Welcome to the Healthy Families forums!

This is a space to ask questions, share experiences and support each other. Find a relevant thread or start your own!

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please join our online community and have a read of the community rules. Forum membership is open to anyone residing in Australia.

  • share on Facebook
  • share on Twitter
  • Print page

Topic: My wife is an alcoholic

18 posts, 0 answered
  1. Justjosh
    Justjosh avatar
    2 posts
    24 January 2018

    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?

  2. blondguy
    Life Member
    • 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
    blondguy avatar
    11402 posts
    24 January 2018 in reply to Justjosh

    Hello Justjosh

    Welcome to the forums and good on you for having the courage to post too!

    I joined the forums 2 years ago after being made redundant with depression/anxiety. I am sorry for what you are going through with what you have posted about your wife. Having children would be a concern when a parent has an issue with alcohol as the kids are effected as well as yourself

    The forums are a rock solid safe place for you to post and your privacy is paramount here.

    Can I ask if your wife has had any type of major life stress event that she uses alcohol as a coping mechanism for?

    Josh....The forums are also non judgemental. No one will judge you or your wife here. We are friendly and can offer support from our own life experiences though

    There are many gentle people on the forums that can be here for you too. This is your thread topic and you are more than welcome to post as many times as you wish

    My kind thoughts for you and your family

    Paul

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Justjosh
    Justjosh avatar
    2 posts
    24 January 2018 in reply to blondguy

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for your response. It was very kind

    My wife was in a marriage before ours with a narcissist. It crushed her spirit and she turned to alcohol back then. Since then she has been diagnosed with bi-polar and a few other mental illnesses. She takes a lot of prescription medicine to control her mental illness which works most of the time.

    I'm just lost at how to go about helping her with her alcohol problem. I don't want to push her away, but i also cant keep the marriage going too much longer if it doesn't change dramatically.

  4. blondguy
    Life Member
    • 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
    blondguy avatar
    11402 posts
    24 January 2018 in reply to Justjosh

    Good Morning Justjosh

    Thankyou for posting back and helping us support you more effectively

    I take meds and also have regular counseling for my ongoing depression and left over anxiety

    I know this may be a pain but would your wife be agreeable to a joint counseling session? (just my opinion)

    You are a really decent guy. For you.....your children and your wife to grow together as a family, a basic counseling session would be a great start to having some peace as a family unit

    Your thoughts are always more than welcome Justjosh...

    I hope you have a good day JJ

    My Kind thoughts and kudos to you for the TLC you have for your wife and children :-)

    Paul

  5. geoff
    Life Member
    • 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
    16480 posts
    24 January 2018 in reply to Justjosh
    hello Justjosh, thanks for posting your comment where you have said that your wife is an alcoholic, that's something I know of or that's what I was when I was in depression, I used it to self medicate.

    I have 2 sons and divorced from my wife and all three really disliked me drinking, now I only social drink for two reasons, 1. I don't want to get intoxicated and 2. I need to do this for medical reasons.

    From what you have said is that she was previously married and started her drinking then, now it's continued on into your marriage, which I'm really sorry for.

    Maybe you could suggest to her to see her doctor, who may then refer her a psychologist and even joint counselling could prove to be good.

    Please ask any questions you like. Geoff.
  6. bindi-QLD
    bindi-QLD avatar
    211 posts
    25 January 2018 in reply to Justjosh

    Hi Justjosh,

    I'm so sorry for your pain, its hard losing your partner every night, and they never remember anything much . Its very hard and frustrating being the sober and responsible partner through that.

    If your wife was married to a Narcissist, she is suffering from PTSD and may need a bit more help with it. Drinking is a fairly normal coping mechanism for Post traumatic Stress.

    But she probably needs proper support for recovery from Nariccisstic abuse more than anything else at this point. Its a complicated type of abuse, and takes a bit to process. Often that processing includes acknowledging and dealing with Narcissistic parents and family members as well as the relationship she was in.

    If I knew her, although I know she needs help with alcohol, I would encourage her to look for support groups online for recovery from narcissistic abuse. That is what will really help her IMO. She is traumatized by what she experienced, and life and people probably scare her a lot . She can definitely be helped though, she just needs that specific kind of support.

    I wish you the best X

  7. geoff
    Life Member
    • 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
    16480 posts
    25 January 2018 in reply to Justjosh
    hi JustJosh, I want to come back to your post because it's a great concern for you and I can understand this, being someone who has overcome this problem.

    Someone doesn't stop drinking just because they're going from one marriage to another, it usually is taken with them and then the opposite spouse tries to deal with it then, just as you are now.

    The reason I mentioned for her to see the doctor is that they may want to do some blood tests that will give them a liver function result, plus red/white blood results that could give her an indication of her health.

    Drinking alcohol will diminish the full effects of her medication and what it will do is change her ability to do things that she once could do later on in life.

    Whether it's her mental illness making her drink or whether it's coming from a narcissist marriage has to be determined. Geoff.
    1 person found this helpful
  8. bindi-QLD
    bindi-QLD avatar
    211 posts
    25 January 2018 in reply to geoff

    Good Call Geoff,

    I hope I didn't come across as invalidating your advice. I think getting help with alcohol is very important too, and your advice is spot on. Sometimes you have to treat both the addiction and cause, that's all I hoped to communicate. Sorry if that wasn't clear,

    Good on you for overcoming such a difficult addiction, I have a lot of respect for your advice and your accomplishment.

  9. Bethie
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Bethie avatar
    326 posts
    25 January 2018 in reply to Justjosh

    Hi

    I remember being how your wife is all to well when i was drinking. Like her i worked full time, was a model employee hardly ever taking time and to the outside world had everything together expept for 1 thing..i would drink to blackout.

    I heard from so many freinds and family how i was in blackout but refused to listen to them. If anyone confronted me about my drinking it would mean a huge argument and i would point out everything wrong with them and their lives.

    In the end everyone stopped taking my calls because they didnt want anymore dramas.

    It wasnt till a freind taped me drunk in blackout that i had no choice but to do something.

    In rehap she would have been introduced to A.A maybe ask her if she would like to go to a meeting and catch up with freinds from rehap. Unfortunately nobody can force a person to get help. Right now all you can do is let her know you know she's hurting and be there telling her its ok and together you'll make it through anything.

  10. quirkywords
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • 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
    quirkywords avatar
    14722 posts
    26 January 2018 in reply to Justjosh

    Justjosh,

    I can hear your frustration at trying to help your wife.

    You have given been helpful advice from Paul, bindi, Geoff and Bethie.

    My situation was different but before I was diagnosed with bipolar I used to drink a lot and often. When I was 16 I was diagnosed with bipolar but I was in denial for many years and self medicated with alcohol when I was high.

    I eventually got help for bipolar when my children were young and was medicated and reduced my drinking.

    Would she go and talk to her doctor?

    Quirky

  11. Iron Forge
    Iron Forge avatar
    7 posts
    4 February 2018 in reply to Justjosh

    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)

    1 person found this helpful
  12. Jvan
    Jvan avatar
    1 posts
    16 April 2019 in reply to Justjosh
    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 !!
    3 people found this helpful
  13. geoff
    Life Member
    • 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
    16480 posts
    16 April 2019 in reply to Iron Forge

    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.

    Geoff.

  14. geoff
    Life Member
    • 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
    16480 posts
    16 April 2019 in reply to Jvan

    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.

    Geoff.

  15. Echoes
    Echoes avatar
    4 posts
    4 January 2020 in reply to Justjosh
    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.
    1 person found this helpful
  16. geoff
    Life Member
    • 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
    16480 posts
    4 January 2020 in reply to Echoes

    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.

    Geoff.

    1 person found this helpful
  17. luvnaddict
    luvnaddict avatar
    1 posts
    28 April 2022 in reply to Justjosh

    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.

  18. Sophie_M
    Sophie_M avatar
    6840 posts
    28 April 2022 in reply to luvnaddict
    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

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