This patient support community is for loved ones of people who drink and are trying to quit for discussions relating to abuse, behavioral issues, caring for yourself, counseling, divorce and separation, enabling, guilt, and when to get medical help.
There are certainly a lot of us that can empathize with what you are going through, you have good days and bad days. The best thing you can do is to set boundaries and stick to them. This might be a very hard thing to establish in your relationship especially if you have played a certain role in your wife's life for so long.
Things to ask yourself:
Do you financially support your wife's addiction?
Do you enable her in any way that you are aware of?
Being calm always helps and being positive always helps too, but the best thing you can do is seek help for yourself first to get the tools that you need. Have you tried any support groups like Ala-non? You would be surprised at the number of men that come together for the same reasons.
Keep talking and posting. We are certainly glad to have you with us!
I didn't understand what "enabling" meant. That might be the first thing you could...research that word "enabling" in association with a relationship and addiction.
We each want to help our loved ones so much...yet the alcohol has consumed their lives and nothing else will matter, in the long run.
Contact the local AA office and find an Al-Anon support group. If one meeting leaves you uncomfortable...seek another. For me...I chose to leave the marriage due to high incidents of physical and emotional abuse. Al-Anon gave me the advice, "Don't leave your husband" as I left the meeting with the bruises covered by my shirt sleeves. It was not for me...BUT...everyone has a different story and experience.
This support group doesn't tell you how to make your loved one stop drinking...it is meant to guide and support you in how to live and deal with it in your own way.
I wish you and your wife the best...you must love her very much to seek help for her. There are alot of men that would just walk away...but not you! My hats off to you :) Someday she will see what type of man you are and what potential she has without alcohol.
As spouses of alcoholics we always want to "help" the situation and make it all better. That puts us in the uneasy and untenable position of being a parent to our spouse. When that happens, enabling begins. We follow behind the drunk and repair their mistakes for them all in the guise of "helping." Like any child, an alcoholic has to experience the consequences of her drinking before learning and personal growth can begin.
After a lifetime of alcohol and drug abuse, my husband is in rehab and I'm in Al-Anon and a family recovery group. I can't tell you what a huge help it's been for me. Those meetings are not about the alcoholic. They're about us and learning how to cope with life with an alcoholic. One thing I'm having a hard time with is the challenge to my ideas of what I thought marriage was all about. We're supposed to be "one" together, right? Well, in situations like ours it's like living on railroad tracks. We can go in the same direction but on separate rails. He is responsible for his recovery and I am responsible for mine. We each have to be allowed to move at our own pace and in our own way, and they aren't going to be the same. If he falls down it is not my job to pick him up. He has to do that all by himself.
seattlemom asked a great question about whether you finance your wife's drinking. That's one concrete step you can take right now. Cut off the money. It's one consequence of her behavior. Ultimately, that's what got my husband into rehab. I unwittingly financed and enabled his substance abuse to the point of financial ruin.
While we really are helpless to control another person's drinking, we aren't helpless in other areas of our lives. Al-anon can help you with that. Nobody is supposed to tell you what to do or how to live your life. Weffette's terrible experience is not typical of Al-Anon as a whole and in fact, telling others what to do violates the Al-Anon mission. Check out different meetings until you find one that you like. Meetings are supposed to be a place of comfort, mutual support and learning. It's just an hour out of your day. What do you have to lose? :-)
Jaybay is right about checking out different groups until you find one that works for you. And sometimes some people may tell you not to leave right away because when you are in an emotional state they suggest to wait 6 months before making any major life decisions. But if you are involved in an abusive situation or one that is involving your own personal health, by all means do whatever you feel you need to in order to get a better grasp on the situation.
Dealing with alcoholism can bring on a lot of physical symptoms in ourselves that sometimes we need some healthy downtime to just get our heads on. Keep us posted and the best thing is to keep talking. Talking alone makes brings so much into awareness.
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