Drunken Wife and Mom

24 Jan

Letterbalm Liquor BottleDear LetterBalm: My wife has a serious drinking problem, which has had a horrible effect on our whole family, including our three children. Our oldest boy was recently arrested for drunk driving himself, and our middle child is failing most of her high school classes. These are only the latest troubles. My wife lost her driver’s license because of her drunk driving, and was let go from her job because of irregularities in her accounts. She’s stolen money from her family and staged countless drunken meltdowns at family gatherings. She works odd jobs, spending her money on drink. She’s been in all kinds of rehab, counseling, group therapy, AA. I love her, but it’s killing me, but I need the words to tell her it’s over.

–End of My Rope

What a sad scenario. And, how painful it must be for you and the kids. Ms. L.B. hopes you and your children are in counseling and have contacted Al-Anon and other resources to give you the coping tools you need. No one can know the despair that alcohol abuse produces unless you’re living it. Work with a good attorney, lay the groundwork with your kids and be very attentive to their pushback, anger and grief. You’ll need to take into consideration your wife’s special needs and her own anger and feelings of abandonment. Keep calm and talk to her privately when she’s as sober as she is capable of. Be considerate, but give her no room for excuses:

Gloria, it’s come to a point in our marriage when you and I must divorce. Your drinking is tearing the family apart, and it’s unfair to everyone. The kids and I are suffering – as I’m sure you are – but we cannot continue. I am working with a lawyer to set up a separation agreement and division of property. I’ve talked with the kids, and they understand. But I don’t have to tell you how devastated they are. In a little while, your brother and sister-in-law are coming to pick you up, so you should pack a few things. You can get the rest later. There’s nothing good here, except the fact that I love you, the children love you, and you are a good person without the alcohol. But it’s years too late. Maybe you can reclaim your life – you know I wish that with all my strength. 


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