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.