My wife continues to battle with alcoholism. Last night she exhibited all the signs of someone who had been drinking. She swears she did not consume any alcohol. She had been cleaning the house all day using Clorox and some other chemicals. Is it possible these chemicals could lead to her showing signs of drinking, including the inability to write her name and recite the ABC’s?
Just trying to find out if I’m being lied to again…
Thank you for asking that hard question. It sounds like you are still unsure about your wife’s commitment to recovery. That is one of the hardest parts in the recovery process, earning the trust back of family members. This can be a long and sometimes difficult road to go down, but with time, consistency and care, it is possible to regain your trust and faith in your wife.
Now let’s look at the question you asked. You wrote, “Is it possible these chemicals could lead to her showing signs of drinking..?” It’s hard to answer that question precisely without knowing more about the chemicals used and how she used them.
Looking specifically at the effects of bleach on the individual, some of the common symptoms of too much exposure to bleach fumes include blurred vision, burning in the eyes and nose, lightheadedness, coughing, shortness of breath and watery eyes. Could it be possible that she was experiencing this, which is what lead her to be unable to write her name or recite the ABC’s? Well, obviously yes it is possible. Is it likely? Well, that is a harder question to answer.
The truth of the matter is that no one will be able to know the answer. That is where the difficulty in trusting your wife comes in to play. The addiction she has to alcohol has made her do things that she would not normally do, and likely, all of those are things she regrets. Now is the long process of rebuilding trust. She has to be consistent and demonstrate her continued commitment to sobriety and recovery. That means a lot of work.
For your end, you need to be open to the possibility that she may be telling the truth, but also willing to confront her when she is not. These kinds of situations are really common in recovery and will happen most often in the early stages of sobriety. It may be useful to have an agreed-upon plan for what steps will be taken if there is a suspicion she is drinking again. This could include seeking further treatment, taking a breathalyzer test, or anything else that seems like it would help you with your concerns.
One thing that may be most helpful to you is to work with a counselor or therapist of your own. Having someone apart from the situation to talk to, can provide a great amount of relief and understanding for you. It may also be useful to work in counseling together to strengthen your marriage. Working with a marriage and family therapist can provide you new ways to communicate openly, plan for ways to handle conflicts, which will happen, and to start to open up and trust one another again.
Trust is a hard thing to earn back once it’s lost. It looks like your trust in your wife is still a work in progress. I can see you are trying and want her to be healthier. Those are great starting points. Now you need to work with her and plan out how to handle these situations so when they come up, you both will know what to expect. Your trust can only grow from there.
I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LCMHC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. I have since settled in North Carolina. I have experience working with various stages of addiction, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, trauma, stages of life concerns and relationship concerns.
I tend to use a person-centered approach which simply means that I meet you where you are and work collaboratively to help you identify and work towards accomplishing goals. I will often pull from CBT when appropriate. I do encourage use of mindfulness and meditation and practice these skills in my own life. I believe in treating everyone with respect, sensitivity and compassion.
I recognize that reaching out for help is hard and commend you for taking the first step. We have professionals available who would be happy to help you move closer to reaching your goals related to your drinking concerns. You may reach these professionals by calling 877-322-2694.