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I need some advice!

Old 02-22-2011, 09:15 AM
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I need some advice!

I have spent a good deal of time reading away on this site and feel I have a very strange situation that I need some advice on.

My wife and I have been married for 14 years and we have 4 great kids, great careers, nice house, etc, etc. Except we have a dirty secret: my wife struggles with alcohol. We have never had any marital problems! No drugs, no cheating, honesty, etc. However, in the last few years a problem continues to grow and get worse.

My wife seems to have "episodes" where she drinks too much and basically acts like a fool. Just a few examples would be she has drank to the point of vomitting, she has gotten drunk and cursed/stumbled around our kids (only a couple times), she drinks until passes out, she has on occassion hid the drinking from me. This has happened probably 6 or 7 times in the last 6 months, and probably 20 times in the last 2 years. It really is to the point where our kids are getting older and notice, and I as her spouse can't deal with the occassional lapse in judgement, and/or share a bed with a spouse who is passed out. Here is an example of the last situation. Saturday night, dinner at our home with our neighbors. We all had a couple drinks and a potluck style dinner. By the end of night, I had noticed an empty bottle of vodka, and know my wife probably drank 2/3 of it. She was drunk, stumbling/happy style drunk, I had a couple drinks and was fine. She comes to bed naked, my thought was she didn't want me mad at her for drinking too much so she came prepared for bedtime. 30 seconds after crawling into bed she is passed out cold. Shaking, I cover her up and let her sleep it off. I stayed awake for 2 hours worried about her.

I have tried to get her to quit, I myself would too. I have tried yelling, talking, begging, writing letters to her and I just can't get through to her that this is just to the point of no return with me and I need her to get help.

Other background, her mother was an alcoholic--but gave my wife up for adoption at birth so there is some family history of abuse. She grew up on a farm with no alcohic issues. She is an AVID runner completing 2 marathons per year. She has a great career. She drinks maybe once a week and like a said one time it always goes too far. She is outstanding in so many things she does in her life, but she can't seem to get a handle on the situational drink too much episode.



Thoughts?
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Old 02-22-2011, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by oneilshome View Post
I have spent a good deal of time reading away on this site and feel I have a very strange situation that I need some advice on.
Welcome to SR. Glad you found us.

In regards to the above, unfortunately I don't see your situation as strange at all. In fact, it's quite typical. The thing I see as different than most of us is that you are seeking help much earlier in the process than many of us (including me) did.

Alcoholism is progressive, as you are discovering. It doesn't get better, it gets worse. Functional is not a "type" of alcoholic, but rather a "stage" of alcoholism. How long it takes to progress is anybodies guess and it varies greatly by individual, but no doubt it will progress if not addressed by your wife.

Although it seems like the solution to your problem is to get her to stop drinking, the real solution is to seek help for yourself. I know that probably doesn't make sense to you at this point, but many here have found Alanon very helpful. Individual counseling was a lifesaver for me, but I wasn't willing to seek it until things got much worse. Sometimes I wonder what the outcome would have been had I sought help for myself sooner. I'll never know.

L
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Old 02-22-2011, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by LaTeeDa View Post
Welcome to SR. Glad you found us.

In regards to the above, unfortunately I don't see your situation as strange at all. In fact, it's quite typical. The thing I see as different than most of us is that you are seeking help much earlier in the process than many of us (including me) did.


L
I guess what makes me feel strange is that my wife is an absolute beast when it comes to marathon/fitness training. She is a high performing professional. She is an awesome mother. But has ZERO control over how the drinking impacts herself or me. And the only consistency to it is she goes 4 or 5 weeks with no problems then BAM, episode-fight-excuse-apology, then another 4 or 5 or 6 weeks with no problems then BAM, again. Soooo, I can't get my finger on the pulse or the warning signs.
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Old 02-22-2011, 09:47 AM
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There was a time when my husband would only get sh!tfaced once a month or so. He would go to the pool and swim three nights a week to keep in shape. He had his own business and was very successful.

Over time, he stopped swimming. Once a month turned into once a week, then eventually almost every day. His successful business turned into doing only enough to finance his habit.

It gets worse.......

L
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Old 02-22-2011, 10:14 AM
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hi and welcome.

I would advise you to keep reading. And you might start to get used to the idea that it doesn't make sense. Alcoholism doesn't make sense to a rational mind. The sooner you can accept that it has its own rules (really, there are very typical patterns), the better off you will be.

The first thing to understand is that it is a progressive disease, meaning it will get worse. Her other interests will start to take a backseat to drinking. You would be mistaken to believe that what you have now is as bad as it will get.

Having said that, you must place your focus on yourself and your children, even though it seems like your wife is the one who needs the help.

Al-anon and counseling will be good allies for you.
Welcome.
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Old 02-22-2011, 10:15 AM
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Welcome!!!
I want you to know that I was your wife before I got sober, I was a binge drinker once a month. I would always black out, pass out and make a fool of myself. However it gets worse I surpassed my binge drinking with flying colors and moved to once a week then twice a week until it was at least every other day and in the last month I was drink everyday. I to have a great career, I coach my daughters softball, play softball and was a wonderful mom to my two children until the drink became the most important thing in my life and then nothing really mattered to me I was either drinking or planning my next drink. I am not sure who posted it but this is a progressive disease, we do not stand still in it for long before it has consumed our lives and we have no idea how we got there.

I agree that you should seek help for yourself and your children and that is the only thing you can do about your wifes drinking. You have no control and you can not fix it, no one could convince me I had a problem until I was ready to admitt it to myself. My family and children begged me to stop but I could not, I had to go through every horrible experience to finally get sober and it was not pretty. But when I finally decided it was better to go to AA than slit my wrists I got a chance to have a life...that was 14 months ago and I have never felt better. My children and my family attend alanon so they are able to better themselves and learn that my disease is not their problem. I am lucky and greatful that I was able to get sober and start to be the person God meant for me to be and my children are happy to have their mom back. I wish you and your family luck.
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Old 02-22-2011, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by oneilshome View Post
...I have tried to get her to quit, I myself would too. I have tried yelling, talking, begging, writing letters to her and I just can't get through to her that this is just to the point of no return with me and I need her to get help.
Hello and Welcome to SR.
Like LaTeeDa said, the situation with your wife isn't as strange as it sounds. I too, have an (A)lcoholic (W)ife AW.
I also struggled with getting her to change. I yelled, wrote letters, begged, cried, supported, diverted, told her family, etc. Right now, she is not active but I also know she's a binge drinker so it could happen at any time.

There are a few things I've learned. They may or may not apply to you.

I've learned to put more energy into myself and making sure that I'm clear, level headed and as healthy as I can be. This is done for me so I can do it for my 20 month old son.

The other thing I've learned and practice as much as I can are the 3 Cs.

You did not Cause it.
You can not Control it.
You can not Cure it.

Lastly, there are a few sticky topics at the top of this forum. They provide some extraordinary insight and I believe they're a great read.

You've found an excellent resource here. Keep on writing and reading. It really does help.
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Old 02-22-2011, 10:38 AM
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Welcome to SR. Previous posters have expressed it well. There is so much good information and insights in the stickies at the top.

The thing with addiction is that people follow it. They follow the addition no matter how embarrassing or painful it is, how many people they hurt, how hurt they are, and when it is utterly irrational. People lose spouses, homes, careers, and children - and yet they follow the addiction. God help me to never know what that is like but we must accept it if we are ever to find our own way. They follow that voice in their head until when (and if) some shift happens inside. That shift is an internal thing and nothing we do out here can make it happen.
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Old 02-22-2011, 11:34 AM
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Welcome to SR! I personally experienced exactly the same thing with my wife, and vodka is the common denominator. I am sorry for your situation.

It all seemed so innocent at first. But then I got concerned, tried to get her to slow down, but the bottom line: she wouldn't stop, couldn't stop, didn't stop, until she was hooked and required it daily. By then, the train had left the station and I was on a merry go round that continues spinning to this day.

I once heard addiction defined as the inability to stop even in the face of consequences. Example: husband and kids are concerned, and you keep going anyway.

I was in denial as long as I could be ... it's not that bad, it's not really hurting anyone, maybe it's just a stage, maybe it will get better. That stage can last years. Then I was overlooking a DWI, frequent passing out, and being way too drunk at inappropriate times (i.e. family gatherings, dinners, weddings, date night, shopping, etc etc).

Then she tried to quit and had a siezure. 8 days in intensive care. I had NO IDEA what a butt-kicker this vodka can be. That was 9 years ago.

Your wife sounds like a smart woman. Perhaps she would be open to some education about what a POWERFUL addiction alcohol can be. If she figures it out sooner than later, maybe you can dodge the bullet.

My initial reaction was worry, concern, asking her to stop, wondering if/when she was drinking and how much, and eventually thinking about this "problem" ALL THE TIME. Her obsession was alcohol; my obsession was her use of alcohol. I don't know who was crazier.

Keep reading, keep coming back, and all the best to you!
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Old 02-22-2011, 11:43 AM
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welcome.

I'm sorry to report, if your wife is anything like mine it will get worse. And it seems the one thing these alcoholics have in common is everything.

Mine started off like you describe. After 20+ years it was up to 15+ bottles of wine a week. And had actually been there for some time. I just didn't know it. for sure. I suppose I didn't "want" to believe it.

I tried talking, concern, love, raising my voice, stomping around, pouring it out, and all the things you have already tried or are thinking about. And the sad truth is nothing worked.

I finally had enough, filed for divorce and sat her alcoholic arse down with our kids. And I gave her a real ultimatum that I knew I would stick to. This put the ball in her court. I explained, over and over and over, that she had only 2 choices. To go to the rehab center I lined up and do what they said to do, or not. The consequence of going today was; I would evaluate her improvement over time and I might choose to pull the divorce papers. It was not a promise to pull the papers because she went to the rehab place. It was just a promise to consider it. The consequence of NOT going would be an unstoppable divorce train leaving the station. Today. I would walk out the door that day, and there was no amount of pleading, wild crazy college sex, lies, or promises that would entice me to pull the papers. The trigger would be pulled. game over. See you in court.

She elected to go. Our life is much improved. The divorce papers are still filed, and she is still drinking. Not much. But I continue to find out about it. And I am still evaluating our ability to stay married. Certainly it is better. But after getting beat up by the local bully everyday, isn't getting beat up only once a week an improvement? And wouldn't it be really nice to not deal with that bully at all? Ever? That's where we're at.

The alcoholic is truly powerless to stop. But we can't really help them. They have to decide to do it. And the path to sobriety is long and hard. Unfortunately, the odds of success are low was well.

From my experience, no amount of rational, logical talking or love has any effect whatsoever. None.
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by djayr View Post
Welcome to SR! I personally experienced exactly the same thing with my wife, and vodka is the common denominator. I am sorry for your situation.

It all seemed so innocent at first. But then I got concerned, tried to get her to slow down, but the bottom line: she wouldn't stop, couldn't stop, didn't stop, until she was hooked and required it daily. By then, the train had left the station and I was on a merry go round that continues spinning to this day.

I once heard addiction defined as the inability to stop even in the face of consequences. Example: husband and kids are concerned, and you keep going anyway.

I was in denial as long as I could be ... it's not that bad, it's not really hurting anyone, maybe it's just a stage, maybe it will get better. That stage can last years. Then I was overlooking a DWI, frequent passing out, and being way too drunk at inappropriate times (i.e. family gatherings, dinners, weddings, date night, shopping, etc etc).

Then she tried to quit and had a siezure. 8 days in intensive care. I had NO IDEA what a butt-kicker this vodka can be. That was 9 years ago.

Your wife sounds like a smart woman. Perhaps she would be open to some education about what a POWERFUL addiction alcohol can be. If she figures it out sooner than later, maybe you can dodge the bullet.

My initial reaction was worry, concern, asking her to stop, wondering if/when she was drinking and how much, and eventually thinking about this "problem" ALL THE TIME. Her obsession was alcohol; my obsession was her use of alcohol. I don't know who was crazier.

Keep reading, keep coming back, and all the best to you!

Wow, reading this really just made me feel sort of sick. My situation is not unique or strange. This is about as exact to my situation as it can get.
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:30 PM
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The replies are amazing and this is an active forum. I have been reading on, especially the stickies.

There is no way I can find any way in my heart to give up on her and nobody has really suggested that. But I have to admit, I never really have given much thought about it getting worse as some of you describe. I feel in many ways like my wifes "FATHER" instead of her husband when it comes to drinking.

This is all actually very confusing for me. I have to admit, my biggest fear right now is losing her to an alcohol addiction.

To think my situation was strange was seriously incorrect!
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:35 PM
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I felt the same way when I found this site and I had the same fears about my wife. Here's what I found out. I was actually losing myself to her alcoholism. Now, I'm learning to put my health, interests and needs first and letting her make her own mistakes. I know she needs to grow and I'm not the one who can do that for her.
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:41 PM
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The thing with addiction is that there isn't a little bit addicted. That is like being a little bit pregnant.

At 3mos a pregnant woman doesn't look pregnant but she is just as pregnant as she is at 9mos when she can't get out of the chair.

People start out in the beginnings of addiction and it isn't always noticeable but they are just as addicted as they are at the end. It slowly becomes more noticeable is all.

Originally Posted by oneilshome View Post
This is all actually very confusing for me. I have to admit, my biggest fear right now is losing her to an alcohol addiction.
Sadly I think you already have. She's an alcoholic.

The question now is will you lose yourself to her alcoholism? That did eventually become my greatest fear.
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Old 02-22-2011, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by oneilshome View Post
I have to admit, my biggest fear right now is losing her to an alcohol addiction.
hi and welcome to SR. This is an awesome place to find support, experience and some off-colour humour. SR has saved my butt a bunch of times and continues to help me today.

Regarding what I've quoted above, sadly, you may have to come to the realization that you simply do not control your wife or the outcome of this situation. This ties in directly to the 3 C's of addiction:
You didn't CAUSE it
You can't CURE it
You can't CONTROL it

Being a control freak myself, I understand how hard it is to give up that illusion of control...but that's all it is, an illusion. I'm not in the driver's seat, my HP (higher power, god, the universe, whatever you cal it) is. How did I come to this realization, having been a hardened atheist? It came when I looked at my baby girl after a horrendous scream fest with my then-husband; I realized that the years of abuse dealing with his drinking, cocaine and pill use had to happen for her to be conceived, and when she was, SHE was the one who made me realize that I couldn't continue to live the way I was because I'd be teaching her that it was ok to be mistreated by one's husband.

Even so, I often struggle with the notion that I can't change others and do not control them. When that happens, I pray (which felt weird for me for a long time). The serenity prayer has helped ground me in many unnerving situations:

"God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change; (other people)
The courage to change the things that I can (me)
And the wisdom to the know the difference"

I know you came to SR hoping to find "the answer", the magic solution to help your wife, but if you stick around long enough, you'll find that the focus will shift to helping the most important person in your life: YOU.

Stick around. Read lots. Post even more. Find an Al-Anon meeting and attend a bunch.

You're not alone.
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Old 02-22-2011, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Thumper View Post
The question now is will you lose yourself to her alcoholism?
Thumper, you're brilliant.
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Old 02-22-2011, 01:08 PM
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I really don't have anything to add as the posters above have provided some great info. I just want you to know you are not alone. My wife is also an alcoholic. Our stories are very similar. Unfortunatley, as it's been noted, alcoholism is progressive and will only get worse if left untreated. Try to focus on yourself and the kids. Your wife will only choose recovery if that is what she truly wants. I learned the hard way that nothing, to include children, can stop alcoholism. Please take care of yourself so you don't get dragged down as well. Please keep coming back here, it helps tremendously.
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Old 02-22-2011, 02:47 PM
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hey there, sorry to here of your situation.

Its not that different to mine, my AW was very athletic whilst secretly consuming large amounts.

It will seem odd at first when you feel she needs your help, but start looking after you.

The longer you leave that the harder it will be when you really need to.

Learn about enabling and how not too..

Take care
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Old 02-22-2011, 03:43 PM
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Welcome to SR! You've found a very understanding, supportive and realistic group of people. As you indicated, no one here told you to give up on her and most likely, no one will. That is your choice and if and when the time comes to do that, you will know...not us.

Do educate yourself. Do open your heart to your own voice, your own needs and those of your children. Sometimes the voice of addiction screams so loudly, we don't pay attention to the smaller voices even when they are the most important ones.

It is so hard to accept that we are powerless because we love them SO much and don't understand how they are so willing to hurt us and themselves repeatedly. But addiction does not produce rational behaviors in anyone touched by it.

So sorry for your pain but so glad you found SR.
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Old 02-22-2011, 03:52 PM
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Just wanted to add my welcome to you. I am glad you have found SR. You have received wonderful advice. I know it is hard to see at first, but taking care of yourself is really the only thing you can do.

It gets easier when you begin to focus on your own health and well-being. It really does. Keep reading and posting, we are always here As you can see, you are certainly not alone.
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