I'm back, and so is the drinking

Old 08-09-2015, 08:12 PM
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I'm back, and so is the drinking

I posted about half a dozen times back in April when I confronted my wife about what I thought was excess drinking and she shut me out. After a brief time when she was away at her mother's we reached an agreement wherein she would limit herself to three drinks a week, due to her use of antidepressants, and never drink alone (I would do the same, which I was doing already anyway).

Should have seen this coming, because she either never kept that agreement or didn't keep it for long. In retrospect, she probably saw that compromise as a victory.

She recently completed her Master's degree, and so in a celebratory mood, we went out to the local bar and had a drink each. Then we came home, where there was a 750 mL bottle of vodka that I expected would last a month or more. We watched some TV, chatted, had two more drinks apiece, and she put the vodka away. I got tired soon and went to bed around 1 AM. My wife said she'd come in soon after. She finally came to bed, maybe around 3 or 4. I got up the next morning and opened the freezer to get a burrito—and the vodka bottle (previously about 3/4 full—remember, only 3 or 4 shots had been taken out of a bottle that holds about 17 total) was between two-thirds to three-quarters empty.

I was so pissed I couldn't see straight but as we had company coming over I kept my mouth shut so as not to cause a scene. I did tell her mother, however.

About a week ago, my wife stayed up late again (she been typically doing this every other night—one night a normal bedtime like 11, the next she's up until 3, 4, even 5 AM). I came out of the bedroom and found her asleep on the couch with her computer still in her lap. There was no sign of a bottle or a glass, though. However, the next morning (about two hours later, really), I noticed a glass on the counter that I didn't remember being there before. On a hunch, I checked the vodka bottle in the freezer—and found it completely empty. Pretty clear evidence, to me, that she was hiding her drinking.

Two days after that, she stayed up until about 3, then came into the bedroom smelling of toothpaste, not alcohol (not unusual since she brushes her teeth before bed). The next morning, I checked the (empty) vodka bottle (I still hadn't said anything), and found it... partially refilled? There seemed to be another source. Keep in mind my wife currently isn't working, so any money she has comes from me so she can do groceries during the day. This was last Tuesday.

Finally by Thursday I couldn't keep quiet anymore. I told her I was worried she was drinking again and hiding it from me. I offered to hear her explanation of the missing vodka and she said I was blaming her and she didn't know why it was gone. She locked herself in the spare room.

Sorry for the novel, but there's more. Our trash pickup goes out to the curb Monday nights, so if the trash gets full and won't be picked up for a few days, we tie up the bag and put it in the garage until the night before pickup. I took the trash out maybe a day or so after the vodka in the freezer magically replenished itself and I thought I heard glass clinking inside, which is weird because we put glass in the recycling and my wife is usually the one to bug me about that. Friday, after the blow-up, I dug around in the trash bag (the trash is also where we throw the cat-pee-soaked litter from the litter boxes, so I'll leave it to the imagination how pleasant a task that was) and found not one, but two empty vodka bottles.

I brought that up yesterday, after she was willing to talk to me again. Ho boy.

She claimed they were emptied over the previous six months (which I don't think is correct, because they're all the same brand, and over the past six months we've bought—and finished—different brands of vodka and other things). She makes it sound like they were just sitting around empty and she finally threw them away, in the trash, because she though I would freak out about two six-month-old bottles in the recycling. If they truly were six months old, I wouldn't have. But if they truly were six months old, we also wouldn't have kept them around empty. She said I freak out about her drinking now, that I'm not keen on drinking anymore (said in a tone that suggests this is some kind of tragedy), that I'm treating her like a child, that she doesn't feel like she's in marriage, she's in a prison. She did admit to hiding drinking, in a kind of weird way, that she hides it because she think I'll freak out about it, and "every so often" she feels like having a drink. Well, every so often I feel like having a drink, too, and then I do it out in the open in front of everyone and when I'm done, I'm done.

I'm holier than thou, her sneaking drinks is my fault, I'm holding her to my standards (what other standards am I supposed to hold anything to, exactly?), she wishes I'd left her in the UK (where we took our honeymoon) and she hates being here.

She says I'm not affectionate enough. I know I'm not by nature the most romantic person, but it's hard to be affectionate to someone who, when we drink together, often ends up crying, or when she (apparently) drinks alone stays up until the wee hours of the morning and then comes in to the bedroom and demands sex (let me tell you how fast that gets old ) We're supposed to go visit my mom and her family next week (my mom and stepfather know what's going on). My wife's snarkily promised to "be on her best behavior." Really looking forward to a transcontinental plane trip with this lady right now.

She's still denying there's a problem and I can't get through to her. She might already have liver damage but we don't know because she's terrified of blood tests and flatly refuses to get one. She weaned herself off an antidepressant in college, so she can quit things when she wants to, but she's married to two people: me and vodka, and I can't compete with vodka.
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Old 08-09-2015, 08:37 PM
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She probably wasn't addicted to the antidepressant, even if she was physically dependent on it. The lying and denial are absolutely normal for alcoholics. I would suggest leaving the sleuthing alone. You know what she's doing, she's not going to admit it, and the battle of wills over that can make things worse than the drinking does in and of itself.

If you aren't already going to Al-Anon, this might be a great time to start. You don't have to decide anything right now, and getting your own head clear will be invaluable when the time comes for you to make a decision. In the meantime, learning about detachment and boundaries can help make life more bearable.
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Old 08-09-2015, 09:04 PM
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I feel for you-btw-great advice above. She's doing the classic things all alcohokics do. I too was told the same things by my then husband-you're not affectionate enough, it's your fault, blah blah blah. And I felt the same way you did. We are here for you so keep please posting!!
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Old 08-09-2015, 09:09 PM
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Hi Sfs, and welcome back.

Your post really brought me back to the earlier days of my XAH's drinking. The staying up late, the hiding bottles, the clever little switcharoo stuff. I wish I knew then what I know now. God bless him, but I don't think I would have stuck around for as long as I did. It only got worse.

I agree with Lexie. Try and leave the sleuthing alone. The cat and mouse game (which already has you rooting through cat litter) is only going to lead you to what you already know: She's an alcoholic.

Your energy would be better spent in helping yourself. Again I agree with Lexie. Alanon would do you wonders at this point. Not only would you be surrounding yourself with people who understand the craziness, but you'd also be given some great coping skills.

I'm glad your family is aware of what's going on. It's good to have the support.

Again, welcome back.
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Old 08-10-2015, 07:13 AM
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Sorry you are going through this. All typical alcoholic behaviour. Isn't personal to you, is an alkie doing what alkies do.

Al-anon really helped me.
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Old 08-10-2015, 08:35 AM
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Hi sfs, she's drinking, you know that, so you don't need to prove it to yourself or her. For a real alcoholic sticking to 3 drinks a week is just too hard. You can do it because you're not an A, but I couldn't do it because I am (sober).

If I started having 3 drinks a week every receptor in my brain would light up like a Christmas tree, and it would only be a matter of time until I was back to full-on drinking. Abstinence is the only way, given her history, but if she's bargaining for her 3 drinks a week, she's not anywhere near to understanding her condition or wanting to become sober.

You're getting between her and the drink, as so she's becoming nasty and defensive, which makes you feel worse, and isn't good for anyone. Try to step back a little, and decide how your want your life to be. No matter how much it's harming her, she's chosen to keep drinking. Where does that leave you?

PS: Involving her mother sounds like you're telling on her. Keep it between you 2 if you can.
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Old 08-10-2015, 11:32 AM
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You just basically described my marriage to my AW for the past 10 or so yrs. In the beginning drinking in moderation wasn't a big deal and then she didn't want to stop and took her anger out on me. Hiding, sneaking, defensiveness, blaming, all the typical ones. My anxiety was through the roof until I left. Unfortunately for me I never totally confronted my wife about sneaking drinks etc but I knew about it all along. My wife has done the same thing with sex after she's been drinking and then the next day would use that as leverage against me. "If you don't like me drunk then why did you have sex with me last night?" I heard it all. I truly feel for you in this situation as its not easy when your spouse has these issues. Listen to everyone here and take this opportunity to work on yourself. Stand your ground and listen to your gut. Set boundaries with her and stick to them. If it makes you uncomfortable, leave, but stick to your guns. It's something I wish I would have done. I also checked trash, looked in recycle bins and checked bottles to see how much was left. This helps no one. Use that time to work on yourself, which you can change. You will be in my prayers.... Keep posting here as well. There are kind strangers here that always seem to have wisdom about everything you ask.
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Old 08-10-2015, 03:34 PM
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I caught up on your threads and wanted to drop by. First of all, my thoughts and heart go out to you on this situation. As you noted, you and I are in a similar situation, in a relationship with a woman with troubles with alcohol. Yours being a recent marriage, something that was done to feel like a future was building, only to be now in the situation you are in, has to be frustrating and saddening so I think it's perfectly normal for you to feel - sad, angry, betrayed, and a lot more. But if there's one thing I have learned it's that those feelings, while necessary, are blockades in your recovery, so do your best to put them aside when you have the opportunity. They WILL creep in, but you will find you are feeling better the more that they aren't around.

Mine, btw, is an AGF tho may as well be an AW, it is almost a 10 year relationship (which already included one pre-wedding alcohol-fueled breakup). Yes, I've been through it.

I can agree with what others say about the sleuthing. They tell you to stop because they did it too. We all did. Looked at bottles to see how much was consumed, counted empty beer cans, wine bottles...called them out on the amount they drank, wanted answers...never got them. Never changed anything (in most cases what I heard back was "your tracking it makes me want to drink even more!"). Of course then I tried days of ignoring it and the levels were the same or even higher, so we've proven the "your doing xyz me makes me want to drink" is a false statement.

It sounds like you are just riding the wave now as I have done for many years. You still have love for her and want her to come around. I hope for your sake that you get what you need from your AW but the best advice will be to disengage from as much of the drinking activity as you can. If she stops (you will know, even without having to sleuth) and you want to try and talk to her or spend more time with her I think there is nothing wrong with that.

None of these things will help your AW stop drinking, but they will help you, and I have exercised them as well.

- Stop counting/confronting her about the drinking (especially when it is happening)
- No sex/contact/affection when drinking or just after (while she is riding her drunk buzz)
- Don't drink at all or drink around/with her
- Don't give her money she can use for booze or bring booze home that she can consume

I know some of this is hard, I like to drink in moderation but actually seeing the way it touches her, I was able to drastically slow my own drinking (I used to have 2-3 through the week, I don't even drink at the house any more because it is just a trigger for her to start or drink more). See if you can do that too.

Not sure if I can be of much more help since I am here under a similar situation. I will follow along and chime in when I can.

Good luck and keep coming here.
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Old 08-10-2015, 03:51 PM
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Hi- I'm sorry for what you're going through. It does sound pretty typical. As I've told a few people here, with my XAH, I never searched, but got in trouble because "I should have seen the bottles in the bottom of the garage trash can, known how much extra he was drinking, and intervened before it got so bad". So you can't really win. It will always be your fault!

Good thoughts fro others above--to back off and assess what your life looks like, what you want, and how she fits in. Monstrous requests, I know. Start small. Keep posting if it helps.
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Old 08-10-2015, 06:15 PM
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Update: her grandfather passed away yesterday. I have no idea what this will do to her drinking in the long run. But for the moment we're on good terms. We've been together all afternoon/evening and while the topic of alcohol hasn't come up yet, neither has any actual alcohol come out. We may have to reshuffle some travel plans and while the funeral arrangements are being made, I'm planning on just keeping mum about the drinking (unless she stays up late and starts doing it again, in which case I don't really know what I'm going to do).

I could see this going both ways. She could descend further into depression and drinking, or this could somehow be a catalyst to get help.
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Old 08-10-2015, 09:00 PM
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SFS- Try and work on your own recovery of detaching and minding your own business about alcohol and her drinking. Follow your path. If she is drinking leave the room, house or town. Don't engage with her. Alcoholics will use any excuse to drink so I can almost gtd that she will bring out the booze to celebrate grandpas life.

My advice to you is let her do her thing. Don't help her if she gets drunk, let her make an axx out of herself if she wants. You don't need to help her in any way, she is a grown women. What you need to do is take steps to educate yourself about addiction and being a co-dependent. Don't make it so easy for her do what she is doing. I understand that you will have funeral arraignments to deal with now. Be supportive, but if she starts drinking don't engage.

Hugs my friend, do your homework about this terrible disease and you life will slowly come around.

I am sorry for you loss!!
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