Amy: Ex-wife is spiraling out of control

  • Article by: AMY DICKINSON
  • Wire services
  • February 1, 2013 - 1:03 PM

Dear Amy: I had my last drink one year ago. Since then, my life has been transformed. In the process, I have been divorced, met a beautiful woman and got engaged. Now we are expecting a blessing in the form of a baby!

My ex-wife has not fared so well. Her drinking has spiraled out of control. She has been arrested for domestic violence. After getting arrested, she called me to bail her out because she was “too embarrassed” to call her father. The next day, she drank heavily and called saying that she was going to commit suicide. I jumped to the rescue on my white stallion, calling friends who were near her so that she would not have a chance to succeed.

She was placed in the psych ward of the hospital. Her dad took her out before any therapy could start. She said she was unwilling to be “stuck in the nut hut” because there is nothing wrong with her.

The drama has increased lately. She still controls parts of my life through emotional blackmail and guilt. I was not the best husband, but how much do I have to do to make amends for that?

I can’t seem to get away from the tornado that is my ex-wife. How do I tell her that I want nothing more to do with her?

Amy says: You are not helping your ex-wife by rescuing her into the control of family members who enable her to keep drinking. You help her the most by offering to support her only in sobriety.

The next time she calls you from jail, you should leave her there rather than release her to immediately resume her drinking. She desperately needs rehab, and she might receive it only if forced by the court.

Her life is on a dangerous downward spiral. The message you should send to her is, “I care about you. I’m terrified for you. But I will support only your efforts to get clean. When you are ready to get sober, I’ll take your call.”

This is the toughest part of tough love.

Buddy system

Dear Amy: A woman wrote you wondering how to talk to her best friend about the friend’s obesity. Your suggestion of an “exercise buddy” was great.

I had surgery and gained a lot of weight. My neighbor and I started walking together. This transformed both of our lives dramatically.

Amy says: Solving the world’s problems is another benefit of exercising with a friend. It is mentally, emotionally and physically enriching.

Send questions via e-mail to or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.

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