Carolyn Hax: Spouse mulls doing something about a wife who’s drunk 6 nights out of 7

DEAR CAROLYN: My wife drinks bottles of vodka every week (the jug bottles) and is drunk and passed out six nights out of seven. Guess what? I disapprove and I let her know it.

We have three small kids so it’s not like I’m going anywhere. So what am I supposed to do? I don’t harangue her about it. But when she complains about not being able to get up or always being tired (or whatever else), I am more than happy to remind her about the eight shots she did last night.

She drinks alone, by the way. I used to drink but she ruined it for me. I’m sure I sound disapproving and bitter but if your significant other were falling-down drunk and slurring their words six nights out of seven, you might feel the same.

Drinker’s Partner

DEAR PARTNER: You can’t save her unless she agrees to save herself, but you can save your children. You must insist: She either abuses alcohol, or she lives with you and the kids.

I would probably feel the same as you do, yes – disapproving and bitter – but I’d need to shake that off. An alcoholic is ill, and your kids are getting exposed to your wife’s illness at great risk to their own health.

Please start by calling the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration hotline: 1-800-662-4357. I also recommend consulting with a family attorney, because ensuring the kids’ safety through this process is paramount.

You must act decisively, carefully, now.

DEAR CAROLYN: I dated a co-worker for several years. Last year we broke up, as I had some major personal issues to deal with.

Well, a year later, I’ve taken care of everything and am (almost) better than ever – the one exception, I lost my best friend. I tried opening communication six months ago, but Ex essentially told me to go pound sand.

Well, Ex’s birthday is coming up. A dear co-worker (the office mother hen) thinks I should try again to open up communication by wishing Ex a happy birthday and giving her the gift I didn’t give her last year.

We rarely see each other in the office, and I don’t get a great vibe when we do. I think the best birthday present would be silence, but Mother Hen is making me reconsider. Any suggestions?

Ex-Best Friend

DEAR EX-BEST FRIEND: Yes. Don’t accept guidance from anyone who fits the description of “office mother hen.”

Seizing her birthday as an excuse to push the idea of reconciliation is not a best-friendly thing to do. It would be about you, on a day and with a gesture that’s supposed to be about her. That’s tone-deaf enough to cost you whatever slim chance you’ve got.

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