Online forums

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please complete your profile

Complete your profile

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please join our online community.

Forum membership is open to anyone residing in Australia.

Join the online community Community rules Coping during the Coronavirus outbreak

Forums / Relationship and family issues / Is my wife an alchoholic??

Topic: Is my wife an alchoholic??

27 posts, 0 answered
  1. BNS68
    BNS68 avatar
    8 posts
    2 April 2019

    Hi All

    This is my first post and I am sure there are other posts along these lines but cant find a recent one, so here I go.

    We have been married nearly 20 years have two boys 13 & 16 my wife hasn't had to work but has in the last couple of years worked 2-3 days a week.

    I noticed her drinking was getting heavier about 4-5 years ago and addressed it with her not long after that, there were promises that she would try harder however it got up to 1.5-2 bottles of wine a night and slurring during dinner time with the kids. We had serious discussions and I saw our doctor about it who got us into Counselling sessions although my wife was very reluctant and did it purely to appease me. She doesnt believe she has a problem.

    After the Counselling she reduced her intake for two weeks and has now settled back into a bottle a night with more on weekends usually staggering in at least once on a Friday or Saturday if not both. My boys look at me and roll their eyes. Her drinking quantity is 7-10 bottles of wine a week i.e. 56-80 standard drinks a week.

    A key issue with her denial is that she functions very well, the house is not neglected, dinner is always ready, the boys are dropped to sports etc so she believes there is no problem, I think she is mis-interpreting what the problem is, i.e you don't have a right to complain about my drinking as everything (from a chore perspective) is done" and I can't deny that. When I get home from work she's almost done her first bottle and sometimes looking for a second. My problem is I shut down, don't communicate as I believe its not worth the fight, I think in my mind I see the marriage as over, it is just a matter of timing.

    So my queries are as follows;

    1. I am so confused that I don't even know what normal drinking levels should be, the quantities above are too much?

    2. I have tried to support her and get her to understand my position but she doesn't see it as a problem so my next step is to separate and kick her out - problem is 4-5 years is a long time and I don't trust her anymore I have no respect or attraction left, so this will inevitably lead to divorce;

    3. This leads to the damage divorce will do to my kids, especially my 13yo, he is kind hearted and loves his Mum and I worry about the pain he will feel if I do this, the 16yo is more resilient and I think will cope;

    4. will the boys resent me later in life as an enabler or hate me for divorcing her - my parents divorced and I never wanted that for my kids.

    Thoughts

  2. Guest_672
    Guest_672 avatar
    79 posts
    2 April 2019 in reply to BNS68
    Im sorry to say but your wife sounds excatly like my sister. I know you already know the answer to this that yes she is most definitely an alcoholic. Your a wonderful father thinking of your kids first but just remember you have a right to be happy and if your not listen to that gut. I dont have human kids and havnt had divorced parenrs parents but you should have a right to be happy. I had to divorce my sister because of her alcoholism. My experience is you can try help all you want but to no avail unless there willing to want to change and admit. And they tear you down because of it. Listen to that gut of yours because it will be right. There might be some hiccups along the way but your kids will love you know matter what
    1 person found this helpful
  3. BNS68
    BNS68 avatar
    8 posts
    2 April 2019 in reply to Guest_672
    Thanks WWW, you're exactly right, I just don't want to believe my gut and admit I can't fix the situation. I've always been someone that could work through a problem and get a result that everyone was happy with but I don't think this is going to happen this time.
    1 person found this helpful
  4. Summer Rose
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Summer Rose avatar
    1547 posts
    2 April 2019 in reply to BNS68

    Hi BNS68

    Your wife is most definitely an alcoholic. I'm sorry for her, you and the boys. You are to be applauded for your efforts to reach her, to help her. But unfortunately you can't fix this one on your own.

    My father was an alcoholic and my mum stuck it out until his death when I was 18. As a child, I had mixed emotions and sometimes wished they would separate because I hated seeing and interacting with Dad when he was drunk. loved my father very much but grew up with just one wish: that he would stop drinking. As a married, mother of two, I don't know how my mum put up with it.

    I can tell you that your wife's drinking is most certainly negatively affecting your children now and I'm pretty sure they want it to stop. She is not fooling anyone, just lieing to herself.

    As the drinking is not likely to stop, a separation might be inevitable. I know it's sad and was never part of your plan, but you need to keep your children safe and secure. You need them to understand that mum is unwell and none of this is their fault.

    I wouldn't necessarily rule out a reconciliation if your wife gives up alcohol. You never know how you might feel in the future. I'd encourage you to take this one step at a time.

    Kind thoughts to you and the boys

    2 people found this helpful
  5. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    10358 posts
    2 April 2019 in reply to BNS68

    Dear BNS68~

    I'm sorry you are in this situation, you sound a caring and sensible person, and I think you are getting the idea of waht others think of that amout of alcohol. Sadly many who drink simply do not accept there is a problem.

    I would not write here just to agree with Summer Rose and Whitewolfwarrior, however I think an important fact has not been mentioned. Your wife's drinking will affect her judgment and her driving.

    To drive or pick up kids from school or sport when inebriated is potentially very dangerous. While you quite rightly worry about the effect of a separation on your children the effect of a bad crash could be much worse.

    I"m sorry to be blunt.

    Maybe the seriousness of the problem can be brought home to her. Certainly without her whole-hearted cooperation matters will not improve.

    Croix

    3 people found this helpful
  6. geoff
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    geoff avatar
    15291 posts
    2 April 2019 in reply to BNS68

    Hello BNS, thanks for posting your comment and I'm sorry that your marriage has come to a point where you may have to make a decision.

    An alcoholic is usually in denial and it can keep her from seeking treatment or believing she is doing anything wrong, simply because the house and all the meals are provided so she believes there is no problem, however, what you see her drink is not a good sign, but it's also what you don't see her drink is a worry.

    What she maybe doing is hiding alcohol, bottles put outside somewhere you can't see or in her put somewhere in her wardrobe, anywhere that's possible that no one can see, so she could be drinking much more than you think.

    She won't stop until she wants to, talking, nagging, pleading or begging will do nothing, although she may 'pretend' to stop, but then go outside to her hidden spot.

    Your 13 and 16 year will cope with your decision, they already know what's she's like by rolling their eyes the divorce will affect them, but just for a short time, because they will realise that you have made the right decision, you can't be happy married to an alcoholic.

    My wife divorced me because I was an alcoholic when I was suffering from depression, now and for a long time I only drink socially, but it's taken an enormous effort and I've lost a great deal in my life but achieved much more.

    You need to be happy in life.

    Geoff.

    2 people found this helpful
  7. BNS68
    BNS68 avatar
    8 posts
    2 April 2019 in reply to geoff
    Thanks so much for taking the time to reply everyone, I think deep down I know what I have to do but its very hard to admit defeat, maybe we can reconcile in the future, time will tell. Thanks again for your comments they are very much appreciated.
    1 person found this helpful
  8. IreneM
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    IreneM avatar
    315 posts
    3 April 2019 in reply to BNS68

    HI BNS68

    Yes everyone is right. The first step for you would be to be open with your children away from her. They sound old enough to be able to know what they want.

    I have a friend in exactly the same boat as you. He has finally made the decision and arranged another residence that she did not know about with the kids. Then finally, he said to her, "it is either me or the bottle, you cannot have both."

    If you have to take her to court by all means aim to have custody of the kids, and if the kids are still reasonably young I would ask the lawyer for a child psychologist. They know how to communicate with the kids, and make arrangements that are right for them.

    NB: the above is what I know other people like you have done and your situation will be unique to you and the kids. But it should give you an idea of what is expected in a similar situation.

    Sorry that you have to go through it. By all means do the right things primarily for you and the kids, until she is prepared to do something about her alcoholism. Sad, but that is how it is. Acceptance can be difficult but it is worth it to enable the right action.

    Irene.

  9. geoff
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    geoff avatar
    15291 posts
    3 April 2019 in reply to BNS68

    Hi BNS, I know it's so hard but I don't think you should take it as a 'defeat', alcohol addiction is something that has so many questions as to why someone wants to drink it, you can't blame any of this on yourself, it's an urge or an attraction that people believe they have found a solution to their troubles, unfortunately, not so, it only intensifies and complicates the situation.

    There are no answers for you, only questions, so please don't punish yourself by trying to solve this, you can't read her mind.

    Take care.

    Geoff.

  10. BNS68
    BNS68 avatar
    8 posts
    3 April 2019 in reply to geoff

    Thanks Irene & Geoff - I have been unsure/reluctant to speak to the boys specifically about it as I haven't wanted them to feel like they had to 'take sides' but they are entering an age where experimentation is almost inevitable so I want them to have a positive attitude and not follow a path where too much is not enough. Its time to lay it out for them. They are intelligent and well adjusted boys so hopefully they can understand the direction I am heading.

    Thank you all again it is good to get feedback and to get this off my chest as I don't really have family members I can talk to about this stuff so it certainly helps my thought processes.

    1 person found this helpful
  11. geoff
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    geoff avatar
    15291 posts
    3 April 2019 in reply to BNS68

    Hi BNS, thanks for getting back to us and I'm sure you will handle this just as well as you have.

    I realise this hasn't been easy for you and I'm deeply sorry, but would be interested to know how the boys react.

    Take care.

    Geoff.

    1 person found this helpful
  12. IreneM
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    IreneM avatar
    315 posts
    7 April 2019 in reply to BNS68

    HI BNS

    It sounds like your boys are either pre- or early- teens so of course it sounds like you are making a good decision as you do not want them to end up in the same boat as her. Not be able to drive among other things, that alcoholism can cause. Alcoholics Annonymous works for some people, if they are willing to commit themselves.

    Along with Geoff I shall be keen to see how things work out with the boys. I would take them away for a day and have a good chat with them over a friendly lunch.

    Keep us posted.

    Irene.

  13. BNS68
    BNS68 avatar
    8 posts
    12 April 2019 in reply to IreneM

    Hi All

    I've had the chance to speak to the boys now, it was interesting to get their perspective, yes they are worried about her drinking and they were aware of the consistency and the extras on the weekend and the consequences of that i.e. staggering, slurring etc. The 16yo said that he always sees her with a wine in her hand so she must be going through a bottle a week, at least, so I'm taking that as a positive and that its not greatly influencing them at this point, sometimes maybe ignorance is bliss?? I suppose there will be a need to have a more serious conversation about the real quantities and issues around that but at this stage I just wanted their initial thoughts and not alarm them too much.

    What concerned them more was her smoking, she is back on the ciggies after giving them up when she was pregnant and is a Chronic asthmatic and has a constant cough. The boys opinion was that the drinking won't kill her but the smoking will with lung cancer etc... the young one, 13yo, was very upset at this and was crying when talking about it. The older one was trying to verbalise his frustration at the deceit and hypocrisy of this i.e. why can you lie and deceive us us but yell at us if we try to dodge our way out of blame for something i.e. for doing normal kid stuff.

    So I suppose that leaves the ball in my court, over the course of the last 3-4 years I've been about protecting the boys and me sucking up unhappiness so their lives aren't disrupted but over the last few months I've figured out that I can't give all of myself to my boys when I have this dark cloud hanging over my head. I know what I have to do to bring it to a head and it will break my heart as she is not a bad person and loves her boys but has taken a bad path and fallen into a bad habit (addiction if I'm being honest with myself).

    One step at a time and I will see where this takes us.

    Thanks again for 'listening'.

    1 person found this helpful
  14. Summer Rose
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Summer Rose avatar
    1547 posts
    12 April 2019 in reply to BNS68

    Hi BNS68

    Good to hear from you.

    Sounds like your talk with the boys went well, even though it would have been very challenging for you. I really like that you have such open and honest conversation with them. They were probably very relieved to talk to you about the giant elephant in the room, and I'm sure your openness and willingness to listen did them a lot of good.

    I understand that it will "break your heart to bring it to a head", but I don't know that you have much choice because this problem won't go away by itself and it could get even worse. I think you need to minimise the harm to the boys in the best way you can.

    It's tough because neither living with an alcoholic or separating are what you ever wanted. Only you can make this decision but I will say this, you are worthy of a better life.

    Post any time. Kind thoughts to you

  15. geoff
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    geoff avatar
    15291 posts
    12 April 2019 in reply to BNS68

    Hi BNS, what you have done is to protect your kids and give them some stability, this isn't easy as their mum is an alcoholic and it's going to affect them no matter how much you try because they are becoming adults very quickly and developing their own personality.

    The love for your wife may remain, but it has changed and has caused you to become protective in a way you never expected.

    Now it's something you never believed would ever happen, but when it does, it changes how you feel, so you start to question the situation you are now facing and when this does happen, means that you need to get your thoughts back on track.

    You have a choice whether you want to stay in this position, but if you do nothing is going to change, except make you feel more alone and worse.

    Get the help you need and ask the kids whether they want to go with you, never the less you need to make a decision and the sooner the better, and by separating or divorcing your wife, doesn't mean you don't love her, it's her addiction that has caused this, and you can't change her, that's all up to your wife.

    Best wishes.

    Geoff.

  16. Billyc
    Billyc  avatar
    220 posts
    12 April 2019 in reply to BNS68

    There’s a lot of wisdom hear, and I think COIX said it as accurately is he could. Considering the amount your talking about, It is the kids safety at this point. Alcohol consumed daily at the rate you say is enough to sustain a level of blood alcohol that would illegal to drive with.

    Above and beyond this, is her health.

    I may have this but has their ever been an “intervention” enforced upon her by all of your family members?

    The reason I ask is because my mother died of alcoholism when I was 17. I’ve spent the best part of 20 years wondering why we couldn’t come together and showing some hard love.

    There are centres that she can commit too for up to 3 to months to “dry out”. For me had I been older and more the wiser it would be to my mum it’s the centre or the cemetery I’m sitting around watch the latter happen.

    As for being a functional drunk, Robyn Williams said it best

    ”An alcoholic is as functional as paying pool with a piece of of rope”...

    i wish you the best

  17. BNS68
    BNS68 avatar
    8 posts
    15 April 2019 in reply to Billyc

    Thanks again for all your support.

    In regard to the intervention question, I have considered this in the past and bringing her parents into the loop. During the counselling sessions we were doing last year my counsellor suggested that this may seem like an act of betrayal and the state of mind my wife is in it would certainly be taken as such.

    I suppose once I build up the courage (very soon) to actually ask her to leave i.e. I want the boys to have the stability of staying in their home so that in itself will be an intervention as she will need to live with her parents who will then get the picture of what is going on.

    So yes it has been considered but thought it is an issue that she needs to alert her family to rather then me running to them behind her back and then 'ambushing' her.

    Happy to hear others thoughts on this and whether I am off track???

    1 person found this helpful
  18. IreneM
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    IreneM avatar
    315 posts
    15 April 2019 in reply to BNS68

    HI BNS

    Sorry that it took a while to get back to you with my own dramas. You are such a hero and it is good that the boys are on the same wavelength as yourself.

    Your last two posts have a lot of wisdom attached. You certainly have the right thinking in terms of what is her responsibilities and what is yours.

    As one of the others said all that you can do is put to her options for support including the Quitline from a smoking perspective.

    Maybe you should work with the boys on this as it may work more if she hears it from them, as well as or instead of you. Kids often have power. If she really cares about them she would act. Maybe get them to write a book, or even draw pictures, on what they would love her to do and include at the end a list of resources that she can call upon.

    Based on your previous advice from a professional, she certainly won't change in a hurry. But it is good that you and the boys are now in it together and have got each other for support.

    As you say take one step at a time, and keep the boys in-the-loop every step of the way, once you are clear on your options, both practically and legally. Get on to Legal Aid if necessary.

    Awful time for you, but you now have the boys on-side, and our thoughts are with you.

    Irene.

  19. Summer Rose
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Summer Rose avatar
    1547 posts
    15 April 2019 in reply to BNS68

    Hi BNS68

    I don't have the answer on the intervention question because I think it depends on the strength of your relationship with her parents. Will they believe you? Will they support you? Will they support their daughter?

    If the answers are yes, I would strongly consider bringing them into the loop. I say this because...

    You are planning to ask a woman in denial about her drinking to leave her home and her children. I think it's reasonable to ask, why would she comply?

    She doesn't think she has a problem. I'm a mum with two kids and unless I really believed it was in my kids' best interest, I would never leave them or my home.

    It might help her to realise there is a genuine problem if her parents also talk with her. Of course, this again assumes that she would turn to them for help. She might not.

    I think it would be helpful to ask the counsellor you saw with your wife her view about your plan and approach. The counsellor might have a better insight into how your wife might react.

    Kind thoughts to you and the boys

  20. geoff
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    geoff avatar
    15291 posts
    15 April 2019 in reply to BNS68

    Hi BNS, if you 'ambush' her, and remember she is unable to see the truth until she gets sober because she is in denial, then it will be difficult for her to accept the fact that she needs help.

    She may resent her parents interfering as she has paid no attention to what you and/or the boys have said, the same will happen with them.

    An alcoholic refuses help and this will only change when she knows she has a problem, but now, the only emotion she has is with the alcohol.

    I'm sorry for you and your sons.

    Geoff.

    There have been so many good replies back to you on your thread

  21. BNS68
    BNS68 avatar
    8 posts
    16 April 2019 in reply to geoff

    Hi All and yes Geoff agree there has been some great insights and suggestions in this thread so thanks again everyone.

    To be honest SR I hadn't really considered that she wouldn't 'comply' as the compliance in itself is an admission to her problem. Thinking that through though I think if she refuses to move I would at that point have to bring her parents into the loop as an 'intervention' if you like. I have a good relationship with them, and I think they would believe what I am telling them but blood is thicker than water so if push came to shove no doubt they would side with their daughter.

    All I can do I suppose is try to spell out the facts, try to be as objective as I can and not ask them to take sides but take the side of helping her through it. My wife has a life long relationship to maintain with our sons and whether or not we remain married is almost secondary to that now. I don't want the boys to have resentment toward either of us, I don't have the relationship I'd like to with my parents and I don't want that for my boys.

    Geez, it's a tangled web we weave ......

  22. Summer Rose
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Summer Rose avatar
    1547 posts
    16 April 2019 in reply to BNS68

    Hi BNS68

    I hope I didn't upset you with my earlier post. I was really just playing devil's advocate from a mum's perspective.

    I think you are on the right track and definitely have the right attitude.Take the high road, don't run her down and don't try to interfere with and/or manipulate her relationship with the kids (nothing will get her back up more).

    This is firmly a health and safety issue. And what you are trying to do is bring "it to a head" so your wife can get the help she needs. Your wife may panic when reality hits but really try to go slow and keep it focussed.

    Getting help for her addiction will be scary for your wife and if you really want her well again she will need your support, especially with the kids. If you can both focus on the best outcome for the kids and leave discussions about divorce, property, custody, etc for later it will be less threatening and frightening for your wife. Same goes for her parents, work together for the kids.

    I'm really hoping your action will prompt an epiphany for your wife. Everything afterwards will still unfold, but you'll have established a collaborative approach to resolving issues.

    Kind thoughts to you

  23. BNS68
    BNS68 avatar
    8 posts
    18 April 2019 in reply to Summer Rose

    Thanks again SR, no you didn't upset me it was just something I hadn't really thought through.

    And yes all your following points make perfect sense, step 1 is to get her healthy and then go from there, we'll see how it goes. Thank you.

    1 person found this helpful
  24. geoff
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    geoff avatar
    15291 posts
    19 April 2019 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hello Summer Rose, thanks so much for your comments.

    Geoff.

    1 person found this helpful
  25. Roysten
    Roysten avatar
    1 posts
    10 May 2021 in reply to geoff
    Hi,

    Im not sure if you will get notifications on this post as it is from 2019.
    I have read through all of this as I am concerned about my partner. We are not married yet. Her family are big drinkers.

    She is one of 4. Her dad enjoys a drink, he can handle it and is jovial when drinking.
    Her sister sounds very much like the lady in BNS68. 3 kids, doesn't work. drinks at least a bottle a day. mixes it with pills sometimes. has had 3 car "incidents" in the last 2 years. she is late 30's
    Brother #1 has had pancreatitis twice! after being a big drinker. he now only drinks beer now after being off booze for a year a couple of times. he is mid 30's.
    Brother #2 is the centre of the party when drinking. he likes to be wild, he has started to slow down a bit being in his late 30's.

    My partner is like brother #2 when she drinks, she is the life of the party to her friends. Then if I suggest we should leave a place at midnight or leave a friends BBQ before she is "stumbling drunk" she then takes it out on me.
    She can get aggressive with me and has broken phones and slams doors when she is drunk, she has to be helped out of taxi's etc... this happens at least once a month sometimes twice a month.

    When we first got together, we would go to bars and stumble home together. we have been together for 5yrs and the first 2yrs were perfect, things have slowly gotten worse and I look forward to the next 5yrs and I question if things will improve...?
  26. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
    • Works for beyondblue moderating these forums
    Sophie_M avatar
    5921 posts
    10 May 2021 in reply to Roysten
    Hi Roysten, 

    Thank you for coming along to the forums and for sharing your story. It sounds like you are having a tough time with your relationship at the moment, we are really sorry to hear that it is impacted you like it is. 

    There are no notifications for users and so if they have not been active they may not see your reply. We just wanetd to make sure you were aware of how it all worked. If you like you can also make your own thread if you want to :) Totally up to you!

    We hope that you can find support here on the forums and we encourage you to keep looking around at other threads and conversations that might be interesting and helpful for you. 

    Kind regards, 
    Sophie M
  27. CheeseDingo
    CheeseDingo avatar
    13 posts
    10 May 2021 in reply to Roysten

    Roysten I can give some perspective. Alcoholism runs deep in one side of my family. It was also a big problem for many others I knew in my hometown. I genuinely flirted with it for a year to suppress extreme anxiety, having 8+ drink sessions 3-5 times a week when I lived overseas and was not taking any medication or having counselling. I have since been able to control my alcohol consumption, but Alcoholism killed my dad in his 50's.

    From my experience, nearly all of my time with this part of my family revolved around alcohol. The kids grow up watching their 16-30 year old cousins and family members drink and smoke, The Young adults watch their parents, aunties and uncles do it. Teenagers know it's safe to bring their friends over to drink and alcoholic friends of older people in my family always showed up at family events.

    I have limited my exposure with them to 1-2 times a year, but It just doesn't stop for these poor people. So many people turn up to a Christmas day/Birthday at a family members house with a case of beer + spirits. I know this happens for them most weekends of the year. When I do return to see family, there are many bars and RSL clubs in my hometown where family members are banned so it's hard to do much with a group of people outside of their house.

    People can always change, however It is always a complex subject when people have been in this environment their whole lives and their behaviors are generally accepted by their family.

Stay in touch with us

Sign up below for regular emails filled with information, advice and support for you or your loved ones.


Sign me up