Sick child - Parenting with an addict

Old 06-12-2020, 06:19 AM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 2
Exclamation Sick child - Parenting with an addict

Hi everyone,



Well, itís hard to know where to start. Iíve been with my wife for over twelve years, married nine. We have two kids, ages six and two. She has always been inclined to drink to deal with a number of issues. She of course would never want to label it as ďalcoholismĒ or ďaddictionĒó sheís terrified of the label and the perceptions people have. Sheíd rather deal with the anxieties that cause it without tackling the elephant in the room. Of course, thereís always an anxiety. Triggers are everywhere. Generally, though, she goes about a month or so between episodes of binging, and can generally cope in between.



Then disaster: our youngest was diagnosed with a rare cancer. It happened a year ago. I can go on about the impact of the diagnosis and the challenges we have faced as a result. I can also go on about the good things, and how resilient she has proven herself to be. She stayed with our youngest through months of inpatient high dose chemotherapy. Sufficed to say, the experience of having a critically ill child is enough to impart a parent with PTSD. When one parent already suffers from addiction issues, the situation becomes even more volatile.



Our youngest is doing well right now. Sheís still on maintenance chemo, and getting monthly outpatient treatment. Her hair has started to grow back, so there is cause for optimism.



Meanwhile, COVID 19 isolation has taken its toll. We were mostly working from home and had decided that my mom didnít need to stay with us during the work week anymore, and she shifted to staying with us every other week. On one of my momís weeks off four weeks ago, I left my wife with the kids went into work for half a day. When I called her from work at around noon, she just seemed ďoffĒ, and I could hear our youngest crying in the background. I rushed home to find her falling over drunk. I rushed her upstairs and put her to bed and took care of the girls. Our oldest (sheís six) seemed unaffected as she was downstairs watching her shows, and I managed to calm our youngest down, who was obviously very concerned for her mom. Itís really important to me that the girls not see their mother in this condition, so I go to great lengths to spare them the sight of their mother drunk.



This was the first time I felt that my kids were unsafe around her. I had always known her to be a selfless individual, and that she would never do anything to endanger our children, but something has clearly changed. The dark feelings ó when they come ó have become too overwhelming for her.



I find myself feeling stupid, guilty, and trapped by the situation. Can we (the girls and I) leave her? Given what has happened, do I really have a choice?



More recently, we have also sadly received word that another girl whose family we met during treatment has passed away. She was the same age as our youngest, with the same diagnosis. The ripple effects of this are being felt. While we initially both were okay, itís clear weíre not. Some days my wife tells me that she is convinced that our little girl is going to die. She may be right. I donít believe any parent can properly prepare themselves for that possibility, but a parent with an addiction is even more ill prepared.



I think thatís all I have to share at this time.
Dramarama is offline  
Old 06-12-2020, 06:33 AM
  # 2 (permalink)  
Member
 
SparkleKitty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Chicago
Posts: 5,428
I am so sorry for the untenable position you find yourself in, but I am very glad that you found us.

The most concerning thing is of course your wife's unwillingness to even admit that there is a problem, but rather to view alcohol as the solution to multiple other problems. This isn't a great sign. In the meantime, someone must prioritize the safety and well-being of the children. I am the daughter of an alcoholic mother and a codependent father. I am telling you, you cannot protect them from the effects of this dysfunction in your family by hoping things will turn around, or by keeping their drunk mother out of their field of vision. It goes way beyond that. Either your wife prioritizes recovery or she does not. That is her decision. Your decision is about how to make sure the children are safe, physically and emotionally.
SparkleKitty is offline  
Old 06-12-2020, 07:17 AM
  # 3 (permalink)  
Community Greeter
 
dandylion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 16,251
Dramarama------I empathize with your very difficult circumstances. It seems evident that you can no longer leave the children alone with your wife.
does your mother know about your wife's drinking issue? Does anyone else know?

I suggest, if you haven't already started----to begin a journal, documenting all of your wife's episodes of drinking---in a very detailed manner. This will come in very handy should you need some "proof", in the future.

Question---where does she get her supply of liquor during the quarantine? does she have it delivered?

I am glad that you have reached out for support for your self. You need all the support that you can get, as your children will depend on you to keep them physically and emotionally safe.
When your wife is drunk, she will not have the ability to do so. In addition, there is no telling when your wife will reach for the drink. The alcoholism is a powerful force.
dandylion is offline  
Old 06-12-2020, 07:22 AM
  # 4 (permalink)  
Member
 
SmallButMighty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: The Beach
Posts: 1,090
I am glad to hear your daughter seems to be doing well in her recovery. My husband underwent 6 months of chemo, it was a very difficult experience. I can't imagine how it must have be as parents to watch your daughter endure that. I can understand how someone would want to escape from that discomfort, but I certainly can't condone how your wife has chosen to "handle" it. I'm sorry her alcoholism is adding to your already very stressful situation.

You are 100% right, the safety of your small children is tantamount. A stumbling drunk person, mother or not, is not a suitable or safe caretaker. Whether you choose to leave, send her away or try to find a way to "stick it out", you will need to make arrangements, one way or another, for reliable childcare if you can't be there to ensure their safety. As you know, 6yr is too young to be babysitting an ill 4yr old! It's sad and frightening that their mother put them in this position.

I do understand that your wife is in a very dark and scary place of her own right now. It does not surprise me one bit she feels extremely overwhelmed, anyone would. Does she have support other than you? A parents group for people with sick kids, or a counselor? I am assuming she has never been seen or had treatment for addiction? Will she be willing to get help for ALL the things she needs help with right now?

You have a lot on your plate. I am glad you found your way here. I hope you stick around and talk things through with us. I was married to an alcoholic for a long time, I understand how overwhelming it can be to be the only "adult" in the room, and it usually happened when I needed him the most...




SmallButMighty is offline  
Old 06-12-2020, 04:52 PM
  # 5 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 18
Take a deep breath. Have some SERIOUS conversations with her when she is sober. Get that alcohol out of the house and take another deep breath. Have some more conversations. We women are very delicate and especially emotional in the current global situation, but we will (should...) listen when our man talks real sense, even if we don't like it. I can't tell you what to say because only you know your world. But if I picture myself in her shoes, devastated and terrified and depressed and angry, I would be in a good position to listen to my spouses suggestions for professional help (I liked the parent's group/counselor suggestion), and suggestions for sobriety, especially if he came to me with an understanding tone and was genuinely trying to help me and our family. I am sure you are angry, but when women are in that state we will probably not respond well to anger. We are crying out for help and love even though we might not deserve it. She needs a strong spouse, strong for her but also strong for himself. If you must leave, then leave, only you can make that decision- but from an outside perspective (I'm picturing watching a sad movie), I'm rooting for the husband to pull her out of this and for her to be eternally grateful and the family to come through it all stronger. I will pray for you this month.
gonefishin9 is offline  
Old 06-12-2020, 11:31 PM
  # 6 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 356
Originally Posted by gonefishin9 View Post
Take a deep breath. Have some SERIOUS conversations with her when she is sober. Get that alcohol out of the house and take another deep breath. Have some more conversations. We women are very delicate and especially emotional in the current global situation, but we will (should...) listen when our man talks real sense, even if we don't like it. I can't tell you what to say because only you know your world. But if I picture myself in her shoes, devastated and terrified and depressed and angry, I would be in a good position to listen to my spouses suggestions for professional help (I liked the parent's group/counselor suggestion), and suggestions for sobriety, especially if he came to me with an understanding tone and was genuinely trying to help me and our family. I am sure you are angry, but when women are in that state we will probably not respond well to anger. We are crying out for help and love even though we might not deserve it. She needs a strong spouse, strong for her but also strong for himself. If you must leave, then leave, only you can make that decision- but from an outside perspective (I'm picturing watching a sad movie), I'm rooting for the husband to pull her out of this and for her to be eternally grateful and the family to come through it all stronger. I will pray for you this month.
Because we donít think with an alcoholic brain, we are rational and we expect the alcoholic to be the same. This is exactly why nothing we say or do will make the alcoholic quit, especially if they donít even admit they have a problem. People end up on death door themselves because of their addiction and for a lot of them that still isnít enough to quit, we as non alcoholics can not comprehend how they donít get it. She needs to admit she has a problem first and then she has to be willing to take action and quit and quit. It is 100% on her. The husband can talk to her, sure, but unless she is willing to quit herself nothing he says or does will make her get to that point. He canít do anything to help her stay clean, he has zero control over that.

OP, Iím sorry for what you are having to deal with. I am sure it is really hard for your wife and you to deal with a cancer diagnosis for hair child. But you are not dealing with it by drinking, she is. It is no excuse for her drinking even if she probably sees it that way. I would not leave her alone with your kiddos anymore and too bad if that upsets her. If your mom can come help out again I would dI that. You do need to talk to your wife when she is sober but it may not do any good, you have to decide what your boundaries are and think about your safety and the safety of the kids, and if that means a babysitter while you re at work than I would do that. Your wife will need counseling not just for her alcoholism but to help her cope with her daughters cancer diagnosis. But it will only be helpful if she is committed to it herself and wants to change and get help. And hopefully she will be, also think about getting help for yourself to help you navigate all of this. Because if she isnít willing to stop, it will get worse, you just didnít know when,. And even is she stays clean for perdions of time, as soon as she picks up that first drink it is like she never stopped.
I didnít want to leave my ex when he was an active alcoholic because I couldnít trust him with our kid, but I also did my best to never leave her unattended with him which wasnít too hard as as mostly was a stay at home mom and he worked a lot and I did 99% of the childcare anyway. Once he got clean it was too late for me but at least I can trust him with our kid (she was 6 when he got sober) and he is a present dad now.
Sleepyhollo is offline  
Old 06-16-2020, 08:48 PM
  # 7 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 2
Thank you, everyone, for your replies. I will respond in more detail later, but wanted to provide an update. I had gone silent the last number of days because -- as you might have figured -- things are developing very quickly. I came home on Friday and it was clear that AW had been drinking. This after a complete disaster on Thursday where she drank heavily around the kids and almost hurt herself trying to prepare lunch for them. It dawned on me that we were in uncharted territory. Her drinking - a frustration, a nuisance, a damaging personality trait -- was now a threat. Not only was she a danger to herself, she was an active danger to our children. I told her she had to leave.

I called the police (non emergency), and asked them to intervene since I really wanted her to get the help she needed. They informed me that they could not force her to go to detox, but they talked it over with her and they agreed for the safety of the children, that she would go to a hotel for the night. Through this all, she was insisting that she wasn't drinking, despite the fact that there was clearly vodka on her breath.

She went to the hotel, and then the texts started coming, which ranged from apologetic to threatening. Then they stopped. The texts resumed sporadically the next day, but not as much. I assumed she was too busy getting drunk. Finally, later on Saturday, she texted me - clearly drunk - and said she was scared and wanted to come home. I repeated my request that she call me when she was sober. She spent that night at the hotel as well.

Meanwhile, I am reaching out to friends for support. One friend - such an amazing person - agreed to pick her up the next day. That next day, my AW called again. I informed me that she was sober. I wasn't sure if I believed her, but it was difficult to tell over the phone. My friend went to pick her up. When my friend got her, AW stayed in the car and my friend came over to tell me that she had clearly been drinking just that morning. AW had admitted that she wanted "one more chance to dull the pain." We agreed that AW shouldn't come home that day, and she took her to her house to detox.

The next day, I finally agreed to come get her that afternoon. She had been gone Friday evening to Monday afternoon. It was a very long and painful weekend. I had learned that between Friday night and Saturday night she had consumed two large bottles of vodka (26oz each), some wine, and some soju. A truly disturbing amount of alcohol to consume. Understandably, she wasn't herself when she got home and she was suffering some major withdrawal. I had her stay in bed all afternoon and night Monday.

Then came today (Tuesday). After having called in sick on Monday, AW put in a solid morning of work from home, trying to pick up the pieces from her work. Her colleagues are great, thankfully. I knew that the next few days were key and that I would have to watch her like a hawk. Unfortunately, a pre-arranged appointment with guy who had come to clear our eavestroughs distracted me for a few minutes. I went outside, and when I came in, I saw her scurrying up from the basement. She quickly took a sip of coffee -- I assume, to cover the smell on her breath. She had fresh vodka on her breath again.

Again, she denied it. She admitted that she wanted to drink, but she hadn't. I can't tell you how upsetting and damaging it is for your loved one to insist, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that they haven't been drinking. (Epilogue: She had, because I found the evidence later, but that's not relevant at this point because I didn't need the evidence. It was obvious.) I told her she needed help. It was clear her withdrawal was awful, and that she needed help I couldn't provide. I took her to the local hospital. I couldn't go in due to COVID-19 restrictions, so I had to leave the alcoholic to dutifully assess how much in crisis she was. Lo and behold, she left, found alcohol, and got drunk. She then seemed to have second thoughts, because then she returned to the hospital. She is now receiving fluids and may be discharged - I, of course, thinks he needs to be held for 72 hours at least to detox, but I have no say in the matter. It's not clear when she will be discharged, but she's texting with my friend as well, who seems to think that her intention is to come here again. My feeling is that if she wasn't safe around the kids last week, she's still not safe around the kids today.

So I'm currently waiting for the next part of this terrible saga. The pain, the exhaustion, the desperation - it's all taking its toll.
Dramarama is offline  
Old 06-17-2020, 02:23 AM
  # 8 (permalink)  
Member
 
trailmix's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 7,451
I'm sure it is and i'm sorry to hear all that has transpired. This is going to sound completely counter-intuitive but what you can do to help yourself and your children is to focus on you and them. Taking care of you and them. Your wife's alcoholism should not be the center of your world, otherwise you end up as you are feeling now.

How? How can you put it aside? Well, she won't quit drinking until she has decided to. No amount of love or understanding or support will "make" her stop. Yes she needs help but that doesn't mean she wants that help right now. You do have a problem with her drinking, she may not.

Now, you still have the dilemma, however that's where boundaries enter. What are your boundaries with this? If your boundary is that you can't have a person drinking in the house, should she be looking for her own place for now? Boundaries are for you.. You don't need to share them because they are yours. If your boundary is as above, then you need to decide what the repercussions are for someone crossing that boundary.

In this instance it might be wise to share it with her if that is the case, so she knows what to expect. The beauty of boundaries is that they are not "rules" for others to follow, they are yours alone and you control them. If you decide that she can't stay around the children if she continues to drink then either she or you and the kids will need to go elsewhere. These are things in your control and do not require her to change her behaviour if she doesn't want to, since you didn't Cause it, can't Control it and can't Cure it (the 3 c's).



trailmix is online now  
Old 06-17-2020, 07:26 AM
  # 9 (permalink)  
Member
 
SmallButMighty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: The Beach
Posts: 1,090
Dramarama, I am so sorry to hear your wife is spiraling into the depths of alcoholism. Thank you for coming back to give us an update, I hope you keep doing so as you can.

It truly is baffling that a parent can be so willing to endanger their own children for the sake of a substance. My ex husband was the same way when it came to drinking and driving (as well as other drunken escapades). Makes me sick to think back on it. I am so very thankful that our children, nor anyone else's, were ever hurt, or worse, by his horribly selfish behavior. He never believed he was ever putting anybody's welfare in danger. It seems to me, addicts are incapable of understanding the effect they have on others...or they just don't care. Devastating stuff.

I know how infuriating, terrifying and painful it is to deal with a spouse that is in the grips of addiction. The broken trust that comes from the blatant lies and manipulations is soul crushing. I got so exhausted from trying to help and fix my AXH that I ended up very sick myself. I know anxiety does not kill a person, but every time I had a panic attack it sure felt like I was dying. It was an awful way to live, I was just as caught up in him and his addiction as he was to his vodka. Focusing on him the way I did was not healthy. I didn't start feeling better until I decided to let him to figure out his own stuff (or not as it turns out) and started focusing on what I could do to improve my own situation. It was not easy, it was counter intuitive. I believed for more than two decades that it was my job as his wife to be all up in his business, it was a hard habit to break.

I applaud you not letting her around your daughters during this crisis. I hope you have the strength and support system in place to be able to hold your ground on this. I know it's very hard to do with work, and 100% of the parenting duties, but please do try to carve out some time for yourself. You need to keep your own batteries charged so you have the energy to share with those two precious girls.


SmallButMighty is offline  

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:21 PM.