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I need help processing this...

Old 10-16-2010, 06:31 AM
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I need help processing this...

I thought things were going better with my wife. She's made an honest attempt to help keep the house in order in the last few weeks. She and I had a long discussion about finances and such (a big issue for us-we're in debt, I'm trying my hardest to get us out of debt and she keeps thwarting it) and it appears she now understands her role in the financial aspect and has verbally committed to working on it after I explained my boundaries.

But the drinking....I can't say she's stopped choosing alcohol over family. Last Monday I called her on my way home from work at 9. She said she was at her mom's at a bonfire and that she had meant to be home by 9. She'd been drinking and she'd lost track of time. The kids were with her, it was really cold out and she had bronchitis (diagnosed that day) so a bonfire was NOT where she needed to be. When I told her I was home and reminded her that the boys were supposed to have been in bed at 8:30 she said she'd finish her beer and be home soon.

She didn't get home until 9:40. She apologized and said she'd get up with the kids in the morning to make sure they were ready to go (they are REALLY grumpy the next morning if they're up too late). She got up 1/2 hour after their usual wake-up time and they were all ready for the day by then. I let it go because I felt she was improving otherwise.

Then last night...she had told me earlier in the day that a longtime friend's brother was going to be in from out of state and she had been invited out to a bar with them. She said she told them she wasn't going because the kids were home. She said the friend pushed her to go and she kept telling her no, the kids are home, but she sounded like she was either lying or very upset that she "had" to tell her no. I suggested going there after we all fell asleep (probably a mistake). She told me no, she was going to stay home.

I fell asleep by 9:45 last night. I wake up at 12:20...no wife in bed. I text her. She's at the bar with the friend's brother (I don't know if her friends was there or not). She claimed that she thought it would be okay with me if she went, that she had left at 11 and had planned on coming home at 12:30. She claimed she wasn't drinking. I told her that no, it wasn't okay because she told me she wasn't going and didn't have the courtesy of a note or anything to let me know where she'd gone. She came home after I fell asleep again. I don't know for sure if she drank or not.

I don't really know what to think. I know that in the second instance alcohol may not be a factor, but I feel like there's something fishy with the situation overall and it's frustrating me. She did lie to me but it feels like something else is off...I don't trust that she went to the bar and didn't drink, I don't believe for a second that she "intended" on being home at 12:30, and the brother is NOT someone who she has EVER talked about being close to so I don't understand why she's putting it on HIM as the reason she went out, especially if her friend wasn't there also. The first incident...yep, I fully blame that one on alcohol. I spent a few days telling myself not to be so hard on her, that she did apologize and it appears she's trying.

But then I remembered what you all have said on here and after last night I just can't "let it go" anymore. I feel like we're in a new situation and based on this week I'm afraid things aren't going to get better, just be different, but now with more lies and deception. I don't know what to think or do or say to her...
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Old 10-16-2010, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by evenkeel View Post
I suggested going there after we all fell asleep (probably a mistake). She told me no, she was going to stay home.
You stated she could go after you and the children went to sleep.
You and the children went to sleep.

She changed her mind about staying home.
She went to the bar.

Is she allowed to change her mind?
Is she allowed to be with her friends?


Do you resent her for going or
Do you resent your words of telling her it was okay when it was not okay?
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Old 10-16-2010, 07:32 AM
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She'd been drinking and she'd lost track of time. The kids were with her, it was really cold out and she had bronchitis (diagnosed that day) so a bonfire was NOT where she needed to be. When I told her I was home and reminded her that the boys were supposed to have been in bed at 8:30 she said she'd finish her beer and be home soon.
Sorry, but this is the part that got my attention!

It sounds to me that you are more concerned with trying to control her rather than doing the "right thing" which, in the instance above, would have been to get in your car and retrieve your children so that they wouldn't be driving home with a drunk behind the wheel.

Sorry... I'm just sayin'....
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Old 10-16-2010, 08:52 AM
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Again, you cannot control her. If she wants to drink, she will drink. She is an adult and has that right. The only think you have control over is yourself and keeping your children safe. Allowing her to drive your children home after drinking is not keeping your children safe.

Again, Al-anon can help you. Please, seek out a program in your area and attend.
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Old 10-16-2010, 09:11 AM
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Dude, we ALL try and control our alcoholics. For some reason when we men do it, we are "controlling bastards", and when the wives do the exact same thing, they are being codependent, whatever.

Bottom line, it isn't likely to get better, in any real way. Just temporarily to get you to back off. Protect your kids and consider if you want to spend the rest of your one precious life worring about what your spouse is doing. I spent 13 years worrying about what my wife was doing and who she was doing it with. She isn't likely to change.

I've heard that there are women out there that actually do what they say, and there are never any surprises. However my picker is broken, so I have no first hand knowledge of this rumor!

Thanks and God bless us all,
Coyote
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Old 10-16-2010, 09:12 AM
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I agree--I don't understand how her changing her mind and going out with a friend is in the same category with driving drunk with her/your children in the car.

The first is something that only affects you because it annoys you. The second is putting your children at risk of death or serious injury.

I second the recommendation of Al-Anon.
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Old 10-16-2010, 03:27 PM
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You really did not give enough details for me to make any helpful suggestions or recommendation concerning your situation. However, you did give me enough information to recognize your marriage is in trouble. It appears that your marriage is missing the necessary ingredients of mutual respect,and especially, mutual trust. Instead, I perceive your wife and you are "beating each other over the head" which misses the mark for a loving marriage.

I suggest you start attending Alanon meetings and working on yourself. I suggest you investigate to find out if there are some local marriage support groups. Sometimes it just isn't easy living with another person, let alone an alcoholic. Each person needs their own space and boundries.

When all your troubles weigh heavily on your shoulders,
remember that beneath the burden you can stand tall,
because you are never given more than you can handle...
and you are stronger than you think.
Life makes no guarantees as to what you'll have.
Life holds no promises as to what will come your way.
It just gives you time to make choices and to take changes.
Courage is being responsible for your own actions and admitting your own mistakes without placing blame on others.
It's relying not on others for your success, but on your own skills and efforts.
Courage is keeping heart in the face of disappointment and looking at defeat not as an end but as a new beginning.
It's believing that things will ultimately get better even as they get worse.
Whatever the hurt of the moment may be, it will pass.
Today, you must pause, rest, catch your breath, and then look ahead.
Tomorrow is always a new dawn.
Don't let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future.
By living your life one day at a time, you live all the days of your life.
Nothing is really over until the moment you die.
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Old 10-16-2010, 03:44 PM
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I'm not sure what you are expecting of an active alcoholic, to be honest.

You do realize that her drinking is only a symptom, right?

Are you okay with a drunk driving with your children in the car?

What's top on your priority list...her keeping the house in order, you keeping tabs on who she's with and where she's at, or the safety and emotional well-being of your children?

You can try and assign blame to alcohol or whatever when it comes to her behaviors.

In the meantime, you still have an active alcoholic in your life and your children's life.

We can't find a solution if we're still living in the problem.
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Old 10-16-2010, 04:00 PM
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Her behavior is not surprising at all. She is choosing alcohol. She chooses places with alcohol, activities with alcohol, people that drink alochol, etc., over everything else. She is drawn like a magnet. She is doing things that put her kids in danger, that are not in her best interests, that are not in the best interest of your marraige. This is what alcoholics do. Expect it. She is lying. She is saying what you want to hear to keep the peace, makes some feeble attempts at following through to keep the status quo, and then does exactly what alcoholis do. Listen to the actions, not the words. This is it. This is the very very best behavior you'll ever get out of her as long as she is in active addiction.

You can let it go, ignore it, justify it, agonize over it, rage at it, accomidate it, make big and small (but useless) attempts at trying to control it - but none of it will change what she does - which is exactly what she is doing - which is what you should expect.

Wishing you the best as I know this is a hard spot to be in.
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Old 10-16-2010, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by thumper View Post
her behavior is not surprising at all. She is choosing alcohol. She chooses places with alcohol, activities with alcohol, people that drink alochol, etc., over everything else. She is drawn like a magnet. She is doing things that put her kids in danger, that are not in her best interests, that are not in the best interest of your marraige. This is what alcoholics do. Expect it. She is lying. She is saying what you want to hear to keep the peace, makes some feeble attempts at following through to keep the status quo, and then does exactly what alcoholis do. listen to the actions, not the words. this is it. this is the very very best behavior you'll ever get out of her as long as she is in active addiction.

you can let it go, ignore it, justify it, agonize over it, rage at it, accomidate it, make big and small (but useless) attempts at trying to control it - but none of it will change what she does - which is exactly what she is doing - which is what you should expect.

wishing you the best as i know this is a hard spot to be in.
I was trying to pick out the high points of Thumpers post to highlight. Upon rereading it, they are ALL high points. Not one single wasted word or thought.

Alcoholism is PROGRESSIVE, today is as good as it will get, it's down hill from here. We have ALL been exactly where you are, stuck.

I got to a point where I had to decide whether to continue trying to save my GROWN 36yo alcoholic wife, who btw didn't then, or now 4 years later, want to be saved, at the expense of my 5 yo daughter OR save my precious 5yo daughter who DID deserve/want to be saved, from her own mom.

Saving a minor child from their own mother is a concept that I still have trouble wrapping my head around. I think that that may be one reason why it seems to take us men so long to finally act. It just defies all we've ever been taught our whole lives.

I thought a mother's love was the strongest thing on earth. Well I'm here to tell you, from my own personal experience, that a mothers love pales in comparison to the power of alcoholism.

And you know, I'm finally over my mad at my daughter's mom, 'cause I know choosing alcohol over her own precious daughter has to kill her a little bit every day. But I am absolutely powerless to do anything about that.

Thanks and God bless us all,
Coyote
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Old 10-17-2010, 06:27 AM
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Small detail...

She wasn't driving. We live 2 blocks from my in-laws. If she had been I certainly would have gone and gotten the boys myself. I didn't walk to get them myself because she said she had half a beer left and would be home within 10 minutes. I should have known better because it never works that way with her.

Thanks for the perspective, though. I think I'm more disappointed than anything else, maybe more with myself than her. I also think I'm mostly upset that she didn't leave a note. Waking up with her side of the bed cold was a bit of a shock. I think the biggest part of the whole thing is that, no matter how much I tell myself not to, I'm hoping things will change and things like this just slap me in the face because they're signs that they're not going to. Maybe they'll be different, but not necessarily better.

Priorities...yep, I'm working on it. I'm definitely still trying to let go of the things I should/can let go of so I can concentrate on the important stuff. She's definitively going to be out of state next month for three weeks for work (work changed their mind, apparently) so I can take that time to really work things out while I have the break.
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Old 10-17-2010, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Thumper View Post
Her behavior is not surprising at all. She is choosing alcohol. She chooses places with alcohol, activities with alcohol, people that drink alochol, etc., over everything else. She is drawn like a magnet. She is doing things that put her kids in danger, that are not in her best interests, that are not in the best interest of your marraige. This is what alcoholics do. Expect it. She is lying. She is saying what you want to hear to keep the peace, makes some feeble attempts at following through to keep the status quo, and then does exactly what alcoholis do. Listen to the actions, not the words. This is it. This is the very very best behavior you'll ever get out of her as long as she is in active addiction.

You can let it go, ignore it, justify it, agonize over it, rage at it, accomidate it, make big and small (but useless) attempts at trying to control it - but none of it will change what she does - which is exactly what she is doing - which is what you should expect.

Wishing you the best as I know this is a hard spot to be in.
Thank you. I needed to hear this. I try to remember this on my own. It's really hard when I "see" that things are better but fail to recognize that improvement in one area doesn't imply improvement in them all, though. I need to get over the idea that if other things improve then I should/can/will learn to live with the alcohol. I've definitely accepted that alcohol will always have a place in her life. I haven't quite gotten it through my head that it will always affect the me and the boys, though.
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Old 10-17-2010, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Freedom1990 View Post

You do realize that her drinking is only a symptom, right?
Can you explain what you mean by this? I think I spend too much time looking at her motivation for doing or not doing things and am trying REALLY hard not to take her actions/inactions personally. Now you have me curious as to whether her reasons for drinking go deeper than "because she wants to" and any possible physical addiction/dependency.
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Old 10-17-2010, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by evenkeel View Post
Thank you. I needed to hear this. I try to remember this on my own. It's really hard when I "see" that things are better but fail to recognize that improvement in one area doesn't imply improvement in them all, though. I need to get over the idea that if other things improve then I should/can/will learn to live with the alcohol. I've definitely accepted that alcohol will always have a place in her life. I haven't quite gotten it through my head that it will always affect the me and the boys, though.
Oh I understand. I totally get it. I'm not sure there is anything that can be shared that will help you with the shift from living in the wishful thinking place to the reality place. This is the spot that we all just have to get to.


But I will share. I had two realities in my head. One was the dream I had of us as a family. I was determined that I had the power to make that dream happen. The other was the real reality of living with an alcoholic. A combination of things brought me to the realization you are struggling with. They speak about alcoholics having a bottom. I discovered that spouses have theirs too. I hit mine. The dream/reality juxtaposition led to massive denial and crashing down of boundaries. My boys were also getting older and my husbands drinking was progressing and that was certainly not the model I wanted for my kids. The drinking was progressing and there was less good and more bad. I suddenly saw what I was accepting in my life and how far that was from what I found acceptable 15 years before. It dawned on me that I had issues. (co-dependent) I began to investigate those. (read books, alanon, and SR) That helped me immensly. I also had a counselor very briefly that was extremely helpful.
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Old 10-17-2010, 11:42 AM
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Thanks for those words, Thumper. I had not thought about myself reaching the bottom. Since our daughter is now grown, thankfully, I don't have to worry too much about her, except for the emotional damage seeing her mother drunk is doing to her.

I strongly suspect that my bottom will be impending financial ruin.

Evenkeel, hang in there. I wish the best for you and your children.
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