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to get annoyed at my wife's all nighters?

89 replies

James72 · 02/06/2011 11:28

I'm a dad with a 2 year old and a 7 year old. My wife looks after the kids while I'm at work. I'm away on business next week so we agreed that I would take the day off today to give her a lie in. We'd arranged to have a nice lunch and then pick out a kitchen for our new house.

I went to bed around midnight. She was still up. She was still up at 8 in the morning when I woke. She was drunk, watching TV. She stumbled into bed and fell asleep with her clothes on.

She'd spilt a full glass of wine on the table and carpet and not made much effort to clean it up. Remnants from roll ups etc. I've just been cleaning it up.

My eldest knows something's amiss. He sees her drunk and asleep with her clothes on. He asked me if I was home to look after mummy because mummy's sick.

I think it's fine for my wife to let her hair down once in a while but we just came back from a weekend in Paris, so it's not like we haven't had fun recently. We went through a rough patch in our relationship at the end of last year and afterward we resolved things we agreed that the impromptu past 2am evenings would end.

Should I grin and bear it or is she being unreasonable?

OP posts:
James72 · 02/06/2011 12:23

The comments are really useful, BTW. Thank you.

OP posts:
Thingumy · 02/06/2011 12:25

4 hours sleep after drinking all night? wow.

SouthStar · 02/06/2011 12:28

I personally dont think she has a problem but she needs to grow the hell up and learn her limits. There is no need to get blind drunk, I dont see how anyone can enjoy that. Next time lock her out. I wouldnt let my kids see my dh in that state.

OTheHugeManatee · 02/06/2011 12:29

Your wife may think she's in control. But if she's getting so drunk on a weekend away she leaves the table without realising she hasn't eaten yet; if she's drinking alone, all night, spilling wine and still awake and drunk at 8am, then she's an alcoholic. I'm so Sad for you and your kids.

It might be OK now if she's generally only drinking after your kids are in bed. But what happens when they get older? You avoid her as you say she's not great company when she's drunk. What are your kids going to do?

I remember my dad holding forth at the kitchen table, halfway through a bottle of whiskey, and then gradually slurring more and more as the evening went on. Eventually we'd all go to bed, leaving him nursing his glass, and then find him slumped on the kitchen floor when we got up for breakfast. I used to hate him, and hate myself for not being able to get him to stop, and feel miserable because he didn't seem to love his family enough to stop doing something that hurt us all.

Seriously, James - having an alcoholic parent blighted my life and relationships in all kinds of subtle ways. There's nothing you can do to force her to stop, but at least Al-Anon might be able to advise you on how you could approach this.

squishysquashy · 02/06/2011 12:33

My DH is a recovering alcoholic. He gave up cold turkey a few years ago. I never thought of him as an alcoholic he generally only drank a few times a week and only occasionally was completely out of it. He did go through a worse patch though and realised it was a problem. He says it's not about how frequently or what times of day you drink it's WHY you are drinking and how it makes you feel.

She may not want to stop drinking, but maybe she would benefit from talking to a support service about it, and more importantly feeling better about whatever is making her feel that she needs it. That is probably past issues/childhood but could also have some problems you could sort out together - does she enjoy being a SAHM for example?

SpringchickenGoldBrass · 02/06/2011 12:35

Your DC are already telling you it's a problem to them. If your 7 year old is asking you to look after mummy because mummy's sick, then something needs to be done.

squeakytoy · 02/06/2011 12:37

Most people get steaming drunk at some points, but for the average person I would say it is once every couple of years, not every couple of weeks.

She really does have a problem with drink and I would be very wary about going away and leaving her in sole charge of young children, because she may say she isnt drinking, but I honestly wouldnt believe that.

SmethwickBelle · 02/06/2011 12:45

Even if she is resolved not to drink when you're away and that was the reason for this binge, I'd be sceptical of whether she actually manages it.

If she can handle such a large amount of alcohol she might get twitchy without after a few days and she knows you're not there to see - and it is a lot easier to feel and seem in control when you have an audience.

I only add this as I know when I gave up fags years ago I always did brilliantly at other people's houses, and at my fiance at the time's house... but get me home on my own and I'd be doing it almost pathologically "because I could".

Lovecat · 02/06/2011 13:01

I get steaming drunk a few times a year, usually at amdram after-show parties, which will generally start at midnight after the set has been struck and go on til 6am. I only do it with the full knowledge and consent of DH, as it's him who will have to look after DD the next day until at least 4pm when I resurface. If he were to say 'look, I need to do xyz tomorrow and would appreciate you being around and able to help out' then I wouldn't do it.

I'm the opposite to Smethwick, I never drink at home (never alone!) but love a drink in company.... OP, I'd be very concerned that she's sitting up getting sozzled on her own and forgetting that you've even eaten when she's out. I would have a serious chat with her because that's not on.

James72 · 02/06/2011 13:15

She is a good mother. She takes good care of the kids. I'm 100% sure she'll take good care of them while I'm away. She's done that many times before. She might have a drink with a friend and have a hangover the next day but the worst it will result in is a pyjama day.

It comes at a cost to me though, which is why I started the thread. It's me that's trying to get wine stains out of the carpet and cancelling our appointment to pick out a kitchen. I know she wanted a lazy day ahead of looking after the kids for a week, but I was hoping to spend some time as a family before I leave.

I'm interested in hearing the difference between being an alcoholic and having a drinking problem. I wouldn't say she's an alcoholic because she can have a single glass of an evening and usually doesn't drink anything at all in the week. It's just when she lets her hair down it gets a bit messy. As someone said in this thread, I think most people get steaming drunk every year or so (probably true in my case). It happens a quite often in her case. Friends have asked me if she has a drinking problem and I'm probably guilty of ignoring it by not joining her on those evenings nor bringing it up afterwards. She had a very bad incident in her family a few years ago; I'm trying to remember if the binges started after that.

I guess there's three factors. She's causing herself some damage by binge drinking; it hurts our relationship because I'm mad at her; it's not good for the kids to see that even very briefly.

OP posts:
squeakytoy · 02/06/2011 13:21

Leave the wine stains on the carpet, let her clean her own mess up. You are condoning her behaviour by what you are doing.

If friends are asking whether she has a drink problem, then her behaviour is certainly being noticed by others.

My opinion on the difference between an alcoholic and a person with a drink problem, is that the alcoholic needs a drink to feel normal, a person with a drink problem wants to get blind drunk and cant just stop at being merry or just have a couple of drinks.

SouthStar · 02/06/2011 13:24

Blimey if I got a lazy day before dh went away id get bed sores. At the end of the day she is doing something that is affecting you as a family. You and the kids havent got your family day out before you go away, your clearing up her mess and now its going to play on your mind all week.

You going away for a week doesnt mean she can forget all her responseabilities, She should be greatful she is getting a lazy day...its only a week. You need to pull her up on how selfish she is being.

sausagesandmarmelade · 02/06/2011 13:34

I think she's got problems that need addressing....I think you need to have a proper talk about what's going on and what your concerns are

James72 · 02/06/2011 13:55

I phoned Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon (which is for people being affected by other people's drinking).

Neither give advice, but when I explained my situation they felt there was probably something to deal with. The fact that she doesn't stop; the fact that I avoid her when she's drunk etc. They suggested that perhaps there was something emotional that was causing it.

OP posts:
HaughtyChuckle · 02/06/2011 14:01

Sounds like she may have a problem

stumbling around dunk infront of children is not good

get her tell't

JanMorrow · 02/06/2011 14:02

Bless her, she clearly has an issue with drink. I've had friends who have become a bit "too drunk" and maybe aggressive and rude when they're drunk.. but that was in their early 20's and they realised what they were doing and consequently don't get that drunk.. I think she needs to come to that realisation.

If you think it's something emotional that's causing her to do this then you need to sit down with her and have a gentle chat about it. Be prepared for her to be defensive and offended and angry.. just keep calm and put across the point that you don't like to see her like that, her children don't like to see her like that and does she think she's doing it a bit too often? Raise the issue with her if you think you can.

crje · 02/06/2011 14:03

Your wife is very unhappy and I think your relationship may be the reason.
She drinks most when your around and not at all when your not.I think she is avoiding you or looking for you to notice how unhappy she is.Its probably a cry for help.......does she want out of the marriage,does she want more from it.

Is she avoiding having a lunch alone with you because she doesn't want to be around you without the children to distract ye.
Get her talking and find out whats going on.

bbird1 · 02/06/2011 14:03

squeakytoy - Most people get steaming drunk at some points, but for the average person I would say it is once every couple of years, not every couple of weeks.
Couple of YEARS? I take it you have never visited Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester etc squeakyclean? I sizeable per centage of the population of these cities is completely rat-arsed every week.

BaronessOrczy · 02/06/2011 14:09

The problem, James, and I really feel for you and your children, is that unless she sees and recognises there is a problem, and wants to deal with it, this may happen again and again.

Is she contrite in any way about her behaviour the next day after these binges? Are you sure, absolutely positive, that she doesn't drink during the week? It is possible to be a functioning alcoholic, I was surprised to find this out a few years ago when dealing with an ex of mine who had a major alcohol problem.

Al-Anon are brilliant. They don't give advice but they let you talk, let you get a sense of perspective and at times it can feel like they are the only thing keeping you afloat. AA sent round a couple of local members to talk to my ex. They really put it in perspective for him - for about 2 weeks.

The fact that you're raising these concerns, you're upset, and your 7 year old is worried about Mummy means that there is a problem. If friends are noticing then yes, I would say there is definitely a problem.

Is she awake yet?

FunnysInTheGarden · 02/06/2011 14:16

OP, YANBU. She needs to grow up and get a grip.

Funny how the response to a male poster is so very different to a female with the same problems. You haven't been advised to divorce her once yet!

girlywhirly · 02/06/2011 14:44

I think it it the dependency on alcohol that defines an alcoholic, perfectly possible to be a binge drinker as well as the drunk all day every day. And binge drinking will cause the same alcohol related medical problems. I think it's clear that James72's wife needs help now; I think she is aware of how others see her and also her DH and yet it isn't enough to make her seek help with her drinking.

Alcoholics are usually very good liars, very good at deluding themselves that everything is fine, that it is everyone elses problem not theirs. But if finding that her children are aware of her drinking making her ill, and still won't get help, she has a serious problem. Could your GP organise counselling for you both on the pretext of investigating the emotional reasons for the drinking? Could there be a psychiatric cause? Undiagnosed post natal depression for example?

NotEnoughTime · 02/06/2011 17:04

Have you had a chance to speak to her yet James?

OTheHugeManatee · 02/06/2011 17:53

FunnysInTheGarden, yes - I thought that too - not one divorce suggestion yet Hmm

James72 · 02/06/2011 18:42

I went to the park with the kids. She got out of bed a couple of hours ago around 4:30. I'll speak to her this evening.

In answer to some of the responses...

Yes, should have left the wine stains.

I see those binge drinkers in Newcastle and that makes me feel that perhaps her binge drinking is normal. But my gut tells me it isn't.

I don't think she's 'really unhappy' but I think there might be something troubling her that she uses drink to get away from. I don't think it's our relationship but I think she is worried that I might leave her because I've been very successful in my career and have grown in status while she leads a less glamorous life at home. I think that, and some other stuff, has left her a little insecure despite the fact that she's pretty tough.

FunnysInTheGarden, that's how I feel. Grow up and get a grip. This isn't fair!

OP posts:
katvond · 02/06/2011 18:56

James you sound a lovely man, she's a lucky lady. She's sounds like a binge drinker, my ex DH was one and it ruined us. He'd go weeks even months without a drink then binge. AA were no help but his Dr was and he was prescribed tablets. I can say it's changed him, we are still friends and he's not had a drink in 6 yrs. So it can be done but she as do it and admit her problem. Hope that helps

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