Category Archives: my story

Coming Out?

Hi All,

As you know I write this blog anonymously. My alcoholic husband first went into rehab nearly 10 years ago – he had a few ‘slips’ (I hate that word –  factor 10 life shattering earthquakes would be a better description)in the years that followed. The last one was nearly 2 years ago and he has no interest in going back there. I’m thinking of coming out from behind the veil of anonymity – if I do so I feel I could reach more people. I’m thinking of doing a weekly  video post which people might find supportive.

I’m holding back because I’m thinking ‘what will people we know think’. I don’t want people to change their opinion of me or my husband (being protective of an adult again!). We’re in a good place now and I want to show others it is possible. Alcoholism is such a wide spread disease but soooo hidden. Do you think me being non anonymous would make a difference – would it give you more of a connection?

 

Why Do I Love An Alcoholic?

When I met my husband it was love at first sight. Both of us went home and told our nearest and dearest that we had met our soul mate,  but neither of us said anything to each other about this for another six months. I found him a fascinating conversationalist, madly attractive and a gentleman. To top it all, he had the power to make me to laugh until I cried. I wanted his babies!

Neither of us wanted to make the ‘move’ incase we ruined the friendship we had developed. Eventually I asked him out for a drink. We met and after a few drinks, he asked me to marry him, I said yes and we kissed for the first time. I was madly in love then and am madly in love now, but we have had our fair share of ‘moments’. His alcoholism drove our emotions and minds to the limits for years. At one point I hated him so much I couldn’t even imagine how I had ever loved this man.

One of the first gifts he bought  me was the book ‘The Prophet’ by Kahil Gibran and one of the first passages I read  was the answer the prophet gave when asked about love;

When love beckons to you, follow him,

Though his ways are hard and steep.

And when his wings enfold you yield to him,

Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you,

And when he speaks to you believe him,

Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.

Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,

So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.

He threshes you to make you naked.

He sifts you to free your from your husks.

He grinds you to whiteness.

He kneads you until you are pliant;

And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that

knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

Sixteen years later I found this book in a box again after a house move. It had been  three years  after husband went into rehab and read this passage again. Love had indeed tested me to my limit, shaken my roots, shattered my dreams and wounded my heart  but by getting through it we had discovered a better us and a stronger bond of love than we ever imagined.

Maybe you will too.

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loving an alcoholic

Live YOUR Life

It’s been a couple of months since I visited this blog. I was shocked to see how many people had posted messages, most of you in similar desparate situations – living with an active alcoholic. I can relate to you all because I was the same only a few months ago. He has been sober for nearly 3 months now and the desparate times seem a distant memory. He had been sober for 4 years previously and then over the course of a year or two, an odd drink turned into beers every night and then WHAM, it seemed literally in the space of a week he became worse than he ever was. I believe he actually died twice during that week, ie. he chocked on his own vomit and stopped breathing and he took an overdose. What did I do – what is the secret to getting your partner sober? Stop trying to change them. Instead Change yourself. That is the secret.

I left. You can too. All of you have given reasons not to – the kids (I have kids too), financially strapped (I have very little income too – during the worst of it I was on social welfare, he was on social welfare. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you have you are probably are all in the same boat –  any spare cash has been spent on booze and debt has built because of booze), the bills won’t get paid (I have a mortgage, utilities too and loans too all have been put on the long finger or renegotiated), they will die without you (I left my hsuband twice, I didn’t threaten to leave I just packed up and as soon as he knew I was serious he threatened suicide I still walked out that door – once with a shotgun in his mouth and once with enough pills beside his bed to kill a small elephant).

I had got to a stage where I decided enough was enough I was not prepared to go on ‘surviving’ this precious thing called life. Your life is your own and is precious. You need to make it what you want it to be. Yes sure it would be perfect if your partner woke up sober, felt great about it and became that person you love again. But why should they change and become that person? As long as life tips along the way it is and you don’t change your ways, what motivation do they have to change? Why would they want to change what they are doing today when there is always tomorrow with you there to pick up the pieces and keep them in their comfort zone.

Stop trying to control what they are doing and start controling what you are doing, what you want to achieve. Talk to people – this is very important. Don’t be embarrassed, everyone haschallenges in their lives and this is yours. If leaving seems too drastic a move for you, start with small steps. Instead of dreading a ground hog day scenario of their drunk behaviour every evening arrange to go out to meet a friend and have a laugh, go to the cinema, join an evening class, do something for yourself. Do not make a big deal about it by telling your partner this is your intention and you are doing it because of them, etc. Just do it and do it for you – not to spite them or show them a lesson. Don’t keep calling them during your time out. It will be hard but you have to let go and let things start to evolve.

I left – I was back within 2-4 days each time – not because of false promises. I knew he was serious – an appointment had been made and kept with a counsellor/doctor or rehab centre which we attended together. He got his act together. He is finding it tougher this time than the last but he knows what he will loose if he goes back there, why? because he knows I am serious about his sobriety and that I am not prepared to go thorugh that again. I love him to bits, but I also love our kids and myself and to live under the same roof, our sanity depends on his sobriety. The alternative is that we don’t live together, it’s his choice to drink or not to drink. If he drinks then it is my choice to live seperately somehow. We are in a good place at the moment and I take one day at a time and am thankful for each sober day. Stay strong and love yourself and your life.

How did I get here?

I remember driving away from the rehab centre after admitting my husband and listening to the radio. Two songs came on ‘Something inside so strong’ and REM’s ‘Hold On’. I turned the radio up full volume  and sang from the heart. I was stopped at some lights and then  our wedding song 10 years previous came on. I used to be a sentimental fool but the hardness of living with a drinker had clearer that from my system long before. I sat at the lights and then it dawned on me, he was in rehab at long bloody last. He was now someone else’s responsibility, he was with professionals who could actually sort him out, he wasn’t allowed to call me nor me call him for 30 days unless there was an emergency. The next time I’d see him was in the presence of a counsellor who would help us un-jumble the mess we had got into. For the first time in years my face relaxed. I breathed deeply  and thought to myself ‘how the hell did I get to this?’. Me, the one who was always the carefree hippy type that never let things faze her and didn’t suffer fools easily had spent the last 4 years at least trying to make the man she loved cop on to himself and see sense. 

While I thought badgering him about his drinking or trying to predict his every action and be one step ahead of him was the right thing to do, I in the process was not taking any action to progress my life. Through my inaction and continuing to do the same thing over and over I maintained the unpleasant lifestyle I had for those years. By taking the comfortable options (which were not very comfortable) I had stopped controlling my life and focused on controlling everyone elses. I believed in so doing that someday everything would be perfect. It was only when I stood back and assessed how I was dealing with things and stopped believing the way I was doing things was the right way, that I stopped  the tides  of chaos in my life.

For a short period I went through a stage of thinking of myself as a victim that these things were happening to me. It was only when I got a grip of myself and admitted that things don’t just happen to me – they were a result of me not taking action or continuing to repeat the same actions that didn’t work. This was my comfort zone and it took a hell of a push for me to step out of it and say no more – I shouldn’t have let it go to that stage.

One day at a time

It’s been three weeks since his last drink. It is hard to believe that this day three weeks ago I felt so low. I had left him and expected the next time I would see him was in a coffin or in cuffs for drink driving. Now I have him back and he is better than ever. We saw his counsellor the other day and I really feel that there is no going back to that horrible place for him. His self esteem is still very low and he has a lot of people to ask forgiveness from but as they say one day at a time.

I have learnt to take one day at a time too – in the truest form. What worked for me is I decided that while I wanted to live with my alcoholic husband, I did not want to live my alcoholic husband while he was an active alcoholic. He will always be an alcoholic – it is not curable, but it can be made dormant by not drinking.

We fell in love with these people because we something in them that they probably can’t see themselves – an inner beauty, compassion, a person we wanted to share our lives with. Unfortunately alcohol often masks and warps the things we fell in love with and we create coping mechanisms that we never wanted to have or be – anger, fear, coldness, resentment, bitterness and pure sadness. To develop these attributes you must be a strong person? Now it is time to look at yourself and seriously think about the person you want to be, because the only person who can change the alcoholic you love is themselves and the only person to change the way you are is you. If you want change to happen don’t continue doing the same thing, living the same existance. Sometimes it takes drastic action to make a drastic change – that is what I did. I got the courage to leave and not come back until I knew for sure he was committed to getting sober – I didn’t listen to this promise while he was drunk but when he was sober. Walking away from someone who says they are going to kill themselves is not easy but what was my alternative? To stay and exist and let things continue as were? Everyday of my life is precious, everyday of your life is precious. You must decide today how you want to live it. If your alcoholic loved one wants to be part of it they have to earn it! They have to get sober and the only person who can make that happen is them. The same way you are deciding that you want to be part of their alcoholic existance – that is your choice and yoru decision. BUT if you decide to continue living the way you are, you are existing to support someone elses life and a life that they are probably very unhappy about too. What is the point in that?? Take control of your life and they will follow. If they don’t that is their lose, at the moment you are the one that is loosing out.