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Ben ButterworthBen Butterworth

I’m Ben. I discovered my wife was secretly drinking in mid-2019. It explains why the previous five years (from approx 2014) had seen her behaviour so odd at times in the evenings. I feel so stupid for not noticing it! Now, three years on, after first discovering all the hidden empties, my wife still drinks, mostly secretly – sometimes around me – and always if there is a gathering. I have found tumblers of vodka left behind the toaster, and what we thought was water with dinner was anything but! My wife doesn’t want to talk to me about it. I am not even sure she is talking to anybody about her problem. Her parents certainly don’t know. When drunk, her behaviour can be maudlin, frustrated with me (even my presence), angry, anxious, fuzzy, she has the uncanny knack of hearing the opposite of what you have said and then she will pass out on the sofa. She is slowly becoming a shell of who she was – bright, funny, beautiful, talented in many ways and very kind. More and more she is becoming unpleasant towards me when I think she’s sober. Bullying, abusive comments, gaslighting, criticism, never any encouragement. I see the alcohol eroding her confidence and her personality. When she’s sober, in the mornings, she’s usually a much better person. We have two teenage boys who are starting to notice “Mum being weird”. Sometimes my wife can go a few weeks without drinking – or certainly not much that I notice any behaviour, but then she blows it and regresses. Over time it has obviously progressed (i.e. got worse). I am not sure I want to stay with her for the rest of my life – why would I? But I don’t need to make a decision right now – I am here for my boys, both very confident and have real inner strength. They need the stability whilst there is a high-functioning (most of the time) alcoholic in the house. I have a good network of friends who I talk to about the issues, I also talk to my parents and sister. On occasions I have tried talking to my wife, but her stupid pride and shame make it very difficult. Part of me wants her to hit rock bottom so she can put more effort in to make the change, because I don’t think that, given her “I know best” personality, that she wants or will listen to other people. Personally, at the moment (December 2022) I am actually in a really good place. I don’t have any anxiety whatsoever. I am blessed that I wasn’t born anxious, I have never suffered with anxiety until I discovered the empties, and I am not going to die anxious. I do plenty of exercise, I keep busy with work, friends and hobbies, and it has changed my life immeasurably. I have spoken to John on a few occasions and found him so helpful, his videos with Lou are so helpful. I am here to understand more about how addicts behave and why, to learn about protecting myself (Bottled Up has been great in this regard) and to talk to other people.