Well, I've spoken with "S" about my concerns with her drinking and ran into a wall.
She explained to me what her drinking is to her and how she doesn't think she is an alcoholic. Her reasoning for not thinking she is an alcoholic is simply - no one in her family is one.
Her reasons for drinking are: relief from being responsible, that the parts of her she keeps hidden can come out, that she believes anyone she cares about will cut out on her and when she is drunk she can behave in a manner that beats them to the punch (pushing them away), and that the people she meets when she drinks will be "fuzzy" the next day so she is less likely to become attached to them and fear their eventual disappearing act.
She acknowledges that she does push people's buttons when she drinks because, she reasons, if they can put up with it and stick around, they are more likely to be a true friend.
To me, this is classic alcoholic behavior. I feel wedged in with her reasoning. I either accept that she will continue to do these things and deal with the drama that will ensue for as long as it takes for her to see me and my husband as "true" friends OR I decide it is too much of the kind of drama I want to avoid and be seen as one of the folks who cut out on her. Combine that with the fact that she believes one has to inherit alcoholism to be one and all I see is the same struggles that led me to get out of my previous marriage with an alcoholic.
On the plus side - she does not wish to jump right back into an association like what we previously had and she is much more wary of my husband and his part in the messiness we all experienced. I do identify with her on that one. Especially now because in this move to poly, we have to be able to trust each others judgment on the people we expose our relationship too. Him wanting a person with what I see as obvious personal and alcohol issues makes it really hard to trust his judgment in people.
We talked about this. How there have been some of his long standing friends that ended up incapable (or just flat out refusing) to accept me in the past. In these instances, it was something I saw almost immediately, but it took them being outright nasty, being warned, being nasty again, back and forth before he would cast them off. His point being "are they gone or not?" and my point being "yeah but look what it had to come to for you to act".
Because my husband does make an effort to remain friends with his exes, most of these friends that have become a problem were in that lot. I get it and why they behaved the way they did. When a relationship doesn't work out it helps to get over it by thinking of your ex as someone who is no good in a relationship for anyone. This becomes a difficult thing to feel soothed by when you see them with someone and they treat them better than they treated you. Some of these friends couldn't see that it had been years since they had dated and how he behaved in a teen relationship isn't going to be how he behaves forever.
With this situation, "S" is still not back in the picture and treating this as a big issue while she is still not in the picture feels premature. It does make me wonder something for the future though.
How do you deal with a stalemate when it comes to pass? With the things I've discussed with "S" (and shared with my husband), I feel even more anxiety at the thought of her being included in our lives. Everything she has shared indicates who she is is someone we've yet to even meet and meeting that person will likely be a hard field to plow. It also indicates that should we even get to that point, we might just be more firmly invested in someone with alcohol issues.