control the outcome. Education is key, plus support groups and a good therapist helped me through the rough spots. Good luck and keep posting.
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Old 10-09-2010, 11:17 AM
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Today has been tough but I have tried to keep things going as normal as possible; we have completed all the normal chores for the weekend, had some honest heart to heart discussions with my children, planned next week out a bit so far as we can, and had some fun along the way.

Thanks to everyone here, this may be online but the heartfelt feedback you have provided is a great support.
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Old 10-09-2010, 06:03 PM
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I can't offer any real advice, but I am in a similar situation. My wife is OCD and an alcoholic. Our difference is that AW has been on medication for her OCD for about 20 years now. Her primary med is Prozac, but she takes a couple of others that I cannot remember at the moment. I think one of them is for panic attacks. Her doctor tried putting her on Abilify for a while, but it gave her the shakes.

The Prozac made her able to function, but she has become technically disabled over the years. She can't hold down a job, and she still behaves obsessively, just not to the point of driving everyone crazy.

Her alcoholism started about three years ago, and has grown steadily worse. She fell and broke her ankle two days ago... drunk at the time, of course.

I wish I had some words of encouragement for you, but you're dealing with two devastating illnesses. All I can say is be strong for your children, and get all the help you can. You will likely find some great advice and support on this website.
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Old 10-09-2010, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by looking4help1 View Post
....., we probably should look at a program that tries to address both the anxiety and alcohol at the same time.

.
I am a recovering alcoholic.
I am a recovering partner from a 14 year marriage to an alcoholic.
I have been treated for depression in the past.

I have taken prozac
I have taken other forms of anti-depressant

Alcohol is a depressant. period.

I have taken anti-depressants and I have drank at times during treatment for depression.

Today, I wish doctors would have taken a hair sample to determine if I drank alcohol. Then once they determined I drank, I wish they would have refused to give me anti-depressants until I got treatment for my alcohol addiction. I also wish the first time I was treated for depression (non-drinker) they would have recommended counseling as part of the treatment.

By the time my alcoholism progressed to daily vodka, I was having panic attacks.

My alcoholism kept my depression incubated. It kept it alive.
My sober recovery has allowed me to address my emotions, feelings, moods, and healthy ways to manage those emotions, feelings and moods.

Just my personal opinion, based on my experience with anti-depressants and alcohol.
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Old 10-10-2010, 07:40 AM
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Pelican, your story sounds about right, judging from our experience. Looking back, I wish my AW's psychiatrist had used therapy instead of relying completely on drugs. I can't say that her alcoholism is a result of the drug treatment, but even after 20+ years of taking meds, she is still OCD and is now an alcoholic. In addition to that, she has added about 18 more prescription drugs to her list, which cannot be good with the alcohol.

I suppose that many psychiatrists see the medications as an "easy fix"... and I'm sure they are encouraged by the drug industry to prescribe them.
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Old 10-10-2010, 07:56 AM
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I'm sorry you are having to live this. I hope you continue to work on your recovery and I hope your AW chooses recovery!
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