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DW has started drinking at work again

(51 Posts)
erlydtl Thu 14-Nov-13 19:41:01

DW has a drink problem and its ruining everything. She lies about it so much. I've locked myself in the utility room to be away from her.

I just wish she'd stop the lying to us and herself.

I'm tempted to call the police, what do I say hello officers my wifes shitfaced drunk again and lying to me about it

I dunno what the hell to do

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 15-Nov-13 09:13:53

Your children are learning from the two of you about relationships, what are you both teaching them here?.

stinkingbishop Fri 15-Nov-13 09:16:09

Right. I have been on both sides of this. My exH was an alcoholic and I (eventually) got myself and DS the hell out of there because there was a complete lack of acceptance on his part/attempt to do anything. I was teetotal for years in reaction to it.

Fast forward 15 years, and I ended up exactly the same. Insanity. I actually in a sober moment drew up a contract for my DP saying if I were ever drunk he was to eject me from the house, involving the police if necessary, because it wasn't safe for the DCs.

I am now in recovery and there is, for today, a happy ending. Please don't lose hope. Your DW will be feeling (even if she doesn't show it) completely doomed. I got to the point where (this is an awful thing to write) I had kind of accepted I was going to die, and all that was up for debate was whether I could hold on long enough for the younger DCs to remember me.

The only thing that can snap her out of this is a) acceptance that she is powerless over drink. Not just that she can't drink, but that she can't NOT drink. In alcoholism one drink sets up a physiological craving for another. That craving (it's the mesolimbic dopaminergic circuit, which is stronger in the brain than the survival impulse - for you or your children) cannot be ignored. It's not about a lack of will, or morals, or even love. Unless b) she sees that somewhere there IS a solution to the hell she's trapped in. For me, that's been AA. Sitting in rooms and listening to people and thinking ''bloody hell, that's exactly what it's like, if they can do it, so can I." Hope.

The issue us, you cannot do this for her. In fact, any attempts to control or cooerce will have quite the opposite effect. Your perceived stroppiness will be an excellent excuse to drink (poor me) and it stops her taking responsibility and hitting rock bottom. I really believe that someone needs to hit rock bottom in order to be able to bounce back.

Therefore, there is really only one thing you can do, which is what Al Anon preach - compassionate detachment. You need to, with love, let her hit rock bottom (which may be her moving out/ending up in hospital/SS mandating only supervised contact with the kids) IN A WAY IN WHICH THE DCS ARE NEVER IN DANGER, EMOTIONALLY OR PHYSICALLY. This isn't about not loving her, if you still do. And in fact making sure that she knows she still is loved, but the illness is hated, will help.

It will be very hard, but is, I think, the only way you and your DCs stand any chance of having her in your lives for years to come.

How do you think you might do that?

By the way, I wouldn't talk to her about AA explicitly, otherwise it'll get tangled up in her head with your efforts to control her and her drinking...but you could get a copy of The Big Book and leave it lying around - she may pick it up, and the first chapters on what alcoholism is, and the personal stories at the back, will resonate.

I wish you all the strength and courage in the world. I know I put my own DP through hell and I will NEVER be able to repay the kindness and love he showed me. If she CAN get herself better, things will change and become just so wonderful so quickly. I genuinely am back to my old self; in fact I'm better than my old self, because I am so grateful, and it's given me real clarity on what matters most. It's just sad that I had to put everyone through it in order to become a nicer person.

Please PM me if you want to chat more.

Blossomflowers Fri 15-Nov-13 10:24:52

Why are you locking yourself in the utility room whilst your DW is pissed near kids?

Gruntfuttock Fri 15-Nov-13 11:49:11

Blossomflowers the OP said that she's gone to bed.

BikeRunSki Fri 15-Nov-13 12:02:27

Fantastic post from StinkinBishop

erlydtl Fri 15-Nov-13 13:08:08

thank you stinkinbishop, I wish more people could take your lead by giving advice from experience

stinkingbishop Fri 15-Nov-13 13:59:10

Oh don't be too judgemental about people here. It's all motivated from a desire to help, and concern for you and your children. So people may say something that's (to your mind) wrong, but. A lot of them write as well as children of addicts, which must have been an utterly horrendous experience. Thank God the twins will (if I stick to this) never see me drunk.

I just think it's very hard, unless you've been in that position, to understand the living hell of being either an addict or their partner. I used to think my exH was pathetic. Why couldn't he stop? Not even for HIS OWN CHILD? And the tragedy of it all is that both of you -yes, including the addict - so desperately want it to be normal again. But you can't see any way out. It IS a family illness.

There is a way out though. I promise. If she really wants it. If she admits to herself how utterly unmanageable everything has become. How lonely and sad 'life' (because it isn't really one anymore) is.

I hope she finds it, before it's too late.

You've done a massive thing too by the way in reaching out and admitting what's going on. That's Step One. AlAnon follow the same programme as AA because her illness has made you ill too. So even if, sadly, she ends up not being part of your lives, hopefully you can be a strong and better you for the DCs.

Big cyber hug.

HowardTJMoon Fri 15-Nov-13 16:04:02

Yeh I mean exactly that a social services conference for child protection, she's got her head buried in the sand over the seriousness of it.

My ex tried to persuade me that I should lie to just such a conference and tell them that she'd stopped drinking and everything was now rosy shock

They're going to be looking at how serious a risk your wife's drinking represents to your children. If they regard it as significant then they'll be trying to work out how much you personally can be relied upon to protect your children from those risks. This may require you to make some difficult choices.

But remember this - you and your children cannot rely on your wife to put your children's interests first. With alcoholics everything comes a distant second place to booze. For your children's sake, someone has to be prepared to stand up for your children and put them first. Social Services will expect that person to be you. If you can't do it either then they will be forced to look elsewhere.

She tried the usual argument that I'm unsympathetic to her plight, but I just took myself away from it.
She's making her own choices - either in choosing to drink or choosing to not take advantage of the services being offered to her to help her with her drinking - for her own reasons. Being brought into a Social Services child protection conference is an inevitable consequence of these choices. What's there to be sympathetic about? Where's her sympathy for you being dragged into this mess of her making through no fault of your own? Not that there would be any point in raising this with her. Taking yourself away from the insanity is often the best course of action.

There was no arguing so the dc's went that upset other than the oldest one asking why mummy has to drink.
An entirely reasonable question and one that you need to try to answer. Not in a blaming way - she is, after all, still their mother - but in a way that reinforces the fact that their mother's drinking is not their fault nor their problem to try to fix.

Alcoholics are utter arseholes
Yup. They can be. And trying to raise kids with one can be wretched. What's your line in the sand here? How bad does it need to get before you feel that you can no longer try to maintain the status quo?

NothingsLeft Fri 15-Nov-13 17:59:25

I feel for you. My mum is an alcoholic. She would be so drunk when we got back from school some days she could barely stand up. She was the most terrifying thing in my life for years. Please put you and your children first and leave.

MistAllChuckingFrighty Fri 15-Nov-13 18:07:37

OP, do you have a problem with people giving advice who haven't walked in exactly the same as your shoes ?

Then you have a problem because if you try to get professional help, some of those professionals are not alcoholics and some of them have not lived with one but they can still assist you.

I am a health care professional. I haven't experienced every single disease I may come across. But I give appropriate advice. Please think on, and don't sabotage any valuable support available to you.

erlydtl Fri 15-Nov-13 18:55:29

MistAllChuckingFrighty it was the one liners I was referring to. from your own professional experiences does saying "please leave" get the person with the problem to leave. No I do not have a problem with people giving insightful advice. I have a problem with the blasé LTB oneliners which aid or solves nothing as it add nothing.

If someone can tell me how to ask an alcoholic in denial to leave without causing pain and anguish to our children, I'd be eternally grateful.

erlydtl Fri 15-Nov-13 18:57:19

and get them to follow through then I'd be doubly eternally greatful.

MistAllChuckingFrighty Fri 15-Nov-13 19:06:39

Ok, fair enough.

But you have asked for advice. Just sift out the stuff you don't find personally helpful. Getting snippy with any posters is going to put off all comers.

Luckystar1 Fri 15-Nov-13 19:41:28

My mother is, I believe, a functioning alcoholic . My relationship with her has been extremely fraught since I turned about 12 or 13. Prior to that I remember some nice, affectionate moments, but sadly they've been largely surpassed by the time since.

Irreparable damage has been caused to our relationship as a consequence of her drinking, constant rows stemming from it, sniping, drunken explosions etc. While no huge physical damage ensued towards her dc (some low levels of hitting, scratching etc) there were some against my lovely df, as a result, I now distrust her greatly.

Unfortunately it has now reached the level that I refuse to answer the phone after a certain time (slurring, non-sensical conversation) and can't really have a sensible conversation with her at any time,as it's her way or no way.

I appreciate you situation is somewhat different, as mine never reached the levels of yours (but probably could have with the right intervention), but for the sake of your sanity and any future relationship your children may have with their mother, I urge you to take whatever help is available to you.

I've lived most of my teen and adult life thus far fearing I would 'turn out like my mother' and feeling unnecessarily needy and abandoned, it is not a pleasant way to feel, and does make me quite hard work in a relationship. It also makes me anxious about becoming a parent and sad for a lacking maternal bond.

We all need our mums, or if that isn't possible, a clear indication as children that this is not the norm and it won't be 'you' when they grow up.

I hope you find all the help you need. Thinking of you, your dc and your dw.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 15-Nov-13 20:42:21

What do you think Social Services will say next week?. What do you think will result from such a meeting?. How will they view your role in all this?.

Have you considered divorcing your wife?

Getting an alcoholic person to follow through on anything is an exercise doomed to failure. YOU have to act decisively, she will not do so.

She is indeed an alcoholic in denial, this is a part and parcel of alcoholism. Also you've had 10 years of this and it has affected you also markedly. Alcoholism is truly a family disease and your children are also being affected by what is happening around them.

FesterAddams Fri 15-Nov-13 22:07:56

erly, you say up thread that your DW is in denial about the CP conference. But I'm not getting the impression that you yourself realise how serious this could be. Apologies if I'm overanalysing.
Have you considered what you're going to say to SS at the CP conference? I don't have personal experience, but I do know that they're going to want to see that you have your children's best interests at heart, and that you're not effectively colluding with your DW to expose them to an abusive environment.

NothingsLeft Fri 15-Nov-13 22:09:03

Sorry to sound harsh, i know this is difficult but you are missing the point.

Your children are already suffering from pain and anguish. Your wife has chosen drink over them. She will continue to cause them pain and anguish throughout their lives.

Having an alcoholic as a mother is shit. Having a father that won't take action to protect you (as I had) leaves you with no one. Thank god SS are looking out for them.

Divorce your wife and put your kids first. It's messy but its functional.

I barely speak to either of my parents now. I hugely resent my father for not protecting us. My mother has an illness, my dad is just spineless and self serving.

erlydtl Sat 16-Nov-13 06:29:34

I am very well aware of the seriousness of or situation regarding SS, I do not have my head in the sand, I'm trying to work through a difficult and complicated situation as best I can.

NothingsLeft Sat 16-Nov-13 08:15:33

It is a very hard situation. Alcoholics don't make anything easy.

Howard has given some great advice on the practicalities of moving forward. SS will also help to push you in the right direction. Reach out for all the support you can.

Do you have extended family that can help? Does your wife have siblings she is close to?

SpencerPercival Sat 16-Nov-13 08:17:08

I'm also stunned snorbs is a man. Good luck op

SpencerPercival Sat 16-Nov-13 08:18:21

Allelujah to this.
I have a problem with the blasé LTB oneliners which aid or solves nothing as it add nothing
Totally agree.

HeartVHead Sat 16-Nov-13 10:31:00

My EH was/is an alcoholic. When I married him we were both in our mid-twenties and I worked in marketing and he in sales so we both did lots of working and playing hard. When the kids came along, he didnt modify his lifestyle accordingly and gradually became a raging alcoholic over the next 5 years. I tried everything to help him, different approaches, but nothing worked.

In the end, despite caring very much for his welfare as the father of my children, I asked him to leave and divorced him 18 months later. I am just so glad I don't have to live with him and the ramifications of his drinking anymore. Since we divorced he has been in hospital with pancreatitis/aceitese 4 times and is, basically, killing himself.

I understand alcoholism and why people drink and have every sympathy for their condition but I cannot live with an alcoholic and have to protect my children as much as possible.

It is not easy but I suggest you look at the practical/financial issues as to how you would manage if/when you separate so that you can control that aspect of the situation even though the only person that can control her drinking is your wife.

I have since gone to Uni, the kids are fine, life is on the whole relatively positive (have had a recent personal crisis) but I do not regret the decision I made to end my marriage, even if I could have put up with a whole heap more shit, the kids deserve so much better.

HowardTJMoon Sat 16-Nov-13 13:44:19

If someone can tell me how to ask an alcoholic in denial to leave without causing pain and anguish to our children, I'd be eternally grateful.

There's no way of splitting up without causing pain to your children. I wish I could tell you otherwise but I can't. The question is, though, is how much pain and anguish will be caused to your children by staying together. Parental alcoholism damages children. Having parents sticking together even though their relationship is awful also damages children.

If you are sure that the relationship is dead and that you need to separate then the next steps depend a lot on circumstances such as age of children, ownership of your home, work status of you and your wife, how Social Services got involved etc.

If splitting is really the direction you want to follow - and, given the situation, I can well understand why you would - then give us a bit of background and we can help point you in the right direction.

HowardTJMoon Sat 16-Nov-13 13:45:56

I'm also stunned snorbs is a man.

That's (part of) the reason why I've name-changed.

SweetSeraphim Sat 16-Nov-13 15:05:57

Were you Snorbs Howard? I knew you were a man before, but only because I always spot you on a thread as Snorbs is what we used to call my hometown smile

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