Therapist A is a counsellor and life coach with experience of working with alcohol and addiction issues as well as with eating disorders.
From your email it sounds as if it is lonely and isolated where you are living especially with your sons away at University as well as your husband out at work all day and must be hard for you. Although wine can lift our spirits when we feel down, sadly as we drink alone and more, long term it can eventually lead to feeling worse, stuck, making going out and meeting people harder. As you mentioned that your husband has been violent in the past, I understand your concern and there is always the possibility that he will realize how much you are drinking. Contacting us is certainly your first step in getting help.

There are some very helpful English on-line support groups* and because of their anonymity they can feel less intimidating and enable you to share about your situation and how you feel. The support often comes from the identification which begins to lift the sense of isolation.

Although you may not feel like it right now, contacting some English interest groups can help. You may find some good contacts in French News, English shops or on the internet. Sometimes we have to force ourselves as if we were taking medicine to make that first contact. You are definitely not alone and there will be other people who feel like you do. You have taken the first step and somehow once we make that first step, solutions begin to turn up including people turning up out of the blue. Something that can help is to think “What would I say to my best friend or the person I love the most if they were in the same situation as me?”

* see THIS page ……. For on-line support links
Therapist B is a Relate-trained counsellor with experience of working with relationship issues and is an experienced couples counsellor
Hello, I'm very glad you've found the courage to write & ask for help in your current situation & hope that at least being able to write in your own language will enable you to feel understood & supported. I'm sorry you find yourself alone so much & presumably rather isolated, given the circumstances you have described.

There are indeed many ex-pats who find themselves turning to the bottle when feeling lonely & bored so you're not alone in that respect, & although I guess the ideal solution would be to be able to talk to your husband about your feelings, it doesn't sound as though he would be very sympathetic, as presumably he feels he is working hard all day & deserves a rest when he gets home - I'm sure you're right to be wary of his reactions if he has been violent before.

Clearly this is a very difficult situation & I suppose that you have several options, none of them particularly easy, but please feel free to write again & ask for more help to explore them further at any time. Basically, the first option is to weigh up the pros & cons of leaving this lonely environment-do you have any financial means of your own, do you want to leave your husband & start again,& would your sons be understanding & able to help you? I know that sounds rather drastic but it sometimes help to ask yourself these questions & get your feelings clear about whether to go or stay? If you decide it is too difficult to leave for either practical or emotional reasons, then maybe you could look at how to make some positive changes to your life as it is? I know that you live in a small French village & don't know whether you have your own transport, but obviously that would help you to get out of the house more & look for some distraction away from drinking.

As you have access to the internet it could help to look up some ex-pat sites & find out out if there are any groups that you could join for company or interest,& indeed there are usually sites for A.A. that might be able to support you if you feel you need professional help to either stop drinking or to drink less.
If any of the above suggestions are impractical for financial reasons then maybe you could find the company you need on the internet - perhaps if you can get some insight into a wider world then it will take your mind off the unhappy situation & help you to broaden your views & opinions-maybe even to share them with your husband when he isn't so tired? Even if you have no car, maybe a bike would help to get you out & about & one way of improving your language is to offer to help anyone in the village who wants to learn English.

I do know that all this is much easier said than done & it is hard to break out & make changes when you feel so isolated, so I hope that the above has helped while you think of ways & means to make the necessary positive changes to your life - good luck & kind regards!

Therapist C is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist with experience of working with relationship and many other issues.

Therapist C is currently away and will answer soon