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How do you have 'The Talk?"

Old 11-17-2010, 02:43 PM
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Question How do you have 'The Talk?"

OK, I think I'm coming to the end of my rope. The W's drinking isn't getting better (I know, it's a progressive disease). She goes off at the slightest (or no) provocation. I'm so unhappy and anxious all the time.

Just last night, my son said something to her (a-la Randy Jackson) and ended the sentence with 'Dawg". She turned cold and said, "Are you calling me a dog?! You're calling your mother a dog..." I'm sure you can guess the rest.

I didn't know what to do. So I did what I always do and quickly changed the topic of conversation and we all moved on. I know that's classic codie behavior and frankly it felt like a child's defense mechanism.

I feel like I've lost my integrity. I like to think of myself as an honest person. But I'll do or say whatever I need to in order to avoid conflict. I'll not say certain things or custom tailor the things I do say. It always leaves me feeling lousy about myself.

I've got to tell her that I've got a problem with her drinking. I've become someone I don't like and need to fix that (I'm sure she would be more than happy to agree with that one). I'm always anxious never knowing what will bring about the next sh*t storm.

I just don't know how to go about it. I know I need to be calm and detached but there is so much anger and resentment. She loves to ask for examples and I'd love to tell her about the 1+bottles of wine she drinks every night. The fact that she can go off on me or her children at any time. The fact that on numerous occasions she'll ask where the boys are when she saw and spoke to them an hour before. The list goes on...

I don't know if saying any of those things will help. The thing is, I just don't know what to say or how to say it!

I'd truly appreciate any advice on this matter. I just want to say it right.

I want to let her know that:

I've got a problem with her drinking.
I'm going to get help.
I'm going to let the kids know that there's help for them.
I'm not going to engage with her or let the kids engage with her when she's drinking.
I'm going to tell the kids to stay away from her if she's drinking and I'm not home.
I hope that she chooses to get help too.

Thanks-

A side note: I'm pretty sure my mother was addicted to prescription pain meds. When she was sick with the illness that killed her she was in a tremendous amount of pain. For that the doctors prescribed her many morphine-based pain killers to make her more comfortable. I spent a lot of time with her that last year and she too would go off with little or no provocation. Yes, I'm sure Dr, Freud would have a field day with this!
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Old 11-17-2010, 02:55 PM
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I don't mean to be a downer, but...

You know, for all we feel like "The Talk" is going to change something, it never did for me. I had several. I wrote letters. I emailed. I practically shouted it from the rooftops.

He never heard me.

It wasn't until I did The Walk, as it were, that he realized it was indeed a serious problem. He gave it lip service up until then, but it wasn't until he couldn't come home anymore that he actually GOT it. And it took quite a bit of time after leaving, actually.

I hear he's sober now. I hear he's actually in recovery and has a job. Too bad it couldn't have come while I still cared. Our divorce will be final in, lemme check, 16 days. But if that's what it took to get him to "hear," I had to do it.

Be strong. Do what's right for you. Living like that sure isn't anything I'd ever go back to, even though my life sounded a lot like yours. (But less yelling, probably. Mine never yelled. Slurred, sulked, ignored moreso)


PS. FWIW, I take care of many patients who are nearing end-of-life. There are a lot of issues there, but honestly, prescription pain medication abuse isn't as big a one as one might think. Sure there are some out there, but the bigger grief-denial-anger dying issues often overshadow everything, and if someone isn't coping, lashing out can be an unfortunate, but common problem. When my pain patients (the ones with real pain) start worrying, I talk to them about certain behaviors that are worrisome. Tolerance isn't; knocking over convenience stores, now that's a problem. Sorry about the aside. (And while I'm at it, there are other common medications that can also affect personality and coping - it might have been something else altogether.)

Last edited by DMC; 11-17-2010 at 03:01 PM. Reason: to add my little palliative-care commentary
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Old 11-17-2010, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by DMC View Post
I don't mean to be a downer, but...

You know, for all we feel like "The Talk" is going to change something, it never did for me.
That's OK, really. I think my motivation for having 'The Talk' is more about me than her.

It's my way of saying:

Yes, I see the elephant in the room. The kids see the elephant in the room.

No more sneaking around to go to meetings.

Yes, I will talk to your kids about this and see that they have the tools to stay safe.

I hope she'll decide to get help but that's her business. Taking care of myself and the kids is mine.
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Old 11-17-2010, 03:09 PM
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I figured it was more for you, anyway. All of my talks were for me, looking back.

I actually recently rediscovered an email I'd written him 2 states and 2 homes and maybe 6 years ago. I was amazed to realize that wow... still the same song and dance, nothing changes. (Well, until I left.)

Good for you!
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Old 11-17-2010, 03:12 PM
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I too doubt that the talk will change anything. For someone to get better they have to admit they have a problem. This is a huge step and rarely happens as a result of our confronting them.

I have allowed my children to suffer so much at the hands of their mother's disease (and my co-dependency). When I step back and look at things for what they really are, I am stunned at the sh*t that I tolerate. Where are my boundaries?

Good luck. Do what is best for you.
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Old 11-17-2010, 03:31 PM
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I like all the statements you are going to say to her. I have had the talk, several times, wrote a letter or two even. I think it helped me, but did nothing for him. That I know of. Yep, it chaanges for awhile, but that was about it. Our realationship as far as living together due to work distance, he is here 2-5 days a week. Now the only diffence in this work location is maybe 40 extra minutes in a day. So he stays at his moms, tue and Thur and every other weekend because he has his son those weekends. I am done taking care of his child, so that my bf can drink till he can not walk, or bugs me to bring them somewhere. I am done with that. Now yesterday he asks me so where am I going this weekend? Duhhh! We talked about it. So now I might remind him tonight when he gets here that that was the deal. It seems stupid to me to have to explaain it again and again. I will stay at my home with my kids and enjoy them in a sober house. I wish he could see what I see but he doesn't. Yes, I think it will get worse, but that is something that I can not control or stop. He is a big boy.

I do hope your talk goes well. I feel for you.
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Old 11-17-2010, 03:45 PM
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Atleast by having 'the talk' you'll be putting your feelings on the table. She won't be able to say that you didn't tell her how you felt. I like others have had that talk several times as well and it didn't matter. I do remember one of my STBEXAH's counselors tell him that perhaps he would have to lose everything before he finallly got it. AH hasn't got it by almost dying several times, so maybe this will work. I can't worry about that, his recovery is his business. I see that now, and it took almost three years. For now I continue to focus on me and my boys.
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Old 11-17-2010, 04:08 PM
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As was told to me (about this very subject) from wise folks with more (codie) recovery under their belt than I - don't have The Talk with her.

Have it with you.

YOU are the one that needs to hear the list:
I've got a problem with her drinking.
I'm going to get help.
I'm going to let the kids know that there's help for them.
I'm not going to engage with her or let the kids engage with her when she's drinking.
I'm going to tell the kids to stay away from her if she's drinking and I'm not home.
I hope that she chooses to get help too.


So, go get help.
Talk to the kids.
Don't engage when she's drinking.
And remind yourself that your recovery is for you.

It may sound like crazy talk, but nothing needs to be said.
Now, that is not to say if she is doing something unacceptable, you can't tell her "no". It's just to say that she knows you don't like her drinking and she can't or won't change.

The work is for you to take care of yourself and your kids now.
She will get the gist and you grow in your recovery.

Hugs and peace
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Old 11-17-2010, 04:18 PM
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Hi JustJill63 to SR
Why don't you start a new thread and introduce yourself so everyone can say hi?
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Old 11-17-2010, 04:25 PM
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The only talks that I ever walked away from where I felt like I had accomplished anything other than hurting myself even more than I was already hurt were the ones I had communicating the boundaries I had set for myself and what would be the consequences if and when those boundaries were crossed.

Of course, I wouldn't try to dissuade you from learning this for yourself, in your own time. It has been invaluable for me to try everything I possibly could, to no avail, so that I could learn this lesson for myself. Because I'm perhaps rather hard-headed? Except looking back I wish I hadn't WASTED so much of my life with this nonsense. Hmmm...did I just contradict myself?
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Old 11-17-2010, 04:43 PM
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I want to let her know that:

I've got a problem with her drinking.
I'm going to get help.
I'm going to let the kids know that there's help for them.
I'm not going to engage with her or let the kids engage with her when she's drinking.
I'm going to tell the kids to stay away from her if she's drinking and I'm not home.
I hope that she chooses to get help too.

Thanks-
SteppinUp,

I think you should tell her exactly this, if alcohol has never been discussed before, this is the points that should be made.
But, do not have any expectations about changing her.
Making her aware, and setting some boundaries and consequences are next.
When you are ready.
Oh, and add in about "violence will not be tolerated in any form."

Beth
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Old 11-17-2010, 04:58 PM
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Thank you all so much. This is a confusing and charged situation. I feel like I'm handling a hand grenade. You've given me lots to think about.
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Old 11-17-2010, 05:05 PM
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Looking back at some of the things I learned the "hard way," one of the most important is say what you mean and mean what you say (but don't say it mean).

In other words, before you have "the talk" with her, have one with yourself. Determine what your boundaries are, and what you are willing and able to do to enforce them. Don't threaten to leave if you are not prepared to leave. Don't threaten divorce unless you are fully prepared to file. These are just examples, but it's very important to make sure you are clear with yourself before you can be clear with her. If you aren't, you lose your credibility and make things worse in the long run. (That's what happened to me.)

L
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Old 11-17-2010, 05:32 PM
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Hugs your way, this is a difficult situation but I'm glad you are going to get help for you and your little ones. No one has to go through this alone, it was very difficult for me and I was not even married or had kids so you got my respect, admiration and support for these steps you are taking.
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Old 11-17-2010, 07:03 PM
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Instead of having the talk with her, maybe you could have it with a competent family law attorney, so you have an idea of where you stand legally with regard to the home, finances, assets, and most importantly, custody of the boys? Just a fact finding meeting.

Then you kind of know what you are working with and what kind of boundaries you can realistically set.

Do you have the means to move you and the boys some where else, where their school routine wouldn't be up set? Or better yet, is there some where SHE could go to continue her drinking career without all the drama and chaos?

Even if you decide to separate, that doesn't mean you have to divorce right away, or ever for that matter.

You're doing great, one baby step at a time. Nothing has to be decided or figured out tonight.

See, your toes are hanging over the edge. I know it's hard, but you're doing good.

Thanks and God bless us all,
Coyote
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Old 11-17-2010, 07:54 PM
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You know, for all we feel like "The Talk" is going to change something, it never did for me. I had several. I wrote letters. I emailed. I practically shouted it from the rooftops.
Not to be a downer also, but have to agree here. I have found that talking and explaining does nothing. I talked. I explained in a million different ways. I cried. I did everything I could think of.

I found that saying less and giving very little emotion is best. Action means more. And you have to stick to it. Unfortunately, you really have to stick to it.
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Old 11-17-2010, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by goldengirl3 View Post
I found that saying less and giving very little emotion is best. Action means more. And you have to stick to it. Unfortunately, you really have to stick to it.
You know, this is reminds me of a quote I recently saw on this forum by Ralph Waldo Emerson,

"What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say."

Seems to apply here.
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