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Is my wife an alchoholic??

Community Member

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.


26 Replies 26

Community Member

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 ......

Summer Rose
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

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

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.

Hello Summer Rose, thanks so much for your comments.


Community Member

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...?

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

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.