I want to stick to this thread despite your recent posting in Divorce/Separation forum because it’s on a subject I broached on this thread.
Now – I’m not stating that this is the issue in your relationship… but it might be.
I have been here for some years and seen numerous instances of marriages falling apart.
As a law-enforcement officer I saw on a near-daily basis the destruction and power of addiction.
In my personal life I have experienced friends, acquaintances and family that have had to deal with addiction.
As a sometimes volunteer in a program for young recovering addicts I have seen the consequences of addiction…
Personally, I don’t deal with alcoholism and other than a possible addiction to buying fly-fishing gear I’m relatively sane and mentally healthy… I can have an occasional drink, maybe even get a buzz going, but don’t drink at work, when driving, can refuse a drink, go out with friends without having alcohol, let it impact my family or anything of that nature. I’m one of the lucky ones that doesn’t have an addiction issue.
OK – with that foreword:
I think that a person dealing with addiction (like alcoholism) isn’t capable of committing to a marriage the way a person should commit to a marriage.
I think that because of this the addict will chose conflict and the drug of choice over the relationship.
In your case it sounds like both of you have issues with alcohol…
This might therefore apply to both of you, but for NOW I’m focusing on your wife. Maybe because she had the ONS.
We have this vision of alcoholism where we might remember our uncle Bob who always smelled funny, was the life of the party for maybe an hour before becoming the semi-blacked out guy trying to pick a fight before passing out in the garden, having pissed his pants. Or the old woman living in a box by the mall. We might even know someone that always smells of alcohol or mouth-wash that functions, but sometimes sneakily reaches for a nondescript bottle of very think-looking cola in the office-desk drawer.
Yet those that deal with alcoholism will quickly share that those aren’t the typical alcoholics… There are about as many definitions as there are Bourbon-based cocktails, ranging from purely psychological to purely physiological and I wont go into them per se. What I will say is that an alcoholic is likely to think and focus on drink some time before the first sip of that session, despite knowing it’s going to lead to issues and have consequences.
The way one described it to me: When you (Bigger) have a beer you might be thinking "this is the last one this evening" whereas he (the alcoholic) was already thinking "gee – there were only four left in the cooler… where do I get some more?"
I have seen cases – repeatedly – here on SI where I suspect the WS is having an affair simply to divert the issues from the drinking. Where the WS thinks that if they can get the betrayed spouse to focus on the infidelity they can carry on drinking. Often the AP is also the drinking partner, but the focus is on the addiction rather than the infidelity.
Jdisco – if your wife wanted this marriage she should be thinking "what can I do to save it" and not "how can I still meet the gang for drinks and convince Jdisco nothing is going on"
Asking someone to drop what should be a social event to benefit a marriage… That’s not a big ask.
But the response could strongly indicate the persons priorities.
You can’t make her stop drinking. I’m not even going to claim she is an alcoholic. What is clear though throughout your posts is that alcohol is very much in the forefront.
I said I would focus on her… well… back to you…
Stop drinking. Try it. Stop NOW. Decide to remain sober for 30 days. Not a beer, not a joint, not a small glas of Chablis with the fish… NO ALCOHOL or NO DRUGS. Sober.
Mark each day on a piece of paper on the fridge. Count them. 30. Then evaluate how you are feeling each day. At about the 25 day mark think: Am I already anticipating the opening of a can of suds on the 31st day?
Evaluate if you have a problem. Is that problem a drinking pattern problem or is it just plain-old-alcoholism? Be honest with yourself because there is only one winner and one loser – and that’s you.
Your wife? Well… If she wants to separate then separate. Only make sure there is a goal with the separation and that everything is crystal clear. Who stays where? Who has the daughter and on what days? Who pays what? Joint accounts? Joint assets? Frankly IMHO if you reach a stage where separation doesn’t have a very clear purpose for future reconciliation you might as well file for divorce. After all – you really need to deal with and clarify all the same issues.
For example: You separate and your wife goes and runs a 1000 buck bar-bill on the credit-card… Six months from now the bank will come knocking on YOUR door. You want issues like this clarified before they become an issue.
You can’t make her sober. But you can outline that as an attempt to reconcile you want joint sobriety. If she’s not willing to do that… well… see above regarding separation, only change separation to divorce IMHO. The Big D isn’t instantaneous – it takes time – and during that time you can always push pause, rewind or even stop. But IMHO without sobriety you two are doomed for repeat after repeat after repeat.