Readers please feel free to respond to Kay’s story about many years of coping with an alcoholic husband whose drinking has escalated. You can leave your comments below the article.
Submitted by: Kay
My husband is the alcoholic in my life. We have been married for almost 34 years, have great jobs and 3 kids. Throughout our marriage I have worked shift work in an emergency room. Initially it was either a day shift or an overnight shift. He pulled duty at night with the kids. Over time the shifts changed and the children grew.
As I was approaching retirement I was often out of the house 10 evenings each month due to new shift times. I suspect that this is when the drinking escalated. The kids and I were not there to force him to keep it under control. I retired and found myself in the house with a drunk. WOW, talk about a game-changer. I had looked forward to being able to spend time together, go out with friends, travel and now I find I am married to a drunk.
I am afraid to go anywhere there may be liquor as he no longer possesses an off switch. How did I not know you ask? I had suspected there may be a problem and voiced my concern. He got sneaky and began hiding it. I challenged him again when I began finding him asleep at 9 PM when I would arrive home and he blamed his allergy medication.
I did everything on the list you should not: I dumped out liquor, I diluted vodka, I searched for hiding places, I pleaded and begged, I yelled and I slept in another room. He finally had to admit he had a problem to himself when he passed out at a party this past October. He tried to finagle out of it by saying he was just tired but the evidence was against him.
Although he now admits he has a problem he “slips” every 4-5 days binge drinking. Because of some of these ‘slips’ I was forgotten at the airport at 11 PM although we had spoken 90 minutes before and I have found him sleeping on the garage floor as he ‘fixed’ the lawnmower. As I stood waiting for the cab at the airport I knew he was passed out and I almost did not go home. When I found him on the garage floor I almost walked out. Although he apologized after the airport incident he was barely standing drunk a week later and unrepentant when I got mad.
He is a functioning alcoholic and never misses work. I am lucky he is not violent or destructive but he is snarky and belittling. I rationally understand that it is his problem and he has to make the decision to stop and that it is not my fault but each slip is like one more small cut, one more bleeding site in our marriage. I rationally realize that voicing my frustration and disappointment over the slips is not going to benefit anyone but it sure feels as though I am giving him a free pass. It feels like I am watching my teenager walk in after curfew and shrugging my shoulders.
I am definitely at the stage that I may still love him but I am losing respect and oftentimes do not like him. Sometimes I consider leaving as I grow tired of wondering if Mr Nice or Mr Snarky is going to come home this evening.
How do you show support without being a doormat? How do you sit quietly when his mistress is a bottle? How do you sit quietly while he dismantles the marriage? He refuses to go to counseling or AA as he will ‘do this himself’. My patience is ebbing…..
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