This week my husband and I heard a radio interview with an Irish Comedian (Tommy Tiernan) He has been sober for 3 years and started having the odd pint now and then and is finding it ‘fine’ . He’s comfortable with it and so are his family. It sent shivers up our spines. That was us. That was our story.
When my husband got sober the first time he attended a few AA meetings and one of the stories he told me always stuck in my head. There was a man who had been sober for 25 years. He went on holiday with his family and had a drink and he was fine. His wife was delighted cause they could enjoy family events again together. He started to have the odd drink and realised he was different to others, he was cured. Two years later and he had to go through the whole painful act of getting sober again. He said he suddenly got worse han he ever had been.
My husband stayed sober for 3 years – he didn’t find it difficult. He was perfectly comfortable with people drinking around him and had no cravings. We went to family functions, parties, the pub together and he would just have a non alcoholic beer. Three years on and we went on a business trip where there was the best of drink available and free. He decided one wouldn’t do any harm – it didn’t. I was delighted he could drink normally. The comedian on the radio said it was his wife too that encouraged him to have a drink because he was boring without it.
My husband drank ‘normally’ again for two years. We came to the conclusion that he wasn’t really an alcoholic, he just had an excessive personality but he could control his drinking. His normal drinking became hot ports every night and then just straight port and wine. Still, it was fine – it was how he was ‘normally’.
Then I began to become more aware of his drinking it was getting earlier each evening, every evening. I said it to him that he should maybe just leave it to the weekends or when we were out. But he was fine, sure he wasn’t causing any harm. It went on. And then after nearly three years of ‘drinking normally’ our world seemed to suddenly collapse. It was like over night he became worse than he ever was – all the horrible memories came back to me of how he used to be and why he ahd to give up the first time, because we ewre suddenly reliving them – Except this time it was worse. I wondered how I had forgotten how bad it was (like childbirth we block out the pain and pretend it was really not that bad!). He stopped breathing twice during this time, he was suicidal and insane. Luckily we managed to get back on track and he got sober again, but not after alot of pain and hurt.
They say alcoholism is a progressive mental illness. So if the alcoholic starts drinking again it is only a matter of time that it picks up where it left off and progresses rapidly. To Tommy and his wife I truly hope your story does not the same, but my advise to you would be to turn back now, why risk it?
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