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Wife, partner and mother of my kids is an alcoholic

Community Member

I thought I'd write this, to reach out, and also maybe someone else has similar issues that this might help.

 My wife and I are early 40's, and we have two beautiful little kids, in many ways our life is pretty damn good.  Except my wife has a major alcohol addiction and has been struggling for years to get it under control, and we're not there yet.

Alcoholism is one of the trickiest beasts I've ever come across, it's something thats accepted by Aussie society, almost jokingly in the media, yet its soul destroying for the victims... both her, me, our family, and everyone around.  It's almost a true definition of 'evil'.

My kids are still too young to realise what's going on with mum.. which breaks your heart that one day they will realise that things are not right.

She puts the kids at risk, drinking during the day, and driving them to activities.  Some days I wish she would be stopped by the booze bus.. but it hasn't happened.  You wonder if she doesn't wish she be stopped as well, surely she knows its only a matter of time.  If she is stopped, her "perfect" life will fall apart, she'll lose her job as well.

I know she struggles with her head, the thoughts, the anxiety.. like we all do.. but she reaches for the bottle as a solution.. which is really a terrible solution.

I wonder if alcoholism isn't just a kind of slow suicide... the alcoholic knows its killing them, but they keep going.

I feel like a husband, a father, a provider, and also a carer for a very sick person, who doesn't realise how sick they are, doesn't appreciate the care they receive, and will keep on getting worse.

The person I married was not like this, so it's a loss as well.  A loss of the person I married, the family we started, the future we had planned... all too a crap bottle of cheap vodka.

In the meanwhile, I'll keep turning up, keep caring, keep hoping, for the kids...

34 Replies 34

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi emdan

I'll be blunt. You are not caring for your childrens welfare if you are aware your wife drinks alcohol then drives them to activities.

In your situation I'm sad to say, I would organise with the local police to intercept her on a day you ring them to let them know she is picking up the kids following a drinking day.

Sorry if this seems like betrayal, it is, backstabbing, it is, safety for my priceless children and the safety of other kids and parents, it is.

Then access to alcohol is more limited. She will need to rely on you to go booze buying and that might not be when she wants it....your first arrow in your arsenal of your fight against this sickness.

Do you think this is leading towards you controlling your wife? Well it clearly is and this control is your only hope of getting your wife back the way she used to be, and the only hope of your kids keeping her at elast as she is and not becoming worse. With the hope also she will wean herself off the booze....if you take control.

The police and the DUI charge might snap her into reality but yo need more arrows for your bow. You will need to take over finances to restrict her from buying grog. How you do this is up to you - slowly or immediately following an event like that DUI charge or a doctors visit to discuss it, or an AA attendance. It will need a solid plan. Credit card access will need to be stopped. Cut them up and reapply for ones only on your name. Reduce access to computer banking etc.

I had a relationship with a woman for 10 years as a defacto and saw her drinking go from social to alcoholic. It was the sole reason we split. So I battled with it for 7 years of more. That's why I know the only answer.

Tony WK

Community Member

Hi emdan,

I completely agree with Tony, you cannot allow your wife to drink and drive with your children in the car and you "know" about this behaviour, its makes you just as guilty as her...sorry but true.

Above all other plans, you must stop this straight away, your children are surely far more important than alcohol or her denial of this problem.

You say your life is "pretty damn good' but it won't be if she has an accident and injures or kills your children , I work in an emergency dept and I see the results of drinking, friends killing friends, family members losing a loved one, you have a chance to prevent this and I for one would never allow anyone to drink and drive knowingly.

She can address her problem, if she wants to , but don't make your kids pay the price to, alcohol is the catalyst for many problems , I to have had an alcoholic mother, and now as an adult I do not drink alcohol, I witnessed and experienced first hand the destruction of the family .

It is an addiction, but she needs  to get the help, you cannot make excuses for her or enable her behaviour, she needs you to stand strong, not prop her up.

You must also remember her driving drunk, endangers all the community and I so often see the drunk driver survives and other innocent people are killed or injured, its everyones problem not just the person driving with alcohol  in their system.

You can get advice from services as well, so maybe have a look and consider your options, its not your fault she drinks, but it is a family problem you all need to fix.

Good luck and take care.


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

dear Emdan, thanks for posting your comment, which is indeed a rather serious problem, and secondly one which I can relate to.

Both the replies from Tony and July have been spot on, because my drinking was one reason why my wife left me on numerous occasions and then divorced me, because I self medicated using alcohol because I couldn't cope with my depression and what it had done.

There's no 'beating around the bush' here, but my drinking from morning till whenever only started when my sons both had their licence, and before this I made sure that I was under the limit, because my work relied on driving, so if I lost it then I was in great trouble.

This drinking only happened in the last 2 or 3 years when it was catch 22 because my wife ostracised me and gave up trying to help me., but there's a lot more to this.

It's an addiction which is so difficult to stop, and there is medication that can stop the urge to drink, but it will only work if that person has decided to stop drinking alcohol, otherwise it won't work.

Now I only drink on a social level for four reasons; I have overcome my depression, so I have work to do which is very important for me; I get sick of the taste; I take heavy medication and I certainly don't want to have an epileptic fit and 'grand mal' fits are no fun what's so ever.

I do agree that she should lose her licence, however there maybe problems with this if she does decide to stop, and secondly if the police are there ready to caught her drinking then the fine to pay maybe enormous, so there are pro's and cons here.

I understand that the kids are top priority and their safety is of prime concern, there's no question about this, and if you tell her that she is not allowed to drive anywhere with the children this 'will fall on death ears'.

I'm almost out of characters, but want to discuss this again, as I've only talked about me and not her, so I don't think that's at all fair, so I'm terribly sorry, but hope that you can reply back. Geoff.

Community Member
I am really sorry about your situation. Wish she could understand your concern. It could also be because she reached a stage where she needs professional help in quitting. If she puts alcohol as a priority, then I think she is badly addicted. May you should talk to her about going to a rehab. We had a family friend who was an alcoholic and her parents took her to a rehab facility. It worked for her. She is now sober for two years. Do not lose hope. If nothing is working, threaten her that you would take the kids and leave, if she doesn't mend her ways.

Community Member

Thanks for posting. I am the father of 3 wonderful kids 8 11 and 13. My partner has a drinking problem.

She is in denial about her ability to control it. She was drinking in secret during the day while home with  the  kids but after many confrontations this has ceased for the time being.  Once I started to involve the children in the process she began to  realise that  they were impacted by her behaviour.  They now phone me if I am at work and things are not right at home. 

She thinks she can continue to drink socially but doesn't recognise that her judgment is impaired. 

I bought a  breathalyser from Dick Smith  which I use sparingly. It's necessary because trust is gone. 

Last Sunday she picked up our  daughter from an event and 'had a few drinks'.  At first  she said she  hadn't but it's always obvious to me and the 2 older kids. I asked her if she  would  register zero if I were to test her.  When  she said no not  zero I tested her. She registered 0.22!

I have taken  all keys to all cars and explained that I  can  only allow her to drive again if an interlock is installed. They appear to be available as a voluntary service.  

We continue to see a relationship counsellor which I recommend to anyone else in this  situation. 

The  counsellor suggested that she takes the initiative to have the device installed rather than me enforcing it. She realises that she shouldn't drink and drive. 

I think involving the police is an attempt to punish.  I just took  away all the  car keys and explained that if anyone else had driven drunk with  our kids we would never let them do it again. 

Community Member
I think threatening to leave is not possible. As a father you need to help the  kids deal with the fact that their mother is an alcoholic. Otherwise they will be under the care of  an alcoholic part of  the  time and you would have  less control over  the  situation than if you stay

Community Member

Hi all

My name is Brenden, my wife is an alcoholic in between admitting it and denial. I have kids 14 year old twin girls and a 17 year old boy.

My wife started drinking heavy in the last 5 years.

I just have this dark bottomless feeling in my chest called "lost hope"

I'm angry, scared for my kids emotional and mental well being. I consider asking her to leave daily. At the moment she is sneaking her drinks in. Lying all the time. Trust is shattered.

If I was to say how I really feel this page would be filled with expletives.

Just lost fella's

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Braz0123,

Welcome to the forums and I'm so sorry that you're going through what you are mate. Good job for reaching out, you've come to the right place. Alcoholism is a god awful disease (speaking as a recovering drug addict who is quite familiar with the perils of addictions) and i'm sure you know the old adage "you can't help somebody who doesn't want to help themselves."

I was personally in denial during my whole addiction; broke relationships, wouldn't admit the breadth of my problem, lied constantly. It wasn't until I was really broken that I admitted I finally needed help and it was that act of breaking itself that saved me. Maybe asking her to leave is what she needs. Maybe she's gotten semi-comfortable in this routine and it needs to be broken by force. It's highly unlikely that she'll just wake up one morning and realise that she needs help and the lying needs to stop, it needs to be something serious to make her snap out even briefly.

Tell her she needs to leave but make it conditional - she can stay if she goes to therapy and/or AA, even rehab. I spent a couple of months in a psych hospital and it did a world of good. Whatever it is, you need to be the one to broker it or it's going to go on for who knows how long. There's also a program called Al-Anon which helps people with spouses/family members with alcoholism manage their own lives and try to break the cycle of their loved ones. I'd also advise you speaking to somebody professional if possible. This all sounds like it's dragging you down immensely and you need to be in a stable mental state both for your kids and to help your wife.

Sorry again and welcome to the forums, stick around,