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Old 11-04-2010, 09:21 PM
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Not sure what to do

Hi everyone

I'm wondering if anyone out there has a similar situation and maybe can offer some wise words...
I'm married now 18 years to an otherwise amazing woman- except for her love of wine. Every single night for the past few years, once I come home from work she gets drunk. She usually denies that she is despite slurring her speech, bumping into things, forgetting what anyone says to her, and carrying on senselessly to me, our kids , and whoever else is around. She is also really embarrassing to go out with because she can get really overtly sexual with my friends once she starts drinking. A couple days ago she was really going off in front of our kids and their friends, despite promising that she would never be intoxicated around them. This generated a written ultimatum-type letter from me with somewhat vague but dire consequences if it happened again.
Our finances are pretty stable, our kids are high achieving nice people, and we are otherwise healthy 50+ ers. So why is my stomach always in a knot about this? I have nothing to complain about but this and it really feels like it is going to destroy our marriage. BTW I am not averse to being a single parent. The two older teen girls are very much aware of this situation and have both given her grief about it. The two younger ones (6,9) are a little worried but don't know what's going on.
She is sure that she is doing nothing wrong and that I am persecuting her.
She regularly points on that doctors-types on TV say you should drink wine every day so I must be wrong. (She can't just have 'one glass')
If I sit back and do nothing I am showing our very observant kids that this behaviour is acceptable. They ask me time and again if she's 'drinking again'.
I don't think this is going to end well on the current track so I'm looking for some fresh perspectives!
Thanks for listening!
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Old 11-04-2010, 10:06 PM
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Welcome to SR.....

There are so many people (men and women) who are dealing with (or have dealt with) spouses whose drinking has caused problems in their marriage. Some have decided to leave and others have learned how to find their own peace and stay with their spouse in spite of the drinking. Each person has to decide for themselves what the best course of action will be for them.

Stick around. Share your story and read what others are dealing with and how they are handling it. You may want to consider seeking out an Alanon meeting in your area. Alanon helps us to find our own serenity....whether our loved one is drinking or not.

gentle hugs
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Old 11-04-2010, 10:10 PM
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Record her on camera during these times when she's had too much. It will be a real eye opener to her. Then ask her if she can cut down her amount because it's getting to be a problem. If she won't well there you go, she has a problem.
Her behavior is typical to me as the med stages of intoxication. Does she get to the next point of aggression? Is she passing out each night? If not I think you have better chances of getting her to cut back.
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Old 11-05-2010, 02:34 AM
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hi letsgopens-

welcome.

around here, we talk about boundaries. this means for us to establish/figure out what our boundaries are with our alcoholics and then communicate them and enforce them.

this isn't about controlling our alcoholic, it's about protecting ourselves and our children from their choices.

do you know what your boundaries are?

obviously, her behavior is damaging to the children. go have a read over at the adult children of alcoholics (ACOA) forum if you want a glimpse into the long term emotional damage they have suffered.

well, there's lots to talk about. hope you keep posting. there is a wealth of experience collected here at SR. glad you found us.

and welcome!
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Old 11-05-2010, 04:03 AM
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Welcome to the SR family!

Pull out the keyboard and make yourself at home by reading and posting as much as needed. The postings at the top of this forum (stickies) are filled with wisdom and contain some of our stories.

You are not alone! We are here to support you.

This is a link to a sticky post. It contains steps that have helped some of us:

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...l-problem.html
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Old 11-05-2010, 04:15 AM
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Hey Letsgopens,

Iím a 50y/o dad with an alcoholic wife who waited until after our marriage had split to join this forum.

Thereís lots of information here as well as cyber support but in the end it's you who are going to have to decide what you'll put up with and what you want your kids exposed to.

If you can, try and find a counselor with experience in alcoholism in the family dynamic and open up to them.

Educate yourself about the "typical" behaviors alcoholics exhibit and the effect they have on the family then you'll be better prepared to deal with your wife's behaviors.

Itís really a mess and Iím sorry for you that you have to deal with it but it's much better to do so from a logical perspective than an emotional one.

Best!
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Old 11-05-2010, 06:45 AM
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Thanks everybody for the great pointers. I'll get reading right away. BTW I have attempted to get her on video but she runs away. And no she doesn't pass out every night, but a couple of nights a week. Definitely drunk every night though, and since we have a hard agreement that she won't drink if she is the only adult there then she waits until I come home before she starts. Even if I come home at 2 AM she waits and then immediately starts upon my arrival. Such dedication should be able to be channeled for good, no?
It's interesting to me that my dad was an alkie and none of us three kids are. He ended up running off with someone anyway so in some ways the damage was minimized.
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Old 11-05-2010, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by letsgopens View Post
BTW I have attempted to get her on video but she runs away.

This is an attempt to control the alcoholic's behavior by shaming her/him.

In Alanon we learn the three C's:

We didn't cause the alcoholism.
We can't control the alcoholism.
We can't cure the alcoholism.

We learn to put the focus back on ourselves, and how we can begin to change our own life for the better, despite the alcoholic in our life.
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Old 11-05-2010, 09:31 AM
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Welcome Letsgopens,

I'm so glad you found this forum.

After reading your post I thought that perhaps you were married to my wife! Our stories are nearly identical. She usually polishes off a bottle every night. Often passes out in front of the TV, engages in confrontational banter with everyone and gets overtly sexual with our friends.

I'm new here and you've gotten so much great information from the great folks here. Here's where I'm at:

I've been going to Al Anon meetings and learning all I can about detachment. Her problem is hers alone. I can't control it and I'll only make myself crazy trying to (and believe me I have!). What I can take care of is myself. And, I've found that over the years of trying and failing to manage her I had forgotten how to take care of myself and that I even deserved it. Alcoholics have ways of turning their problems on us until we're convinced that we're always in the wrong.

I saw this posted here a while back. I think it's from one of the Al Anon pamphlets and it really sums it up better than I can:

Detachment is neither kind nor unkind. It does not imply judgment or condemnation of the person or situation from which we are detaching. Separating ourselves from the adverse effects of another personís alcoholism can be a means of detaching: this does not necessarily require physical separation. Detachment can help us look at our situations realistically and objectively.

Alcoholism is a family disease. Living with the effects of someone elseís drinking is too devastating for most people to bear without help.

In Al-Anon we learn nothing we say or do can cause or stop someone elseís drinking. We are not responsible for another personís disease or recovery from it.

Detachment allows us to let go of our obsession with anotherís behavior and begin to lead happier and more manageable lives, lives with dignity and rights, lives guided by a Power greater than ourselves. We can still love the person without liking the behavior.

IN AL-ANON WE LEARN:
∑ Not to suffer because of the actions or reactions of other people
∑ Not to allow ourselves to be used or abused by others in the interest of anotherís recovery
∑ Not to do for others what they can do for themselves
∑ Not to manipulate situations so others will eat, go to bed, get up, pay bills, not drink, or behave as we see fit
∑ Not to cover up for anotherís mistakes or misdeeds
∑ Not to create a crisis
∑ Not to prevent a crisis if it is in the natural course of events
∑ By learning to focus on ourselves, our attitudes and well-being improve. We allow the alcoholics in our lives to experience the consequences of their own actions.

Please get to an Al Anon meeting. It could very well change your life. Please keep posting. You are not alone!
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Old 11-05-2010, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by glitterfairy View Post
Record her on camera during these times when she's had too much. It will be a real eye opener to her.
i tried that with my ABF too. several times. unfortunately he always realized i'm filming him (even if he's so drunk he can't remember anything the next day), so he always got a bit angry/annoyed at the time.

also when i tried to show him (when sober) he always tried to resist watching it, and when he did finally watch it he was cringing but it made no difference. seems like he simply doesn't accept that part as being part of himself, and therefore okay to dismiss it and not think about it or analyze it.

might work better with other drinkers though, it's worth a try in any case
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Old 11-05-2010, 10:56 AM
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Interesting responses, people. I'm not a religious person in any way when it comes to 'higher power' ideas. I'm here on the earth for a short period of time and I'm completely responsible for my own actions as far as I can tell, for better or worse. I'll take blame and credit where it's due. Same goes for the wife with the exception of a tendency towards eastern thinking re reincarnation, karma, etc.
So I'm not sure I can relate to AlAlnon if I can't get on board with their foundation. I also care about her so doing something that hurts her further (like letting her self-destruct) is counter-intuitive to me. I accept that in the long run it might be the best for everyone however.

So how do you answer when the kids ask "Is mommy drunk again?"

How do I look to the future knowing my attraction to my partner is evaporating and I still have persistent and undeniable physical needs?

I will not run out on the family and I don't think I have the right to ask her to leave either. Oy....
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Old 11-05-2010, 11:04 AM
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If my husband filmed me while drunk, and then showed it to me, I would be deeply ashamed, embarassed and horrified.
I would also know that he wants to belittle me and make me feel less than.
I could do that to myself pretty well.
Felt worthless, useless, ashamed and hopeless.
Just my opinion.
Maybe some straight talk about your boundaries would serve you better and not shame your wife.

Beth
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Old 11-05-2010, 11:07 AM
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If the girls are old enough to understand what 'drunk is', what else is there to say other than she is drunk?

Is this how you want to live the rest of your life?

What kind of partners would you like to see for your kids as they become adults?

Please do go over and read the Adult Children of Alcoholics forum and read the devastating effects that growing up with active alcoholism has on kids well into adulthood.
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Old 11-05-2010, 11:21 AM
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I hear your pain...

I lived with this situation on and off with my exhusband for a long time and decided that we had to end our marriage. Not to say that you will do the same, we are all so different, look within for the resolution to your pain and protect your children...there isn't much any of us could do to help our spouses if they didn't acknowledge and get help themselves. alcohol is so difficult...find peace my friend, you are in the right place.
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Old 11-05-2010, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by wicked View Post
If my husband filmed me while drunk, and then showed it to me, I would be deeply ashamed, embarassed and horrified.
I would also know that he wants to belittle me and make me feel less than.
I could do that to myself pretty well.
Felt worthless, useless, ashamed and hopeless.
Just my opinion.
Maybe some straight talk about your boundaries would serve you better and not shame your wife.

Beth
hi wicked, the idea to film him was not to belittle him in any way, though perhaps it might feel that way on "the other side" ie for the drunk.
my idea was that if maybe he could see himself the way i see him when he's drunk then he would understand how i feel and that no partner could be expected to live happily with a person exhibiting this behaviour. i thought maybe he is not even aware of what he's doing, what he looks like etc. while drunk, and if he he doesn't know then he doesn't know he's doing something 'wrong', except for me telling him a day later what he's been up to (which was then only second-hand for him). the film would have been a first-hand experience for him to realize the hurt he put me through and maybe make him think about it and ultimately make him feel he needs to do something about it.

well this was my reasoning and as it turned out not worth a penny.
i didn't want to make him feel bad on purpose as i know he already feels a lot of shame (during his lucid moments) because of his drinking.
but he's got a magic cure for that and that is to drink more.
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Old 11-05-2010, 12:38 PM
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I mentioned the recording because my husband filmed me when I was incredible drunk around the kids. I tried to hide too. He didn't show it to me but told me I could watch it when I was ready.
I wanted to vomit when I saw it. Yes I felt ashamed and horrified but it made me think twice about drinking when the kids were around.
I see how it could be used to control or manipulate but in my case it was an eye opener.
I see that my husband just didn't know what else to do because in the morning I would lie and tell him I remembered everything and I wasn't really drunk. What a joke.
Thanks for starting this thread! I'm new here too and have much to learn.
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Old 11-05-2010, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by letsgopens View Post
Interesting responses, people. I'm not a religious person in any way when it comes to 'higher power' ideas. I'm here on the earth for a short period of time and I'm completely responsible for my own actions as far as I can tell, for better or worse.
I'm with you there. I'm not much for the supernatural either. However one's higher power can be anything you choose. The way I relate to it is a power greater than myself. For me that's the folks in my Al Anon meetings. I couldn't move a refrigerator by myself. But I could move it with the help of all the folks in my meeting. With their help, I can do things that I can't do on my own.

Please don't rule out Al Anon because of the whole higher power thing. The groups have so much support, love and hope to share. I couldn't do any of this without them.

Like they say at the meetings, "Take what you need and leave the rest".
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