I am not an expert in this field per say however I have been with my alcoholic husband for 15 years & I believe that gives me a lot of insight on this disease! If sobriety was as simple as putting down the bottle or tossing away those pills more people would be clean. Truth of the matter is to stop using and admitting your life is unmanageable is just the first step. Recovery means exactly that you have to Recover from the inside out! Alcoholism/Addiction is a sickness, it is very much an internal problem. You have to be willing to do the work for your life to change it doesn’t happen on its own.
So these are my experiences of alcoholism…….When my husband was actively drinking first thing I noticed was he didn’t have a few drinks every day and he could go periods without having a drink at all. But when my husband did drink he was a binge drinker. He would drink mass amounts of alcohol. A typical night out for us started with at least 4-6 beers before we even left the house. As the years went by the drinking became more intense and he started hiding it more going to the bars instead of coming home. In one sitting it was nothing for him to consume 24-36 beers himself and bottles of wine.
What once started out as going out together quickly turned into neglecting his family for the bar scene. The coming home in the early morning hours turned into not coming home at all. The lies, manipulation, and blame seemed to be an everyday occurrence, as the drinking got worse so did his behaviors. Denial is a huge part of alcoholism, it was easy for him to blame me if we were arguing and then it became his excuse to drink so that way he wouldn’t be accountable for his actions.
Fast forward to his DUI, that was his wake up call. Not the years of me crying, complaining, the kids, or how many times he poisoned himself, nothing will drive a person to seek help for themselves if they can’t admit they have a problem. After 12 1/2 years of drinking he was seeking help for himself. It started with an intensive outpatient program that lasted for 5 weeks. Things at home calmed down there was finally some peace. After that program he started going to AA things were looking up for us. He was able to comprehend for the first time all the devastating damage he had caused to our kids and myself. At times he was going to 3 meetings a day! Then something started happening around the 3-4 month of his sobriety……..My husband thought someone gave him a hero’s cape and made him captain super hero of AA he now had all the answers and could help everyone else. Meanwhile things were going downhill at home because his alcoholic behaviors started coming back and started to get progressively worse. I thought how the hell is this possible he is sober maybe it has been me all along, UMMMMM No it wasn’t it is the alcoholic ways.
I would have never thought that sobriety would bring such chaos to our life so I started to research it and I found my answer, he was a dry drunk! See my husband was not living a truly sober life, he had stopped drinking but he was not following the program. He just wanted people to notice he was going to all these meetings and he wanted to be told how great he was doing but it was all a façade he wasn’t being real with himself or anyone else for that matter! Then there was this woman who had attached herself to my husband and wanted him to help her because she kept relapsing. My husband being super AA went to her house alone not thinking “hey this is a bad idea I am married”. She was sending him messages saying she loved him and I had enough I told my husband this is a dangerous place to be and it is not his place to put himself in that situation he has to help himself first. Other men in the program told him that going alone was not a good choice.
Then there was another woman who would send messages saying “save me a seat next to you” and he would go out to breakfast with a group of people men and women. He was pulling away more and more and became worse than when he was drinking, to me this was unbelievable! His behaviors were worse than ever and this path of destruction was far more painful than the years prior. He started sharing all of our personal issues with one woman and became overly emotionally involved, not having feelings towards her but they talked in such personal details it was just wrong oh and this woman is married and has 2 children of her own. I believe this woman has bad intentions and as soon as she knew my husband was an alcoholic she wanted to go to the meetings he was going to and her behaviors were just wrong. Ironic thing is once I started going to the meetings she stopped going and even my husband said something to me about the fact that he didn’t really think she was an alcoholic. Some people manipulate you so you feel sorry for them and it forms an emotional attachment. The more I complained the more verbally abusive he became towards me and he spent all his time away form home. He was doing AA, hanging out with his alcoholic brother, going to the bars to watch music events (which scared the hell out of me) I honestly have no idea how he didn’t relapse because the bar was his “safe place” for so many years. Finally all this came to a head he told me he wanted to separate he didn’t know if he wanted to be married to me anymore so he moved into the other room and took off his wedding ring, I was crushed.
I was completely heartbroken. I was a total mess but he didn’t care. By this time he was so selfish, arrogant and destructive that I actually for a moment wish he would drink again because my drunk husband was far less painful than this sober monster! My whole world at that point and our daughter that was still living at home could feel the affects of this and there was not one good thing about it. I wasn’t eating or sleeping trying to maintain my job and everything in our household. I would lay in bed at night and hear his phone going off with messages all hours of the night. What he didn’t know during that time was that I secretly watched him do his password one day so when he was in the shower I went in his phone to see what he wasn’t telling me and Oh my God what a slap in the face. The messages from and to woman that were in AA was sickening. Everything from “Love ya” to “I am here for you”, I want to be your first motorcycle ride, to personal compliments, to finding receipts for dinner with woman. I needed to know but I wasn’t quit prepared for all that, it was painful.
Meanwhile I tried so hard trying to talk with him to save our marriage. I was in counseling for myself and then the biggest blow of all. He asked me to go to a free country concert with him, I was so happy I thought just maybe it was a small sign that he didn’t want to lose our marriage. The next day I walked into the room he was sleeping in and I said “I want you to kiss me” he said “you may never want me to kiss you again” he proceeded to tell me that he had been unfaithful and had sex with another woman……I dropped to my knees I have never felt such heartache before, I could not catch my breath. I was devastated! At ten months of sobriety this is what our life had become he did so much damage in that time it was just too much for one person to take!
My husband had told me that it wasn’t intentional “it just happened” To me it was all bullshit! A few days after that I saw my therapist and I told her what he said and after telling her what happened she explained to me the difference between a planned affair and something that just happened. She said when someone plans to be unfaithful that is intending for it to happen, just happening means it wasn’t planned. As she was explaining that people can recover from infidelity I thought there is no way, that was my one thing I would never accept. I must admit though that even though I was so confused I left there feeling semi hopeful. I was in too much pain to decide anything I could barely get my mind to hold a thought. Then sitting in bed crying so hard I couldn’t breath, I couldn’t see I was just numb. I took a bottle of pills on my night stand dumped them in my hand and for a moment considered taking them all so the pain would stop.
I looked up toward the ceiling and said “please help me, I surrender please help me” at that very moment I felt a warm sensation go through my body from head to toe like I was being hugged from the inside out. I put the pills down and in that moment I felt all the resentment and anger I had towards my husband just fade away and I had the ability to forgive him completely for all the years of terrible things he had done to me. I realized that my husband was also suffering because he was in complete denial again about living a truly sober life, he was a very sick man.
So began my quest to save our marriage and my husband. I started showing him everyday how much love I had for him. This spiritual experience I had changed my life and I never looked back. A few weeks after that his sponsor had him read a few pages in the Big Book of AA and my husband heard something new that made him believe that he wanted to work on our marriage and from that day forward our lives have completely changed and we have witnessed the miracles in our life that AA promises if you follow the program as suggested. Today my husband has 999 days of sobriety!!!
We renewed our wedding vows a year ago and just celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary. I can’t tell you that our life is perfect because we still have our struggles from past issues. Some days my triggers are really bad and my insecurity levels are through the roof. But I am a part of my husbands recovery, we go to AA meetings every weekend together. WE spend most of our time together because we want too. I no longer go to bed alone or wake up alone or worry that he drank or gambled his paycheck away. Our children are all grown and moved out so it’s just us and our animals.
This experience of being the wife of an alcoholic has taught me so many life lessons. I have learned a lot about myself. I am a very strong loving woman! I am proud of my husband for all the work he does to stay sober and live a sober life. When he strays from that path I loving nudge him to get back on it. Today we can communicate about our issues, we laugh and we love like we have never loved before. I wrote a book my memoir titled “Married Under The Influence” is about being the wife of an alcoholic and the affects it has on the whole family & a marriage. My hope in sharing my personal struggles is that it may help others who have lost their way and who feel they are the only ones going thru this, know your never alone!
We are blessed in our life to share the bond we have together. Without complete openness and honesty we wouldn’t be where we are today. All the darkness in our past was the path we had to take in order to find the light at the end. We want people to know that you can free yourself from the emotional prison you live in with true forgiveness. There is help all around you, you just have to take that first step. Nothing is ever hopeless as long as you keep hope alive within yourself anything is possible!
Wishing you Peace & Serenity………………Harmony