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My wife is an alcoholic

Community Member

Hello everyone. This is my first post.

My wife is an alcoholic. In her eyes she is fully functional.

She works full time and rarely misses work. She drinks every night. Normally half a bottle of vodka and slips in a few wines too. By 8:30 she’s drunk as a skunk. She’s 40 years old with 3 children of her own and two of mine. We have shared care of all the kids. When she becomes drunk I put the kids to bed etc. if I challenge her when she’s drunk I become the bad person. If I challenge her the next day she can’t remember and brushes it off.

She has been to rehab a few years ago and really enjoyed it. And starting drinking as soon as she got out.

Anyone out there been through this and has any advice?

When she is sober she is a great person. When she is drunk she is not ! I love her and our kids.

How do I make her realise what she is doing is wrong without causing an argument?

17 Replies 17

Community Member

Hi Justjosh,

Not my wife, but my mother is an alcoholic, and she would do the exact same things, best mum in the world when sober (very rarely, and a wounded bear when drunk) I can remember seeing my mum so drunk that she fell out of her car after calling into the pub on the way home from work (forgetting to pick me up from primary school, grade 4) and knocked herself out on the concrete driveway as she was that drunk she couldn't stand up, so we (sister and I) just left her there face down with a bloody nose, because she wasn't yelling at us or trying to belt us (she was and still is a very aggressive drunk).

She was in and out of rehab and fine for a few weeks after getting out then back into the drinking, the fighting and the beatings AND if she couldn't catch you to hit you she would throw kitchen objects at you! my sister and myself learnt very quickly to stay out of the house until dad got home and even then mum attacked dad trying to kill him because he tipped out her bottle of Bundy Rum, and that was the last straw for dad, we had tried every thing, mum even had that beta blocker thing implanted..didn't work 1 bit.

Dad realized that nothing was going to stop her from drinking and ONLY if the person themselves (the alcoholic) wants to stop then they will, to this day my mum still drinks and could out drink most 18Yo's, shes 78yo now and drinks every day to excess and still causes trouble.

The best thing is to think of the safety of the kids and get out. (sorry if this seams really blunt...speaking from experience as a kid being beaten on by a alcoholic mother on an almost daily basis)

Due to my mothers drinking and growing up in the house as a "family", dad, mum, sister and myself from 0yo to 14Yo (dad kicked mum out when i was 14) to my last beating/attack being at age 34, I'm 44 now) I hardly drink at all, a 700Ml bottle of Jack Daniels will last me for about 1 year, my sister on the other hand would drink it in 1 night (she has mums addictive personality)

Community Member
Hey going through a similar situation my wife has been heavily drinking for about 6 years I have 3children who are my first priority , unfortunately I have given up on my wife ever changing her ways she has been to rehab and seen multiple psychologists to try and break the habit but with little success I feel as though rather than tackle life's challenges it is easier to just drink and remove herself from any situation or stress I have finally come to the conclusion that I'm in this myself and no longer have a partner so this is how I live now , don't get me wrong I do love her but I do not love the monster that she has become just look after yourself and kids first as with any addiction you can't help them they have to want to help themselves , get as many people involved as you can as they will become aware of your situation and reach out to help you through this ,alcoholism is a tough son of a b**ch !!

Hello Iron Forge, I'm sorry no one has got back to you and realise it's over a year, my apologies and hope you are still reading posts because I would like to get back to you.

Hi Jvan, I'll reply back to you in a separate post.

My best.


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Jvan, thanks for reviving this thread because it's a very important one, something which could be pushed under the carpet, hidden or excuses being made all depending on what situation you are in.

I was in the same situation as your wife, although I never became aggressive nor did I hit anyone when I was in depression, and please don't be afraid to ask any questions.

I was able to abstain a few times and whether this can be taken as being in rehab is up to you, however, this maybe much different, simply because I had chosen not to drink, whereas being in rehab is where you are forced to go, or it's been suggested by your psych/doctor and you have to go.

You're are right there isn't anything you can do, it's up to your wife to decide if and when she wants to quit, and some don't even want to do this when their diagnosis is bad.

I can't tell you how sorry I feel for you and this also goes to Iron Forge and your kids, and feel the blame I put my family through.

Now I only drink socially and have built a terrific relationship with both my sons who often ask me for my opinion.

I also talk and see my ex, but both our situations have changed, all I want is communication.

Please ask me anything you like, I've got a hard skin.

My Best.


Community Member
I can relate to your situation and the devastating toll it has on partners of alcoholic. I supported my partner through AA, several stints in rehab clinics across the country, a range or medications and appointments with mental health clinicians over several years. Over the years we lost friends, damaged family relationships, lost all intimacy between us and my partner lost a well paid highly respected job. Towards the end of our relationship a psychiatrist told my partner that they were not convinced that my partner wanted to stop drinking. My partner agreed that there was no intent to stop and I knew then that anything we tried was never going to succeed. I have no tips or solutions other than to ensure you care for yourself and remember that although tough with the right support an addict has the power to stop if they really want to. My story ended in a separation after my spirt was crushed. Your journey will be different but we share the same suffering though this dreadful disease. I left to heal myself which has been emotionally tough. I feel I am now moving in the right direction which I hope you do as well. I wish you the best and you have my greatest admiration and empathy.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Echoes, I loved reading your reply, wow, it was such great support even though you have had it so tough.

There is no reason why anyone who doesn't want to stop drinking should go to rehab or AA, unless by any chance they can be convinced to give away the alcohol, unfortunately, this may only be while they are in rehab, but as soon as they mix with their friends again, who do drink, then rehab didn't work.

The way you healed yourself should be applauded, that's not easy, especially if the person you were living with has finally stopped after the breakup if that's what did happen because they are back to how they were when you met.

The decision to go back to each other is the worry that the drinking could start once again, and even promises sometimes never work.

Thanks for joining the forums.


Community Member

Hey Just josh.

I have been going through the same thing for years. My wife of 12 years has always been a fully functioning alcoholic. We are in our 40s have three beautiful girls and live a good life.

My wife drinks every night and once a certain point is reached down the bottle she becomes someone else entirely.

Believe me I have been through it ALL when it comes to Alcoholics abuse and anger with her but my love for the real person behind the alcoholic is so strong I will never leave her. I have recently been trying to control the alcohol intake by purchasing it for her you may say this is enabling her but believe me I would rather her drink in front of me than hide it as I have been through the whole hide and seek phase before many times and its no fun at all.

I love my wife so much and when she is sober she is the most caring person you will ever meet. Then comes dawn. The bottles open the kids are in bed the mood changes the wife becomes the abuser the alcoholic. I have learnt to live with this disease that has taken my wife by accepting that this is her path and her choice her drunk words and violence hurt but I know its not the real her so when it gets to the point of no return I be as polite as I can be and call it a night knowing in the morning my caring beautiful wife will be back beside me ready to face the challenges of a new day.

I always make sure our kids are safe and never have to see her in a state and I make sure no harm can come to my wife other than pickling her insides by hiding car keys etc. Its a lot of work but its a disease that can only be cured if SHE makes the choice and for now she is obviously not ready but I'm confident she will make the right choice down the track and I will be beside her every step of the way.

A few pointers I can leave you with so you can co exist in there world when they hit the bottle:

Always keep the conversation light ANY negativity will result in a spiral down.

When she starts the abuse do not retaliate remember most of the time she's just feeling guilty for being drunk it is NOT personal.

Stay calm and listen she just wants to be heard.

When you feel your anger starting to boil remove yourself lovingly say goodnight and go to bed.

You love her or you wouldn't be there so show her love show her you care be kind be gentle it is after all a disease and the more you understand that the better you will feel.

Stay strong.

peace and love to all.

Hi luvnaddict,

Thank you for sharing your story here, your words are really powerful and we can hear how much love and care you have for your wife. It sounds incredibly difficult. We hope you can find some comfort and understanding on the forums, where other community members may be able to relate to what you’re going through.

Recovery can be a difficult journey, and it’s important that you are able to reach out. Do either of you currently have any support with these issues, or someone you feel you can talk to about this? Remember, you can both reach out to Beyond Blue or Lifeline. You can also both reach out to Counselling Online, who support people suffering from addiction, or supporting others through addiction and substance abuse. You can find the number for your state or territory here, and they also have some helpful information pages, such as this one on helping yourself while supporting others.  It’s so important that while caring for your partner you are aware of your own emotional wellbeing. Please remember to reach out any time you feel you are struggling, to the Beyond Blue helpline on 1300 22 4636, or to our friends at Carers Australia on 1800 242 636.

We think it’s really important that extra support and medical advice is there through this, so we think it’s really good to keep the GP informed of what’s going on. Please remember that if either of you feel unsafe at any point, the number to call is 000.

We did want to just let you know that since this thread is a couple of years old, it might take a bit of time for the community to spot your post. If you wanted to start a thread of your own on this topic, please feel welcome. There are some tips on doing so here.

Thanks again for posting here. You never know who will read this post and feel less alone in their own experience.

Kind regards,

Sophie M