I don’t know where to turn, no one to talk to, would appreciate some views, don’t know what to do.
Together 20 years, early 40’s, 2 beautiful kids, very well paid job, wife at home, foreign holidays, no debt, not even a mortgage. Things ought to be pretty good.
A couple of years ago, pretty much to the day, I discovered my wife was secretly drinking. She’d always liked a drink, but this was startlingly heavy, I calculated about 150 units p/w. I raised this with her, said she had to get some help and supported her through some brief counselling.
Since then she has continued to drink pretty much every night, just a glass of wine or a beer, saying she has it under control, likes a drink to unwind. However, I have found on more than one occasion that she has been drinking during the day too, and she certainly always goes for it on social occasions. I have confronted her 3 or 4 times more over the last couple of years, and each time she says it isn’t a problem, or I’m to blame, or she denies it.
Last summer I raised it and she said I was controlling, that she wanted to get a job, to have her own money etc and that I was the reason she needed to drink. I tried to adapt, I even started giving her £500 every month in cash to spend on herself, whatever she wanted, no questions asked. That stopped in February when I found she was secretly drinking again (clearly the cash wasn’t helping).
Last night I came home from work to find her acting suspiciously, usual hallmarks of her drinking, she was cooking the dinner but could barely string a sentence together, wouldn’t look me in the eye. Then I found an empty water bottle in a kitchen cupboard which still had a few drops of wine in the bottom. She’d been out shopping that day (driving) and my guess is that she’d taken it with her. I’ve caught her doing this twice before (with vodka previously).
I discovered last night’s bottle after dinner when she was about to drive one of my children to an event. I took over, and when I got back I handed her the empty bottle and asked for an explanation. She tried to act surprised but had nothing to say.
We nearly split a couple of months ago when, again, I discovered she was secretly drinking although she denied it. Indeed we agreed to separate, but we had a big holiday all booked and didn’t want to let the kids down. We arrived back this weekend and we had a great time. Everything seemed ok but looking back she did drink every day. Usually a couple of large pinots during the meal, plus maybe a beer or 2 beforehand and maybe a glass or 2 of wine afterwards. But she was on holiday, so it’s not unusual to have a few drinks is it and I didn’t want to spoil things or be criticised for trying to control her.
Despite all this, she seems to function ok, rarely has a hangover, you can’t easily tell she’s even had a drink a lot of the time. It’s not as if she is aggressive or ‘drunk’ as such, which does make me question whether I am overplaying this. And I’m pretty confident that she has completely stopped for a few weeks at a time, so maybe she does have control over it.
She certainly won’t admit there is a problem, won’t talk to me about it, won’t seek help.
Probably the worst it’s got for me is a year or so ago when I found she was hiding vodka in one of my kids bedroom (after I’d found her other hiding places) or when I stopped her driving one of my kids to a party with vodka in her handbag (she swore she was taking it with her to get rid of it).
I’m seriously thinking about leaving, but I don’t want to leave my children. She’s a great mum, they love her dearly, and they’re very settled at home, so I wouldn’t want to disturb that situation. But it means I would be the one moving out, living on my own. I’d also not want other people to know the reasons so as to protect her and the kids, which probably means people would not understand and ostracise me. Either way, the future looks pretty bleak. Occasionally I think about ending my life but not seriously, I love my kids too much.
I think I’ve been pretty calm and patient with her. I’ve generally spoken in soft terms, tried to reflect an understanding of what she might be going through, but I’m getting to the point where I’m starting to feel angry. I was so annoyed last night. After I showed her the bottle and she didn’t have an explanation I didn’t say anything more, just avoided her and slept downstairs. It is now nearly 8pm the next day, I’m still in the office and I don’t want to go home any more.
Am I missing something here? Is there something I should be doing? I know there are always 2 sides to a story. I must be at fault somehow, at least partly, but I don’t know what to do for the best.