Is my wife an alchoholic??
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.
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
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.
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.
She won't stop until she wants to, talking, nagging, pleading or begging will do nothing, although she may 'pretend' to stop,
Your 13 and 16
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.
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.
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.
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.