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Worried about partner's drinking.(15 Posts)
When our DD came along we were both overjoyed and happier than ever. My partner is very loving and has generally been a good mother, but about 6 months ago, she had her first glass of wine since she'd given birth. She was breast feeding, so she was careful about drinking it, then she started to drink in secret and would hide it from me. She'd say "it doesn't go into the breast milk", but I couldn't help worry. She became very good at hiding it. She'd put white wine in those green 500ml water bottles, but I'd notice the behavioural change and catch her out. I simply couldn't stop her, final warning after final warning. One day she told me to have a lie in, 2 hours later I got up and realised that she'd been drinking - it was 10am and I was sending her to bed. She'd get abusive towards me, never ever anything towards DD, but I was soon unsure about leaving her alone with DD just in case. I tried getting her to stop breast feeding, but she'd just tell me how it was best for DD, then there'd be an argument followed by a promise to stop drinking. They were always empty promises, so now I feel that I have no choice but to take DD away. I've suggested every kind of support group under the sun, but always get "they don't work" or "I'm not going to that". She says that she's depressed because DD is growing up so fast, but she won't go for any help or support. As a result I'm left looking like a killjoy nag, but I just want what's best for DD. 2 parents is best, but unless the drinking stops I can't see us staying together for even another week. I can't sleep at night for worrying and I don't want to make the problem public because that could simply end everything. I feel totally lost and alone. DD adores her mother and is clingy after her MMR, how can I just take her away from her mother? Do I have any other choice?
Sorry if this is the wrong section to post this in, I just need someone to talk to.
You poor thing. I have no experience with alcohol dependency but I've seen the effects it has on relationships. Sounds like she's in denial and maybe you taking your dd away might give her the kick up the backside she needs. However it may not, she may start using it as an excuse to drink more. Are there any official services you can use?
I've looked at them all and given her links to support groups etc... but I'm scared that DD would be removed, even temporarily if I went direct to social services or our health visitor. I'm worried 24/7 and when my partner drinks she completely changes. I no longer know which set of feelings are the real ones. When she's sober I'm a great dad, she loves me more than anything etc... When she's had a drink she hates me (usually says 'despises'), I'm useless and generally called a C, a P, a B etc... or "why don't you get a job?", but I'm too worried about leaving her alone. Catch 22.
She's said that she drinks to get to sleep since DD has reverted to 1am and 4am feeds again (usually getting up at 5 or 6, when I'll get up and watch her) then she claims that she can't sleep for hearing DD once she's up. I did point out that alcohol exacerbates insomnia rather than helping it, but that's not made any difference. She's said that there's no way I'll ever get sole custody, so I fully expect that she'd fight me all the way, knowing that the deck is generally loaded in the mother's favour.
I do love her, but she's 2 different people right now. Maybe I just need to make a clean break, but DD adores her mother and she's generally a very loving Mum. It is like having an unwanted lodger.
Social services won't take her, you're her dad and I doubt, seeing as you're so concerned and clearly switched on, they'll take her away from you. Instead I expect if they see your partner as a potential threat you'll be given full custody. Unfortunately no matter how good a mum she is when she's sober she has a drinking problem and dd won't thank her for it when she's older unless she changes her ways x
Thanks. I've made it very clear that this is the final straw. I took DD out yesterday without saying anything and returned with whole milk and a new cup that would be just for milk, I think that made her realise how serious I am and that I'm prepared to take on both roles if needed. I had a bag of DD's clothes packed and was considering taking her to visit my mother for a few days, but turning up without my SO would have just raised too many questions since my mother knows how keen we were to have DD breastfed for at least 18 months.
I just need to remain vigilant and offer support rather than judgement. Thank you for your comments, they really helped me to realise that I'm prepared to do what's needed if the situation arises, and I think my SO now realises that too.
You could look for an Al-Anon group in your area - they help and support the families of alcoholics. If your DP is not willing to admit she has a problem then there is nothing that you can do to help her stop. If she wants to stop drinking then AA is a wonderful, non-judgmental fellowship with plenty of women who are in recovery.
Did she used to drink a lot before she got pregnant?
This does sound like me - as soon as I started drinking after pregnancy, my own alcoholism progressed very, very quickly and by the time my son was 18 months I was, thankfully, driven by desperation into AA and haven't had a drink now for nearly 3 yrs.
Your priority is to protect your son and your own mental health - but please try to be available and ready to help if she wants it. I was a horrible person when I was drinking and I literally thank a power greater than me every single day that my DH stuck around and gave me a chance to change and be the woman, wife and mother I always wanted to be.
I would be happy to share my story with your DP if she ever did want to listen - you are welcome to PM me.
Alcoholism is a cunning, baffling and powerful disease - do try Al-Anon if you can.
Thanks a lot. I have told her where the local Al-Anon meetings are, but she's not interested. I've also told her about PND support that's available and a few other support options that are nearby, all to no avail. I think it would be great for her to talk to someone like yourself, but I expect that there'd be a very negative reaction if I told her that I'd posted on a forum about the situation. I'm going to be as supportive as I can, that's the best I can offer whilst she's unwilling to accept anyone else's assistance. I was a bit worried about her drinking before she fell pregnant, but she said that was due to stresses related to her living situation at the time and she stopped instantly as soon as she found out, it was only after that we moved in together full time and she was far happier, back to being the person that I'd fallen in love with. Once someone has taken themselves that far, they can't go back to any sort of casual drinking, I only realised this fully by seeing it close up. Thanks for the support.
The breastfeeding is a red herring. Surely you can just tell your mum that it didn't work out as you hoped and she's now on formula?
Social services won't take her anywhere if you or another family member are happy to look after her. They will help you come up with a safety plan and support for your wife if she wants it.
Did you have a thread a couple of days ago, worrying how DD would cope suddenly stopping BF?
I agree that social services wouldn't take DD away as she has one (very switched on) parent, and you'd likely be given full custody unless/until your partner is doing much better. If it was you with alcoholism, they wouldn't take her away from her mother, so don't think of yourself as less of a parent because you're a father.
I've no experience with alcoholism so I can only imagine how difficult this all is but it sounds like you've coped really well so far and agree that there has to be a line where you say "enough is enough".
Yeah, that was my thread. I tried suggesting Al-Anon to her again about an hour ago, 'cos she was saying that she feels fed up. It didn't land well. She's visiting her father today, which is a regular thing, but as she was leaving I asked when they'd be back and she said "I don't know if I will be". Looks like I'll just have to see what happens and make my decision from there. I have to put DD first, she's the most important thing in my life. Certainly feel like I'm being put through the wringer.
Al-Anon is for the families of Alcoholics. AA is for the alcoholic him or herself. Fusion was suggesting support for you, not her - it can take a massive toll on families.
Has she taken the baby with her to see her father? Is she sober?
You need to break the secrecy and silence that comes with addiction and tell your mum anyway, never mind trying to think of excuses for why the baby's not being breastfed. I would arrange to see your health visitor and explain the situation and ask for support. You cannot fix this on your own and it's dangerous to try. Good luck.
She's sober and took DD out for the day with granddad, but she came back briefly to collect the buggy.and said she doesn't know what will happen with us. The problem with someone whose entire personality changes when they're drunk is that they never experience how horrible they are at that time, so she sees all the negativity as being me trying to stop her from drinking. I've shown her video of when she's drunk and she was shocked, but clearly not shocked enough, so perhaps it is time I face facts and just end it now so that DD isn't in this unhappy, unhealthy atmosphere any longer. This Link may be my last chance to save things. If that isn't any use then ending it will really be the best thing to do.
I wouldn't have listened to you or read that link before I was ready to stop. She knows what she is doing is wrong - that's why she hides the wine from you. I'm afraid that link won't change anything for her.
Your absolute best bet is for you to go to an Al-Anon meeting so you can find out a bit more about what goes on inside an alcoholic's head so that you can realise how there is absolutely nothing that you can do or say that will stop her drinking. And also so you can accept that this is not your fault and you don't need to feel guilty about not being able to get her to stop.
You need to keep you and the baby safe so just do whatever you can to make sure that is the case.
You're right, she appeared to take notice and then said she'd quit until she finished breastfeeding. 5 minutes later she admitted to that just being an empty promise to shut me up. On the plus side, DD tried whole milk for the first time ever and liked it. She'd probably have taken to it better if it hadn't been straight from the fridge.
No cow's milk for babies under 1 is the NHS advice currently.
She doesn't need to quit until she finishes breastfeeding, she needs to quit forever. But there is no point you telling her that, it will have to be her choice.
So you've given her the last chance, it's now time for you to act.
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