Nobody can understand an alcoholic other than another alcoholic. And no one knows the pain and struggles of those affected by alcoholism other than those who have been there.
It’s hard enough to understand what an alcoholic goes through; how much more what the wife or family of an alcoholic suffers as a result of the disease?
I’m the wife of an ex-alcoholic and this is my story.
I will never forget the look on one person’s face when he offered me a drink and I got a bottle of water instead. His look made me feel like I’m the one who’s weird for not drinking. I understand though because I used to be on the other side of barely having any clue of what alcoholism is about.
My husband was very open and honest with me when we started dating. He told me that he is a recovered alcoholic. Because I had no clue then what that is, I thought he just quit drinking. I didn’t find out how bad alcoholism is until I saw the beast for myself.
It all began on our first wedding anniversary. My husband and I went out on a lunch date and I ordered a glass of wine with my meal. Back then, red wine was my choice of alcoholic drink. Well, my husband doesn’t like red wine at all. He tasted it and stuck his tongue out like a kid. Little did I know that the hint of alcohol will trigger his drinking problem back.
The wine led to flavored alcoholic beverages and before I knew it, he was buying beer cans again. Actually, it started out really fun. Being newly married couples then, we enjoyed those moments of just hanging out in his truck over cans of beer. I’m not a beer drinker but started liking it because of those fun times.
One night, after he finished all his beer, he asked if I had some cash so he can buy more. I knew he’s had enough so I told him that I didn’t have any cash with me. He flared up and got so mad at me. That was the beginning of a long journey of dealing with an alcoholic husband.
I guess a part of me wanted to drink with him, which was why I ignored the clear signs.
I guess I thought it was just a few episodes. I guess his quitting for months in a row tricked me into believing that he can drink moderately.
My first wake-up call was when he started drinking with some friends one afternoon. I knew he was so drunk when they left. He went to the bathroom and I hid his car keys. When he got out, he started searching for his keys so he can go to the store and buy more alcohol. Again, he got so mad at me. I remember fighting with him that night until he dropped on the floor and passed out. The next day, he couldn’t remember anything that happened after his friends left. He told me that he blacked out.
So many other similar incidents happened after that. And each time, he would take long breaks away from alcohol. He would then return and drink moderately for the first few months, then go back to binge drinking, getting drunk, and blacking out.
One of the scariest incidents that almost cost me my life was when a friend of his’ invited him to watch UFC at a local bar. He was already drinking at home when his friend called up. When we got there, the first thing my husband did was order a pitcher of beer. I guess his friend also didn’t have a clue on how bad an alcoholic can get. It was too late to stop my husband.
He created a huge scene that night, which made the bouncers carry him out of the bar. And there I was, so embarrassed, and wanting the ground to crack open and swallow me up. He decided to drive home after that, refusing to let me drive, and calling me names in front of everyone watching. I will leave the rest of the story for you to figure out. Just writing about it makes my stomach churn. It was a very traumatic experience.
My husband quit drinking again after that, until …
His last phase of drinking didn’t end up as bad as that bar scene, although there were very bad episodes that went with it.
When he decided to quit for real, without any reservations to go back, the withdrawal process was almost as bad as the drinking itself. It greatly affected our marriage, to the point of a near-divorce.
The damage his drinking has done to our marriage also made me think of my own role in it.
Yes, I didn't see the signs out of ignorance in the beginning; yet, when I finally saw it, I ignored it because I myself was not ready to give up alcohol. At the back of my mind, I was hoping that one day he can be a normal drinker so we can enjoy drinking together. Only when I made up my mind to quit alcohol for good was I able to help my husband quit for good as well.
My near divorce showed both me and my husband that we value our marriage and each other more than anything else. My husband knows that I’ve decided not to touch alcohol again for the rest of my life. He knows that alcohol will divide us and will cost us our marriage. He understands the pain I’ve been through and how disgusted I am with alcohol.
If you have problems with alcohol and you’re reading this, know that you can damage the people around you, and can lose the most important people in your life. Seek help if you can’t control yourself.
If you are suffering from an alcoholic husband or a person close to you, make the decision to stop drinking, if you are drinking. Be the strong one and put your foot down. If you have to leave, do so. Sometimes the best lessons are learned when people lose the ones they love.
If you don’t have problems with alcohol and don’t have any family members suffering from it, and you enjoy drinking, know that there are people like me who don’t drink because of what alcohol has done to us. Be mindful of this each time you drink in public.
Don’t assume that everybody drinks.
There may be an ex-alcoholic or even an alcoholic around you who needs help. Don’t simply offer a drink to anyone. And don’t look at them in a weird way. You don’t know what they’ve been through.
Now that my husband and I have been clean, sober, and smoke-free for the past years, we are experiencing a fresh new marriage, full of peace and joy. The freedom of being alcohol-free has given us so much appreciation for each other. Seriously … our love for God and each other is enough to get us intoxicated.
With our sobriety came our healing from our respective issues. With this healing came so much clarity that brought about success in our work and business situations, finances, and all other physically visible evidences. With this clarity came a more dialed-in marriage ... a life that is simple but powerful. This is something I explained extensively in my book, SIMPLIFY TO INTENSIFY.
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