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Topic: Wife is mentally ill and alcoholic

  1. Blackboy
    Blackboy avatar
    27 posts
    2 June 2019

    Please can I have advice about where I can turn to for help. I am 67 and my wife is 61. She is an alcoholic and matters have reached a point where she is so bad that I can't keep looking after her. She has reached a blood alcohol level of over .4 (NOT .04) several times. She has been to one clinic after another and while she is there she's fine but as soon as she comes home she starts drinking again. I am in despair because I can't stop her drinking (she buys the stuff herself and starts screaming and crying uncontrollably if I try to take it away), can't force her to eat (she is thin and weak), can't do much to help if she falls on the floor as she has often done, can't persuade her to take any exercise. She is often in bed sleeping or crying for most of the day. She also has severe depression and irrational thinking.

    My doctor says the only thing I can do is to wait until next time she is taken to hospital and then refuse to accept her discharge to home. He says the hospital will then get a team of psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers to find care for her. But what if she dies? I love my wife dearly. I don't want to separate from her and she would quite possibly die of grief if she was separated from me. Is there any alternative to find long-term care for her? Clinics will only take her for a few weeks. Would there be any home care packages that would be available? I will pay whatever it takes. I just want to see her well and happy. At present she is wasting away and I can't stop it. I sit by her bedside and watch and my heart is breaking.

    I suppose the position is different in different states. I'm in Victoria, near Melbourne.

  2. geoff
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    4 June 2019 in reply to Blackboy

    Hello Blackboy, thanks for posting your comment and from what you have told us it's a situation that isn't easy to rectify, especially if she drinks to an enormously dangerous level.

    As you say she will be OK once she's in a clinic but as soon as she comes out, it's easy to start drinking again, so that leaves a big question, two weeks drying out is not long enough and I'm sorry I'm not qualified to make this determination, only have known people who have gone into a clinic, dry out and then start again afterwards.

    Can I just post this now and will get back to you.

    Geoff.

  3. geoff
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    4 June 2019 in reply to Blackboy

    Hi Blackboy, thank you and can I just say once again that I'm not qualified but have seen this happen before with other people.

    The only person to stop is your wife, no pleading or no begging will do this unless that's what she wants to do, I feel the pain you are going through.

    The one problem is that if she's not eating nor exercising and sleeps all day is that her health is going to deteriorate and need to be hospitalised I'm sorry to say.

    Her doctor can prescribe some medication which stops people from drinking, but will only work if the person wants to stop.

    Can I ask whether or not she wants to have any counselling, however, I know from experience that this may not stop the drinking.

    This is a situation where I'd like to talk to you, but unfortunately, I can't, please get back to me when you are able to.

    I'm 64.

    Geoff.

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Soberlicious96
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    5 June 2019 in reply to Blackboy

    Dear Blackboy,

    I'm so sorry to hear of your predicament and how dreadfully sick your wife is. It is so hard watching someone go downhill, especially when you know there is something can be done.

    You may not be able to help your wife, but you can most certainly get help and understanding for yourself; there is a fellowship called Al-anon - https://www.al-anon.org.au/ - which is for friends and families of alcoholics. Alternatively, you can call 1300 252 666 for more information. You can also attend any meeting at any time. There are lots of meetings in Melbourne and surrounds. All you need to do is pick up the phone.

    In the meantime, you wrote that you have been advised to not accept her coming back home if she is hospitalized again, and that is EXACTLY what I too would suggest. Tough love works better than any form of enabling ever will. If she is to get well at all, she needs to realise that it is her, and her alone that is pouring this poison into her body. So I know this next bit is gonna sound harsh, but for example; if she falls on the floor then unless you think she is has done some serious damage, like broken a bone, or is unconscious and make choke on vomit or something, then leave her there for at least a little while until or unless she agrees to go to hospital AND an AA meeting. I would also strongly recommend medical supervision along the way; 0.4 is VERY high BAC.

    For more information about AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) you can do one, two or all three of the following:

    1) Go to the website - aa.org.au

    2) Call 1300 AA AA AA (1300 22 22 22) to talk to someone about AA and what happens there.

    3) You can attend any open AA meeting, along with your wife, or alone if she won't go, and maybe get a phone number or make contact with another woman (we suggest men for men, women for women) who may be able to come see your wife and at least 'plant the seed' of recovery into your wife's mind.

    I know this is dreadfully difficult and so hard to watch, but tough love really can work ..... if she accepts that she needs to change. So rather that sit by and watch her die, stand up and encourage her to follow you into a place of recovery. If she won't go to AA, set the example by by going to Al-anon.

    I hope that helps at least a little. I'll be thinking of you.

    Mel. xo

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  5. Blackboy
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    27 posts
    19 June 2019 in reply to geoff
    Thanks Geoff. My wife is currently in a clinic once more. As previously, she is fine while she is in the clinic, the problem happens once she comes out. She is trying everything that might help, such as AA groups, friendship groups, counsellors, activities, volunteering. As she has previously reverted to drinking on coming out of clinics, however, we have only limited hope, and we are looking for something long-term. I am very depressed living at home without her and despairing at the future with the prospect of ongoing separation. I would like to find some way we can be together without her drinking. We have both looked hard for some such arrangement, but we can't find anything.
  6. Blackboy
    Blackboy avatar
    27 posts
    19 June 2019 in reply to Soberlicious96
    Thanks Mel. I have tried Alanon and she has tried several AA groups. She is going to continue her AA contacts and she is also seeing specialists. She's looking for a good psychologist and a hypnotherapist to help her stop drinking. Her motivation is extremely strong but still it hasn't been enough to stop her in the past. She's been in hospital for intoxication 3 times now but they only keep her overnight and then discharge her back home and the problem continues. At present she is in a clinic and not drinking and the result is that she is fine, nobody would imagine she has any problem at all. At times like this my heart says, "come back home, you will be OK now, we can be happy together again" but my head knows that the risk of relapse is extremely high. What we need is some long-term solution where we can be together without her drinking. At present I am home alone and sinking into depression. I try to join groups and do activities to get myself out of this, but I miss her so much that the misery often overwhelms me and I just can't summon up enough motivation.
  7. Soberlicious96
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    19 June 2019 in reply to Blackboy

    Dear Blackboy,

    When you say you have 'tried' Al-anon and she has 'tried' AA, I feel as though you are talking past tense? As in you went along to Alanon and it didn't 'fix her' so you stopped going?

    I feel the need to tell you at this point that those fellowships are there to provide ONGOING support. Twelve step support groups are a bit like employment; once you get to the job, you need to keep working at it, improving on it, and working at it some more in order to keep the job.

    Or, if you like, it's a bit like eating; one meal is not going to sustain you forever. Barely for a week in fact. You need to KEEP eating. KEEP 'working' (going to meetings) and keep up with building the relationships and the networks with others so that you are not relying on just one person for your happiness.

    What she has is a disease. A very persistent, progressive, horrible, hurtful, destructive disease. And maybe, just maybe, living seperately could be helpful? I know it's not ideal, but who says that husbands and wives who don't live together, don't succeed in still having a relationship?

    You didn't cause this, you can't control it, and nor can you cure it. I know you want nothing more than for her to get well, but at what cost? It's cliche, I know, but sometimes you gotta give in to win. Maybe letting her go a little, and finding some sort of permanent care, even though it's not what you want, could be the answer?

    I don't know. I just know that recovery is hard, yes, but not impossible. Certainly not for you. Please please PLEASE at least consider going back to Al-anon for yourself if not for her.

    I wish I could give you better news or more help. I really feel for you. I don't know what else to say except that I/we are still here for you and with you for as long as you need. And as always, I am still keeping both you and her in my thoughts and prayers. xo

  8. geoff
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    20 June 2019 in reply to Blackboy

    Hi Blackboy, I feel the pain this is causing you, so can I ask you to copy and paste this:

    67 year man has an alcoholic wife who can't stop drinking help me please, there is some information which may interest you.

    If your wife is hospitalised overnight and then released the next day all they are doing is making sure she dries out, that's not much help unless they follow up and check on her regularly, unfortunately, the decision has to come from her to stop, but with any addiction, it's not that easy.

    She can have so many different people talking to her trying to advise her to stop, this happened to me when I was depressed, but it went in one ear and out the other, there had to be something else to do this.

    Have a read of the link and hope to hear back from you.

    Geoff.

  9. Blackboy
    Blackboy avatar
    27 posts
    27 June 2019 in reply to Soberlicious96
    Thank you for the thoughts. The position is that I went to Alanon some years ago, but it didn't do much for me so I stopped going (not because it didn't "fix" my wife). She has gone to AA on many occasions and still goes sometimes. She is coming out of the clinic tomorrow and we are planning a holiday in Queensland for 2 weeks after that. When we are on holiday she never drinks. As for separation, I love her too much to want to think about a permanent separation. But we are looking at all sorts of options for long-term treatment for her if she relapses. The other thing we are doing is trying to build up networks for her so she is not socially isolated, which is one thing she often talks about. I mean volunteering, education, friendship groups, hobby groups and so forth. I will do whatever it takes. Thanks again.
  10. Blackboy
    Blackboy avatar
    27 posts
    27 June 2019 in reply to geoff
    Thanks for your thoughts Geoff, but when I copied and pasted that result in the Beyond Blue search engine I got over 10,000 results which is way more than I can possibly sort through! Could you please give me a direct link, or, if I"m doing something wrong, give idiot-proof instructions?
  11. Soberlicious96
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    27 June 2019 in reply to Blackboy

    Yes, it would be good for her to increase her social networks because connection with others helps to break the cycle of addiction. I know that you want to do whatever it takes, and I hope that she too has that same drive; to do whatever it takes. It's not all up to you, you know.

    And I know I keep saying it, but AA IS a long-term treatment option, if she attends regular frequent meetings. And there are meetings all over this country, and all over the world. AA is also a place where she can build up social networks, and do 'volunteer' work of sorts, by doing some form of service within the fellowship; such as helping to set the room up, making coffee and washing up afterwards ...... there are all manner of networks and helping roles to be be fulfilled within the fellowship. And there is no time limit on how many times she can go, or for how long. AA is there for all who seek it, for as long as they seek it for.

    Anyway, I promise I won't harp on about it any more. What I can tell you is that neither she, nor you, has to face this journey alone. Hope your trip to Queensland is amazing and that you both have a wonderful time. Maybe you could tell us all about it as you go, or when you come back, yeah?! Take care. xo

  12. geoff
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    28 June 2019 in reply to Blackboy

    Hi Blackboy, I'm sorry, if you type 'Free Australian health advice you can count on' and type alcoholism in their search bar see if this helps.

    I'll keep looking for you.

    Geoff.

  13. Soberlicious96
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    30 June 2019 in reply to Blackboy

    Or, I have another idea; maybe she could try Smart Recovery? If she hasn't already, that is!

    Anyway, here's a link: https://smartrecoveryaustralia.com.au/ if you would like to check it out.

    Still thinking of you both. Hope things are getting better, and that your holiday in QLD is going well.

    Regards, Mel. xo

  14. Blackboy
    Blackboy avatar
    27 posts
    7 September 2019

    Here I am, back again. We had our holiday in Townsville and very pleasant it was, with my wife not having one drop of alcohol in the whole 2 weeks. But within a few days of returning she was at it again. About a week afterwards she went missing after meeting a friend for coffee. I had to notify the police. She was absent from Saturday morning until Monday afternoon, when she was found in her car where she had been drinking all weekend. She went to hospital. 2 days after she was released she was back on it again and I found her drunk, incoherent and screaming at the local railway station. After that she was back in the clinic, where, as usual, everything was fine until she came out last weekend. She resumed drinking although at first not very much. We had an agreement that she would give me control of her money and cards so she could not buy the stuff. I thought that this would fix things; however, yesterday she did not keep the agreement and consumed a whole bottle of red wine, resulting in her being blind drunk, collapsing and vomiting on the floor and having to be taken to the hospital. This morning she was discharged and took an Uber home, and apparently got the driver to stop on the way so she could get more alcohol. She fell over on the bedroom floor before I could get her into bed. She's still lying there and won't get up.

    She will have to go to very long-term rehab. My issue now is that I am heartbroken and despairing of any solution. I see no future for her and therefore none for me either. She is all I have (no family or friends). All the dreams I had of happiness in retirement have been shattered and all I have left is loneliness and misery. It's as if she has died. We've been married 35 years this month.

  15. paddyanne
    paddyanne avatar
    51 posts
    7 September 2019 in reply to Blackboy
    Hi Blackboy. Unfortunately for your wife, you're probably aware alcoholism is an illness like any other illness (depression, bipolar etc). Your wife too is the ONLY one who can 'fix' her illness. It sounds as though she is aware of her alcoholism but is unable to stop drinking. Alcoholism is hereditary and often starts as children or teens. Until she herself wants to stop, she can't. She will promise faithfully many times to abstain and mean it. There is no 'one cure fixes all' with alcoholism. AA as I understand it has sponsors to guide and support someone who is 'drying out'. The one thing that AA insists on is honesty, every time she 'falls' she has to be honest about it. She doesn't have to explain why, just that she fell again. If she is kept in hospital, I can assure you, doubly, that she won't die, she will be monitored 24/7. You will be kept updated with any and all treatments and you will be notified if she becomes depressed or threatens to hurt herself. You need to self- care so you can be there for her when she is returned home. I think maybe you should consider the Dr's suggestion about keeping her in hospital where she will be well cared for and helped. Her alcoholism is way out of control and she desperately needs help. You need to consider having her taken into hospital so both you and she can get some rest and she can start recovering under supervision.
  16. Blackboy
    Blackboy avatar
    27 posts
    8 September 2019 in reply to paddyanne
    Thank you Paddyanne. But I don't think any hospital is going to be willing to keep her for a long period. Hospitals are for people with physical issues, whereas hers is psychological. She has been in hospital many times, and each time she is discharged within 24 hours, once she has "dried out". Hence we are looking at long-term rehab, or perhaps some kind of "halfway house".
  17. paddyanne
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    51 posts
    8 September 2019 in reply to Blackboy
    Hi again Blackboy. I suggest you talk to your Dr and explain your wife's alcoholism is out of her control. Ask him direct if he can have her admitted to a ward that deals specifically with alcoholism. Drying out can be painful with many other issues I can't mention here. Tell your Dr she has been admitted many times, but each time, after 24 hrs she has been able to leave. A Dr has the means to insure she will be detained under (I think) the mental health act. This method insures her safety and well-being. She desperately needs professional help and you need rest. You are worn out and stressed from the worry of her safety. If she is similar to most people with this illness she will lie to insure her release. If she is admitted under a Dr's orders, this cancels her release. Tell your Dr you are worried and need rest and she needs help. You can't help her till you are stronger and from the tone of your post, I can hear the tiredness from watching her hurt herself.
    1 person found this helpful
  18. Soberlicious96
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    8 September 2019 in reply to Blackboy

    Dear Blackboy,

    As soon as I saw you had replied, I thought 'Yay'! He's keeping in touch ...... and then I read that although she didn't drink on the holiday, she did drink on return, and, by your account has 'stumbled' quite badly.

    So my 'yay' was quite quickly deflated. I am so sorry to hear that this just seems to be one of those situations that is going to have a rather sad story to it.

    I know you say that she is your world and you have no-one else, (and I've probably mentioned this before) but if you go to Al-Anon, you will find there understanding and support. You can learn to live your best possible life, even though she is continuing to drink. I urge you, with all the earnestness that I can, to try Al-anon again. There is a whole new bunch of friends and 'soul' family in Al-anon, just waiting to meet you ..... you must haven't met them yet.

    And if not Al-anon, then maybe you could join some other group of some sort? Like a local men's shed or something? Something that is just for you, and that will help you to break that cycle of constantly picking up after her ...... something that gets you out of the house, away from the pain of watching her destroy herself.

    It sounds like putting her into permanent care is the best option. Certainly not the easiest, by any means, but the best. You have carried this heavy load for a long time now. There IS a future for you, and her ...... it's just not at all how you thought it might be. It's not too late to turn things around at least for yourself. And who knows, maybe it will give you both a bit of relief? It doesn't mean that you can't visit her ........ but it sounds like you are in desperate need of a break. And soon.

    Again, I am sorry to hear of this dreadful fall back into the pit of alcoholism. I wish I could help some more, I really do.

    And if you don't join Al-anon again, or a men's shed or whatever, then just keep coming back here ...... but I have a suggestion with that too; the next time you post on here, tell me what you have done for YOURSELF. something JUST for you, that didn't involve trying to control or cure your wife's drinking.

    Most importantly, don't lose hope for yourself. We're here for you. No matter what. And I'll be watching for your next post, for a hobby you engaged in, or something you did just for you. Just for an hour. Just because.

    Take care. Still here for you. xo

  19. Blackboy
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    27 posts
    9 September 2019 in reply to Soberlicious96
    You are both very kind. My wife and I are working on ideas. I will get back to you in a few days. Thanks so much.
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  20. Soberlicious96
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    9 September 2019 in reply to Blackboy
    I'll look forward to it. Am keeping you and your wife in my thoughts every day. xo
  21. Blackboy
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    27 posts
    12 September 2019 in reply to Soberlicious96

    She had another relapse last night. Told me lies about where she was going and somehow managed to get her hands on alcohol despite our agreement on Monday that I could keep all her money, credit cards etc. A security guard phoned me from the local shopping centre where she was totally drunk and had been slumped over a table in the food court. I got her home with some difficulty and now she has been asleep for over 12 hours.

    The current plan is to get her into a recovery house for 3 months. We went to look at it on Tuesday and it seems good. She has agreed to go there on 1 October. But given her history of resuming alcohol consumption within a few days after discharge from a clinic or hospital, every time, I have almost no faith that this will fix the problem. Do you know how I go about getting her into permanent care (which I am sure she will resist)? Or, if not, do you know where I can find this out?

    Thanks for your concern about my own health. I do some volunteering, I take some classes and I go with a walking group once or twice a week. However, I am a highly introverted, quiet sort of person with few social skills. My wife thinks I have Asperger's syndrome, which may or may not be true, I don't know. In any case I have great difficulty making friends, and there is nobody in Victoria I could call a real friend. We have no children, I have no siblings and my parents are deceased. I am 67. So it is difficult for me. I often wish I could go to sleep and not wake up again. But that doesn't happen - my physical health is good.

  22. Soberlicious96
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    15 September 2019 in reply to Blackboy

    HI Blackboy,

    Sorry I haven't been on here for a couple of days. Life got a bit busy.

    Anyway, I am not really sure about how to go about getting her into permanent care, other than perhaps talking to an aged care facility, and maybe getting her assessed for possible alcohol related dementia? I don't know. I feel a bit awful even using those words, but I really don't know what else to suggest? Given that she is over 60 (I think?) she may qualify for some sort of aged care facility?

    Or maybe even talk to your own doctor, by yourself, and see if he or she has some advice as to what the options may be. I do suggest that you make it absolutely clear that you are at your wits end and don't know what else to do. Give your doctor the full history of what has happened up until now, and how all other efforts have failed.

    In the meantime, keep up with your classes, your walking group, and your volunteering. Those things are yours, and are at least something you can control, maybe even enjoy. I think it's really important to look after yourself as much as you can. Maybe you could reach out to someone in your walking group, and tell them a little about what is going on for you? Who knows? Maybe they will be able to provide you with some help, advice and support also? Sometimes the people around us can tell when we are having a hard time, but don't want to ask us about it for fear of 'intruding', but would be more than happy to help when we reach out to them.

    Anyway, that's all I got for now. Until next time, take care. I'll check back again in a day or so.

    Regards, Mel. xo

    1 person found this helpful
  23. Blackboy
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    27 posts
    18 September 2019 in reply to Soberlicious96
    Thanks for your kind concern. My wife is in great distress at present, crying a lot and feeling hopeless at her situation. She is totally dependent on me and can't bear the thought of separation. This in turn is getting me very emotional and feeling that I have nowhere to turn to. My doctor previously suggested I should wait till she collapses again and has to go to hospital; then refuse to take her home and the hospital will, he said, get their resources together and find some kind of accommodation for her. But this would kill her with grief, I think. I want to find somewhere where we can both be together without her being able to access alcohol; or failing that, somewhere for her which is like that where I can be nearby. I think I need some kind of social worker or outreach worker to help me with ideas.
  24. Soberlicious96
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    19 September 2019 in reply to Blackboy

    Dear Blackboy,

    Perhaps the best thing to do is to follow your doctor's advice and refuse to take her home. It sounds like it may be the only choice you have to try and help her. The hospital should hopefully be able to refer you and your wife to a social worker as well, who may have some answers as to what to do.

    Of course you are both going to be hurt and grieving - that's quite normal and natural. But if you both continue to do the same thing over and over, then you are going to get the same result. Sometimes you just gotta toughen up and make, and act upon, the toughest decisions in order to make a change.

    Letting her go, at least to some degree, is essential for both of you. For you because you need a break, and for her because she needs to realise that she has to make more of an effort. I understand that she feels hopeless and powerless, but the reality is that SHE is the only one pouring the booze into HERSELF.

    I can't tell you anything different that what I already have. I am truly sorry for your situation, but only you can change it. Freedom always comes at a price ......... and it seems you are just as much trapped by the bottle, as she is. Alcoholics don't need to be wrapped in cotton wool in order to change ...... in fact, they usually need the opposite. They need to be a 'startled' and really 'woken up' to what they are doing, not just to themselves, but to their loved ones as well. Maybe refusing to take her home, as hard as it may be, will wake her up. Maybe you too need to be a little 'tough' with yourself?

    I am sorry. I can't tell you anything different to what I have learnt myself about achieving sobriety. It's tough. Probably the toughest thing ever. But if YOU want some sort of release, then it's YOU that is going to have to release yourself by making that hard decision and taking the hard action, by not taking her back home when she is next hospitalized. No one else can do that for you.

    Do what you CAN do for you, before you also get so far down that you can't get back up again. The sooner you do it, the sooner you can begin to get on with a life not ruled by the bottle.

  25. Blackboy
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    27 posts
    24 September 2019 in reply to Soberlicious96
    Thanks again. I am aware you can't add any more to the good advice you have already given, which I don't take lightly. My wife goes into rehab for 3 months on 1 October. We are both very miserable about the situation, but hoping that rehab, which is apparently rather like a boot camp, will make the difference she needs and wants. I have told her that if she does not overcome her drinking, we can't continue to live together, although both our hearts might well break in that situation. I doubt that I would feel like going on living - it's hard enough for me now, but I am trying. The solution as I see it (if rehab doesnt work) is to find some permanent place for her where she cannot access alcohol, and then for me to live nearby so I can continue to see her. These clinics are like that, but they are not for permanent stays. Hence what I was hoping is that somebody might be able to point me to some appropriate form of permanent accommodation for alcoholics which can be used if these temporary measures fail. Some kind of "halfway house" perhaps?
  26. Soberlicious96
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    30 September 2019 in reply to Blackboy

    I hate to give you the blunt truth, but even in a "Halfway house" she could still get access to alcohol. Other residents could be in the same boat as her, with no real desire to stop drinking, and therefore may collude with each other to get alcohol.

    I know I've said it before, and I'm going to say it again; you can only do something about YOURSELF. If you are willing to work on changing your mindset, and accept that you CAN get on with your life, regardless of whether she drinks or not, regardless of whether you live together or not ....... that is going to be the major key to improving your own health and wellbeing.

  27. Blackboy
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    27 posts
    1 October 2019 in reply to Soberlicious96
    Well, frankly, I did not post in order to get help for myself. I posted in the hope that somebody might be aware of some kind of arrangement whereby my wife could be kept away from alcohol and yet we could be close and maintain the happy relationship we used to have until a year ago. The fact is that she is sober and happy at present in the clinic. The only problem with it is that they won't allow her to stay there indefinitely. So I am thinking that there must be some kind of accommodation which is like a clinic only permanent. My wife means so much to me, and I am not going to give up on her and "get on with my life". I can look after myself. Other people go through grief, as when a partner dies. But if a partner whom you love is dying, I don't believe it is right to just wash your hands of it and say, "Oh well, I will just get on with my life". I believe you have an obligation to do everything possible to help your partner live and have a happy life. And that's what I'm trying to do.
  28. Soberlicious96
    Community Champion
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    Soberlicious96 avatar
    97 posts
    2 October 2019 in reply to Blackboy

    I am so sorry if I offended you. I certainly didn't mean to. I was just trying to remind you that your own health is also important. And yes, of course you want to do everything you can for your partner to be happy and healthy.

    When I first got sober (hence, the username 'Soberlicious') some 22+ years ago, the people that helped me were quite tough with me, and would 'give it to me warts and all'. They told me what I needed to hear, even when it was tough to hear it ...... I guess I was just trying to apply that same principle. I am so very sorry though if you thought I meant that I was suggesting you 'wash your hands' of her ...... because I wasn't. That's not what I meant. I was trying to encourage some sort of acceptance of the situation as it is now, and finding a way to work around that?

    Anyway, again, I'm really sorry. I get where you are coming from; the heartache of watching someone dying is awful, and yeah, you want to do everything you can to stop it. I wish I had other answers. But I just don't. I myself am just a (reformed) drunk who happened to get sober. I was only 26 at the time (I'm now nearing 50) and had lost every ounce of dignity, lost ALL my friends, lost the support of my family, lost jobs ......... alcohol is the 'greatest remover' as I've heard it said in the rooms of AA.

    I can't tell you how many people I have seen come and go from the rooms of AA. They come in all broken and shaking and so lost ........ and then get a little bit well and think it's okay to drink again. 'Others can do it, so why can't I?' they think. People I have met because of AA, and have loved, and have then lost because of their return to the bottle. It hurts so much. More so sometimes because I KNOW there is a way out ...... but they don't realise the power of the bottle. There are about 80% of the people that I drank with that never made it to 50. Both friends and family.

    So yeah, I guess I am coming from a place of urgency for you. Because I know how hard it is to watch those you love destroy themselves. I wish I could tell you it gets easier .......... but in my world, when people drift away from meetings ........ well, no news is not good news. Sometimes the sober life can feel a bit like a lonely one.

    However, what I will also say is that I am so incredibly glad that I have AA in my life. I am so glad to be approaching 50, with a couple of decades of sobriety, because without it, I wouldn't be here.

    Anyway, take care.

    Mel. xo


    1 person found this helpful
  29. Blackboy
    Blackboy avatar
    27 posts
    4 October 2019 in reply to Soberlicious96

    Thank you for the reply. Can I ask what enabled you to overcome your alcohol issue? Are you saying it was going to AA meetings? If so, specifically what aspect of those meetings was helpful? My wife has been to quite a few meetings, with different groups, but she and I both have difficulty with the concept of placing one's destiny in the hands of a "higher power", and even more so with their emphasis on one's "character defects" and helplessness.

    You say you "happened to get sober", but surely it doesn't happen just by chance! My wife is making a huge effort but it seems that from time to time, without any obvious cause, something clicks in her head and she switches personality from a kind, caring, lovable and highly intelligent woman who seems perfectly happy and well-adjusted to a hopeless basket case who will do anything to get her hands on alcohol. I believe there are deep psychological roots to it, coming from her childhood with an emotionally abusive father compounded by loneliness and trauma at school. I would like to see her spend time with a good psychologist who can dig deep and address these issues.

  30. Soberlicious96
    Community Champion
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    Soberlicious96 avatar
    97 posts
    4 October 2019 in reply to Blackboy

    Yeah, you're right, I didn't just "Happen" to get sober. It took guts and determination. And yeah, I too, at first, was a bit apprehensive about the concept of a Higher Power ..... until it was explained to me that I could choose my own concept.

    I heard many ideas about that too! The ones that got my attention were the acronyms used for the word 'God'. Acronyms like Good Orderly Direction, and Group Of Drunks and Great Out Doors ...... but the one that really got my attention that I liked the most was the Good Orderly Direction. I knew that I had none of that, and desperately needed some! So that was what I started with; every time I had any kind of an issue or idea, I would talk to an older sober member (as in, someone who did not necessarily need to be older than me in age, but more experienced than me at staying sober and using the principles of the program) and get some of their 'Good Orderly Direction' about how to handle the issue, and/or what to do with the idea I had.

    You also said that your wife has "deep psychological roots to it, coming from her childhood" and yes, I too had some significant traumas happen to me as a child. Bushfires, for one, in which we lost everything and were trapped in a burning building, and years of sexual abuse. When I put the booze down, it all came roaring the the surface. And as well as being in meetings of AA, I went to lots and lots of counselling, in order to help me to deal with the trauma. There's a member in my area that often says "If you don't deal with the reasons that you began drinking in the first place, you're likely to drink again." And I tend to agree. You gottadeal with the reasons. Being sober, emotionally, is a bit like being naked at the MCG with 100,000 pairs of eyes looking at you. It's an incredibly raw state to be in. So yeah, dealing with those issues, and developing tools to deal with stuff WITHOUT a drink when stuff comes up, is a BIG part of maintaning an ongoing recovery.

    As for the "Character defects" ..... well, I knew I certainly wasn't perfect (and never will be) and I knew that I had been acting 'defectively'; such as in ways I would never have acted sober. So yeah, my 'character' if you like, was 'defective' when it came to drinking. Of course, that admission did not happen straight away. It took some time.

    Nowadays. practicing the principles of the program is how I function, and I love it. It is tailor made for me.

    But yeah, it takes work. Lots of ongoing work. xo

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