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Old 08-12-2018, 09:28 AM   #1 (permalink)

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Tired of the cycle

My wife is an alcoholic, who when she is in detox or rehab will admit she has a problem. That bit of clarity lasts from the time she walks out of the facility until she can get more alcohol. This period usually lasts less than 24 hours. This has happened through several hospitalizations for detox and issues caused by alcohol in addition to two trips to rehab.

On one detox trip she was told she had a fatty liver and needed to quit, She promised the doctor she would stop drinking. Two weeks later we were taking her back to the ER for very low blood pressure and hitting head on the door frame. Once again more promises in the hospital and then right back to drinking.

She can't account for her spending on alcohol or how much she drinks at a time. I have estimated that she is spending at least $450 per month on alcohol. She claims she does not remember buying any alcohol even when we find full bottles hidden and empties every where.

This year has been rough on our 14YO with seeing her in the hospital and two trips to rehab. The stress has caused him to lose weight partially because she cuts him down when she is drunk and in an effort to please her he does not eat properly or forces himself to vomit. It has had a negative impact on his grades and caused discipline issues at school.

At present she is doing another detox trip but I do not think it is enough. I think she has learned to tell the staff of these facilities what they want to hear but she has no plan to follow through. recovery should be more than parroting the answers so you can get out of a facility.

Are there any programs that do not "teach the test", so to speak?

What other options besides AA are available for the alcoholic? While I know every person is different regarding how far they have to go to hit rock bottom and some people die before they find the bottom.
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Old 08-12-2018, 09:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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There are many programs and options for alcoholics.

None of them will give her the genuine desire and willingness to finally stop.

In the meantime, what are you doing for yourself and your son to mitigate the damage her alcoholism is having on your family? It's tempting to believe that if the addict would just get it together, everything would be fine, but this is a family issue and everyone needs their own recovery--and this isn't contingent on the addict quitting.
Don't let what you can't control get in the way of what you can.
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Old 08-12-2018, 10:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Honestly? I'm an alcoholic in recovery, and I had zero (external) consequences to my drinking. I quit because it is what I wanted to do. If someone had told me my drinking had affected them in a negative way, I would totally understand if they cut ties with me when I chose alcohol over them.

If she is so far gone that she is acting in the ways you describe, my suggestion is to get an attorney and save your son. You can still help him. She (IMO) lost her chances with you and your son a long time ago.
The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea.
~ Isak Dinesen
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Old 08-12-2018, 10:48 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi Wireman;
Sorry for what brought you here, but glad you found this site

I'm an ER nurse and believe me we are hip to the fact that addicts will say anything they need to to just keep their playing piece moving forward so they can get back out there. However adults have rights and can do as they will, we can no more stop an alcoholic from picking up another drink once discharged than you can! I imagine trained rehab practitioners also know when an addict is bluffing. And all of us with A loved ones know the old Q: "How do you know when an alcoholic is lying?" A: "Their lips are moving."

Point is, the problem is not with her pulling the wool over anyone's eyes, or with the people in the detox fecailites, or with AA, etc, the problem is squarely with her just not being ready or willing to stop drinking. Some never do, but there is always hope.

However hope is not a plan.

AlAnon helped me get my head around MY enabling behaviors which were only serving Team Alcohol and were not helping the A or me! In fact, I was letting myself and my health and mental health be dragged down with the Alcoholics. Which is what's happening to your son.

AlAteen exists for teenagers, does your son have someone he gets counseling from? And AlAnon is for the adult friends and family of Alcoholics. Meetings are worldwide:

AlAnon: https://al-anon.org/newcomers/
AlAteen/AlAnon meetings: https://al-anon.org/al-anon-meetings/

Protect the minor child! Not the alcoholic adult. I would have greatly benefitted from AlAteen when I was growing up with an A Father...I finally found AlAnon in my twenties while going crazy dealing with my Alcoholic brothers.

Keep reaching out and accepting help, you are not alone. Collectively we've seen everything here, I mean everything! So hopefully as you read around the F&F of As forum here you will find some experience, strength and hope to start saving your own mental health and your son's. Your wife will do what she will do.

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Old 08-12-2018, 01:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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there is no program that can GIVE the addict the willingness to quit. treatment is only a short term period away from drugs and alcohol in a setting geared towards learning recovery tools. to blame the rehab center would be like blaming the gym for lack of weight loss and muscle building.

meanwhile your precious young son is exhibiting extreme signs of stress. stress brought on by one parent's behaviors. long lasting emotional scars that some never heal from. HE should be your focus now. he MUST be your focus now.
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Old 08-12-2018, 01:59 PM   #6 (permalink)

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Wireman, I am really sorry to read your story. I would say get to an Al-Anon meeting ASAP, AlaTeen too (that is what I would do). The emotional abuse or at the very least stress your AW is subjecting your son to must be addressed (I'm sure you know). You must give her boundaries and protect him. Personally, I found a therapist who specializes in addiction and is a licensed Marriage-Family therapist for one-on-one help. You can't fix her, but you can protect and help your son and yourself.
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Old 08-12-2018, 02:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hi Wireman and welcome, sorry you are in such a tough spot.

In my opinion the only thing you can do right now is take your focus off your Wife and focus on yourself and your Son.

The fact that he is showing signs of bulimia due to abuse is shocking. It's probably not as shocking to you? simply because you are living in a tornado of dysfunction and the dysfunction becomes the norm. Also when the alcoholic is in the throws of self destruction all focus tends to be on them.

You didn't cause it, can't control it and can't cure it. The only person who can do that is your wife. Certainly you can provide some support but honestly, your propping her up and perhaps suggesting rehab which she is not interested in (apparently) is not helping anyone.

Please know i'm not blaming you! I completely understand how the ship is sinking and you are just bailing water here but again, it's your Son that needs you right now.

I would take the money spent on rehab and direct that toward getting a therapist for your Son and heck maybe you two could go on a mini-holiday as well to clear your heads.

Al-Anon and Al-Ateen you would find would probably help you as well.

SR contains a wealth of information in the threads but also in the stickies that are found at the top of the forum. If you haven't seen them yet you might find these a good place to start:

https://www.soberrecovery.com/forums...c-reading.html (Classic Reading)
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Old 08-12-2018, 02:20 PM   #8 (permalink)

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Cutting down a child isn't about being drunk, it's about being mean. There are a lot of alcoholics who are kind to their children, even as their behavior creates chaos for the family. This is a problem separate from drinking too much.

Your son's condition sounds alarming. Does he have access to some neutral third party like a counsellor who can tell him (diplomatically) that his mother is behaving terribly to him?

This hits home a bit for me because my alcoholic ex-husband's mother was a mean alcoholic too. She cut down and criticized her children when she was drunk for their appearance, their interests and their emotions (or lack thereof) and they are all messes now, with addiction and/or mental illness manifesting in all four (the fifth one is dead). You can help your son escape from the cycle.
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Old 08-12-2018, 05:58 PM   #9 (permalink)

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Glad you reached out. You have gotten some good advice above. Our addicts consume everything in our life so things fall by the way side and I can see your son getting the brunt of this. I think your wife has over stepped her bounds picking on him. Enough is enough. Have you ever sat down and talked to him about his moms disease. You might be surprised at what he says or what mom has done. Alcoholism does not need to be the big white elephant in the room that everyone steps around and pretends like it doesn't exist.

There is a forum on SR called adult children of alcoholics. Go and read that forum. Their might be some great information for you, from the prospective of a child of an addict. There are adults on there who wished the one "healthy" parent had just left the marriage instead of trying to keep the family together. They say here, one healthy parent is better then 2 crazy ones.

As said above, give your wife to God and start working on you and your sons recovery. I would hit a therapist, alanon, open aa meetings or an alateen meeting. I think it would be a great support for both of you and much needed.

As for your wife..... I would read all over this forum and learn about boundaries. Boundaries are something that us codies set up for ourselves.

Meaning....1) I will not allow my wife to drink and drive with my child in the car. (meaning you don't leave the child home alone with drunk mom or you take her keys if she is drinking) or you send him to a friends house, as he doesn't need to witness it.

2) I will not pick up the throw up in the bathroom.

3) I will not call in for her if she is to hung over to go to work. We don't discuss these boundaries we just do them. These boundaries will try and help our sanity of living in constant turmoil of an addict.

We do not have to let our addicts be the absolute focus in our lives. Education is power, keep posting and asking questions.... read, read and read. Life will change for you two, but for her, there is no guarantees.

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Old 08-13-2018, 04:21 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Ask yourself this...

Where is my rock bottom? When is abusing our child enough? When am I going to say, enough is enough?

The only person who can help your AW is herself. She is the only one who has the magic button to stop this ride and get off. You have the ability to get yourself and child off any time. It will feel like you've just been thrown from a moving train but you will have the ability to pick yourself up and get your son the help you need to move on with life. Your son is only 14 years old. He can not do this himself. So I ask you, why don't you help this young man out and save yourselves from this trauma of alcohell?!
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Old 08-13-2018, 11:09 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Your post has been on my mind all day. I can see the pain, frustration, hurt and worry you are carrying. And I'm sorry you are hurting so much.

I agree with everyone else's replies....you can't save her, you can't make her quit. If love could make the alcoholic quit, none of us would be here on SR. No matter how much we love our alcoholic, we don't have that kind of power.

You DO have the power to help your son. He needs you badly. I'm not sure how to say this gently.......please concentrate your emotional energy on you and your son. Right now you are both going down on her sinking ship. She has the ability to help herself, if she wants to. Your son does not have that ability, he needs you to go to bat for him. You CAN save him, you do have that power.
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Old 08-14-2018, 01:35 AM   #12 (permalink)

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Never mind her..what about your son? He needs to be your priority. I'd take him and get out. ( I did ) Let her get on with it.
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Old 08-14-2018, 04:37 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Hello Wireman,

You are worn out. I’m so sorry that you speak about rehab and hospitals in multiples. Think about how to make your home a peaceful haven for you and your son.

Has he been left alone with her? Are there daily chunks of time those 2 are alone? What is going down when you are at work? Think about placing him somewhere else after school. Think about giving him some alternative safe places if your wife just keeps on being an A. Do you have any family to help out nearby? What about a friend of his? Could you ask a close friend’s family to be a safe place without him having to explain?

I was lucky to locate a male counselor for my son when my family was in crisis. Now I realize I taught him it’s OK to get some help. I also hopefully taught him the partner of an addict has the right to say enough and just get off the crazy train.

I also recommend to try Alateen.

Look up the laundry list of ACOA (adult children of alcoholics). This is what is being bequeathed. Give him every tool you can muster.

Take care of you two.
Peace is a day-to-day problem, the product of a multitude of events & judgements. Peace is not an 'is,' it is a 'becoming.' -Haile Salassie
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Old 08-14-2018, 06:37 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Tired of the cycle

I would imagine you are. You are the only one who can change this cycle, it seems she has become comfortable with it and she will repeat it over and over for as long as YOU continue to do that dance with her.

When you ask are they any programs that do not “teach the test”, so to speak what comes to my mind is, you need teaching so that you stop passing her “test” and allowing the cycle to continue. Rehabs are not jails, they cannot keep someone against their will nor are they stupid, they know the game alcoholics play but not much they can do except wish them well when then leave and arm them with all the info on aftercare plans on what they need to do to remain sober. It’s not a matter of YOU finding a different approach for HER to stop drinking, it’s all about her own desire to want to. The repeated cycle indicates she doesn’t want to. You on the other hand are not armed with anything, you have no program for yourself to help you address this issue using healthy coping skills like setting healthy boundaries for yourself and your son.

Like most of us your thinking gets stuck in the place of fixing them, getting them better and healthier so THEN everyone else’s life in the home gets better – it doesn’t work like that, wish it did but it does not.

Al-anon is a great start but there are a number of programs out there that can help YOU and your son. I also echo that you son needs some outside intervention to help him cope with this difficult situation. I would imagine your son feels ashamed and embarrassed with the situation and his whole life is going to begin to revolve around all of those negative feelings he is most likely bottling up and he needs a safe healthy place to release them.
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Old 08-14-2018, 09:58 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Tired of the cycle
How tired? Enough to move out of your comfort zone & create real change?

After reading both of your posts I have to say that if you're waiting on her to "get it" or to lead the family forward into Positive Change, you're probably going to be waiting for a while longer, watching life continue to disintegrate.

the last 12 months have been rough with several trips to detox and a couple of trips to rehab.
....most recent trip to rehab......she started drinking the night she got out which has resulted in her being in detox on suicide watch. She was admitted with a BAC of 0.37.
she was told she had a fatty liver
She can't account for her spending on alcohol or how much she drinks at a time.
Detox & rehabs aren't magic answers - nothing can create the internal desire for change required for recovery success.

This year has been rough on our 14YO .....It has had a negative impact on his grades and caused discipline issues at school
^This is where my focus would be - THIS is where your time is best-spent & best-used. She's a grown woman choosing to destroy her life - he's a minor child at a critical point in his life/development & he's dealing with this:

she cuts him down when she is drunk
This treatment has long lasting effects that can take him decades to deal with. How is that fair?

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Old 08-15-2018, 01:24 PM   #16 (permalink)

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My exwf thrived off the drama/self pity that surrounded her addiction(s) and everyone involved. She 'got addicted' to the chaos and eventually addicted to rehab. Money was not an issue,but I was planning my 'attack' on the child custody front. She acted blindsided by my filing for divorce and 100% custody.."pu-puh-lease" was my response and i was granted everything I asked for in court. Your wife does not want to get better now. She may or may never want to get better. All you can/should do is protect your son and yourself. Seriously..imagine how your guy's lives would be without this very unneccessary,unwanted and unwarranted chaos she is imposing on you all. In a sense(reality of the current situation), you are allowing it to continually be a negative in both your and the boy's lives. 'Fight' for things that ARE in your control..not things that are not. If she wanted to 'get better' she'd be posting in the Newcomers/alcoholism forums here asking for help...not you.
If a man gets bit holding a snake in his hand ,who do you blame the snake or the man?
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