JC: Ashley, your story is wonderful. Getting to the point of threatening to end your relationship with your husband took great courage on your part and tremendous faith in God. I am so touched by your dedication to your marriage, to God and to yourself. Your story tells of a woman who is patient, kind, hopeful, faithful, spiritually strong and determined. I am so pleased to hear that things have worked out for the good. It is so refreshing to here someone share good news about their interactions with a substance abuser.
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I want to start off by thanking the creators of this program for their excellent information. Reading the stories and listening to the audios was a step in the right direction for me and my family and allowed me to have yet another resource while living with an alcoholic. I wanted to share my story because it is inspirational and I know how negative life can feel when an alcoholic is part of it.
My husband and I have been married for almost 7 years and alcohol was a part of his life almost from the beginning. At first it was easily played off as social drinking, but with the stress of life quickly became a daily thing. It took me many many years to finally nail down exactly the problem because he was definitely a functioning alcoholic, at least on the career side of things.
On the inside our relationship was taking a nosedive. We had a child and he was so disconnected from us and everything outside of running his business. I would confront him and over and over again (see: Confronting An Alcoholic) and the subject got changed and I ended up being blamed for so much. I was so frustrated.
About 2 years ago he agreed to go to counseling with me and I told him I would like to bring up his drinking. He agreed and that day he was officially diagnosed as an alcoholic. I thought we were at a turning point but his drinking continued. Time lapsed and I finally started getting my thoughts together. I began researching alcohol.
I read every book I could get my hands on. I prayed, not that God would change him, but that he would help me. Help me to be wise, give me strength, and help me be the best mom to my daughter.
I asked that God would deal with him because I couldn’t do it anymore.
1 year after our counseling appointment I went back by myself because I really started to get sucked in to it all and I was just so so angry at him all the time. The counselor looked at his notes and said that the last time he saw me was a year ago. At that very moment everything just clicked. I then realized that I won’t be that woman coming back here every year with the same feelings. I spent the next few weeks just thinking and praying.
I felt a huge urge to contact my husbands family, who had no idea about the problem. I needed them to know what was happening before anything happened. That night changed my life. I called my Mother in Law and in tears I explained the issue. My husbands biological father was a severe alcoholic and caused much pain. My MIL said this won’t destroy another family and we will stand by you no matter what. She said they know what alcohol can do and although they love their son they won’t be enablers.
With my families support and my in-laws support, I finally had the courage to move ahead.
A few weeks later I told my husband we needed to speak. I told him that I love him but that the drinking is indeed a problem I cannot live with it any longer. I told him that I have reached out to friends and family, not to hurt him but to help me. I told him that I realized I couldn’t change him, but I can change me. I told him that if he did not stop drinking then I would leave (see: giving ultimatums to an alcoholic). He was so mad. He said you can’t take our daughter, you can’t do it. I said I always want you in her life, but if you think you are the responsible parent by driving drunk then you go on thinking that. I’m not scared of your threats anymore.
He told me he didn’t like me telling him how to live his life or give him an ultimatum. I said I’m sorry you feel that way (see: How To Communicate With An Alcoholic), but by continuing to drink you are asking me, in essence, to live with an alcoholic for the rest of my.life. I told him I was going to counseling and if he wanted to get better then I would be his biggest fan. Long story short he started showing up to counseling and has been sober for 3 months. We go to counseling every 2 weeks an he has a friend who keeps him accountable.
The changes are no less than a miracle ( see: Trust God). It took 7 years but I now have my husband and best friend back.
The reason I even wrote this is to share that dealing and living with an alcoholic is the hardest thing I have ever done.
The lack of support, emotional distance and constant disappointment almost took me down with him.
I don’t know why it didn’t click sooner, but I deserved a house without alcohol, a relationship without alcohol. When I realized it was really about me again, then things started happening. I became more fearful of things staying the same than things changing.
I know that my husband isn’t perfect and that this might be a struggle for him again later, but I’m not thinking about that because I know what I will do. Although the hardest struggle in my life so far, the alcohol has really taught me who I am, and also who I am NOT.
I would encourage everyone out there dealing with this awful disease to keep moving forward and take care of YOU. You can’t change another person (see: Trying To Get An Alcoholic To Change), even if you love them so much but you can change you. And the only person that can force you to continue to be miserable and unhappy is yourself. Not to say that it is easy to change, or leave or whatever has to be done, but don’t let the alcoholic make you feel like you are trapped in his/her messed up world forever.
Thank you again for the encouragement on this website and it was a huge arrow in the right direction of my life. And even though things are going well for the alcoholic in my life, I continue to read the stories here.