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How I discovered I was an enabler.

Old 10-07-2010, 03:47 PM
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Thanks suki I think that will be my first step. My first boundary will be that my paycheck will no longer pay for her addiction. I'll discuss it with her and, based on her reaction, I'll determine how far I need to go to enforce that rule out of the gate.
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Old 10-07-2010, 04:03 PM
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Welcome, codeflayer. You've got some great suggestions already so you'll see what a great resource this board.

May I make a suggestion about boundaries? Put your kids square and center. Don't just say it, do it. All of your other boundaries will flow from that. This situation is not about your wife, this is about providing a safe and secure environment in which they can grow.

For example: I will protect my kids from harm. If anyone threatens their safety, emotionally or physically, I will do everything in my power to ensure that threat is eliminated. You taking them to school is a great idea. How much time do they have with her after school until you get home?

You have to be their advocate and their protector, no matter how much pain it causes you or your wife.
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Old 10-07-2010, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by codeflayer View Post
Thanks suki I think that will be my first step. My first boundary will be that my paycheck will no longer pay for her addiction. I'll discuss it with her and, based on her reaction, I'll determine how far I need to go to enforce that rule out of the gate.
Having been where you are, I see something that may cause you some trouble. Please do not take this as criticism, but as sharing of experience.

There is no enforcing of rules on alcoholics. You may be able to coerce them into complying to your wishes for a period of time, but it will not last. And when that rubber band snaps back, it will be with some force.

Maybe spend some time reading about boundaries up in the stickies before having this discussion with her. The essence of boundaries is to protect oneself from anothers behavior, not to alter the others behavior. So, I believe it would be best to determine what boundary will protect you (and your children) best, without relying on her compliance to "rules."

L
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Old 10-07-2010, 04:07 PM
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Good point lateeda. I will think on it.
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Old 10-07-2010, 04:25 PM
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Yeah,

Boundaries aren't the same as electric fences (lol, though a lot of us have probably fantasized about the electric-shock collar from time to time...). The idea isn't to "train" or to "punish" her for her drinking, it is simply allowing her to be responsible for it, and for its NATURAL consequences. (E.g., if she is drunk/under the influence she can't take the children anywhere.)

I don't think, for example, it is fair to withhold all money from her lest she spend it on booze. But if she cannot be responsible with the money, you might have to decide what's discretionary spending and if she chooses to spend it on booze rather than lattes or lunch with the girls, that's her choice. You may have to hold the household purse strings, but by the same token she should be entitled to some discretionary money.

Separate accounts might be the answer, I don't know. This is an art, not a science. She is an adult, not a child, even though she may be behaving like one.
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Old 10-07-2010, 04:26 PM
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It's not really about getting her attention or making 'rules'. She's a grown woman who can drink whenever she wants to. What consequences come from that choice, are whatever they are. I'm happy to hear you are at least protecting the safety of your children from her drunk driving. What about her drunk mothering?
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Old 10-07-2010, 04:35 PM
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What exactly are you suggesting smacked?
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Old 10-07-2010, 04:54 PM
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I don't beat around the bush.. ever. I'm not suggesting anything that isn't obvious.. I'm only asking how your kids are being protected from growing up in a home with an active alcoholic. That's all..
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Old 10-07-2010, 05:08 PM
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Again, I'm not sure what you're saying here. What you say is obvious isn't so clear to me. Do you have a suggestion?
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Old 10-07-2010, 05:10 PM
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Hi codeflayer!

Have you considered going to a therapist? it has been one of the best decisions I have made. Would you be willing to go to one that specializes on addictions/codependence?
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Old 10-07-2010, 08:51 PM
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snip
Originally Posted by codeflayer View Post
I have put my foot down and not allowed her to drive anyone anywhere. It might be best to just make that routine permanent until she gets help...
snip




hey codeflayer,

been there-done that over the past year.

sorry for what you're going through!

i choose to separate and move toward divorce.... still holding onto the glimmer of hope that she'll get some help....but i refuse to subject my child or myself to the rollercoaster anymore.

best!
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Old 10-08-2010, 12:46 PM
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Hmm. Sorry..I honestly cant find another way that is clearer to ask the same questions, but I do think you've had heaps of other perspectives, great thoughts and advice here that probably jive with what you're looking for a bit better.

When kids are involved, and because they have absolutely no choice in who they are raised by and what they are exposed to in their homes.. I just like to pose the questions about what's being done to protect them. A lot of times the answer is 'nothing'.. but at least it's worth thinking about, in my opinion.
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