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Confronting a Closet Drinker

Old 02-25-2011, 03:25 AM
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Confronting a Closet Drinker

My fiancee is trying to hide her drinking. She doesn't drink much, only a couple of shots of vodka at night. She doesn't drink every night either. My concern is that she is trying to hide her drinking.

When I first suspected her of drinking was several weeks ago when I caught a whif of that tell-tale smell when trying to give her a good night kiss. She quickly turned her head and buried it in the pillow, but the smell lingered. A few days later stumbled across a half-empty bottle of vodka while putting away something the kids took out of her scrapbook box. I asked her about the bottle, she said she felt really stressed after the last town board meeting and grabbed it from her parents liquor cabinet (we are both mid 30's). I asked her about hiding it. She said it was force of habit becasue her exhusband. He was a terrible alcoholic and would drink anything and everything he found. After he sobered up (health reasons) he would ridicule her about it.

Since I asked her about it she has moved the bottle many times. Current hiding spot is in a backpack hidden under a pile of other backpack in the one of the kid's closet.

I really don't care if she wants to have a drink or two at night. I don't want to alienate her, but hiding the bottle in the kid's room??? I have to look out for them. Luckily they don't use their backpacks, so haven't discovered the bottle, yet.

Should I take the bottle and sit down with her to talk or just confiscate the bottle? Or something else?
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Old 02-25-2011, 03:35 AM
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Originally Posted by ptjm View Post
Should I take the bottle and sit down with her to talk or just confiscate the bottle? Or something else?
Welcome!!!


I won't advise you on how to approach her beyond telling you that the confrontation thing-along with confiscating her booze-isn't recommended in these parts. My attempts weren't done very well, and confrontations never went well.

If I'm not mistaken there are some advisories about this subject in the 'stickies' here-the posts on the top of this forum, with subject lines like 'Classic Reading'. Strongly urge that you follow their guidelines.
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Old 02-25-2011, 04:14 AM
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She hides it because she knows she is drinking too much. And, trust me, it's more than a "couple of shots" now and then. I had all kinds of creative hiding places. And an elaborate way to smuggle in large bottles to refill the smaller, more hide-able bottles.

I second the suggestion that you read the stickies, and consider getting yourself to an Al-Anon meeting. You may be in for a bumpy ride.
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Old 02-25-2011, 04:47 AM
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Welcome to SR!

Please read and post as much as needed. We understand what it feels like to watch a loved one struggle with alcohol.

Here is one of the sticky posts that has helped me:

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...l-problem.html
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Old 02-25-2011, 05:03 AM
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Hi PTJM,

My wife used to hide bottles too.

I couldn’t put up with the deceit.

Good luck and take care of your kids above all else!
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Old 02-25-2011, 07:03 AM
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Hi and to SR!

Just wanted to pop in a post the 3 C's of alcoholism for you:

You didn't cause the drinking
You can't cure the drinking
You can't control the drinking

Her drinking is entirely her choice and nothing you say/do will change that. You can inform her that you have a problem with this secrecy but beyond that, don't expect that pouring the booze out, sitting her down for "a talk" or any of those other strategies, is going to work.

If I were you, I'd seriously think about putting off the wedding until you have decided what you're going to do about this issue.
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Old 02-25-2011, 08:16 AM
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welcome! This is a wonderful, supportive place to be where you can talk to tons of people that have been there, done that! You can use this board for emotional support or outpouring, or practical advice.
My AH was wonderful 75% of the time and I came across a hidden bottle or two now and again.
I saw him drink reasonably.
He always seemed to want his drinking to be unnoticed by me.
I brought it up a few times in our marriage and he downplayed it strongly.
I finally realized it was a lot more than I had thought (at least sometimes).
Eventually, I have asked him to choose the bottle or me and he can't answer.
To me, that means the bottle.
Pretty intense.
I have fought, kicking and screaming, my life to end up this way! I love him and he is a dear.
He's also an alcoholic.

I confronted. It did not help, in the way I wanted. It made our relationship get ugly in a way it never had. It started us on the slippery slope to divorce. I can't say it MADE it happen. Once I felt strongly enough to confront him, there was no way my concerns and the denial could exist anymore (for either of us).
I am really sorry you have to deal with this.

Stick around.
peace
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Old 02-25-2011, 08:37 AM
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Welcome to SR.
You've found a great group of people and a wealth of information. Some of these folks are coming from the other side so we're lucky to have their take on it.

I won't tell you what's best to do. All I can say is that for me at some point, I needed to get some cards on the table. I did that by revealing my AW's hiding spots in front of her while recording it on my camera. Talk about confrontation. She tried to choke me out. I'm a monster of a fella so her physical challenge was no match and again, I caught it on the camcorder. I'd say that was the breaking point for us. That's what forced me to come back to this site and start educating myself and really working on healing myself.

I've since accepted that I have no control over her drinking. I'm not the cause of her drinking problem, contrary to her accusations/quacks. I can't cure her drinking problems.

I can work on myself and that's been a far more productive tool compared to confrontation.

What do I do today if/when I find a bottle? I leave it alone. I try not to monitor it. Yes. I would like to dump it's contents and refill it with something horrendous and sit back and laugh but I know that won't do anyone any good.

Keep reading and keep posting.
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Old 02-25-2011, 11:12 AM
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Welcome, this is a great place with great people who are in the same place as you, I hope all the information and comments help.

My AS was a secret drinker, which arose after the first intervention more than 10 years ago. She would stash her big bottles of vodka in a few places and then transfer to water bottles, walking around like nobody could tell or smell she was drinking. Before Al-Anon and SR and not realizing I could control it, we would find water bottles everywhere in various volumes, everyone smelled of vodka.

I think the closet drinker arrises from not wanting to admit there is a problem, not wanting to give up their addiction, thinking they can control it. They even think vodka doesn't smell, adding to the secrecy. The disease needs to be fed by alcohol and if you hide it, they think nobody knows and they can continue to drink.

Of course, any time you confront them about it, there will be excuses, apologies, and more coverup. They may even go a day or two seemingly sober, then back to the secret drinking.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
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Old 02-25-2011, 11:36 AM
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My Soon To Be Ex Alcoholic Wife (STBXAW) also was a closet drinker and Vodka seems to be the drink of choice around here. Anyway, I too found her stash and I just put everything out on our kitchen table and didn't say anything. A that point she realized the problem was out in the open. However, you will learn that you are powerless and they will not get help unless they want to. There is nothing you can do about it. You will see the three C's alot, you didn't Cause it, you can't Control it and you can't Cure it. I wish you the best of the luck and hope your wife will seek some help. Try Al Alon, it has helped many here.
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:47 PM
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You don't hide booze unless you know you have a problem on some level.
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Old 02-25-2011, 02:08 PM
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Read the stickies, but I'll tell you this. You and I are on opposites sides of hell. You are outside looking in, but you are also feeling the heat and know something is wrong which is why you are here. I'm on the other end of it having barely survived it. I'm covered with scars, some of which will never go away, and the cost to me was most of my thirties and half of my forties.

IMHO it is highly likely the single worst mistake you will make in your entire life is if you marry this woman. I'm not telling you not to marry her. I'm telling you that, if you do, the only possible way to **** up worse would be to continue raising these children with her.

At that point, the good news is you'll never be able to do something more unwise than you've already done. You will have peaked. From there you will be able to live the rest of your life knowing that, while you could repeat the mistake(s), you'll never be able to make one(s) that are worse.

For more on this continue reading and posting here and, for the love of God, please find the Alanon meetings in your area and go to at least six of them, some different if possible. They are not AA. AA is for alcoholics. Alanon is for you. Here, I'll give you a hand: How to find a meeting in the US/Canada/Puerto Rico

Good God do I hope you are a smarter man than me.

Take what you want and leave the rest.

Cyranoak
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Old 02-25-2011, 02:31 PM
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Not sure how old the kids are but if it were me, for the kids' sake, I'd remove the bottle from their room and tell her not to put alcohol in the kids' rooms. If it were pot, coke or heroin, or a bottle of Drano, would you leave it in the kids room? It's all the same to me.
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Old 02-25-2011, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Learn2Live View Post
Not sure how old the kids are but if it were me, for the kids' sake, I'd remove the bottle from their room and tell her not to put alcohol in the kids' rooms. If it were pot, coke or heroin, or a bottle of Drano, would you leave it in the kids room? It's all the same to me.
Good point, L2L. You can't control it but you sure as hell can lay down some boundaries. When it comes to the kids there should be no wavering on it.
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Old 02-25-2011, 03:55 PM
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And now of you know of that liquor in the backpack, you would be responsible if anything, God forbid, were to happen to those children. More than what is already happening to them living with an active alcoholic, that is.
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Old 03-05-2011, 07:28 PM
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thanks to everyone for sharing thoughts and comments. I've been doing a lot of reading in the forums since my post. I am very much confused on how to deal with this.

I did move her bottle from the kid's closet to her closet. I told her I moved it, which didn't go over well, but something I had to do for the kids safety. Good thing too, one of the boys decided that particular backpack would be good for the army game I was playing with him a couple days ago.

I told her that the hiding bothered me and asked her to keep her bottles out of the kids reach. She agreed. I don't know where she keeps them now. Daily I fight the urge to look for them, so far I am succeeding, but it has only been a week.

I am trying to live according to the three c's. It is hard to see some one I love do this.
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Old 03-06-2011, 02:17 AM
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Welcome to SR
Yes you are right it is very very hard to watch someone you love behaving like this.
Hiding alcohol...
Stealing alcohol from her parent cupbourd ? Oh Dear

You know in your heart what is acceptable and what is not.
I hope your stick around here, read and learn.
We know wjhat it is like and the confusion that goes with it all.

Keep posting and connecting. you are not alone.

Remember

You didn't cause the drinking
You can't cure the drinking
You can't control the drinking
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Old 03-06-2011, 08:03 AM
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Ptjm,

Doesn't it seem very strange to you that anyone would be hiding a bottle of vodka in a knapsack and moving it around to different closets.? And now you have joined in on the moving of the knapsack....Think about that. "Normal" people don't do that.
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Old 03-06-2011, 08:05 AM
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Well, you are exercising more restraint that I was able to.

FWIW, you handled it exactly right. You addressed the specific behavior (hiding the bottles where the kids could find them) without a tirade/lecture on the drinking.

The one other issue I would be concerned about (at this point) is the possibility she would drink and drive. Does she use the car in the evening? Does she drive the kids in the evening?
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:48 AM
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Yeah lots of shame involved with alcoholics. They think they can hid it from us. My current man has been drinking beer, brings almost all of the recycling out before I can get home but leaves 2 or so empties on the counter so when I smell the alcohol on his breath, it doesn't look like he's hiding it. Really, how sick must he be that he thinks I don't notice that the beer is no longer in the refrigerator? Insanity at it's finest. It's all I can do not to say a word. Makes me mad that he thinks he's fooling me or that I don't notice. Practicing compassion. . .

Peace,
Jen
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