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For the past 5 years my wife has been drinking excessively once every few months. Almost every time she drinks to much she turns into a person who hates me. Last night was another one of those nights. She says things like "I want nothing to do with you" several times. She gets very loud and upset and also cry's. She says she has wasted her life on me. I know I'm not perfect and I feel so bad and I can take responsibility for my part in our problems, but how much of what she says is due to the alcohol? I don't know what to do. We had been married 34 years, 4 children and a grandchild on the way. We still have 1 teenager at home that she home-schools. She doesn't work and is not fulfilled in anything she does. She has tried many different avenues to find enjoyable, fulfilling work and interest, but nothing has really worked. She tried running her own business, but financially it failed and she blames me for not being supporting enough and putting more money in it. We lost at least $20,000. I'm very active in playing sports and gone several nights a week and she is not, but I am home the weekends and work from home alot. Our only common interest is drinking these days. We are financially ok and I have a good job and like it. What do I do? She probably wake up and act as nothing really happened and go on with life, but I know it will happen again. I don't want a divorce and love her, but don't want to be the cause of her unhappiness for the next half of her life. I have to admit I'd like someone in my life who shares my interest too. Also we are high school sweethearts so we really have been together 40 years. I know odds are that these things don't work. But those around us think we are really good together. Our kids (adults) adore her and she is great with them. They have noticed her drinking problem also. She has offered to go to treatment, but also said it was only to appease me and get me off her back about it. She states I drink to, but I don't get abusive towards anyone.
 

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She sounds like one to me. What most people don't understand is it isn't the amount of drinks the person has or how often they drink. It's can the person stop or moderate their drinking if they want to and does alcohol create problems in their life. Alcoholics love to blame others for their drinking. It's a defense mechanism. Irreguardless she needs help.
 

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Omar, I'm very sorry to hear about your marital issues. I agree, it does sound like she may be alcoholic.

However, it also may be more fundamental. Much of your post suggest that she may be experiencing a crisis in her life. She may be drinking to escape it when it is overwhelming.

I hope that you will have the strength to work with her though this crisis in her life. She needs to stay away from alcohol, stop drinking with her, but she needs much more than that: she needs a purpose in her life.

Women often go through a life crisis when the last child leaves (or is about to leave) the home. Her whole life may have been oriented on your children and now she sees that is coming to an end and wonders why she made the choices that she did.

I doubt she genuinely blames you. At worst, you are probably serving as a scapegoat. So don't take her words personally. But it is probably important to figure out if she's just lashing out at you when she's drunk or if she's hiding her true feelings when she's sober. Not that you should take her feelings as truth but it may help you figure out how to help her.

Almost certainly she should seek professional help.
 

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Actually, that is the EXACT thing that "triggers" alcoholism.
How much, and how often.
I disagree. Alcoholism is a disease and it's either there or it's not. If anything triggers alcoholism, it's the first drink. Because after the first drink, the phenomenon of craving kicks in and it's so strong the alcoholic can not control how much they drink after that. That's the point, they can't moderate their drinking. Women especially do not need to drink excessive amounts for extended periods of time to be considered alcoholics.

The fact that others are noticing this women's drinking patterns and are showing concern, is a very bad sign. People don't normally confront social drinkers about their drinking. The fact that she is willing to go to treatment for whatever reason she states, shows she knows at some level she knows she can't control it anymore. She's just scared. I was in her shoes 18 months ago, but getting sober is one of the best things I have ever done in my life.
 

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Seems there are things she did not accomplish that she wished she did.

She is old enough to realize nothing worthwhile in life comes easy.

Could empty nest be a cause for depression? I have an itch saying...

she drinks more than you think.
 

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It sounds to me like your wife may be a conflict avoider so when she drinks too much, any of the hurt or disappointment she's been feeling comes out.

Could that be it? If it is part of it your wife needs to learn how to tackle conflict or disappointment as it arises and not let it fester, only to come out once she has "liquid courage" in her system.

If she is a conflict avoiding person, even quitting drinking can't solve that for her. I suspect if this is an issue for her, this is why she is nasty when drunk.
 

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How old is your youngest?

It sounds like your wife is an alcoholic. While she does not drink every day (that you know of), once she starts to drink she has no control over it. And she is destroying her life, marriage and family with it. It does not matter the reason she says that she will go to get help. Get her there.

You need to join Al-Anon to get help for your part in her alcoholism.

The things she is saying are most likely gross exaggeration of things that are troubling her. It does sound like she is in a life crisis. She’s anticipating the empty nest and she has nothing to replace it. It sounds like the two of you have basically lost your connection to each other. You have no joint activities/interests to speak of. You are partially at fault for this.
She says she has wasted her life on me.

Our only common interest is drinking these days.
I can see why she says that she wasted her life. She’s facing a life with no children at home, with a man who she has no common interest with except drinking. This statement is so profoundly sad.

Is drinking really an interest or activity for adults? Would anyone say that snacking is our hobby/interest? When I have a drink, its’ something I do while I’m socializing, eating dinner, etc.
I'm very active in playing sports and gone several nights a week and she is not, but I am home the weekends and work from home alot.
How many hours a week do you spend with your wife, doing things together that you both enjoy, just the two of you? It sounds like you spend little to no time together.

How many nights a week do you spend playing sports?

The time you spend working at home does not count as time with your wife. You are working.
I have to admit I'd like someone in my life who shares my interest too.
You share 50/50 in the current state of your marriage and you are the one who is here. So I have to ask this of you. IF you want someone in your life that you share interests with, why did you neglect your relationship and your marriage to the point that dinking is the only thing that you have in common with your wife?
She tried running her own business, but financially it failed and she blames me for not being supporting enough and putting more money in it. We lost at least $20,000.
I get that it can be very discouraging to have her lose money like this. Most of the most successful business men had an average of 10 failed businesses before they finally hit on their big success. There is an interesting book “Failing Forward”. You might want to read it. At my job (I’m an engineer) we have a lesson’s learned process after every project phase and at the end of each project. We learn the most from the failures. We are a fortune 50 company. But yes we have failures too.

I get what she might be saying about you not giving her enough support. But this could be turned around. Did she like the field she tried the business in? Does she have the background to succeed? What was the root cause of the failure? Was it lack of knowledge? Lack of a business plan? Too little marketing? Did she seek help at the Small Business Administration?

Or could she turn that experience into a job, or a new business if she had more support from places like the SBA, industry associations, etc? Could she get more education in that or some other field she’s interested in?

IF she does not find something to do that interests her and that she’s passionate about, you can kiss this marriage goodbye. I think this is a huge part of her problem.

She has raised her children. All but the youngest is mostly out of her life. You have been mostly out of her life for a long time. And she’s sitting there staring at the walls wondering why she spent her life doing this only to have everyone leave her. And now she has nothing.

I don’t think that you are a bad guy or a bad husband. Instead I think that you are like a lot of people, you settled into a life of working and raising your children. And slowly you drifted away from your wife. Your wife did the same with you. The major difference between you and your wife is that she does not have a career like yours. Her career ends when the children leave and she’s not prepared for that. The problem is that both of you, like most people were never taught how to maintain a passionate marriage and life.

If you want to fix this you need to start working on it now. There is a book that I think will really help you, “His Needs, Her Needs” by Dr. Harley. I’d advise that you read it first and pay special attention to the section about spending time with your spouse. Eventually she too can read the book and the two of you can do the work laid out in it.

She needs to get into AA or some kind of treatment for alcoholism. Don’t they have meds now that make a person sick if they drink.. that might help. You need to be in Al Anon… unless you are also a heavy drinker then you need to be in AA too.

Then the two of you need to be in MC.

And your wife needs help and encouragement to find a passion that she can turn into a career now that she’s facing an empty nest.
 

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I think I would encourage her to get some help. Have you told her how abusive she becomes when she gets drunk? Have you thought about recording some of the things she says when she's drunk so she can hear herself?
 

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Do yourself a favor and get away from her when she is drinking. Refuse to be around her. She's holding onto a lot of unhappiness and suffers from diarrhea of the mouth when she drinks. Alcohol is a depressant and if you deal with underlying depression it will compound your feelings and it will all come gushing out. She feels bad and she hurts so she wants others to hurt too. She seeks the empathy of commiserating together because she feels so disconnected from you every other time. It's very hard to be the one suffering when everyone else around you is seemingly happy as can be without a care in the world. It's isolating and makes you question your sanity. Drinking relieves that for a brief moment until the depressive effects kick in. The key for you is to remove yourself from her presence and refuse to take anything she says while drinking to heart. There is probably some truth to what she says but she's being purposefully hurtful and abusive and you don't have to subject yourself to that. When she sobers up you tell her that if she'd like to talk rationally, you are there to listen, but you will not be party to a drunken rant and if she does it again, you're dropping her off at the psych ward so she can get her sh!T together.
 

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One more thread where a person posts something and sounds like they want/need help. People take time to post. But the OP never comes back. Sometimes I wonder why even bother with new posters.
 

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it's a thankless job. but sometimes the pain / embarrassment keeps

you from posting again. I remember finding TAM the day after my

DDay....took me over two weeks to post. I was ashamed.
 
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