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Dr Rossi
Dr Rossi, Licensed Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 4627
Experience:  Certified Hypnotherapist, Author, 13+years of experience.
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When my wife drinks she gets really drunk. I am a recovering

Customer Question

When my wife drinks she gets really drunk. I am a recovering alcoholic so it makes it more difficult. I think she may have a problem but would NEVER admit. She gets defensive any time I bring it up. What should I do?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr Rossi replied 7 years ago.

Good Evening,


Anyone in recovery needs support especially from their family. You could ask her to go to AA meetings with you. You have to work on your recovery and if she respects you she would do what is needed. Let her know you need her support whatever that means and that you would like her to be there for you. You can only encourage her but not change her. She will have to do the rest.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
She is an attorney so it is not easy to argue with aside with becoming very defensive whenever the subject is brought up. Since I am a recovering alcoholic, I can't tell her that she is because I don't have a leg to stand on. She won't go to AA meetings but has recently started going to alanon meetings. She doesn't get hammered every time she drinks, but does on occasion. Even when she is really drunk, she won't admit it. I think she has a problem but the thing is if she admitted she did, then she would have to stop altogether and she doesn't want to do that. Most alcoholics need to hit rock bottom to realize that they have a problem but since she has never hit a bottom, she doesn't think she has this problem. If alcohol wasn't in our lives, our marriage would be so much better. I just want her to see that but have no idea how to show it to her. All of our family and friends drink so she doesn't not want to whenever they are around. Please help.
Expert:  Dr Rossi replied 7 years ago.

You are able to see that she has a problem of her own. The other issue is that you are not being supported by her. Certainly you are not arguing with her, you are just letting her know what you've observed and what would make the relationship better. At least hopefully she is getting something out of the Alanon. Another option may be couple's counseling (but like you said she must be willing to do it) Otherwise you're just running in circles and you're trying to work on your own recovery.

If possible, try to have her meet you in a middle ground (whatever that means to her) If she does not admit that she has a problem you know pointing it out out her won't lead anywhere. Instead, try to point out other things for instance how hard you're working on your own recovery and how you would like for some things in the relationship to change. Find out where she stands and take it from there.

So, intsead of focusing on her behavior directly, do so indirectly by starting off of how you're dealing with things, point out some positive times she had helped you (focus on the positive) and reinititate that you would like more of those times.
Expert:  Dr Rossi replied 7 years ago.

A book that may be helpful-


When Someone You Love Drinks Too Much by William F. Kraft (Paperback - Sep 2002)

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I don't want to paint a picture of her being a drunk because she's not. She is very aware of her drinks and moniters herself so she doesn't get too drunk when she drinks (at least most of the time) but that is not normal. Most people don't have to watch themselves that closely, they just don't drink that much. She has just recently told me that if I go to more AA meetings and get another sponser (i have been without one for about a month or two) that she wouldn't drink in front of me anymore. Now that sounds like a good patchwork solution but doesn't fix the core problem. I of course am going to do that for my own benefit, but I know that she will continue to drink with her friends and sisters whenever they are together. Her just not drinking in front of me won't help her realize that she does indeed have a problem. I have spoke with a couple of her family members and one of her close friends, and they think that she does have a problem but are scared to tell her because she would get defensive and mad at them so they just avoid the topic. I realize that I need to work hard on my own alcoholism and its not my place to point the finger at anyone else. I know that I need to take care of myself with AA and am wondering if I should just let it go and hope she figures it out on her own. Is this the right thing to do? If it is, my concern that the love of my life will never realize her own alcohol problem which might lead to an end to our marriage eventually as I plan on not drinking ever again. Thank you for your time.
Expert:  Dr Rossi replied 7 years ago.

You know that some people are functioning alcoholics. Even if she is just a social drinker, her behavior is a potential trigger to you. She will have to at least support you (agreeing not to drink in front of you is her first step) You are not pointing the finger at anyone. You love her and you are concerned for her as well. Whether you press the issue or let go of it, (she would still be the one doing the decision of how to lead her life) No need to hold yourself responsible for how someone else acts. You can only do that for yourself.

Marriage counseling could help if she agrees to it in the long run.

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