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Detaching from Alcoholic Wife

Old 12-03-2010, 04:12 PM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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So this is where we're at now: I have explained to my wife that she cannot come home and be alone with the kids. She initially realized that this was going to mean some sort of half-way house or something, but she's now latched on to the idea that I should hire a nanny to look after the kids, and then if she's drinking, the kids will be protected. If she tries to drive with them, the nanny could call the police, for example. I do not like this idea at all. It puts the nanny in an almost impossible position: Suppose my wife denies drinking and wants to take the kids to the shop. What is the nanny to do? Call 911 on her employer? But my wife seems to think it's fine, and that it's better for the kids than them being away from her for six months while she gets fixed up.
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Old 12-03-2010, 04:31 PM
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Sorry to be blunt, but, your wife is wrong. What is better for the kids is for her to take the time to get better before she is alone with them. It's not the nanny's responsibility to monitor her drinking, and having a nanny there to watch the kids is just like saying...now, you can drink whenever you want. It doesn't sound like she has any intention of quitting drinking.
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Old 12-03-2010, 04:42 PM
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Stay the course Redbaron. There is a reason you decided that her coming home was not a good idea. What she is doing is called manipulating to try to get herself back into her comfy home and her cosy life so she doesn't have to deal with the consequences and devastation that her drinking has created in her life (and everyone elses).

It is your wife's responsibility to make changes in her life so her children can be safe around her. It's not your responsibility to hire a babysitter to police your wife or care for your kids so your wife can be free to relapse if she chooses.

And iIt doesn't really matter what your wife thinks. Look at the damage she has caused with all her "thinking" so far. In recovery circles, we call that stinking thinking - because that's just what it is. It stinks.
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Old 12-03-2010, 06:09 PM
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She just called me again, in tears this time, seemingly realizing that she won't be able to move back in. She called in "Not being welcome", but I said that it's not that, it's about her getting herself sorted out. I must say I'm not impressed by this facility's phone policy. The last place she was in wouldn't let them have cell phones or make anything more than a 10 min scheduled call once a week. With this place, she's been calling me nonestop, and then getting angry when I have to cut the discussion short so I can deal with supper or one of the kid's piano lessons or something. And it's not a healthy way to be discussing these issues: It should be done with her counsellor there, or what the heck are we paying all this money for?
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Old 12-03-2010, 07:18 PM
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Perhaps it's best if you don't take the calls if you aren't in a position or don't have the desire to talk at the moment. She is where she is to get help and learn coping skills. It doesn't sound like she's really taking any of this to heart. It does sound like she is pulling everything out of the hat she can think of to intimidate you and try to make you feel guilty. Hang tough...she's quacking.
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Old 12-03-2010, 07:27 PM
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hi redbaron-

i totally agree with suki...you don't have to take the calls. she's trying to manipulate you...that is an abosolutely ridiculous proposal of hers to hire a nanny to care for the children in case she drinks! why can't their mother care for them should be the question she is asking herself.

i agree with suki. hang tough. if you don't want to talk to her, you don't have to. what is your boundary here? if i was you, i would block her number on the main phone line, and buy a pay as you go mobile phone. with this phone, you can set a time for her to call and speak to the children. say mon, wed, fri at 7pm. turn on this phone only at the agreed to hour.

set your boundaries and protect your family. she is not thinking straight. it's up to you now.

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Old 12-04-2010, 10:17 AM
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the kids? is there someone that you trust that will help you if you do have to work late? late daycare in the area...i know here, we have one that is open until Midnite....something also to consider...

AL ANON for you and AL ATEEN for the kids...check them out...
gosh i hear your pain..and i am so sorry...((hugs))
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Old 12-04-2010, 11:35 AM
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Red,

Sorry for your troubles.

My ex was in a facility that let him call me all the time for the 28 days he was there. His place was around 30K month and located in West Palm Beach, FL. Very fancy and all that, but he drank 2 weeks after coming home and continued drinking during the follow up outpatient thing back home.

I really think that folks here who talk about needing to be done and then quitting are really in the only successful mindset. WE, the fancy facilities and our families cannot make them or convince them to quit drinking or be responsible. Some people are just that way.

With this said, I don't have kids but had a very mentally ill mom. My dad divorced her and my sister and I grew up with him. It wasn't ideal and I know it was hard on him, but we survived without major trauma.
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Old 12-04-2010, 02:46 PM
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Had a visit today at the facility so she could see the kids. She was good with them, but very hostile with me. She's still angry that each time she's called I've had to get off the phone quickly, so I've arrange for her to call me tomorrow at 8am so we can talk without interruption. She says she wants to be involved in the arrangements for the kids when she's away, like picking the nanny etc. I'm not convinced this is a good idea, nor something that is required...
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Old 12-04-2010, 03:03 PM
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I think the advice, don't take her calls, is a good one. Or, call the rehab and ask them to restrict her calls, you're right it doesn't sound like a good policy. The reason people in rehabs are forbidden calls is so they keep the focus on them and their problems.

Your children are so lucky to have such a wise, smart dad. Just keep doing what you're doing. There is an end in sight.
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Old 12-04-2010, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by RedBaron View Post
Had a visit today at the facility so she could see the kids. She was good with them, but very hostile with me. She's still angry that each time she's called I've had to get off the phone quickly, so I've arrange for her to call me tomorrow at 8am so we can talk without interruption. She says she wants to be involved in the arrangements for the kids when she's away, like picking the nanny etc. I'm not convinced this is a good idea, nor something that is required...
RedBaron,

If she is hostile with you and wants to control things like picking out the nanny, I don't believe she is getting her part in her recovery.
She gave away her right to make parental decisions about your children when she chose to drink over what was best for them.
This is not my judgement coming from on high, I am a recovering acloholic with children. My children went into foster care while I was in treatment, and I was very carefully monitored by the Army (I was active duty at the time) to make sure I remained sober or lose my children and my career.
I do understand how hard it is to have an alcoholic constantly yammering in your ear too, my ex was addicted too. It might be best to limit the conversations to what you can tolerate, not what she wants to do.
You are really doing well and making great progress. I am so glad your children have you there for them.

:ghug3

Beth
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Old 12-04-2010, 04:56 PM
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hello redbaron,

this is a wonderful site, chock full of compassionate folks, and a lot of experience from which you can surely derive strength.

i wanted to welcome you to the forum. please stick around.

i had to do a lot of checking up too, when my husband was not yet sober. to say it drains you is sure an understatement.

i would think - i guess - that if she returns to active using (any substance, not just alcohol), that i would insist on her leaving the home. that's not divorce, it's keeping your children safe. the optimal thing in that event, is probably to get a loving an active nanny for them.

keep us posted
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Old 12-04-2010, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by nodaybut2day View Post
RedBaron...I have three words for you: document, document, document.

If you're headed for a legal battle and/or mediation, you need documented proof that it isn't safe for your AW to be alone with her children. This isn't about "winning", it's about what's best for the kids, i.e. a healthy and sane family life.

And you're right...as nice as it is to have your in-laws concerned and involved, this is your decision to make, especially because you have to consider the safety of your children. To poorly translate a Québécois expression, "they can wring their Kleenexes all they want", but in the end, none of you control your AW's actions, whether she chooses to drown in a bottle again or complete suicide.

If I were you, I'd consult a few other lawyers to get a good lay of the land, legally speaking, and clearly discuss what can be done to prevent your AW from coming home after treatment. Others on this board have dealt with similar issues so perhaps they can offer advice. Some have left with the children, and others have petitioned the courts for emergency use of the family home. Alternately, you could call the rehab she's in and ask them what kind of options they have post-treatment (perhaps a sober living facility)...

In the meantime...get thee to Al-Anon! It'll definitely help support you in this difficult period.

Keep posting!
I echo these sentiments. Often, we're so embroiled in what's going on with the alcoholic spouse that we don't realize how much "normal" people look at what's going on and see that it is totally unacceptable for kids to live that way. And that's the way the legal system sees it too.

Let me give you an example--my f'd up life I documented everything before I filed for divorce. My lawyer was literally SICK over what had gone on even though I had protected my daughter from everything...and was ready to file emergency orders...etc. We just don't always have that perspective because we've been living with it. Bottom line is, if you do decide to move forward with a divorce, even if you think there's going to be an issue, there's likely NOT going to be one. We just can't always see things clearly.

I wish you the very best in whatever decision(s) you make.
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Old 12-05-2010, 06:27 AM
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Just got off the phone with her. She's in tears, and completely ripped up about not being able to come home. It breaks my heart, and I so want to just say, forget it, move back in, but I know I can't. I keep wanting this problem to just go away, and letting her move back would be the easiest way to do that -- but I know that wouldn't last, and that it wouldn't be right for me or the kids. But I hate hearing her like that, and I hate having to be the bad guy who is forcing all this to happen. This sucks.
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Old 12-05-2010, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by RedBaron View Post
I keep wanting this problem to just go away, and letting her move back would be the easiest way to do that...
Just like to gently point out that this is untrue.

It doesn't make the problem go away; it prolongues it.

Prolongues everyone's suffering, especially the kids'.

To get past the fire, you have to walk through it; there simply is no other way to get to the other side. But once you get to the other side, you see it was the shortest, least painful way, in the long run.

All the other shortcuts are fantasies we hold, and lies to ourselves.

Sending encouragement,

CLMI
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Old 12-05-2010, 10:11 AM
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Your poor wife has to deal with the consequences of her drinking. Too bad she's laying a guilt trip on you about that. Pretty inappropriate actually, but to be expected. She's an alcoholic doing what alcoholics do.

Letting her move home (trying to throw a blanket over the elephant in your living room) will not make the problem go away. It will make it worse. You must know this in your heart of hearts, right?

There is no guarantee she will stay sober when she gets out of rehab. But the good news is NOW she has the opportunity to show you how committed she is to her recovery, without doing any further damage to your children. AND you don't have to hire someone to babysit her! What a blessing!

Now, about that alanon meeting? We really recomend that you work the program you think your spouse should work. Alcoholism is a family disease. It doesn't just affect the alcoholic. It affects everyone in the family. Just try 3 meetings... it'll be a great way to support yourself, your children and your wife while she is in recovery.

Alcoholics don't just "quit" drinking. It takes lifelong effort.
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Old 12-05-2010, 11:49 AM
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You're all correct, of course. Re Al-Anon, hopefully next week when the schedule clears a bit. It's tricky right now given that I'm Mr. Mom.
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Old 12-05-2010, 12:22 PM
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hang in there, redbaron. sending you encouragement.
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Old 12-05-2010, 12:57 PM
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You what would be cool?
AA has people go to hospitals to speak to alcoholics who are getting to the end of their tether.

Does AlAnon have something like this? Home visits? Working full time with kids to care for is stretching an already tense situation to the limits.
Would someone with some time, like a sponsor, be able to go to someones house, just to share experience strength and hope?
I am without a car, so this would help me too.

Just curious.

Beth
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Old 12-07-2010, 05:04 PM
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Got another call from my wife from the facility. Started off nicely, but we again got on to the subject of her coming home. She kept arguing and arguing that it would be better for the kids to have her there than a nanny, and that if I'd really cared about them I would have changed my work schedule to be home more often to start with. She eventually asked if I had spoken to an attorney, and I said yes. She then broke down, sobbing and struggling to breath, almost like a panic attack. I hated hearing her like that, and I so wanted to say "Come home!" but I just can't. Her family want me to take her back with an agreed treatment plan, and I guess that's a possibility, but I think it would have to be something backed up by the law. I think my attorney said I get a court approved agreement along those line, so perhaps that's an answer. But I still feel she needs some time away to get her life straight, and I'm worried that the treatment plan thing will just turn me into a policeman again. Her sister is also worried that she (and perhaps by extention, me and the rest of her family?) didn't do everything to support my wife in her recovery -- going to meeting and so on -- and I've tried to explain about didn't cause, can't cure etc, but it's still an understandable reaction. They'e also all worried that there's some deep dark secret in my wife's past (abuse?) that she's supressing that's causing all this, and that breaks my heart, but again it just reenforces the point that she can't be in charge of the kids until that deamon is exorcised. Oh, Lord, please give me strength through all this...
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