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General Struggling - Don’t Know What To Do


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My wife, who I adore, has been diagnosed with CPTSD and on the waiting list in the UK for therapy.

As her husband I'm struggling. I understand her trauma, childhood which led to unhealthy adult relationships.

She turns to wine, sometimes two to three bottles a night, as a coping mechanism. She often sends me out late at night to get her more, when I have work the next day, which I find difficult to refuse as she either gets angry or threatens to drive there herself.

Often, by the time I get back, she's asleep or hardly touches it and I have to drag her to bed. I was so tired on one occasion that I went to bed and she followed soon after and fell down the stairs. I feel like I can't leave her alone when she has an episode, yet I struggle with tiredness at work and I run my own business. If I fall asleep in the evening she often has a go at me for doing so. I'm mentally and physically exhausted.

I don't know what to do.
Coming from a supporter… You cannot be responsible for another adult’s mental health or substance abuse. Take the car keys and go to bed.

When she is sober inform her you need to sleep to work and you can no longer cater to her drinking at night. If she plans on drinking she needs to be prepared by such and such time. After that, keys are gone and you are in bed. If she sneaks, disconnect the car battery.

It sounds callous, but indulging her self destructive behavior patterns isn’t doing either of you any favors. It’s enabling. You’re allowed to say no and attend to your basic human necessities. Somebody has to work and hold the house together.

You have to set boundaries. Boundaries are not controlling her, they’re controlling your own behavior. You set a boundary, communicate it clearly, and then you do what you say.

You’re not telling her what she can and cannot do, or how she needs to behave. You are telling her what *you* will no longer do or tolerate. For example, your boundary could be “I will not get alcohol after xyz time, and it is unacceptable to drive our vehicle intoxicated. I need to sleep to work and provide for the household. I will no longer cater to the all night drinking sessions. If you fall down drunk that is your decision. I cannot watch you to ensure your safety anymore.” Then go to bed every night and let her do her thing.
Whilst she’s waiting for therapy, which can be a wait on the NHS, would she go to AA or a local alcohol service? She could learn some skills to help her manage her drinking whilst waiting to delve into the reason she drinking.

therapy will make things harder before it’s better. What outlet do you have?
We spoke last night and she's admitted the drinking needs to stop. I know she's capable of stopping, she did for three months last year long before she approached the Dr to admit she needs help. That was her decision and one she took upon herself, which was a big step forward.

We have little family support, our parents are either elderly or in too poor health to support us with the children. She's on the priority waiting list for therapy, so I'm hoping we might have some movement on that soon.
My worry is she will injure herself by falling down the stairs. We're moving house to a property on one level, as it'll be easier to leave her to it then, but until then, I couldn't live with myself if something happened to her when I had my back turned.
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That's really good she can see the drinking is a problem. And great she managed to stop for three months. She needs to work on maintaining that, and she will need help with that.

You have children too. So, there is a lot on your plate. You're looking after a lot of people: your children, your partner, elderly parents. I hope you get some space to look after you too.

I hope she can also be motivated to change and help herself due to the children. No doubt having a parent who is struggling with alcohol abuse and then becoming aggressive to their other parent, is not the exposure to family life you wanted for your children.
My wife, who I adore,
So you’ve got her back.

Which also means? She WANTS to have yours.

Boundaries allows her, that.

Boundaries are NOT attempting to change anyone else’s behavior. They’re “simply” your limits. Soft limits, and hard limits. And… when someone crossed them… what YOU do, in response.

You adore her.

Let her respond, in kind.

You’ve hit a limit.

Let her adjust. Because she clearly adores you, in kind, but is struggling to keep her head above water.
Thank you, that's exactly how I see it. She's trying, but she'll only sink further if she isn't supported, she's lucky in that respect. I'm truly saddened for people tackling this on their own with no support.